CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia’s Army National Guard was recently selected as the best in the nation during the 2010 Army Chief of Staff Communities of Excellence competition ceremonies April 18 in San Antonio, Texas.
West Virginia scored highest among 33 states and territories that entered this year’s contest, and the award recognizes their performance excellence in business process improvement, individual and corporate innovation, and dedication to providing support to Soldiers, families, civilian employees, and retirees.
This is the second time in three years that the West Virginia National Guard has won the competition.
“I am so proud of the women and men that serve in the West Virginia National Guard,” said Army Major General James Hoyer, adjutant general for West Virginia. “It is so gratifying to have the hard work, dedication, professionalism and innovativeness I see displayed by our Soldiers everyday to be recognized by others as the best in the National Guard.”
Hoyer received the award on behalf of the West Virginia Guard during the 2011 ACOE ceremony in San Antonio.
“I am pleased the ACOE is once again recognizing what we West Virginians have known for quite some time,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, West Virginia, said.
“Regardless of the mission or challenge set before them, members of the West Virginia National Guard have risen to every occasion with creative, effective plans and an attitude of resilience.
“I congratulate our West Virginia Soldiers for this most deserved national recognition.”
West Virginia’s Army Guard was noted for having a strong strategic planning process, communication that flowed well throughout all levels of the organization, and a customer-driven focus that sought to create value and promote personal learning and social responsibility.
Retired Brig. Gen. John Barnette, West Virginia team leader for the ACOE competition, emphasized that it’s not processes or programs, but the collective effort of Soldiers that make the state’s Guard so successful.
“It starts with people,” Barnette said. “We can develop great strategy and detailed plans, but it’s people with an outstanding work ethic and devotion to living the organization’s values that get the job done. It’s truly a team effort, and that’s what sets us apart.”
The ACOE program uses the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Program Criteria for Performance Excellence to evaluate competing organizations. The criteria are used in more than 40 states and 60 nations, as well as in the Deptartment of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other federal agencies.
Winning agencies are selected by an independent panel of six judges based on an evaluation of the agency’s written application and additional information gathered during site visits by examiner teams.
Participants are judged against Baldridge standards and not against each other.
Organizations receive professional recognition and monetary awards based on their ranking.
West Virginia will receive $400,000 for their winning spot in the competition, and that money, according to senior Guard officials, will be used to finance programs that support Soldiers and families.
“Winning national awards like this is not just happenstance,” said Hoyer. “This is a testament that the Fort West Virginia vision built under Maj. Gen. Tackett’s leadership is thriving in the West Virginia National Guard.”