Life beyond Radford

Mentor If you’d like me to be your mentor please contact Collegians to arrange a meeting.
Last updated 31.08.2019

Tom Hertel

Class of 2005
OCCUPATION Founder & Managing Director at Capital Brewing Co
Lives Sydney, Australia
Attendance at radford Years 7-12
House Huon
  • Bachelor Degree, The Australian National University, Commerce (Marketing & Accounting)
Work history
  • Business Owner
  • Business Owner
  • Founder & Managing Director
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What does life look for you now?

Capital Brewing Co now employs over 50 people and distributes to over 400 outlets across the east coast of Australia. My background in marketing and finance means that I spend time across all areas of our business. I am based in our Sydney office where I work closely with our sales and marketing team to increase awareness of Capital Brewing Co outside of Canberra. I travel to Canberra regularly, where our production brewery and taproom is located.

Staying on top of the fast-moving craft beer industry and building a production facility that will one day be capable of brewing up to 5 million litres requires me to travel frequently to the United States. The US is a world leader in craft beer, and I'm a huge believer in market research.

Managing a growing business can make it difficult at times to live a balanced life, so I try to focus on surfing and running as much possible.

What is your favourite Radford moment?

Year 9 camp was my favourite experience at Radford, closely followed by the social volleyball team some friends and I started as a joke but became more serious as we almost won the whole competition.

Do you have a particular role model or inspirational figure from Radford or now?

My Mum - Her work ethic while I was growing up is unmatched by anyone I have ever met. I try to emulate her as much as possible in my career.
The founders of Stone and Wood - One of the largest independent breweries in Australia.
Warren Buffett - One of the worlds most successful investors who is known to apply very simple principles to his decision making.

Did your further study or career go exactly as you'd planned?

In 2005 (year 12), My plan was to go straight to ANU then straight into one of the big accounting firms in Sydney.

The journey I took was very different.

After school, I split my time between tertiary education at ANU and working in hospitality where I gained practical management experience. Ultimately it was my hospitality experience that led me to become a business owner and my education that allowed me to operate businesses at a high level.

What do you know now, that you wish you'd known when you were at Radford?

Entrepreneurial/Business success has many forms.
Canberra is an incredible place to start a business.
Your hobby can become your career.

What advice do you have for current students?

Be patient, there is no overnight success.
Have a clear future vision, but focus on the steps in front of you. Trust that the small steps will compound into the achievement of your vision.
Find and respect mentors. I have had several who have significantly helped to shape my career.
Be comfortable not knowing the answer and have confidence in your ability to problem-solve.
Understand how the business world uses technology (Software, Social Media and Business Systems).
Be committed and build a strong track record. Be prepared to sacrifice.
Seek out like-minded people.

Where are you now?