Craig Nalder - Master of Commerce (Economics) (Honours) - 2005

Craig Nalder

Energy Market Professional

Having founded several energy companies in Australia, the Philippines and India, Craig Nalder knows what it takes to succeed.

Involved in energy markets for more than 15 years, Craig has held senior roles spanning financial market trading, power station development, regulation and environmental markets.

Growing up the eldest of three boys in Spring Hill, near Orange in Central West NSW, Craig was the first in his family to attend university and said the experience provided a toolbox for him to start building his life.

A two-time CSU graduate, Craig explains that it’s his love of innovation and his passion for renewables that keeps him energised! 

I’m currently... living in Brisbane, Australia, but a plane trip is never too far away! I have held CEO positions for significant multi-million dollar companies since 2008, including a start-up business I grew to $60M in its first year of operation.  I am currently a Director on energy boards in Australia, Philippines and India.  When I’m not working or spending time with my son, I love going to the gym and playing my guitar.

My childhood... was simple and memorable.  My mum always keeps the place homely and snug in winter, like a scene from a movie; best roast dinners ever... I learned the value of hard work early from my Dad, who ensured we knew how hard it was to earn money so we would appreciate it.  I have loving parents and siblings that have supported me throughout my adventures.

At school I... enjoyed music and other creative outlets.  I didn’t really fit in that well at school.  I wasn’t excelling in exams and I wasn’t built for team sports.  I was never keen to remain in the “system” as a cog for too long. I wanted my own rules. My Dad became an entrepreneur during my teenage years and I saw how much happier he was.  As soon as I had the means to pursue my dreams instead of selling the best years of my life to support someone else’s, I made the jump and I haven’t looked back.

I chose CSU... initially because it was closest to my home and family, but soon realised I was fortunate to live so close.  Many of my friends were travelling back to Sydney on weekends and I realised my proximity was a blessing.

My best experience at CSU... was meeting so many friends that I continue to engage with now and the Rafters Bar!

My worst experience at CSU... was having to wait so long for books and journal articles, particularly in my undergraduate degree.  In 1996 the computer centre was very small and computers were outside of my personal budget.  This made it very difficult to study efficiently.  Also, I had to travel from Orange each day and I didn’t enjoy commuting.

At university I... was inspired to practice critical thinking and increase the breadth and depth of my knowledge.  When I finished my Masters (Honours) degree, my supervisor said I think you have learned to “write” now.

Today I’m... motivated by entrepreneurs, innovators, inventors and humanitarians.  I am interested in metaphysics, music and gym.  I am passionate about renewable energy as I see it as a fundamental building block that underpins society – like an operating system is to a computer.  Without stable energy supply, we wouldn’t be able to run schools, hospitals and provide the building blocks for commerce to thrive.  I am most focused on developing countries as the changes are more profound and I love the cultural immersion.

In my profession it is important to… be innovative, hard working, ethical, resilient, process-orientated and a little bit crazy.  

I never dreamed I would… recently change so many in my views on life in such a short period of time.

The biggest influence in my life... has changed as I have grown in life and my career.   At the moment it is my baby boy.  He seems to influence everything I want to do at the moment.  He is helping me to think forward, make longer term goals and take fewer risks.

I’m most proud... of marrying a CSU graduate.  She supported me throughout my career and all of the moves, ups and downs.  Without her, I may have given up on the first major setback.  In her own right, she is a successful career woman and she retrained in accounting so she could help with my businesses.

My greatest achievement is... winning the tender to develop the rooftop solar installation on the Sydney Theatre Company rooftop in Sydney, whilst I was the CEO of the bidding company.  It is good to see the installation from a window in Sydney when I have meetings and makes a good ice breaker.

In the future... I’d like to continue doing what I am doing!   I would like to travel more for pleasure as my overseas trips are far too rushed.  I would still like to run a marathon one day.

The best piece of advice I ever received... is “love what you do”.  This is the commercial application of the law of attraction.  Like thoughts create like results, so try and be positive and look for an opportunity in every disappointment.

The single-most important issue in the world is... resource scarcity.  Air, water, food, energy and other important resources are not fairly allocated across the globe.  Through co-operation, trade and improved international relations we can start to improve the situation. The internet and social media may bridge the cross-border political walls on these major issues and the leaders of the world will listen to the people and see that the world needs a better system to allocate resources. 

One last thing... “Many of life's failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.”― Thomas A. Edison