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Buffalo's Collins & Co. Public Relations scored double platinum at Wednesday night's 11th annual Excalibur Awards presentation, sponsored by the Buffalo/Niagara Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

The communications firm picked up both of the event's top honors, winning platinum Excaliburs for a public service campaign on behalf of Upstate New York Transplant Services, and an annual report prepared for the Community Bank System.

Platinum awards are bestowed on the highest scoring entries in the contest's "program" and "project" divisions. This marks the second time since 1998 that Collins & Co. swept the top prizes at the public relations society's Excaliburs and the advertising community's Awards for Creative Excellence in the same year.

The Collins agency picked up a total of 17 awards, including three gold, four silver and five bronze, as well as five certificate awards. Buffalo's Eric Mower & Associates earned 13 awards, including one gold, three silver and three bronze.

Carr Marketing Communications, of Amherst, rounded out the top three winners, with five awards, including one gold, two silver and two bronze.

Judging of this year's submissions was done by the Public Relations Society of Greater Alaska. The entries are scored on a point basis, with gold awards requiring a score of 90 out of 100 points. Similarly, silver award require a minimum of 80 points, and 70 points for a bronze.

Certificates of merit are awarded for entries meeting the minimums, but not finishing among the three highest scoring entries within a given category.

Special merit awards were also given to several top local public relations practitioners:

The Outstanding Practitioner recognition was given jointly to Ann Carden, director of communications, Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center, and Kenneth Houseknecht, director of public relations, Gibraltar Steel.

The Rising Star Award went to Kevin Buchholtz, of Collins & Co.

The Outstanding Executive Award went to Dr. Arthur Goshin, president and chief executive of Univera Healthcare.

The Excalibur Awards have been handed out annually by the local PRSA chapter since 1989.

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