Austin Public Schools was one of 6 Minnesota organizations to receive the Performance Excellence Award from the Performance Excellence Network (PEN) for 2019 at an online conference held Thursday.

The Award is based on the Baldrige Framework and is the culmination of a rigorous evaluation of an organization’s management and performance system. The evaluation criteria consider leadership, strategic planning, customer-related processes, measurement and knowledge management, workforce, and operations, and recognize organizations that are systematically improving results.

The organizations receiving the Award are: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (St. Paul, Excellence Level); Austin Public Schools (Austin, Achievement Level); Walden University School of Management (Minneapolis, Advancement Level); Benedictine (Duluth, Commitment Level); Huberty Performance Learning LLC (Minneapolis, Commitment Level); and Seagate Technology (Bloomington, Commitment Level). There have been 146 organizations recognized since 1991 by this program.

Said Brian Lassiter, president/CEO of the Performance Excellence Network: “This year, organizations face extraordinary challenges. But these six organizations have demonstrated a commitment to improving their processes and their outcomes for the benefit of their customers, workforce, and other stakeholders. They are deserving of recognition in any year, but even more so, given this year’s circumstances. I imagine they will also more successfully navigate the challenges because of their efforts.”

There were two unique circumstances this year: Huberty Performance Learning LLC, a one-person management consulting firm, became the first sole proprietorship to receive one of PEN’s awards, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency was the first state agency in Minnesota to receive PEN’s top level award.