Texas Nameplate is the smallest company to win the Malcolm Baldrige quality award. How did the company join the ranks of Boeing and Caterpillar as President Clinton presented them the most prestigious award in quality control? "There’s a lot in the Bible, there’s a lot about strategic planning, a lot about leadership in the Bible," says company president Dale Crownover. "Why did we win Baldrige? It was God, it was the faith. And have a little bit of love."
This video was produced by Small Business School. Used by permission.
If you do things for the Lord you’ll get the reward. But you have to do your part, that’s what I keep saying. You have to do your part. He’s not going to do it for you. I’m Dale Crownover, president of Texas Nameplate. We make nameplates like you see on hot water heaters and air conditioners. We work around 50 people and we’re located in Dallas.
I became president in 1986 forty years after my father started the business. We had a lot of problems. One of them, we weren’t making any money. We were on the verge of bankruptcy. We had a lot of problems because back in those days we didn’t have any processes. We didn’t have any procedures. It was pretty much ad hoc, everybody just did whatever they wanted to do and it was not effective and it was going to run us out of business.
I found strength in my faith. When I was young I did the church thing and I learned a lot of the principles and values you have to remember that I got to work with my dad. My dad was a Christian and he didn’t go around telling everybody that but I was raised and I could sense that my upbringing at home was not different was no different at Texas Nameplate.
You have to understand that through this crisis, we had law suits we had the EEOC we had the Environmental Protection Agency, we had everything going against us but I recognized that through my faith I could overcome this. But, I had to do my part and I had to be patient.
I kept pursuing this Baldrige award that we were told we could not win but I was being told from the Bible that we could win. I knew that we could. I was the only one at that time with a college degree and less than half our people had a high school diploma.
Of course, we weren’t supposed to win. There was no way and I was being told that. But, I knew that we could and we did. We won in 1998. We’re the smallest company to ever win and we were on the stage with President Clinton and on the stage was the Boeing CEO and the Caterpillar CEO. We were Texas Nameplate with 50 people and we make nameplates. We’re just regular common people.
When we won the Malcolm Baldrige sure Texas Nameplate had put itself on a higher platform but more importantly what did it do for the people? Look at their self-esteem. They could go home and to their community and say look at what we did. Not what the company did but what we did as a team and as individuals. It was all spiritual. You can’t do anything like this in my biased opinion. You can’t ever achieve these types of levels of excellence without having some faith in there.
You have to sit out six years so that was 1998 so I knew in 2004 we were eligible to apply again. I didn’t really tell anybody I wanted to do that. I asked the good Lord, is this something we want to do? Do we really want to subject ourselves to this type of scrutiny again? I was concerned: were people going to think it was just an ego ride for me? But no, I wanted to get better. We pursued it and we won it the second time in 2004, the Malcolm Baldrige. Pretty cool stuff. We were the first small business to win it two times.
As I look back, why did we win Baldrige? It was God, it was the faith. And have a little bit of love. These people spent a lot of time down here making nameplates. I thought God really gave me the ability to communicate with people. To love one another to make them comfortable not just at Texas Nameplate but in their life.
We can have an impact by the way we treat them. Honor them with dignity. If you do that over time and you have your faith, good things will happen. That’s what happened to us.
I had the opportunity to get involved with the Baldrige Foundation. They had me on the board. You have to remember at that time it was just the big guys. But all of a sudden I was doing what I really wanted to do. I tried to help small businesses. I got involved I with the Baldrige board and believe it or not within a year I became the chairman of it.
There’s a lot in the Bible, there’s a lot about strategic planning, a lot about leadership in the Bible. I thought God gave me the ability to communicate with people. To love one another to make them comfortable not just at Texas Nameplate but in their life.
Somewhere in the Bible, and believe me I don’t know the Bible near as well as I should but I’ve got the big picture. It’s kind of like the Malcolm Baldrige, I’ve got the big picture. Somewhere in the Bible it says, it’s in there, where God says: quit praying and go to work. (Joshua 7:10) That’s kinda how I am. I even tell that to our church every now and then. Every now and then you have to quit praying and start doing. I’m all for praying but God also wants you to go out and go to work doing all of this.
In II Chronicles 15:7  basically it says you have to be strong and you have to work hard and guess what? You’ll be rewarded. We worked strong we worked hard we got rewarded. Now how cool is that?
We just want to get better not bigger, not bigger, better. Your life is the same way. We all want to get better. We’ll never be as good as Jesus Christ we all know that but we can sure try.
On the video Dale Crownover said “Corinthians,” but he meant to say “Chronicles,” so this sentence was edited out.