2 Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award Winners


Founded in 1920, Eastman Chemical Company is a $4 billion company that manufactures and markets over 400 chemicals, fibers and plastics for 7,000 customers around the world. Eastman’s products show up in a wide variety of consumer goods such as beverage bottles, chewing gum, coatings for flooring materials, window cleaners, aspirin, computer diskettes and hundreds more.

Eastman ranks as the 10th largest chemical company in sales in the United States and 34th in the world. Employing 17,750, the company operates manufacturing plants at its headquarters in Kingsport, Tenn., as well as in Arkansas, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Canada and the United Kingdom.

A privately owned, quick-service restaurant chain, Pal’s Sudden Service serves primarily drive-through customers at 17 locations, all within 60 miles of Kingsport, Tenn., where its first restaurant opened in 1956. Carefully following its formula for standardizing high levels of product and service quality, Pal’s has since grown to become a major regional competitor.

Today, Pal’s employs about 465 people, 95 percent of whom are in direct production and service roles. It competes directly with national fast-food chains, earning a steadily increasing–and, now, second-best-in-its-region–market share of almost 19 percent, doubling since 1994. In 2001, sales totaled about $17 million.