Community Engagement

Bristol Tennessee Essential Services is first utility to earn Malcolm Baldrige award

Public power utility Bristol Tennessee Essential Services is the first utility to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a Presidential-level award presented annually to U.S. manufacturing, service, small business, health care, education and nonprofit organizations that apply and are judged to be outstanding in seven criteria for performance excellence.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the award winners on Nov. 16. BTES, located in Bristol, Tennessee, is one of five recipients of the 2017 award. BTES offers electricity and fiber services to 33,000 customers and has 68 employees.

The Commerce Department noted that BTES offers the fastest internet available in the U.S. at 10 Gigabits per second, has implemented efficiencies that saved its customers approximately $70 million over the last 40 years and has customer satisfaction levels approaching 100 percent on many products and performance measures.

Over the last 30 years, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has selected a total of 110 organizations to receive the Malcolm Baldrige award. The award uses a framework to provide feedback in seven major categories — leadership; strategy; customers; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; workforce; operations; and results.  

BTES noted in a news release that it has been using the framework for continuous improvement for more than 25 years and recognizes the evaluation and assessment process as a development opportunity for its employees and the organization as a whole.

“At BTES, continuous improvement and performance excellence are part of our culture," said Mike Browder, CEO of BTES. “We are honored to accept this award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology as we continue on our journey to be the best electric, internet, telephone and cable television provider.”

BTES currently holds a diamond level Reliable Public Power Provider designation from the American Public Power Association. The RP3 program recognizes utilities that demonstrate high proficiency in reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement.

Additional information about the Baldrige National Quality Award is available here.