Performance Excellence Network Recognizes Seven with Award

May 5, 2023

2022 Performance Excellence Awards Presented at PENworks 2023 Conference

ST. PAUL, Minn., May 5, 2023 – The Performance Excellence Network (PEN) honors seven recipients of the 2022 Minnesota Performance Excellence Award.  The Award is based on the Baldrige Framework and is the culmination of a rigorous evaluation of an organization’s management and performance system.  The evaluation criteria consider leadership, strategic planning, customer-related processes, measurement and knowledge management, workforce, and operations, and recognize organizations that are systematically improving results.

Recipients of the Award include five service lines of State of Minnesota, Department of Human Services Direct Care & Treatment Administration, each receiving the Commitment Level: Ambulatory Care, Community Based Services, Forensic Services, Mental Health Substance Abuse Treatment Services (MHSATS), and Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP).  In addition. PEN recognized Granite Table Community of Excellence (St. Cloud, Advancement Level) and River’s Edge Hospital (St. Peter, Achievement Level). There have been 159 organizations and communities by this program recognized since 1991.

“I’d like to congratulate all those who received PEN’s Excellence Award today.  Your commitment to improving outcomes for the benefit of your customers, residents, and stakeholders is unmatched,” said Governor Tim Walz.  “We need to continue to capitalize on all that’s good in Minnesota and leverage our strengths and shore up our weaknesses. As the theme of this year’s conference indicates, we’re all the same boat – ascending to a brighter, more hopeful future.”

The Performance Excellence Award was given at a hybrid conference yesterday called PENworks 2023, hosted at Mystic Lake Conference Center and livestreamed throughout the region.  Nearly 350 leaders from all sectors and industries attended, primarily from a five-state region. The conference featured nearly 20 local, regional, and national speakers from all types of organizations, each sharing best practices and methods to improve leadership, innovation, workforce engagement and staffing issues, resilience, and other drivers of excellence.

Said Brian Lassiter, president/CEO of the Performance Excellence Network: “The theme of this year’s conference is Ascending Together, reflecting our collective desire to move forward, grow, and bring outcomes to higher levels of performance.  Not only do we celebrate achievement of these seven Award recipients, but we celebrate all leaders, teams, organizations, and communities on the journey to excellence.”

Paula Meskan, CEO of River’s Edge Hospital, a critical access hospital based in St. Peter, commented: “The Baldrige Framework has helped us gain a better understanding of how our organization works, where our strengths are, but – more importantly – where our opportunities lie.  Baldrige is certainly more than a trophy, but we’ll be happy to add the hardware to our case.”

About Performance Excellence Network

The Performance Excellence Network was founded in 1987 by the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Rudy Perpich, and was spun off into a private 501(c)3 nonprofit two years later. PEN advances improvement and performance excellence within organizations, individuals and communities. It helps leaders identify strengths and improvement opportunities, and it builds networks that bring information, resources, knowledge and best practices to organizations desiring to improve. PEN serves nearly 200 members and organizations in Minnesota and the Dakotas. The Performance Excellence Award is given in four levels: Commitment, Advancement, Achievement, and Excellence. For more information, go to

About Granite Table Central Minnesota Community of Excellence

The Central Minnesota Communities of Excellence initiative focuses on the three-county region surrounding the St. Cloud area.  It’s goal is to improve population health, educational attainment, economic vitality, and quality of life for the community.  For more information:

About River’s Edge Hospital

River’s Edge is a critical access hospital that has delivered nearly 75 years of quality care including family medicine, pediatrics, emergency room, orthopedic and general surgery to the residents of St. Peter and the surrounding communities.  REH has about 175 employees.  For more information:

About State of MN, Department of Human Services, Direct Care & Treatment

DCT is a complex behavioral health care system, operating psychiatric hospitals and other inpatient mental health treatment facilities; inpatient substance abuse treatment facilities; dental clinics, residential group homes and vocational programming for people with disabilities; and the nation’s largest secure treatment program for civilly committed sex offenders.  The first service lines recognized include Ambulatory Care, Community Based Services, Forensic Services, Mental Health Substance Abuse Treatment Services (MHSATS), and Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP). With nearly 5000 employees that work at 160 buildings across five campuses, DCT is one of the largest state agencies in Minnesota. For more information:

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