Herndon VA-based Packaging Education Forum named Coca-Cola Co. its 1996 Packaging Leader of the Year. The Atlanta-based beverage giant will be honored at the Annual Packaging Leader of the Year Benefit Banquet scheduled for Nov. 19 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago during Pack Expo. According to Carol Martel Coca-Cola's corporate communications spokesperson the award will be accepted by George Gourlay senior vice president. "The award came as a surprise and we're delighted" says Martel. She indicates that Coca-Cola's popular 20-oz PET "contour" bottle and the company's efforts in designing a contour can both played a significant role in PEF's decision. This is the first time Coca-Cola has received the Leader of the Year Award an honor first bestowed in 1970. At the banquet inductees into the Packaging Hall of Fame will also be honored. PEF members will vote in August on nominations received for these individual awards given for lifetime achievement. Proceeds from the banquet will be earmarked for a new doctorate program at Michigan State University and for an advanced computer facility in the packaging lab at the University of Missouri-Rolla.