The warmth of spring brings flower and green lawns, and it also brings awards and recognition to the quality profession. Recognition abounds; both Quality Magazine and ASQ have dedicated significant time and resources promoting, validating and now honoring individuals who have made a significant impact to the quality community.

Congrats to Kathy Lyall, Quality’s 2020 Professional of the Year. Kathy epitomizes what a quality professional should be; she has had professional success, has multiple professional quality certifications, shared her knowledge and experience via many conference presentations, and has given back to the profession as a volunteer leader. Previously, Kathy was recognized as the Quality Leader of the Year by her employer and was elected as ASQ Fellow in 2015.

Becoming an ASQ Fellow is a significant career achievement. It is an honor bestowed to the upper echelon of those in the quality profession (about one percent of ASQ members). Fellow is a membership grade that is bestowed to individuals by other ASQ members; a person may not apply or nominate himself or herself. Only members with 15 or more years of professional experience are eligible. A common misconception about ASQ Fellow is that it is recognition for exemplary volunteer service to the society; this is far from the truth. ASQ Fellow membership is bestowed for service, career achievement, and knowledge sharing. In order achieve Fellow, an individual must meet three qualifications:

  • experience in quality or quality related field
  • senior membership in ASQ for a minimum of five consecutive years
  • achievement of some distinction and certain level of proficiency in six quality related disciplines:
  • Technical competence
  • Occupational responsibility
  • Publications/papers/presentations
  • Teaching or, for professional educators, consulting
  • ASQ activities
  • Membership/service in professional organizations other than ASQ

Fellows are nominated by their peers; most often theses nominations come from ASQ member units (geographic sections or technical divisions and forums). Nomination packets require objective evidence for all qualifications, achievements, presentations, etc. The society examining committee is comprised of five Fellows who review and score each nomination separately, scores are then compared and eventually the committee comes to consensus. Nominations that meet all the requirements are forwarded to the board. In case nominations have not met all requirements, nominators are sent a letter from the society examining committee chair, along with the scores for each of the six disciplines.

The committee chair spends countless hours organizing, reviewing, writing, and leading to ensure that each nomination is given the same consideration. Trevor Craney, the current society examining committee chair, is due much praise and thanks for his efforts.

There is no additional membership fee for being an ASQ Fellow but being one has its perks. Fellows receive all the same benefits as ASQ professional and senior members and, in addition, they receive a framed Fellow certificate, a free registration to the World Conference on Quality and Improvement the year they are elected, an annual luncheon, a specially designated ribbon for their name badge at ASQ events, either an additional ASQ journal or section membership, and a directory of all the ASQ Fellow and honorary members.

Honorary member is ASQ’s highest grade of membership bestowed upon individuals who made enduring contributions to the profession of quality, and the allied arts and sciences. Election is restricted to individuals who are so well known and so clearly preeminent in the profession that there should be almost no doubt of their being worthy of such recognition. In ASQ’s 74-year history only 31 individuals have been bestowed honorary membership. Honorary members include quality gurus Deming, Juran, Crosby, Feigenbaum, and Taguchi.

Jim Harrington is ASQ’s newest honorary member, elected by the board of directors this past November. He will be recognized May 3, 2020, at ASQ’s Fellows and society awardees and medalists luncheon. During a 60-plus year career, Harrington has established a global reputation for being an innovative quality leader, a leading consultant, and an outstanding author and presenter. The sale of his 55 books has made him one of the most popular and successful authors on quality-related material. Harrington gained fame, and deservedly earned much popularity, through his service as ASQ president (1985-86) and with International Academy of Quality and Asian-Pacific Quality Organization. Congratulations Jim on this long overdue recognition!