Wisconsin Forward Award: Tommy G. Thompson kicks off Wisconsin Forward Award conference with keynote address

Feb. 11-12 Conference Highlights Best Practices for Performance Excellence

MADISON, Wis. – Former Governor Tommy G. Thompson will deliver the keynote address at the Moving Forward to Performance Excellence Conference on Feb. 11 in Madison.

Thompson, who served as Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2001-2005,   will discuss the importance of quality initiatives to promote a strong, vibrant and competitive healthcare industry.  As Governor, Thompson created the Wisconsin Forward Award Program in 1997 to advance the global competitiveness and performance of state organizations. 

The Moving Forward to Performance Excellence Conference will be held Feb. 11-12 at the American Family Conference Center, 6000 American Parkway, Madison.  For more information or to register, visit http://www.forwardaward.org or call 608.663.5300.  The annual conference is hosted by Wisconsin Forward Award, the state’s premier organization for the promotion and recognition of performance management principles.

This year’s conference features presentations by noted experts and Baldrige award winners in industries ranging from healthcare to education to manufacturing.  Participants will gain fresh insights and practical knowledge during 20 breakout sessions focused on leadership, culture, quality, sustainability, customer focus, Next Generation Manufacturing and the Baldrige application and judging process.

Other keynote speakers are:

*         Paul Linzmeyer, president, ISO International, will make the case for high performance sustainability practices that drive organizational excellence and stakeholder engagement. He’ll give examples of “low handing fruit” that yield significant immediate returns on investment while creating a culture that goes beyond doing business as usual.

*         Kathleen Jennison Goonan, M.D., executive director, Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Performance Excellence, will discuss how healthcare leaders can deploy Baldrige as a comprehensive business strategy to go from “undoubtedly good to unquestionably great” at a time when they’re facing tremendous economic and workforce challenges.

*         Terry Holliday, Kentucky Commissioner of Education will tell the story of how a Baldrige award winning school district increased graduation rates 20%, achieved a 96% attendance rate and maintained low-cost per pupil while ranking in the top ten schools academically.

 “The need to strive for excellence in all aspects of our organizations is more important than ever,” said Elizabeth Menzer, executive director of Wisconsin Forward Award.  “To be successful today, business leaders must promote clear values, communicate performance expectations, empower employees, understand and respond to the needs of customers and create an environment of learning and innovation.”

Conference sponsors are: the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership; UW Stout; Smith & Gesteland LLP; SyzyGy50 and MetaStar. 

About Wisconsin Forward Award

Wisconsin Forward Award, Inc. promotes excellence in organizational management, recognizes the achievements and results of Wisconsin organizations implementing performance excellence systems, and publicizes successful performance excellence management strategies.  The nonprofit organization receives financial support from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development as well as other organizations across the state.  For more information visit http://www.forwardaward.org

The organization is a public/private partnership modeled after the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program.  The Baldrige Award is given to businesses and organizations for outstanding performance in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results. 


Elizabeth Menzer, 608.663.5300, [email protected]