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 with 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 spend 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

Mike Murphy with his siblings when they were young.

Mike with his siblings Kelly and Luana when they were young.

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 the 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.

Mike Murphy in his office

Mike Murphy in his office in the early 2000s.

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.

Mike onstage with co-founders Chad Barrett, Jay Lamy and Bart Matheney at AQUILA's 10th Anniversary party in April 2017.

Mike onstage with co-founders Chad Barrett, Jay Lamy, and Bart Matheney at AQUILA’s 10th Anniversary party in April 2017.

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.

Mike with coworkers at the groundbreaking ceremony for East 6.

Mike with coworkers at the groundbreaking ceremony for East 6.

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.

Mike out on his boat on Lake LBJ.

Mike out on his boat on Lake LBJ.

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.

Mike stays busy attending his daughters' sporting events.

Mike stays busy attending his daughters’ sporting events. Pictured above with his wife Natalie and youngest daughter, Laney, after a high school basketball game.

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?

A: Right now I’m watching Ozarkbut I loved Mad Men and Homeland.


Fast Facts:

  • 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
Mike with his dog in his home office.

Mike with the family’s dog in his home office.

  • 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!


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