The National Association of Concessionaires (NAC) has selected Rob Lehman, Chief Operating Officer at Santikos Entertainment, as the 2021 Bert Nathan Memorial Award honoree.
The Bert Nathan Memorial Award is presented by NAC every year “to recognize leadership and significant accomplishment” in the theater concessions industry. The award is named after the late Bert Nathan, who was president of the NAC. Each year’s recipient is chosen through a majority vote of prior Bert Nathan Award honorees.
The awards presentation will occur on October 26, 2021 at the awards luncheon during the 2021 Concession & Hospitality Expo at the Hyatt Regency Dallas.
Lehman has served as COO of the 11-location Texas-based theater chain Santikos Entertainment since 2017. He boasts over 25 years of experience in the film exhibition industry, including a role running the food and beverage department at Kerasotes Theaters from 1999 to 2010. Following that, he consulted for Rave Motion Pictures for a year before moving to Continental Concession Supplies and, later at Carmike Cinemas as Vice President of Food and Beverage.
According to a press release, Santikos was the first exhibitor to reopen following the pandemic shutdowns. During that time, Lehman led NAC reopening conference calls to share the challenges he faced during the reopening process. “He was honest, open, and forthright in outlining the problems he had to overcome from all sides and shared his successes, failures, and pivots during the process,” recalled one industry colleague in a press release announcing Lehman’s honor.
Last year, Lehman was asked to serve on the National Association of Theaters Owners (NATO) Cinema Reopening Operations Working Group to help develop guidance for theaters during the pandemic. This year, he will become a new member of the NAC Board of Directors.
In addition to the Bert Nathan Memorial Award, Lehman – along with Rob Novak of Marcus Theaters and Doreen Sayegh of the Cranford Theater — was selected by ShowEast and the NAC to receive a special ICON award presented by ShowEast and the NAC next month during ShowEast, which is slated to run November 8-11 at Loews Miami Beach Hotel.
Previous honorees of the Bert Nathan Award include Maria Angles, ECM; Brian Biehn, Norman Chesler; Andrew Cretors, ACS; Charlie Cretors; Denise de Zutter; Gina DiSanto, CCM; Larry Etter, CCM; John Evans, Jr.; Tim Farha; Evan Gordon; Adam Gottlieb, ACS; Wally Helton, ECM; John Irace; Tony Irace; Dan Kroeger; Ron Krueger II; Bill LeClair; Jack Leonard; Peter Leyh; Libby Mauro; Mike Mosher; Shelly Olesen, ACS; Bruce Proctor, ECM; Bill Rector; Krista Schulte; Robert Scribner; Jeff Scudillo; Bob Shimmin; Bruce Taffet; Anita Watts and the late Bill Chaplain, J.C. Evans, Shelley Feldman, Frank Liberto, Bert Nathan and Skip Stefansen.