public company . He was the force behind our lodging business which was the big driver of our growth for many years . The philosophies they developed are what guide us to this day , they are : the only constant is change ; own your real estate ; maintain a strong balance sheet ; pay attention to the details ; give back to the communities that make you successful ; and people are our most important asset .
In the beginning I was born in Milwaukee , Wis . and grew up in the business . I ’ m the third generation of the Marcus family to lead the company , which was founded by my grandfather , Ben Marcus , in 1935 with the opening of his first movie theatre in Ripon , Wis . Ben passed the baton to my father , Steve Marcus , our current chairman . My dad and I like to say we came to management ’ s attention at an early age .
Schooling B . A . degree in accounting from Indiana University in 1986 and J . D . degree from Boston University School of Law in 1989 .
Career moves After law school , I wanted to pursue my passion for the movies so I went to film school at the University of Southern California . I didn ’ t finish , but I did spend a year as an assistant to the late film producer Laura Ziskin , which was an incredible experience but I realized that was not a career path I wanted to take , so I headed back to Chicago where I got a job with a real estate firm . After a few years knowing I had an incredible opportunity with The Marcus Corporation , I moved home . It was 1992 and I started in property management and corporate development . I joined the board of directors in 2005 , became president in 2008 and CEO in 2009 .
Family Married to Linda Breshears Marcus and we have three children .
Hobbies Playing jazz piano – a fun way to relax . I play in the lounge at the top of our Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee once a week . It started as a way to get a little practice in , and eventually it turned into a way to raise money for charity . In fact we have raised over $ 100,000 over the last few years . I also love to play golf .
People who influenced me My father and grandfather . My grandfather was a true American success story . He was only 24 when he opened his first movie theatre and went on to build a successful circuit . My dad took the company to the next level , creating the infrastructure we needed to support our growth and perform as a
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Giving back Giving back to the communities where our associates live and work is in our DNA . It started with my grandfather who understood that not only was being charitable the right thing to do , it also was good for business , because it strengthens our communities , and strong communities support business . While we have always been philanthropic over the last 10 years , our company has donated more than $ 7.5 million to nonprofit organizations . But that ’ s just the beginning . In 2015 , our managers and associates contributed more than 28,000 hours of volunteer time and $ 3.4 million of in-kind donations between our movie theatres and hotels . My grandfather started donating to Variety when he opened his first theatre and Variety has been one of our charities ever since . We ’ ve all been involved in NATO , as have other leaders in our company including Rolando Rodriguez , president and CEO of Marcus Theatres . I ’ m very proud of the impact we have on the communities where we do business .
Serving customers My mantra to all of our associates is to “ remember that our ordinary day , is our customers extraordinary day .” What I mean by that is we ’ re accustomed to what we do every day – taking tickets , serving popcorn , keeping our theatres clean . But we don ’ t know what that day means to our customer . The couple we served the 500th tub of popcorn to that night had just got engaged . A night at the movies could be a welcome home family event for a soldier who just returned from active duty . We just never know – it could be an ordinary night or a night our customers will remember for the rest of their life . That ’ s why we have to create a memorable experience for each and every customer each and every day .
Favorite movies North by Northwest and Animal House .
Biggest concern about our industry There are a number of key issues to be alert to . I have talked about the need to maintain windows . As you remove exclusivity you devalue the offering , and lose the potential for multiple sales , and I find it hard to believe people will pay enough to watch something at home when they have a voluminous flow of content for pennies a viewing . I just don ’ t see how the math works .
Biggest reason to remain optimistic When TVs came out , people thought that was the end of the motion picture industry . Then it was VCRs , Blockbuster and Netflix . The industry has stood the test of time because nothing can compare to the experience of seeing a first-run movie on the big screen along with other people and the sights and sounds you can only get in a movie theatre . And of course , today ’ s theatres are better than ever , with premium large-format screens , immersive sound , recliner seating and an array of food and beverage concepts . My grandfather always pointed out that every house has a kitchen but people still go to restaurants . The same is true in our business . When you deliver a memorable experience people can ’ t get anywhere else , you have the recipe for success .