The champagne flowed, the flashbulbs popped, and the awards - crystal obelisks - glittered in the spotlight as SITE announced the 2000 Crystal Award winners at a gala party October 9.

This year marked the debut of the awards program as part of SITE's Intra-Industry Reception preceding the Motivation Show in Chicago. Priscilla Hicks, vice president of The Blind Maker and last year's winner in the category, "Creative Use of Incentives to Achieve a Marketing Objective," was on hand to present that award to this year's winners, as were two of this year's judges, Andrea Miller, president of Meeting In-Site Corp., and Elizabeth A. Porterfield, CMP, manager of events marketing for Verizon. A standing-room-only crowd packed the Hyatt Regency Chicago's brand-new Crystal Ballroom for the industry's special celebration of incentive excellence.

And the winners are ... Creative Use of Incentives to Achieve a Marketing Objective First Place: John Sasen, PSS/World Medical Inc., Jacksonville, Fla. Client: PSS/World Medical Inc., "Can Do 2000"

* Second Place: Donald L Billings, Incentive Marketing Inc., Woodstock, Ga. Client: Marriott & Renaissance Hotels, "The Final Challenge"

Multiple Motivation Award Program First Place: Gregory A. Lewis, Motivation Excellence Inc., Schaumburg, Ill. Client: United States Gypsum, "Rock & Race with USG"

* Second Place: Michael Hadlow, USMotivation, Atlanta, Ga. Client: Graybar, "Working Together to Help You Do Business"

Promotion & Communication First Place: Mark Jarrell, The Meeting Architects, San Francisco, Calif. Client: Broadvision, "Club 2000"

* Second Place: Alex Granaada, Granaada & Partner, Utrecht (Netherlands) Client: Aspa Karntoorinachting, "Aspa's Adventures"

Best Regional Program - Africa/Middle East First Place: Paul Braun, Travel Awards, Capetown (South Africa) Client: Toyota SA Marketing, "Toyota Challenger"

Best Regional Program - Latin America/Caribbean First Place: Alejandro Verzoub, AV-Business & Communication, Buenos Aires (Argentina) Client: Nobleza Piccardo, "Superstars '99"

Trip Delivery - 4 Nights or Less First Place: Padraic Gilligan, Delaney Marketing, Dublin (Ireland) Client: MLC/LEND LEASE '99

* Second Place: Michael Hadlow, USMotivation, Atlanta, Ga. Client: Diebold Masters Circle, "Windows to the World"

Trip Delivery - 5 Nights or More First Place: Ammnon Ben-David, Eshet Incentives & Conferences, Tel Aviv (Israel) Client: Elar Partners, "BC 2000 AD"

* Second Place: Michael Hadlow, USMotivation, Atlanta, Ga. Client: Equant, "A Matter of Pride"

Outstanding Single Event First Place: Ammnon Ben-David, Eshet Incentives & Conferences, Tel Aviv (Israel) Client: Elar Partners, "BC 2000 AD"

* Second Place: Penny E. Wing, Incentive Travel Inc., San Diego, Calif. Client: CBS Television Stations, "CBS Television Stations Biarritz, France"

Innovative Product/Service Promotion First Place: Lee Loong Koon, Singapore Tourist Board (Singapore) Client: Singapore Tourist Board, "Pre-Show Direct Mail Campaign"

What does it take to create the most outstanding single event of the year?

In the case of Ammnon Ben-David of Eshet Incentives & Conferences, Tel Aviv, Israel, nothing less than a "time machine" inside David's Citadel, the historic site and museum at the gates to the city of Jerusalem. The incentive winners, from insurance company Elar Partners, journeyed through a recreation of 4,000 years of Middle East history, purchasing food and drink with the ancient coins they had been given. Among the many characters they met along the way were King David strumming a harp and the Queen of Sheba. Even for attendees who had previously traveled on incentive trips to China and Australia, the evening made a lasting impression - as it did on SITE's judges.