Celebrating 25 Years: 25 Noteworthy Things That Happened in 1999

PRemployer on February 1, 2024

PRemployer celebrating 25 years

Originally published May 20, 2019

Two-and-a-half decades ago, in June 1999, PRemployer was launched to complement its sister company, Personnel Resources. Our primary goal was to provide high-quality, comprehensive staffing and employment services to small- to medium-sized businesses in the southeast.

Twenty-five years later, we continue to strive for the same objective by helping companies navigate the growing intricacy of HR issues and adapt to the growing social and  technological changes that go with that. 

In honor of PRemployer’s 25th year anniversary, here is a look back at other notable current events related to pop culture, sports, music, and technology that transpired the same year the company was established:

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1. The Y2K Scare

Paranoia swept through the country as the world speculated about what would happen to computer software – and the infrastructure that relied on it – with the new millennium on the horizon. Companies spent billions of dollars worldwide on technological upgrades, and families prepared for a potential disaster by stockpiling food and other goods. Needless to say, Y2K did not bring the impending doom that was anticipated.

2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets came to the U.S.

The second installment of J.K. Rowling’s groundbreaking Harry Potter book series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was released in the United States. Although Rowling found it difficult to complete, the book was received with widespread praise.

3. Tiger Woods won his first PGA championship

Golf legend Tiger Woods, 23 years old at the time, won the 81st PGA Championship, held August 12-15 at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois. It was his first PGA championship and second major and propelled his successful golf career forward.

4. Apple released Power Mac G4

Apple introduced the original Power Mac G4 at a conference in San Francisco, CA, in August. This generation of personal computers was colloquially referred to as “Graphite,” because of the color of the case, and was marketed by Apple as the “first personal supercomputers.” They were sold from 1999 to 2004.

5. The first BlackBerry was launched

The first BlackBerry – the 850 – was released in 1999. This device was an email pager and was the first to integrate email capabilities into a pager. Though initially released for the business community, its convenience would seep into the general population. It would be later followed up with the first BlackBerry smartphone that launched in 2002 and further heralded in the generation of smartphones that are so ubiquitous now.

6. Wayne Gretzky was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame

Wayne Gretzky retired in 1999 after a long career with the New York Rangers, secure in his reputation as “The Great One.” He also was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame that year.

7. Lance Armstrong Won His First Tour de France

Cyclist Lance Armstrong won his first of seven consecutive Tour de France victories, setting a new phase in his legendary (and often turbulent) career.

8. Albert Einstein named 'Person of the Century' by Time

Time magazine named Albert Einstein the Person of the Century in December 1999, stating Einstein was “the pre-eminent scientist in a century dominated by science.” The magazine also noted all the touchstones of the era, including the Bomb, the Big Bang, quantum physics, and electronics “all bear his imprint.”

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9. Tony Hawk landed the first 900

After several failed attempts that resulted in a variety of injuries, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk became the first person to land a 900 during the sixth X-Games at Pier 30 overlooking San Francisco Bay.

10. The Matrix Trilogy Series began

The first installment of The Matrix, a popular science fiction trilogy, premiered in 1999 and achieved mainstream success. The first film, created by the Wachowskis, won four Academy Awards, introduced popular culture symbols, and heavily influenced action filmmaking, leading it to be added to the National Film Registry. It was followed by its two later installments - as well as a fourth iteration in 2021.

11. First non-stop world trip in a balloon

Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones joined forces to become the first explorers to circumnavigate the Earth inside of a hot air balloon, a Breitling Orbiter 3. They launched from the Chateau-d'Oex in Switzerland on March 1, 1999, and landed in the Egyptian desert two hours shy of twenty days later.  

12. Toy Story 2 was released

Toy Story 2 opened in theaters on Nov. 24, acquiring wildly successful box office numbers and positive reviews. It received critical acclaim and was even one of the few film sequels considered superior to the original. Pretty impressive for what was originally meant to be a Direct-to-DVD sequel.

13. Pokémon craze swept the U.S.

Pokemania spread like wildfire throughout the nation. Although the first game was introduced in 1996, it took three years for the fad to take hold. By 1999, there were trading cards and a massive television show. By now the series boasts over 130 games and its still-running TV series.

14. Napster had a short run

Brothers Shawn and John Fanning launched Napster as a peer-to-peer (P2P) music file-sharing network. The service was easy to use with a free account and extremely popular. Later in the year, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed a lawsuit against the company on the grounds of unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material. Napster was forced to shut down its network in 2001, but the brand was purchased and re-purposed by Roxio the next year.

15. The Game Show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Premiered on ABC

The Original US version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? premiered on ABC with host Regis Philbin in November 1999. The show would go on to inspire multiple iterations and various runs until officially ending in 2020.

16. Women's Soccer Team Wins World Cup

The 1999 U.S. Women’s National Team won the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the third edition of the soccer championship for women’s national association football teams. In a memorable sports moment, Brandi Chastain scored the final goal before whipping off her jersey and taking a victory lap around the field. This was the U.S. Women's Team's second World Cup victory out of four. Their first win was in 1991, with two others in 2015 and 2019, aside from their 1999 win.

17. The World Population Hit 6 Billion People

The world hit a new population milestone in (approximately) October 1999, when humanity passed the 6 billion threshold. Twenty-five years later, and the world has surpassed another milestone at 8 billion people.

18. Woodstock ‘99

Woodstock ’99, held between July 22 and 25 in upstate New York, was designed to replicate the original Woodstock festival of 1969. The large-scale music festival’s lineup included the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, and Korn, among other acclaimed bands and singers and was recorded live as a pay-per-view event on MTV. Unlike the original event, this one was significantly less peaceful and has become notorious for its difficult environmental conditions and rioting.

19. Creation of the Euro

The European Union introduced the Euro as the European “single currency” on Jan. 1. Eleven members of the EU adopted the currency in 1999. Three years later, the original members – along with Greece – officially introduced Euro coins and banknotes as legal tender.

20. New York Yankees win the World Series

The famed Yankees won their 25th World Series. They are still the record-holder with 27 World Series Championship, having won again in 2000 and 2009.

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21. The Mars Polar Lander was launched

NASA launched the Mars Polar Lander in January. On Dec. 3, however, NASA lost radio contact with the spacecraft only moments before it entered the Martian atmosphere.

22. Legoland opens in California

Legoland opened in Carlsbad, California, making it the first Legoland amusement park established outside of Europe and third altogether at the time. Currently, there are 11 parks open with several more planning to open.

23. The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy Starts with The Phantom Menace

Star Wars made its first major motion picture return with the release of The Phantom Menace in May 1999. That trilogy would renew Star Wars as a cultural sensation for a new Generation - later to be followed by the third trilogy (a true sequel to the original this time) in 2015.

24. The Sixth Sense is released

M. Night Shyamalan’s renowned psychological thriller The Sixth Sense, starring Bruce Willis, Toni Collette, and Haley Joel Osment, premiered in August 1999. A modern ghost story that was beautifully executed, The Sixth Sense secured a spot as a Hollywood classic.

25. SpongeBob Squarepants premiered

The popular children’s cartoon show first premiered on the Nickelodeon cable network in May after that year's Kids' Choice Awards. It would go onto become one of the highest-rated and longest-running shows on Nickelodeon. The show sparked the production of several movies, video games, merchandise, and comic books and still has a strong following - with its 15th season premiering in 2024.

25 Years of Success

Looking back, there were a number of monumental moments in 1999 - including the launch of PRemployer. Since then, we have attained a number of achievements while having a significant and positive impact on the HR industry. We look forward to what the next 25 years hold as we continue serving businesses and providing them with quality employment and staffing services.

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