Tilman Fertitta

Tillman Fertitta, CNBC’s Billion Dollar Buyer, headlines an event at The Pavilion on the Ole Miss campus May 5.

Most recognizable for his television show, which premiered on the cable network in March 2016, Fertitta is better known in the business world as chairman and CEO of Landry’s Inc.

Landry’s owns and operates more than 500 properties, including more than 40 brands such as Landry’s Seafood, Chart House, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Claim Jumper, Morton’s The Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s, Mastro’s and the Rainforest Cafe. Five Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino locations are in the mix, as well as numerous other hotel properties and other entertainment destinations.

Admission to Fertitta’s appearance is free, with the first 1,000 attendees receiving a free lunch. The event is sponsored by Renasant Bank, Evans Petree, P.C. and White Construction and hosted by the University of Mississippi School of Business, Ole Miss Athletics and the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

On Billion Dollar Buyer, Fertitta visits cities across the U.S. to assess potential products for his restaurants and casinos  that are produced by small businesses. During each episode, Fertitta meets with two businesses, shares his assessment of the products and operations with the owners and recommends improvements. Contestants are then given time to implement Fertitta’s advice. At the conclusion of the episode, contestants join Fertitta at the Landry’s  headquarters in Houston to find out whether he will place an order from their business.

“I’ve known Tilman since childhood and have worked with him on real estate developments for over 30 years,” says Blake Tart III, president of the Ole Miss Real Estate Advisory Board. “He’s a rare blend of creativity and candor, vision and veracity.  Our audience will be entertained and inspired by his story of success that arose from incredibly humble beginnings to international prominence and celebrity.”

Fertitta is the chairman of the University of Houston’s Board of Regents, and he recently donated $20 million to renovate the basketball arena, now called the Fertitta Center.

Fertitta’s son Michael is a graduate of the Meek School and son Patrick began his college career at Ole Miss.

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