Takeaways – Life. Lessons. Learned.

Michael Saltman

Michael Saltman is the Founder and President of the Vista Group, which develops and manages office, retail, and industrial projects in Nevada, California, Florida, Utah, and even an investment near his favorite golf course in St. Andrews, Scotland. From Michigan to London, Geneva, Greece, and Israel, he eventually landed in Las Vegas in 1975, ready to seize the sheer opportunity available — low hanging fruit. He’s been involved in many organizations throughout Vegas, including the UNLV Foundation, Nevada School of Arts, Counsel for a Better Nevada, Springs Preserve, Planning the Las Vegas Technology Center with the City, Chairing the McCarran Airport Public Art Committee, and one of the founding members of the UMC Board of Governors among many others. He co-founded the Nevada Innovation Center and the UNLV Boyd School of Law Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution. Add car racer, runner, skier, tennis player (and now even ping pong), award-winning visionary, and philanthropist to the list, plus plying his trade as a lawyer in the UK and Switzerland, Michael is what’s known as a mensch in the community. 

Leadership carved from significant loss

Michael describes the single most influential thing that shaped his life: the sudden death of his father from an undetected aneurysm when Michael was only 14. He lost his hero that day, and he had to learn how to adjust, how to survive, and how to take care of himself moving forward. A cascade of growth followed, born from necessity and will. 

Michael traveled the world and learned how to adapt to different cultures, different people, and different career opportunities. Eventually, he and the love of his life Sonja, came to Las Vegas together in 1975. They raised a beautiful family and created successful businesses together. However, to this day, the loss of his father continues to shape how he approaches people and situations.

Resolving conflict can change you – and the world

The bedrock of Michael’s success was having a serious education, traveling and a particular skill set in negotiation. Among his many achievements in development and beyond, he began helping young lawyers learn how to talk, negotiate, and find nuanced solutions to problems rather than going straight to litigation. Helping people figure out how to manage conflict without having to go to war – whether that’s at home, work, or anywhere in the world – creates opportunities instead of destruction. 

From the days of the mob, to being involved in the creation of a national grocery empire and to the development of a number of real estate projects—Nevada, SoCal, Utah and Florida—including Kiel Ranch, the Renaissance Centers, the Renaissance Village Apartments and the Meridian, to navigating the Saving and Loan Bank crisis of 1987-1993 and the Great Financial Meltdown of 2008, Michael has triumphed in many business opportunities and has been an integral part of development in Nevada and other states. Learning to adapt, being real and adopting to different people and different cultures is his recipe for success. His motto: SURVIVE AND THRIVE.

Takeaways From This Episode

  • Adjust to different environments and people, and enjoy that part of the dynamic.
  • Get a solid education and travel. Learn about other parts of the world.
  • Take good care of people on the way up and the way down, both the employees and the investors, so that you maintain good relationships.
  • Negotiating for the sake of negotiating doesn’t always pay off.

Watch the full Podcast episode to hear Michael share his significant contributions. Thank you for listening! Please subscribe to “Takeaways,” rate, and review wherever you get your podcasts.

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