For nearly 30 years, Lon Lane has pushed the boundaries of traditional catering, helping to redefine and raise the bar in an international industry once known for simply providing clients with food and drink. That’s just one of the reasons Lon Lane was selected as the 2020 Michael Roman Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
The Michael Roman Lifetime Achievement Award, named for Catersource’s founder, Michael Roman, is given yearly at Catersource Conference and Tradeshow in honor of Catersource’s founder, Michael Roman. Mike, along with his wife Bernice, started Catersource in 1982 with the simple mission of helping all types of caterers achieve increased profitability along with a better quality of life. His vision and passion for catering made him a dynamic force in the industry. Lon Lane has exemplified these qualities throughout his career, and it is a sincere pleasure for Catersource to present him this award.
Lon in the kitchen. Photo courtesy: Eli's Photography Studio
About Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions
Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions, the premier Kansas City catering firm Lane founded and built with his wife, Marcia, had its beginnings in 1991. While original operations started from the couple’s home, in 1997 they relocated the company, transforming a nearby building into an elegant event space and bustling commissary. From designing intimate dinners for luminaries like actor Gregory Peck and President George H.W. Bush, to backyard barbecues for sports legend George Brett to staging lavish weddings and countless corporate events, Lane and his team established a reputation as the city’s preeminent caterer.
Grazing table via Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions. Photo courtesy of the caterer
“Our catering values are defined by the creative spirit and soul we pour into every event we touch,” Lane has said. “No matter the size of a party, it’s an opportunity to tell a story and breathe excitement into an event. Our approach is one of nurturing relationships through superior service. Every dish we create is handcrafted from scratch, specifically for each occasion. We’ve always taken our involvement deep below the surface of an occasion.”
Over the years, Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions has garnered myriad awards, from a Catersource Achievement in Catering Excellence (ACE) award, to multiple “Best of Business Kansas City” Gold Awards.
Charitable endeavors & influence
A member of the International Caterers Association (ICA) since 1999, Lane has been instrumental in helping the organization grow in size and scope to become an international force in the catering industry. Lane will continue to serve as chairman of the ICA Educational Foundation and Inspired Occasions will continue to be a high-profile member of the organization. As chairman of the foundation, Lon, along with Marcia, will travel the world to strengthen culinary ties and explore cultural cuisines and play a major role in planning and executing the trips. The Lanes are also involved in the European catering industry.
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Lane, whose trademark is creating events of all sizes with a story in mind, has written the final chapter in his celebrated catering career. The Lanes’ sold the company in fall 2019 to Overland Park native Jaime Geer Steinman, a Shawnee Mission South High School and Truman State University grad with a corporate background in brand and business development. Geer Steinman will focus on continuing the traditions of imaginative culinary events, highlighted by world-class service, that is Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions’ signature. The Lanes’ youngest son, Stewart, who has worked in an official capacity with Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions since 2009, will lead as executive chef and director of culinary services. The tenured and talented Jeff French will continue to lead as vice president and director of events.
Sicilian style grilled fresh tuna salad with artichoke hearts and nicoise olives. Photo courtesy of the caterer
“Marcia and I care so deeply about this company, the staff who has tirelessly helped us build a stellar reputation in Kansas City and, of course, our loyal clients,” Lane says. “From the first moment we met Jaime, we knew her philosophy and beliefs matched ours in building authentic relationships, first and foremost, and designing and executing a memorable client experience. Jaime appreciates this wasn’t an easy decision for Marcia and me to sell Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions—but we recognize that Jaime embodies a rare combination of passion for guest service and product quality and consider her a steward of the brand. Jaime will pick up our company’s story from here and we couldn’t be more excited.”
And now, a final award as he leaves his business to retire. Lane will be recognized on Thursday, March 12 at Catersource/TSE’s annual Leadership Lunch at the Keep Memory Alive Event Center in Las Vegas. Tickets are still available, go to conference.catersource.com for more details.