Tim Haughinberry developed an affinity for hospitality at a young age. He began working a fast food job at 15, and by the time he graduated from community college, he was the assistant manager for a restaurant.
Still, the southern Californian wanted to learn more about the restaurant business, and UNLV proved to be the right place at the right time.
“I arrived in ’87, and the town just exploded,” says Haughinberry of Las Vegas’ burgeoning hospitality scene some 30 years ago. “I was fortunate to take advantage of that and grow with the city.”
Fresh out of college, Haughinberry’s passion for hospitality shifted from restaurants to the beverage industry when he landed a job with Southern Wine & Spirits. It was a calling that would help inspire the creation of Montecristo Rum as well as his consulting and marketing firm, Back Bar USA.
Haughinberry recently stepped down as president and CEO of Back Bar but remained the owner, a decision that he says allows him more time to connect with clients and concentrate on what he loves most: being creative. “Sometimes you just have to leave your comfort zone,” says Haughinberry, “and know that if you’re passionate about something that the money will come later.”
Much like the city of Las Vegas, Haughinberry’s story is about embracing change.
“While I’ve stayed on the path of hospitality, I let every opportunity just guide me into whatever direction was best at the time,” Haughinberry says. “As long as I work hard and don’t give up, good things happen in the end.”