Senior Managing Director, SWS of Nevada
Angelina and Louis Ruvo, Larry Ruvo's parents, were the respected and well-liked owners of The Venetian Restaurant in Las Vegas, one of the city's most successful Italian restaurants of its era. Indeed, the landmark restaurant was the critical foundation of Mr. Ruvo's subsequent career in the drinks and hospitality industries. Sold by the family in 1996 to new owners after 43 years of ownership, The Venetian Restaurant remains in operation today. So it is no exaggeration to say that Mr. Ruvo was literally brought up in the restaurant business. One of the few senior executives in the state's distribution business who was raised in Las Vegas, Mr. Ruvo knows this market and all the key players probably better than anyone in the state.
Early on in his professional career, he worked at the Sahara Hotel and opened up Ceasar's Palace hotel. Mr. Ruvo then went on to open up the Frontier Hotel as night manager and was the youngest manager at the time to run the entire hotel operation, excluding the casino. It was at The Frontier where he formed a life-long friendship with Steve Wynn, who at that time owned a small stake in the operation. Thanks to these experiences, Mr. Ruvo has deep knowledge of the unique complexities and demands of the hospitality and gaming business in Las Vegas.
After a stint as General Manager of the Los Angeles Playboy Club, he returned in 1970, to join Steve Wynn in starting a Las Vegas wine and spirits distribution company, subsequently joining forces with and selling the company to Harvey Chaplin, who acquired the distributorship in 1972, forming Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada.
Among his other civic accomplishments, Mr. Ruvo spearheaded the establishment of the now legendary UNLVino (UNLV/University of Nevada Las Vegas) wine tasting, which is recognized as America's largest single-day wine tasting charitable event boasting more than 8,000 people in attendance. Now in its 27th year, the annual charity event has raised millions of dollars benefiting the students of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at UNLV.
Within the company, Mr. Ruvo has been the driving force behind the establishment and growth of its educational activities. Mr. Ruvo is extremely proud of the Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada School of Hospitality, which encompasses the The Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada Academy of Spirits and Fine Service and its School of Fine Wine and Beverage Service. This pair of in-house beverage academies has trained and "graduated" hundreds of students over the years, many of whom today are successful, effective members of Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada's on- and off-premise sales teams - as well as professionals in the state's ever-growing hospitality, restaurant and retail trades.
Mr. Ruvo is also known for his generous contributions to charity and is an important supporter of many local, state and national charitable organizations. In recognition for these efforts, Mr. Ruvo was honored in 1999 with the Community Leadership Award from the Points of Light Foundation, a national foundation group that honors outstanding citizens for their community volunteer efforts. Mr. Ruvo was also recognized as Man of the Year by the Muscular Dystrophy Association and received Man of the Year awards from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, the Food and Beverage Directors Association, and numerous other charitable organizations.
Mr. Ruvo is a founding member of the Young President's Organization, Nevada Chapter and a member of the World Presidents' Organization, as well as Bailli of the Chaine des Rotisseurs in Las Vegas. Mr. Ruvo also serves as a Board Member of the Nevada Ballet Dance Theatre and he is a Board Member of the American Gaming Association.