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Reflections on the Passing of President George H.W. Bush

By Al Faber, President and CEO

"Having met President Bush on two occasions and always admiring his personal example of role-model public service, I was honored to stand in line today at 4:00 am to pay respect to this great American patriot.

Mac Baldrige ran Bush’s campaign primary in Connecticut back in 1979 against Ronald Reagan and several others.  When Reagan was elected President and chose Bush as his Vice President, Reagan gave Bush one cabinet-level appointment.  Bush chose Mac Baldrige to become Secretary of Commerce. The friendship the three men shared helped to shape the success they would create in business and global diplomacy.  President Bush was a champion of the Baldrige Program.  At the 1990 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards Ceremony, President Bush remarked “The renewed commitment by America to quality can be seen in the explosion of applications to receive the Baldrige Award. In just a few years, the National Quality Award has literally become the standard of business excellence. And the renewed spirit of excellence in business, of making quality an integral part of America's corporate strategy, has truly, I believe, made us more competitive in the international arena. Exports have already increased nearly 8 percent from year-ago levels, and the figure keeps on rising.”

Mac’s daughter Molly sent this photo to me late last night.  It is a personal handwritten message from President Bush to Midge Baldrige, Mac’s beloved wife, expressing his sorrow when Mac passed away and Bush was asked to speak at his funeral.  President Bush wrote how it’s family and friends that matter, and how much he loved Mac and Midge.

We all know the President’s last words were to his son, President George W. Bush, were “I love you too.” 

Baldrige is all about identifying organizational role-models and sharing their best practices to help keep America competitive in the global marketplace. 

President George H.W. Bush will always be a “personal role-model” of what great American leadership should look like, we can all learn from his example."