Baldrige, 10 Years Later: Still the Foundation of Our Success

Elected officials joined Freese and Nichols leaders at the award ceremony: CEO Bob Pence, Chairman Emeritus Jim Nichols, CFO Cindy Milrany, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Vice President Lee Freese

Ten years ago today, Freese and Nichols made history. On Nov. 23, 2010, we received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the highest level of recognition for performance excellence in the United States. It was the first time that the Baldrige was awarded to an engineering or architecture firm.

This achievement was the result of our Continuous Improvement journey, which had begun in the 1990s, had continued in the 2000s with the Texas Award for Performance Excellence (TAPE), and along the way had transformed nearly every aspect of how we do business.

But receiving the Baldrige was not the finish line of the CI journey. In the decade since then, we have never stopped striving to improve. The business practices that resulted in our Baldrige Award provide the framework for how we operate, and they support our LEADS values. Those same practices also bring superior results to you, our clients and communities. Here’s how:

Constant focus on client service and relationships. We pursue long-term client relationships, many of which have lasted for decades, and as a result more than 90% of our business comes from repeat clients.

Priority on ethics. Our clients are the same communities we call home. We are invested in our neighborhoods and towns. So, we’re committed to always doing what’s in your and the community’s best interests.

Commitment to employee engagement and professional development. Our low turnover means you can count on continuity within our project teams and expertise from our long-tenured staff.

Strategic planning and operational efficiency. We’re always striving to make our operations more efficient and effective, ultimately saving you time and money. Our three-year planning cycle routinely refines our goals targeted at delivering the best services for your programs.

Strong fiscal accountability and performance, with minimal debt. We’re wise stewards of our own finances, and you can trust us to take care of your capital investments, projects and stakeholders as if they are our own.

Emphasis on leadership preparation and succession. Our attention to developing our future leaders means we are committed to a long-term relationship with you. We aim for prolonged growth and profitability so we can serve you for years to come.

Lastly, we’ve found that our focus on quality and continuous improvement provides a natural incubator for innovation. Our level of innovation in our project work, client programs, and internal processes has increased significantly since we began our Baldrige journey years ago. We can bring those same innovative solutions and practical results to help you solve your business needs.

Freese and Nichols Then and Now


Employees: 450
Offices: 12, all in Texas


Employees: More than 950
Offices: 25 in seven states