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Click to listen to the latest episode of The Richards Report featuring Andrew Welsh.
In this episode of The Richards Report, I speak with Andrew Welsh, a former teammate of mine and now a member of the BRW Young Rich List for 2017. We touch on his successful football career with the Essendon Bombers (162 games from 2002-11) but we spend more time talking about the businesses he was involved in during and beyond his football career.
At the age of 23 Andrew founded a nationally distributed clothing business called People. When he was 28 he founded a building hire company called Sitetech, supplying temporary fencing and portable toilets to work sites across Melbourne. Two years later he moved to New York and had a crack at an acting career while continuing to manage Sitetech remotely. Then he made a big decision that would turn out to be very lucrative – he moved back to Australia, sold Sitetech, and used the proceeds to buy a parcel of land in Rockbank, on the fringes of Melbourne. The land, which has since been rezoned, is known as Thornhill Park, and he formed Welsh Group to develop the site.
Welsh Group continues to grow and now has a pipeline of 5000 lots to be rolled out over the next five years both at Thornhill Park and other locations around Melbourne including a shopping centre in Armstrong Creek (near Geelong). The Australian Financial Review estimated Andrew’s wealth to now be around $40 million.
He is very humble when he speaks about his rise to fortune, but he does touch on the fact that it wasn’t easy. He’s worked hard, learned along the way, taken many risks and overcome challenges. There were many sleepless nights managing all the moving parts to his businesses as well as their risks. When it comes to challenges he shares a story about tense and stressful negotiations with a neighbour (wielding a shotgun!) and how he managed that process. It’s been by no means an easy career path – he has reinvented himself many times and never stayed within his comfort zone.
Interestingly, as big as his business has become he says that the stress of it all is nothing in comparison to the stress he experienced playing football professionally. He loves what he does now, works big hours at his office in Southbank, and who knows what the next 10 years will hold for Andrew and Welsh Group?
At Six Park one of our seven asset classes is international property, though it’s naturally invested in a more globally diversified way to Andrew’s direct investments in the Australian property market. What I admire about Andrew is that he doesn’t sit on the fence. There’s a lot to be said for having some conviction in your strategy that fits within your own risk profile and actually following through.
If you would like to know more about Six Park’s investment philosophy you can read about how we invest in property as well as our other six asset classes. Our recent performance results can be found here, and our investments are all overseen by our Investment Advisory Committee.