Also at Conclave, Peter Yantzer, executive director of the AGS Laboratory, was awarded the Robert M. Shipley Award, the American Gem Society's top honor. It recognizes outstanding service, advancement of the Society's ideals, or furtherance of the understanding and knowledge of gemology. The award was presented during the Society's annual Robert M. Shipley Luncheon. Yantzer graduated from the Gemological Institute of America in 1972 and went to work for GIA in New York shortly after. He moved back to California to become executive director of GIA's lab there in 1976 and stayed until 1981, during which time its lab grew fivefold. From 1981 to 1996, he left the jewelry industry, pursuing a career as a heating and air-conditioning contractor. He returned to the industry in 1996 as the executive director of the fledgling AGS Laboratory.