American Society for Quality

Click the image to learn more. The May 1950 of the American Society for Quality's publication "Industrial Quality Control" advertises the upcoming ASQ conventions to be held in Milwaukee.

Headquartered in the former Gimbels Department Store building in downtown Milwaukee, the American Society for Quality (known as ASQ) is a professional association for over 75,000 quality assurance and quality control professionals.[1] As of 2016, the Society had 239 sections worldwide and 185 employees.[2] ASQ offers professional certifications, maintains the world’s largest quality-related publisher, and administers awards, including the United States Department of Commerce’s Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award.[3]

ASQ arose from the World War II push for industrial standardization. Wartime training courses in quality control methods brought together statisticians from war production industries.[4] Desiring to develop and share best practices, these professionals founded a journal, Industrial Quality Control, and began calling for a national quality control association.[5] On February 16, 1946, seventeen regional societies and an additional twenty professionals joined together as the American Society for Quality Control.[6] The Milwaukee Society for Quality Control, formed in 1945, was among these founding societies.[7]

Milwaukeeans were prominent in the leadership of the American Society for Quality Control and Industrial Quality Control during the 1950s.[8] As membership grew, the Society consolidated its business operations in Milwaukee in 1956.[9] As part of the consolidation, the Society hired an Administrative Secretary to oversee the daily affairs that had become too numerous for the elected leadership.[10]

Since the 1980s, the Society’s membership has expanded to include both industrial and nonindustrial quality professionals.[11] Between 1980 and 1989, the Society’s membership doubled from 35,000 to nearly 70,000.[12] In recognition of its broader focus, the Society removed “Control” from its name in 1997.[13]

Footnotes [+]

  1. ^ ASQ Fact Sheet, American Society for Quality website accessed June 2, 2016; “About ASQ: The ASQ Timeline,” American Society for Quality website, accessed June 2, 2016.
  2. ^ ASQ Fact Sheet.
  3. ^ ASQ Fact Sheet; “Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award (MBNQA),” American Society for Quality website, accessed June 7, 2016.
  4. ^ Charles H. Wing, “Message from the President,” Industrial Quality Control 1, no. 1 (July 1944): 2.
  5. ^ Wing, “Message from the President,”; “National Organization,” Industrial Quality Control 1, no. 3 (November 1944): 2.
  6. ^ “American Society for Quality Control,” Industrial Quality Control 2, no. 5 (March 1946): 3.
  7. ^ “Milwaukee Society for Quality Control,” Industrial Quality Control 2, no. 5 (March 1946): 18; “Initial Board of Directors Completed,” Industrial Quality Control 2, no. 6 (May 1946): 31.
  8. ^ “Annual Report of the Board of Directors,” Industrial Quality Control 13, no. 3 (September 1956): 12, 19-21; “Business Manager for Industrial Quality Control Appointed,” Industrial Quality Control 7, no. 1 (July 1950): 44.
  9. ^ “A New Headquarters,” Industrial Quality Control 12, no. 7 (January 1956): 39.
  10. ^About ASQ: The ASQ Timeline.”
  11. ^ Dave Beal, “The Boom in Quality Control,” Milwaukee Journal, July 1, 1980.
  12. ^ Beal, “The Boom in Quality Control”; Erik Gunn, “Quest for Quality Creates a Market,” Milwaukee Journal, November 5, 1989.
  13. ^ Peter Merrill, “A Brief History of Quality,” Quality Progress 48, no. 5 (May 2015): 42-44.

For Further Reading

“American Society for Quality Control.” Industrial Quality Control 2, no. 5 (March 1946): 3-7.


Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. Encyclopedia of Milwaukee reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Copyright, Privacy, and Terms & Conditions.

Have a suggestion for a new topic? Please use the Site Contact Form.

Leave a Comment