The Buffalo News | By Samantha Christmann

The Buffalo Niagara Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America handed out its annual Excalibur Awards Wednesday at the Tralf Music Hall. The awards recognize the best public relations work in the Buffalo Niagara region.

Empower, a non-profit cerebral palsy organization, and the University at Buffalo both won top awards.

Empower, formerly called Niagara Cerebral Palsy, won the platinum “Best in Show” award for the complete overhaul of its brand. UB also won the platinum “best in show” award for its “Buffalo Business Magazine.”

Michael P. Hughes, senior vice president of public affairs and marketing at Kaleida Health, received the May C. Randazzo Outstanding Practitioner Award for his commitment to the chapter and profession. The group describes it as its highest honor.

Majed Dawood-Farah, general manager of Hyatt Regency Buffalo, received the “Outstanding Executive” award. John Senall, founder of Mobile First Media, received the “Distinguished Service” award. Devon Slobodzian, a copywriter at Gelia, received the “Rising Star” award.

Winners in the “Integrated Communications” campaign category were:

43North, “Integrated Communications,” gold

• University at Buffalo, “UB Reporter Goes Daily,” silver

• Martin Davison Public Relations, “Niagara Junior-Senior High School: 40th anniversary/open house campaign,” bronze

• Martin Davison Public Relations, “Colligan Law LLP: A law firm of and for entrepreneurs,” bronze.

Winners in the “Special Events/Observances” campaign category were:

• FARM, “Fowler’s Chocolates Cooks Up National Sponge Candy Day,” gold

• Martin Davison Public Relations, “Dave and Buster’s Walden Galleria Grand Opening,” gold

• Martin Davison Public Relations, “Southern Tier Brewing Co.: One Buffalo Beer Launch,” silver

“Internal Communications” campaign winners were:

• University at Buffalo, “Inside Management,” gold

• Canisius College, “The Dome,” gold.

“Social media strategy” campaign winners were:

• Martin Davison Public Relations, “MassMutual’s The Establishment Social Media Launch,” gold

• Trocaire College, “Trocaire College Social Media Strategy,” silver

• Martin Davison Public Relations, “The Clothes Horse Win Your Prom Dress Campaign,” silver

• Martin Davison Public Relations, “New Era Cap Super Bowl 50 Social Media,” bronze.

Winners in the “Media Relations” category were:

• Canisius College, “Exercising a Healthy PR Plan,” silver

• Daemen College, “Media Relations Raises Institution’s Visibility,” silver

• University at Buffalo, “Riding the News Curve: Becoming an expert at placing faculty experts in news stories worldwide,” silver.

Winners in the “Published Articles” category were:

• Empower, “Minimum Wage, Maximum Exposure: Op-ed helps to reposition an agency,” silver

• Martin Davison Public Relations, “Transforming Health Care in Western New York,” bronze.

Winners in the “Online Communications” category were:

• Uniland Development Co., “Corporate Brand Video Creates Online Results,” gold

• Martin Davison Public Relations, “Southern Tier Brewing Co.: One Buffalo Beer Launch,” silver

• Martin Davison Public Relations, “Taste of Seneca Contest,” bronze

• Quinlan & Co., “Generating Leads Through Apple Rubber’s EBooks,” bronze

• Martin Davison Public Relations, “Bak USA Rise of the Test Tour Social Media Coverage,” bronze.

Winners in the “Newsletters/Magazines category were:

• Canisius College, “Canisius Magazine,” gold

• Trocaire College, “Trailblazer Magazine,” gold.

Winners in the “Annual Reports” category were:

• Gelia, “Cultivating New Ideas for a Stale Annual Report,” silver

• Catholic Charities of Buffalo, “2014 Annual Report: Change that makes a good difference,” bronze

• Gelia, “The Best Work You’ve Ever Done for Us: Annual report pays immediate dividends” bronze.

Winners in the “Speeches” category were:

• Martin Davison Public Relations and Diocese of Buffalo, “Catholic Schools: A treasure to be cherished,” silver

• Kaleida Health, “Hailing the Buffalo Region’s Resurgence,” bronze.

There was just one winner in the “Video/Audio Programs,” Canisius College, which won a bronze for its “2015 Commencement Video.” There was only one winner in the “Public Service Announcements” category, a gold for Gelia’s “In the Red Zone: Creating Four PSA’s with the Buffalo Bills.” For the “Press Conference” category, Daemen College was the sole winner. It received a bronze for its “LMU Partnership for Veterinary Medicine Degree Announced.”

Entries were judged by members of a the PRSA Dallas chapter.