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Jersey Hustle: Tim and Mike Muir
Fresh out of high school, Tim Muir was ready to commit to UNLV before ever stepping on the campus. After scouting several East Coast universities, which suffered from being “in the middle of nowhere” or just plain “too cold,” the chance to go to school in Las Vegas — just a breath away from the world’s most iconic hotel casinos — was too good to pass up.
Tim’s brothers agreed and were soon heading west; older brother Tom transferred to UNLV from the hotel school at Michigan State, and younger brother Mike came in as a freshman the following year. These Jersey boys were destined to be graduates of UNLV’s Harrah Hotel College.
Tim, Mike, and Tom were no strangers to the hospitality business. As boys, they spent summer breaks at the Marlborough Bleinheim Hotel in Atlantic City working at their dad’s beach pool concession, sweeping cabanas and selling water to sun-soaked guests.
“We got a taste of what hospitality was all about being around this beautiful hotel that sat right on the beach and the Boardwalk,” recalled Mike. “Our father was in charge, so we were on our best behavior. We understood that it was all about the customer — to make sure they had a great experience at the hotel, the resort, or at the beach ... the whole experience.”
“We threw a lot of wet sand at each other!” Tim chimed in, grinning. “We were mud throwers.”
“Timmy was usually the first one to throw the sand, and the last one,” Mike interjected. “Some things never change.”
Some things most definitely change. In the years that followed graduation, Tim and Mike went from sweeping cabana floors to building hotels.
“We made a lot of sacrifices when we came out of college and began working different operations,” said Tim, who can list nearly a dozen cities in which he and his brother lived and worked during their early careers. “When there was an opportunity to move and go to a different hotel, we’d go to learn a different skill set.”
With the encouragement of their mentor — former president and COO of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Mike Leven — the brothers found their way into hotel franchise sales and development. They would spend many years working with Leven for Days Inn, Holiday Inn, and U.S. Franchise System, the company founded by Leven and the Muirs.
Their hard work paid off. Throughout their careers, Tim and Mike established more than 5,000 hotel franchises around the globe and have helped countless individuals go into business for themselves — a steep rise to success that is reflected in their current roles: Tim heads new construction for franchise sales and development for Choice Hotels, and Mike serves as the executive vice president of hotel lending at Live Oak Bank.
UNLV is once again calling the brothers to the desert, but this time it is to present Tim and Mike with the Harrah Hotel College Industry Leaders of the Year Award, an honor bestowed only on the rare few who have achieved greatness in the hospitality industry.
At the Nov. 17 Vallen Dinner of Distinction, the brothers will claim their award in front of their friends, their mentor Mike Leven, their parents, and older brother Tom, who like their parents, went on to find his true calling in education. It will be a homecoming not only highlighting the Muir brothers’ professional triumphs but also celebrating those around them who supported and nurtured Tim and Mike into the leaders they are today.
“Having Mike and Tim honored is well deserved,” said close friend Scott Sibella, who invited the college to hold the Vallen Dinner at the MGM Grand, where he now serves as president and COO. “They’re very proud to have gone to UNLV, and they’ve taken that experience, that education, and turned it into a huge success. The cool thing about them is how much they value relationships and their humility. When I see them, I see how successful they are, but I also see these two guys I went to college with. They’re the same.”
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