On May 14, 1990, the State Highway Administration (SHA) initiated the Maryland with Pride Program to foster excellence in the quality of Maryland highway construction projects. The original partnership consisted of SHA, the Maryland Highway Contractors Association (MHCA) and the Maryland Asphalt Association (MAA). The program was developed to encourage contractors to meet standards of performance above and beyond the minimum levels required by the contract. As an incentive to contractors making the commitment to quality, formal recognition was included as part of the program. The first Maryland with Pride awards were presented at the MCHA/MAA Annual Dinner Meeting.
Over the years, the original partnership grew to include the Federal Highway Administration, the Consulting Engineer's Council of Maryland, the Northeast Chapter of the Concrete Pavement Association, and , most recently, the Maryland Transportation Authority. In 1994, Maryland held its first "Road to Quality" conference/ workshop as an adjunct to its participation in the National Quality Initiative. The Maryland with Pride awards ceremony was incorporated into the quality conference, which has been held annually since 1994.
In 1998, Maryland decided to personalize its participation in the National Quality Initiative by adopting the title Maryland Quality Initiative, better known as MdQI. In step with this change, the MdQI steering committee decided to change the name of the awards program from Maryland with Pride to MdQI Awards of Excellence. While the name of the recognition program has changed, the goal of bringing superior construction projects to our customers has not. The following are some of the features of the MdQI Awards of Excellence Program, formerly known as Maryland with Pride:
- Construction Awards of Excellence in over 15 possible categories, including DBE recognition, concrete and HMA production facilities
- At the year 2000 Quality Conference, the first award in the new Partnering category will be presented
- Engineering Awards of Excellence to recognize SHA and consultant designs
- At the national level, Maryland received recognition as a Finalist in the 1997 NQI Achievement Award competition for the Naval Academy Bridge in Annapolis
- This year, again Maryland received the Gold Level Winner Award as one of the seven Finalists in the 1999 NQI Achievement Award for the I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) widening project.