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40 Under 40

Seeing opportunity amongst the challenges

40 Under 40

Taking a gamble in tough industries has been hard work for these three 40 Under 40 alumni, but the dedication to their craft is paying dividends.

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Geoffrey Steele
Steele Build / Founder

From a carpentry apprenticeship to operating a multi-million-dollar construction business by the age of 30, Steele’s success comes from his commitment to developing his own skills as a leader and business operator.

Starting his career as a carpenter at Mott Group, Steele took a keen interest in the oversight of construction projects. He was elevated to a contracts management and supervisor role at just 22, an experience which inspired him to start his own business.

Since founding Steele Build, the 30-year-old entrepreneur has pursued leadership training and continues to grow his skills, currently undertaking a Masters in Business degree at the Australian Institute of Business.

Working as a sole trader, Steele’s business turned over $130,000 in its first year. Now, with 10 full-time employees and 22 contractors, Steele Build is expected to turn over $10 million in the just finished financial year.

“As we now have more than 20 projects per year, ranging from $50,000 to $3 million each, I’ve learnt I need to step back and elevate other employees to project management roles,” Steele said.

With two young children and another on the way, Steele understands the need to balance career commitments with family time.

“Time with them is the most important thing to me, and balancing my career aspirations with my role as a father has only furthered my desire to succeed,” Steele said.

What album or musician have you consistently listened to the longest?  The Foo Fighters.

Hugo Pedler
Penny Hospitality / Managing Director

Hospitality entrepreneur Pedler viewed COVID-19 as an opportunity, managing to grow his business through difficult times.

Pedler is the managing director of Penny Hospitality, which operates a diverse collection of venues in Adelaide, including Two Pot Screamer, West Oak Hotel, Joe’s Henley Beach, Super Bueno and Lion Arts Factory.

He’s not stopping there, planning launches this year of a marketing agency dedicated to food, beverage and hospitality work, and a new cycling accessories and apparel brand.

An accomplished competitive cyclist, Hugo’s hospitality management experience began only a few years after finishing school, including positions with the Little Miss Group and Royal Croquet Club.

In 2015, he founded Penny Hospitality, which grew quickly from one venue into a multi-faceted hospitality company running multiple venues and events.

“COVID, for our team, is looked upon as an opportunity, not a setback,” Pedler said.

“We have worked so hard to pivot our business to survive, learn to give back more to the community and better our offering and service.

“Never underestimate the power of the determined and passionate youth.”

A meal or food item that changed your life?  The humble schnitzel.

Jake Kellie
Arhké / Co-owner

“Opening Arkhé has made me more sure than ever that I am right where I need to be and that South Australia is well and truly the rising star in this space,” chef Kellie said.

You won’t find gas or electricity at The Parade’s open-flame restaurant, Arkhé, which opened in late 2021 to wild acclaim.

It’s run by industry stalwarts Palmer Hospitality Group and Kellie, a 32-year-old rising star in the state’s food scene, who originally hails from New South Wales but relocated to Adelaide in 2019.

Prior to opening Arkhé, the TAFE-certified commercial cook travelled internationally and worked with renowned chefs, such as Dave Pynt (Burnt Ends), Scott Pickett (Estelle Northcote) and Gordon Ramsay.

While Kellie was employed as head chef of modern Australian barbeque restaurant Burnt Ends in Singapore from 2017—2019, the business rose in the ranks of ‘best of’ lists and received a Michelin star, with Jake personally receiving numerous gongs for his culinary skills.

Kellie said Arkhé is an homage to his international past.

“Arkhé signals a commitment to reinvigorating the hospitality industry and is also home to over 50 staff consisting of some of the most celebrated talent in the state,” he said.

What album or musician have you consistently listened to the longest?  Queen – never gets old.

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