And The Winners Are... Meeting Professionals International gave top honors to a technology conference and a convention highlighting Canadian culture in its 1998 Global Paragon Awards competition. The winners were announced during MPI's Professional Education Conference this January in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The July 1997 Apollo Travel and Technology Conference, "Apollo & You: Changing the Business of Travel" won the Global Paragon for meetings costing more than $1,000 per attendee. The conference, held every 18 to 24 months, updates travel agency owners on changes in the Apollo computer reservation system and advances in business management.

D. Scott Raine, CMP, of Premier Group in Rolling Meadows, Ill. planned the conference, which consisted of three three-day, back-to-back sessions of 1,900 people each. Raine says Apollo Travel Services, a Rosemont, Ill.-based company, took over the entire Chicago Hilton and Towers for the series of meetings.

"Anybody can plan a meeting," Raine says. "I think what the Paragon judges recognized was the attention to detail. To me, this is what separates a good meeting from an outstanding meeting."

Entries were rated on the following criteria: meeting goals, content, logistics, and return on investment.