ByJohn S. McClenahen The National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), the U.S. Commerce Department agency that manages the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program, does not invest money in its publicly traded award winners. But if it did, the return between 1991 and 2000 would have beaten that of the S&P 500. Eastman Chemical Co., a 1993 winner, and Solectron Corp., a winner in 1991 and 1997, would have posted a collective 512% return on a hypothetical $1,000 investment in each, says NIST. And a hypothetical $1,000 invested in each company in the combination of Eastman Chemical, Solectron and the parent firms of 18 subsidiary winners would have achieved a collective 323% return. In contrast, an investment of a hypothetical $1,000 in the S&P 500 for the same period would have returned 110%, NIST figures.