Quality New Mexico The Story of Malcolm Baldrige & QNM

The Story of Mac Baldrige and Quality New Mexico By Nigel Hey His name was Howard Malcolm Baldrige, but he insisted that people called him Mac. The White House plucked him out of a top corporate job in New England to be Ronald Reagan’s first Secretary of Commerce. He was a Yale graduate (in English) and had a lifelong passion for the American West. He loved rodeo life and enjoyed curling up with a book by Zane Gray or Louis L’Amour. He was born in Omaha. He owned a ranch in New Mexico. And his name is forever associated with the grand idea that lies behind Quality New Mexico. Mac’s sister Letitia (“Tish”), who was Jackie Kennedy’s social secretary in the White House, said he was full of paradoxes. “He likes you to think of him in jeans low around the hips and properly scuffed cowboy boots,” she told Louise Sweeney, staff correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor. “He enjoys that. His heart is in the West, but his body and his mind are in the East.” Baldrige died in California in 1987 as the result of a rodeo accident, leaving a legacy of successful trade talks with the Chinese, Indians and Russians – and a lasting persistence that his office would be a quality operation; further, that he expected the rest of America to follow suit. He was committed to policies that increase productivity and customer satisfaction, in particular a dedication to clear communication. “Use of the English language.” he said, “should ideally be styled somewhere between Hemingway and Zane Gray.” Baldrige’s interest in the West was deepened by reading the books of Gray, Louis L’Amour and other Western writers. And his family joined in. “I loved it,” said his daughter Molly. “The ranch was a vacation place, and a way to be involved in the cattle business and have a foot in the cowboy world.” His other daughter Megan, a teacher, was just as enthusiastic: “My decision to move to Cedar Crest with my young family in the 1980’s and my sister’s decision to work for an agricultural bank in Colorado shortly after my move was prompted by the wonderful vacations we had in New Mexico on the ranch.” Congress created the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award through Public Law 100-107 in 1987. On October 17, 1988, Baldrige was presented posthumously with the Presidential Tish, Mac, Midge Fall 1983 © 2015 Nigel Hey & Quality New Mexico 1