Where are they now – James Foley (SPC 1996-2001)
September 1, 2023
The College recently reconnected with James Foley (SPC 1996-2001) who has been named a finalist in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Brisbane. James has strong ties to SPC and has many fond memories of his time at St Patrick’s, in particular, winning the national rowing titles in his final year.
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?
I studied Architecture at Deakin University in Geelong following completion of my studies at St Pat’s. I then moved to Melbourne to work and then was offered a job interstate to Brisbane. We only planned to move for two years but we obviously enjoy the weather too much here and I still live in Brisbane with my wife, Anthea, and two young daughters Olivia, 8, and Ruby, 4. My family visit us often which is great. I started my Architectural practice in the midst of COVID a few years ago. Fortunately things have progressed really well from there and now I have a team of five plus a business advisor, who work with me on high-end residential projects.
Please tell us more about your selection as a finalist in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Brisbane?
Business News Australia run a state-by-state award each year for business founders under the age of 40 who they see as making an impact. Award winners are selected by a panel of judges who evaluate the nominees based on their financial performance, innovation, community impact, vision, and entrepreneurial spirit. I was privileged to be selected as a Finalist in Queensland alongside some great business founders. A National winner is then selected, this is in the process of being judged now.
Do you have family ties with SPC?
Yes, there are quite a few. My brothers (Daniel (SPC 1999-2004), Kyle (SPC 2002-07) and Patrick (SPC 2006-11)) & Dad (Dennis SPC 1967-72), uncles (Brendan (SPC 1966-69, PY1970), Paul (SPC 1979-84), Damian (SPC 1973-77, PY1978)) also their Dad, my Pa, (Kevin (SPC 1942-44)) as well as a number of my cousins, all went to SPC. Dad is a great help with the accounting side & my business planning, as is my uncle Paul through Cooke & Foley.
What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
Definitely the friendship group we had and we still keep in contact now.
I’d have to also say my rowing days, I rowed in the Firsts in 2001 and we won the National Title we were underdogs against some tough competition. Rowing taught me a lot about winning, losing, health, fitness, and building great friendships in a short amount of time. My brothers also rowed while they were at school so I’m glad I started the trend in the family, however this also meant many years of waking Mum or Dad up for a lift to morning training! Looking back, I still really appreciate the commitment Mum and Dad had for all of our school sport and taking us to training. The Dimboola rowing camps were always a fantastic experience, although very challenging in hot conditions. I recall a 10km run on a dirt road on a very hot day and wondering how I’d get through the week, stair runs over railway tracks and eating a truckload of food every night!
Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
I think you take something from each teacher as you go, but those that come to mind are Kelvin Porter, Bruce Runnals and Paul Andrews for their strong leadership and sense of humour. Also Les Lindorff who was my wood tech teacher but encouraged me to think of going into Architecture. Margaret McIntyre was my Japanese teacher and gave me a lot of confidence in learning another language and communication.
How has your education shaped your professional life?
The work ethic I learned from my parents and teachers at St Pat’s, which I like to think I absorbed a bit of, gave me the opportunity to get into university & gain a career in my chosen field.
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
Set goals, don’t beat yourself up, always try and see the bigger picture and good things will happen for you.