Strengthening economic and organizational health across the region.


To be a trusted partner and regional resource in achieving performance excellence.

Cycles of Excellence

The Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence believes education, recognition of significant achievement, and the sharing of best practices and strategies will help organizations become more competitive on a national and international level.

Since its inception in 1993, TNCPE has provided assessments & feedback to over 1,000 organizations from myriad sectors – health care, service, education, manufacturing, government and non-profit. Using the framework of an awards program, TNCPE fulfills its mission by providing in-depth, low-cost assessments of regional organizations using the Baldrige Excellence Framework.

TNCPE trains regional professionals to provide these assessments as Examiners. Examiners then take the skills developed during training and the assessment process back to their own jobs, benefiting and improving their own organizations in the process.

Strong businesses, in turn, bring jobs and resources to not just the state of Tennessee but the entire region, supporting the people who call the Southeast home.


Continuous Improvement
Creating Value
Results-Driven Processes
Customer-Focused Excellence
Fiscal Sustainability
Fact-Based Management

Who We Are

A small, permanent team of executive and support staff handles day-to-day operations from our office in Nashville. In addition, TNCPE relies on the efforts of diverse and talented experts to realize our mission. These individuals contribute to TNCPE through their work on the TNCPE Board of Directors, the Board of Examiners and the Panel of Judges. Member organizations and individuals contribute through monetary or in-kind donations.

This is the TNCPE infrastructure, and each person involved plays an important role that helps sustain our organization.

There are many ways your talents can contribute as well. Learn how to get involved.


Heather Schoch

President & CEO

Kelley Molavi, Director of Programs
Kelley Molavi

Vice President of Operations

TNCPE Board of Directors

Chair, Reynold Douglas
Vice Chair, Commissioner Juan Williams
Secretary, Danette Scudder
Treasurer, David Hart
Past Chair, Dr. Herb Byrd, III
Ex Officio, Heather Schoch

Dr. Herb Byrd, III
Vice President for Public Service
UT Institute for Public Service

Reynold Douglas
General Services Director
City of Germantown

Chris Gray
Griffin Mechanical, LLC

Kevin Grayson
Assistant Director of Technology Management
North Carolina State University

Jim Harlan
Professor and Interim Chair Dept. of Management and Marketing

David Hart

Lacey Hayes
Caris Healthcare

Melissa Lamb
Assistant Vice President, Medicare Operations
CGS Administrators

Paul Martin
Vice President and Administrator
Trezevant Episcopal Home

Melissa Marty
Huntsville (AL) Utilities

Kim Mason
Executive Director, Pharmacy & Research
University of Tennessee Medical Center

Stacey Max
Director of Engineering
Marvin Windows and Doors of Tennessee

Kelley Molavi
Vice President of Operations
Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence

Sharon Nichols
Mississippi Small Business Development Center

Clifton Peay
Director of Performance Management
Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County

Dan Pratt
Vice President, Customer Delivery
Tennessee Valley Authority

Heather Schoch
President and CEO
Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence

Danette Scudder
Executive Vice President
Tennessee Valley Public Power Association

Amy Shreve
Executive Vice President
First Horizon Bank

Ocpivia Stafford
Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare – South Hospital

Juan Williams
Tennessee Department of Human Resources

2023 Award Recipients

Achievement Award

Metro Tennova Healthcare

Commitment Award

Colquitt Regional Medical Center

Oak Ridge Schools

Tennessee Language Center

Interest Award

Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership

Oak Ridge Schools

Past Excellence Winners

2022 Listerhill Credit Union, Muscle Shoals

2019 NHC South Central Region, Pulaski

2018 Griffin Mechanical, LLC, Dickson

2017 *City of Germantown

2016 The University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville

2015 McClaskey Excellence Institute (formerly Pal’s Business Excellence Institute), Kingsport

2014 Maury Regional Medical Center, Columbia

2013 Mountain States Health Alliance, Johnson City

2012 *Bristol Tennessee Essential Services, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority

2010 CIGNA Government Services, Nashville

2009 Maury Regional Medical Center, Columbia, Mountain States Health Alliance, Johnson City

2008 Caris Healthcare, Knoxville

2007 Wellmont Health System, Kingsport

2006 *Pal’s Sudden Service, Kingsport

2005 Mountain States Health Alliance, Johnson City

2003 Marie B. Williams, Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence Founding Director (1993-2004) Honorary Excellence Award

2002 John Deere Power Products, Greeneville; Tennessee Valley Authority Nuclear, Chattanooga

2001 *Pal’s Sudden Service, Kingsport

2000 Eaton Aeroquip-Gainesboro

1999 *Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation, Nashville, Global Excellence; Memphis Light, Gas and Water

1998 Baptist Health System of Knoxville; Fleetguard Inc., Nashville, Global Excellence

1997 Eaton Corporation of Shelbyville; Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge

1996 Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., Morrison

1995 Dr. Curt W. Reimann, Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Founding Director (1987-1995), Honorary Excellence Award

1994 *Bristol Tennessee Electric System; *Federal Express Corporation Memphis Hub Operations, Memphis; Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation, Smyrna

1993 *Eastman Chemical Company, Kingsport; Philips Consumer Electronics Company, Knoxville

*denotes recipients of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

Ready to join this group of world-class organizations?

The Ned R. McWherter Leadership Award

Gov. Ned R. McWherter Leadership Award

The Ned R. McWherter Leadership Award annually recognizes an individual who exemplifies outstanding leadership in the pursuit of performance excellence and has furthered performance improvement beyond the boundaries of his or her organization.

Winners are committed to the core values of the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence and the Baldrige Excellence Framework. The award’s namesake is former Tennessee Governor Ned. R. McWherter. Governor McWherter was integral to the formation of TNCPE in 1993.

Nominations for the Ned R. McWherter Leadership Award are solicited from TNCPE Members. The award recipient is selected by the executive committee and confirmed by the full Board of Directors.

Image // Governor McWherter, official portrait

Past recipients

2024 Tami Anderson

2023 Patrick J. Lawton

2022 Doran Johnson

2021 Rebecca Hunter

2020 David M. Jones

2019 John J. Dreyzehner, MD & Charles E. Shoopman, Jr.

2018 Donald C. Fisher, Ph.D.

2017 Jim Duensing

2016 Thom Crosby

2015 Lewis Lavine

2014 Dr. Joe Alexander

2013 Robert Otwell

2012 Dennis Vonderfecht

2011 David J. McClaskey

2010 Dr. R. Michael Browder

2009 Dr. Susan Williams

2008 Ed Scott

2007 Jan McNally

2006 Andy Czuchry

2005 Bob Bell

The Katie Rawls Champion of Excellence Award

The Katie Rawls Champion of Excellence Award was created to recognize one individual each year who Is dedicated to the principles of the Criteria for Performance Excellence, works tirelessly to further performance improvement within his or her organization, and is committed to the core values of the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence program.

Nominations are solicited from the members of TNCPE and the award recipient is selected by the executive committee of the Board of Directors.  Current board members are not eligible for this award.

Past recipients

2024 Abigail Gaddy

2023 Jimmy Bivens

2022 Stephanie Brooks

2021 Peter Kapolas and Casey Norris

2020 Lynnsey Seagroves

2019 Joanna Rogers

2018 Elaine Boyd

2017 Leslie Blevins

2016 Michael Hubbard and Bruce Behringer

2015 Sendy Gregory

2014 Walt Matwijec

2013 Maria Wong

2012 Dr. David Fleming

2011 Renee Tew

2010 Heather Schoch

2009 Tamera Fields

Katie Rawls, Former President & CEO, Champion of Excellence Award

Want to support Excellence in the Southeast?

(And get some amazing benefits for your organization)