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Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Eppley Institute receives prestigious W. Edwards Deming Award

May 25, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- National Park Service (NPS) officials and Steve Wolter, executive director of Indiana University's Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, met in Washington, D.C., last month to accept the prestigious W. Edwards Deming Award for their collaborative efforts on the Facility Manager Leaders Program (FMLP).

Eppley NPS

Katherine Hanson, National Park Service; Betsy Dodson, NPS; Jerry Ice, Graduate School; Stephen A. Wolter, Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, Indiana University; Tim Harvey, NPS

Print-Quality Photo

The W. Edwards Deming Award is granted annually to a deserving organization of the federal government that has put into practice a workforce development and training program that has quantifiably increased the organization's overall performance.

The NPS and Eppley Institute's FMLP received this prestigious award on April 19 at a luncheon dedicated to "Excellence in Government" and attended by 500 federal managers. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., provided the keynote address, discussing the importance of the federal workforce and of investing in this critical group to embrace the country's challenges.

Out of seven nominees, the FMLP was selected because of its great benefits to the NPS and its efforts to better manage its assets portfolio. With more than 70,000 assets including buildings, roads, utilities, bridges, trails, campgrounds, monuments and fortifications, the NPS is challenged to manage some of the assets such as historic buildings and monuments while ensuring they are also operational and available for park visitors.

"The Deming Award is certainly indicative of the agents-of-change role that our facility managers need to play in the NPS," said NPS Chief of Park Facility Management Tim Harvey, a critical architect involved in the FMLP's strategy. "The future of our bureau's ability to sustainably manage all the resources, cultural, natural and 'built,' rests on an aggressive, informed and capable facility management workforce. The FMLP provides all of us at the NPS with this critical workforce foundation. We are proud to accept this prestigious award on behalf of the NPS and our partner, the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands."

In 2005, the NPS partnered with the Eppley Institute to complete The Performance, Training, and Competency Gap Analysis, which studied more than 50 parks and 200 park account managers and facility managers. This study identified a significant performance and training gap in regards to the Facility Management Software System, the foundation of facility management in the NPS. Thus, in 2006, the NPS partnered with the Eppley Institute, which is part of IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, and the FMLP was created as a solution to this problem.

Wolter, executive director of the Eppley Institute, serves as the link between IU's educational quality and rigor and the learning environment of the NPS.

"Our completely dedicated group of academic, professional and support staff at the Eppley Institute takes great pride in our role, and the reputation and success of our partners like the National Park Service," Wolter said. "We are proud of the positive improvements and successes we contribute to in the federal government, and, of course, in this specific and strategically important program."

The FMLP is a year-long, assessment and deep-learning-based certificate program composed of five courses. The program includes one- and two-week classroom experiences, field work, e-courses, monthly discussion forums and monthly webinars. To date, more than half of all of the National Parks in America have been positively affected by the FMLP, either by an FMLP student, graduate mentor or supervisor. Regarding park improvements, the number of preventive work orders has increased by nearly 40 percent since the FMLP's inception, and parks or units where FMLP graduates work have seen estimated benefits in the millions of dollars. In 2007, FMLP students and supervisors estimated monetary benefits as a result of FMLP training at approximately $4.75 million.

The W. Edwards Deming Award is recognized by the Graduate School, a renowned organization that has provided workplace development training and services to the public sector since 1921. The NPS and the Eppley Institute now join the honorable ranks of past recipients of the Deming Award including: the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Centers.

About the Eppley Institute

Established in 1993, the Eppley Institute partners with recreation, park, and public land organizations to enhance access, choice, and quality of natural, cultural, and recreational experiences. The institute is part of the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

For more information, contact Steve Wolter at 812-855-3095 and