Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the homebuilding industry as well as construction engineer, site manager and in training, auditing and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental and safety management awards for clients.

Denis is co-author of 'The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence'.

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Remodeling and NHQA Performance Excellence

January 13, 2012

Remodeler winners of the National Housing Quality Award over the years cite a range of best practices that helped them to achieve this level of excellence. This includes the following as just a few.

  • The creation of a mission statement created with employee involvement as part of the process to gain employee commitment.
  • An ongoing exchange among managers, employees, trades, suppliers and customers helps monitor progress against the annual business plan and the three-year strategic plan.
  • An active reinforcement of the mission, vision and values by all team members.
  • A strong commitment to customer service.
  • Ensuring all employees to take at least 40 hours of training per year.
  • Providing product training from manufacturer representatives.
  • Establishing weekly safety talks in the field.
  • Leadership creating an open book approach, discussing the company's year-to-date performance, the number of repeat client inquiries and contracts, monthly income or invoices sent, close ratios and percentage of production complete. Comparing such  metrics against goals for the year.
  • Implementing a profit-sharing incentive.
  • Creating surveys so trade partners can evaluate the remodeler, as well as remodeler field employees evaluating the trades. Information from the surveys are used to streamline processes, increase efficiency and identify problem areas.
  • Using a systems approach to increase field accountability and output per worker.
  • Moving toward a management system that will increase field accountability and output per worker.
  • Empowering employees by ensuring they have ownership in the business processes.
  • Gathering data on industry best practices and implementing them.

The NHQA criteria and the process of applying for the award which involves self-evaluation and assessment by a team of industry and quality experts helped these remodelers drive improvement in their business.


This link will take you to a list of Frequently Asked Questions. The FAQ addresses such questions as how does NHQA work, why apply now in this economy, its impact and other key issues.

For tips on writing the NHQA application

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