Mike Murphy is one of AQUILA’s founding principals and leads both the commercial real estate investment services and property management platforms. Over the course of his career, he has completed nearly $1 billion in commercial real estate sales.
Mike works with a wide range of clients and specializes in helping institutional owners and high net-worth individuals on property acquisitions, dispositions and developments. He has been a major player in the Austin commercial real estate market for decades, originally founding Pyramid Properties, now AQUILA Management Services, in 1992.
Mike hails from Omaha, Nebraska but was attracted to Texas in college for its warm weather. He attended the University of Houston and eventually graduated from St. Edward’s University in Austin.
Mike and Natalie Murphy have been married for over 25 years, and together they have three daughters, Cassidy (24), Haley (21) and Laney (17). Although two of his girls are out of the house now, Mike and his family still get as much quality time in as they can spending weekends at the lake.
I sat down for a Q&A with Mike to learn more about him. Read his answers below to get to know him a little better!
Let’s Start With the Basics:
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: Omaha, Nebraska
Q: Where did you go to college?
A: I started at The University of Northern Iowa, but it was so cold that I transferred down to University of Houston after two years. I then got my Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Edwards.
Q: How long have you been in Austin?
A: Since 1985. After college, I worked in Houston with a real estate company that focused on managing downtown high rises. During a downturn in the market, they lost a lot of square feet, so they moved me to Austin to start a division here in 1985. I’ve been here ever since.
Q: What is it about Austin that has made you stay?
A: I just like it. I didn’t want to leave Houston either when I moved, but now Austin is home. It sure was different in 1985 though.
Q: What is your favorite part about working for AQUILA?
A: The people and culture we have.
Q: What makes AQUILA different?
A: We’re less structured – I had been working for companies that I didn’t like working for, so I partnered up with Pete Lamy and formed Pyramid Properties in 1992. When Bart [Matheney] and Jay [Lamy] came to me and asked if I wanted to help them form AQUILA, I was in. We’re more creative at AQUILA and there’s a sense of camaraderie.
Now For a Little Fun:
Q: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
A: I like spending time at my lake house on Lake LBJ. It’s an hour from our house in Austin, so we get out there as much as we can. It’s a constant level lake so it’s great year-round.
I have three daughters, so I spend a lot of time going to their various activities over the years. Our youngest is still in high school and plays basketball.
I’m also a huge Nebraska Football fan. They haven’t been very good lately, but I still enjoy watching them play.
Q: If you won $50 million in the lottery, what would you do with it?
A: I’d probably buy another house somewhere with cooler weather, like Colorado or San Diego.
Q: What is your go-to karaoke song?
A: I’ve never done karaoke in my life.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world and money didn’t matter, where would you live?
A: Austin in the fall/spring and San Diego in the summer.
Q: What’s something most people may not know about you?
A: Probably everything.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Austin?
A: I don’t like to go out to eat, and my wife hates me because of that (laughs). I prefer to grill at home.
Q: What’s your favorite show to binge-watch?
- Beach or lake? Lake
- Lake Austin or Lake LBJ? LBJ
- Grilled or fried? Grilled
- Snap Kitchen or Cover 3? Snap Kitchen
- Call or text? Text
- Coke or Dr. Pepper? Coke
- Austin or Omaha? Austin
- Maudie’s or Matt’s El Rancho? Maudie’s
- Longhorns or Cornhuskers? Cornhuskers
- Spend an hour in the car with Jay or spend an hour quoting movies with Jay? Neither
- Dogs or cats? Dogs
- Passenger or driver? Driver
- Torchy’s or Tacodeli? Torchy’s
- South Congress or Domain? Domain
- Tito’s or Deep Eddy? Tito’s
- Franklin Barbecue or Lambert’s? Neither
- Early bird or night owl? Night owl
- Queso or Guac? Queso
- Friday night in or Friday night out? Friday night in
- Flip flops or cowboy boots? Flip flops
For more on Mike, check out his bio page on our website. Don’t forget to check back each month to see who we feature next!
- Looking Back on Ten Years: A Round Table with AQUILA’s Principals
- 5 Reasons AQUILA is a Best Place to Work in Austin