Manuel G. Castaneda has over 13 years’ experience in the Health & Human Services field and is currently a Human Services Operational Manager for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), Central & South Regions.  As a member of the backbone organization, he is one of the leads in applying the Communities of Excellence framework in the San Diego South Region Community.  In 2014 he was trained as a California Awards for Performance Excellence Examiner.  He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and has taught Yellow Belt Classes.  He has worked on a range of Baldrige activities and led numerous Lean Six Sigma projects within HHSA.  In addition to his current operational experience he has ample experience in writing policies, developing processes, designing systems, data analysis, and database querying.

Ellen Garshick is the program analyst for the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. She has served on the Baldrige staff since 2007, leading projects such as Baldrige Excellence Framework revision, research on program-related issues, and the writing and production of numerous program publications. She has worked in a range of Baldrige Program activities, including serving as a Baldrige Examiner Training facilitator and a monitor and technical editor for the Baldrige Award process. Her pre-Baldrige background includes 20 years of experience writing, editing, and producing all kinds of publications and 8 years as a teacher of English and academic skills to speakers of other languages.

Brenda Grant recently joined the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland as Performance Excellence Coach responsible for strategic planning and leading the organization’s performance excellence efforts using the Baldrige framework.  Prior to her current role, she served as the Chief Strategy Officer for Charleston Area Medical Center Health System in Charleston, West Virginia where she was responsible for development and deployment of strategic and business plans for the system and led the CAMC Health System’s Baldrige efforts culminating in being a recipient of the 2015 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Brenda has worked extensively with the development, implementation and creating long-term success of community health programs. She was responsible for the Kanawha Coalition for Community Health Improvement’s early involvement in Communities of Excellence 2026. She has experience with collaborative networks, community health needs assessment, and development of prevention and wellness programs for businesses and managed care, workforce and medical staff development planning and outcome measurement. She also led CAMC Health System’s efforts to address the criteria in the Baldrige Cybersecurity Excellence Builder.   Brenda has served as a Senior Examiner for the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and is the Chief Judge for The Partnership for Excellence.  She serves as Board Chair for the United Way of Central West Virginia.  Brenda has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master’s in Business Administration.

Dr. Harry Hertz has had extensive experience in analyzing organizational performance and strategy. He has been responsible for interpreting “the leading edge of validated management practice” from 1995-2013 as the Director, and since 2013 as Director Emeritus, of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. For that period he was the primary architect and author of the evolving Criteria for Performance Excellence. He has overseen and been involved in analyzing more than 1,000 organizations from business, education, health care, and the nonprofit sectors. He currently serves as co-facilitator of the Baldrige Executive Fellows Program, a year-long executive development program for C-suite executives. In 2013, the Harry S. Hertz Leadership Award was created in his honor by the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to recognize individuals for outstanding leadership attributes and performance

Brian Lassiter has been president of the Performance Excellence Network (formerly Minnesota Council for Quality) since 2001. Previously, he was managing director for Ian Alliott Consulting, principal consultant for Norstan Consulting, corporate quality consultant for the St. Paul Companies, consultant for Price Waterhouse, and quality manager for Boatmen’s National Bank. In these roles, Lassiter has worked with dozens of organizations in a variety of industries to help them improve their performance and competitiveness.

From 1998 to 2012, Lassiter served on the board of examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. He has also served as a senior evaluator for the Minnesota Quality Award, as a judge for the Veteran’s Administration Baldrige-based Carey Award, a judge for the Baldrige-based American Health Care Association (long-term care) quality awards, and as a member of the board of directors for Goodwill/Easter Seals of Minnesota. He is chair of the board of directors of the Alliance for Performance Excellence, the national consortium of all state and local quality awards, and is also chair of Benedictine Health System, a long-term care system based in Duluth, Minn.

Sandra Potthoff PhD is Professor and Department Head in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She earned her undergraduate degree in Social Work, and her Master’s and PhD degrees in Industrial Engineering, specializing in health systems, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Potthoff’s research expertise is in operational analytics and modeling for systems improvement and effectiveness in healthcare delivery.  In addition, she has studied the impact of home telemedicine for the elderly, and has conducted program evaluation of youth development programs. She teaches in the areas of data analytics and operations research in health care, problem solving in health service organizations, information uses in long-term care, and interprofessional teamwork in health care.  She is the former director of the Master of Healthcare Administration Program at the University of Minnesota, a past board member of the Association of University Programs in Health Administration, and a past board member, vice president, and president of the Health Applications Section of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.