On June 11th the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, celebrating its Centennial Anniversary, will honor Stephen H. Marcus, Chairman of the Board of Marcus Corporation as Rotary Person of the Year 2013. Founded by Steve’s father, Ben Marcus, the Marcus Corporation is a leader in lodging and entertainment through its two divisions, Marcus Theatres and Marcus Hotels and Resorts. Steve is celebrating a remarkable milestone: 50 years with the company.
Steve exemplifies the qualities of the RPY Award: he helped make Milwaukee a better place to live and work; and he demonstrates exceptional leadership in the success of his company.
One of his first assignments was to run the Pfister Hotel, recently purchased out of bankruptcy. With legal and accounting degrees as a background, Steve knew little about the hotel business, but brought the Pfister back to its original glory.
RCM held its first organizational meeting at the Pfister in December 1912, and the first official meeting in January 1913, over a 6-course lunch costing 75-cents. Even Steve might find bringing back that pricing structure a challenge.
Steve believes Milwaukee needs a vibrant downtown—a hub where where local residents, visitors, businesses and entertainment venues come together. He spearheaded the Marcus acquisitions of the old Sheraton Schroeder, now the Hilton Hotel, and Wyndham Milwaukee, now the InterContinental Milwaukee. The Marcus Corporation continues to maintain their headquarters in downtown Milwaukee.
As an early supporter and president of Summerfest, Steve’s vision included a permanent venue rather than the original muddy fields, and participation by local restaurants – hallmarks of the festival today. He also led new marketing plans for MECCA and the 1990s renaissance campaign to renovate and enhance the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.
Steve grew the Marcus Theatres brand to nearly 700 screens at 55 locations across the Midwest through innovations including larger venues, stadium seating, large-format screens, and innovative food and beverage concepts. Marcus Hotels and Resorts own or manage 20 properties in 11 states. The company employs nearly 2000 associates in the greater Milwaukee area.
Steve’s business and community activities are too numerous to mention. Steve was born in Minneapolis, received a BBA from UW- Madison, in 1957, and a JD degree from University of Michigan Law School in 1960. He resides in Milwaukee with his wife Janice, and has three sons and nine grandchildren.