Oct 23, 2015

CLEVELAND – In a quest for continual improvement, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) recently received the Silver Award for Commitment to Excellence from The Partnership for Excellence, as part of its pursuit of the Malcolm Baldrige Award.

RTA is just one of nine organizations in the Ohio-Indiana-West Virginia region to receive such acclaim this year.

“RTA achieved the Silver Award for its commitment to excellence upon its first application. This is an outstanding achievement and speaks to the impact RTA is having not only on the industry, but throughout the region, as well,” said Valarie J. McCall, Chair of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and an RTA Board member.

Applicants were evaluated rigorously by an independent board of examiners in seven areas defined by the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence:

  • Leadership.
  • Strategic planning.
  • Customer focus.
  • Measurement.
  • Analysis.
  • Knowledge management.
  • Workforce focus.
  • Operations focus
  • Results.

The evaluation process included more than 1,000 hours of review and a three-day site visit by seven examiners.

“This is a significant achievement for RTA. There is no doubt that we are putting forth an exemplary effort toward performance excellence,” said RTA CEO and General Manager Joe Calabrese.

“RTA is right on track to be among the first transit agencies in the nation to become a Baldrige Award winner,” said George Dixon, President of the RTA Board of Trustees.

“Every RTA employee can share in this honor,” said Dixon. “Examiners looked at every department at RTA before giving the award.”

The honor is based on a 50-page report submitted in December.

After spending several days visiting RTA facilities, seven examiners sent their comments to RTA. Staff studied those comments and have begun to take action on “opportunities for improvement.”                                          

The examiners wrote:

Use this feedback as input to your strategic planning process. Focus on the strengths and opportunities for improvement that have impact on your strategic goals and objectives. Celebrate your strengths and build on them to achieve outstanding performance and a competitive advantage. You have worked hard and should congratulate yourselves.

Calabrese said, “We are eager to continue to advance our efforts by addressing the areas for improvement highlighted by the examiners.”

The Baldrige Program is a national public-private partnership dedicated to performance excellence. Its mission is to improve the competitiveness and performance of U.S. organizations.

The award was established by the U.S. Congress in 1987 to raise awareness of quality management and recognize U.S. companies that have implemented successful quality management systems. Awards can be given annually in six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, education, healthcare and nonprofit. The award is named after the late Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige, a proponent of quality management. The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology manages the award.

Organizations that apply for the Baldrige Award are judged by an independent board of examiners. Recipients are selected based on achievement and improvement in seven areas, known as the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence.