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Just Announced: 2024 Leadership Award Recipients

Congratulations to the outstanding individuals who have impacted the industry this year!

Each year, we honor industry leaders who we at Catersource + The Special Event feel have made a significant and positive impact on our industries.

Congratulations to this year's recipients: Rob Barber (Special Events Lifetime Achievement award); Mary Crafts (Michael Roman Lifetime Achievement award); and the World Central Kitchen team (Richard Carbotti Volunteerism award).

Special Events Lifetime Achievement Award 
Rob Barber, ATOMIC

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At first glance, Rob Barber’s career is a string of seemingly unrelated industry jobs. He’s worked in the furniture, tech, car rental, and live events industries. “It’s been a lot of places. My career’s taken place in a lot of different shapes and sizes,” says Barber. But it doesn’t take long to recognize the throughline: innovation, creativity, and a respect for those who share those values are woven into his career, regardless of which industry it’s taken shape in. 

Now, having spent nearly 15 years with ATOMIC, a live event production and design company, he has found the place where that innovation and creativity can blossom. During his time as Vice President of Modular Systems + R&D, ATOMIC has worked on the sets of some major events—the Super Bowl, iHeartRadio, MTV, Catersource + The Special Event, you name it—shining as a leader. 

Read the full profile on Barber in the winter issue of Special Events magazine. 

Michael Roman Lifetime Achievement 
Mary Crafts, Culinary Crafts

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After retiring from the helm of her highly renowned catering company, Mary Crafts’ legacy is being celebrated with the Michael Roman Lifetime Achievement Award. Crafts had a dream (literally) about opening a catering business, and while she started from nothing, her eye for innovation and trends made her a name in Utah. A highly creative individual, Crafts stopped at nothing to ensure the satisfaction of her customers and the success of her company, which today is one of Utah’s most awarded luxury caterers.

While she’s handed the reigns to her kids, Crafts is nowhere done being in the spotlight. She’s known around the world as a speaker and consultant, she has her own podcast (Crafting a Meaningful Life), she’s written a book (Unbounded: From Sorrow to Summit), and she’s even climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

Read the full profile on Crafts in the winter issue of Catersource magazine. 

Richard Carbotti Volunteerism Award 
World Central Kitchen


Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK) is a nonprofit organization that is first to the frontlines providing fresh meals in response to crises. Applying their model of quick action, leveraging local resources, and adapting in real time, WCK has served more than 300 million nourishing meals around the world.

When disaster strikes, WCK’s Relief Team mobilizes with the urgency of now to start cooking and serving meals to people in need. By partnering with organizations on the ground and activating a network of local restaurants, food trucks, or emergency kitchens, WCK serves comforting meals to survivors of disasters quickly and effectively. To support regional economies, WCK prioritizes purchasing local ingredients to cook with or distribute directly to families in need. 

Let's Celebrate

Join us in celebrating this year's recipients at our annual Awards Ceremony on Thursday, February 15th at 5:30 p.m. on the Main Stage, prior to the Closing Night Celebration.

Congratulations to this year's winner and we look forward to celebrating with everyone this February! 

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