GAITHERSBURG, MA-- Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Gary Locke presented five U.S. organizations with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence.

The ceremony-the 22th in the history of the award-honored the 2009 recipients: Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies for manufacturing (Kansas City, MO); MidwayUSA in the small business category (Columbia, MO); AtlantiCare in the healthcare segment (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.); Heartland Health, also in healthcare (St. Joseph, MO); and Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program Clinical Research Pharmacy Coordinating Center for the nonprofit sector ( Albuquerque, NM).

The 2009 Baldrige Award recipients were selected from a field of 70 applicants. All of the applicants were evaluated rigorously by an independent board of examiners in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results. The evaluation process for each of the recipients included about 1,000 hours of review and an on-site visit by a team of examiners to clarify questions and verify information in the applications.

For further information on the Baldrige Award,click here