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ADAM STOCKWELL – Success by design

Northern Territory-born Adam Stockwell has enjoyed a meteoric rise in business.

Through his hard work and dedication, he has gone from sweeping floors as a storeman to owning a flourishing company.

He is the chief executive of Think Water Darwin, a pump, irrigation and water solutions company.

Adam, who like so many business people left school at 17, doesn’t boast about his success. “

From a young age I’ve always wanted to own my own business,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to create something special that stands out. To do that you need to be able to think ahead, have a vision, plan and be willing to take some risks.

“Business owners can easily end up believing their own bullshit. Just because we make all the final decisions sometimes we think we can apply our hand to every aspect, which I’ve learnt can be very damaging to a company’s growth.

“I like to seek out independent, honest, experienced advice as much as I can.

“If you open yourself up to take on board other people’s advice, continue to learn and educate yourself then you’ve got a good chance of making some high-quality decisions on important matters.

“After all, it’s not the number of decisions you make that count, but the quality of those decisions and their outcome.

“In the business we like to take the time to fix things properly – we not only look to solve the problem but also future proof it, so we can move on.”

Adam, who is 43, was born in Alice Springs where he enjoyed a happy childhood of cricket, camping and spending time with his mates while attending Ross Park Primary School, Anzac High and then Centralian College.

His dad Alan was a building inspector and his mum Maggie a nurse.

Adam has two older brothers, Stuart and Andrew. “I had lots of freedom as a kid, which I really enjoyed. I’ve got a real fondness for the Alice Springs landscape, those iconic McDonnell Ranges and that red dirt. I still enjoy the outdoors, camping and travelling.” Adam was only 12 when he gained his first job – cleaning the trade utes for an electrical company.

“The only downside was that it was on Saturdays, so I had to give up playing cricket for a short period of time.


After a while, I got a job cutting up onions at a hot dog takeaway so then I could play again.”.

Adam was much more interested in working and playing sports than he was in school and after struggling through Year 11 he dropped out early into Year 12.

He met his partner Kelly at Centralian College and they now have two children, Imogen, 16, and 13-year-old Lyncoln. Sadly, tragedy struck when Adam was 17 when his mother passed away of a rare heart condition.


“A huge piece of the family puzzle went missing that day. Mum’s death had a huge impact on us all.

“It made us realise that you can’t take anything for granted. Everything and everyone are vulnerable and what you think will be there forever is not the reality.”

His father still lives in Alice Springs.

Adam worked as a kitchen hand and waiter at the Alice Springs Resort after leaving school before taking up a traineeship with irrigation and water pump company Southern Cross.

“I really enjoyed my seven years at Southern Cross, sweeping floors and packing shelves, before moving into sales. This was a fantastic platform that shaped my career.”

Adam and Kelly moved to Darwin in 2004 where he joined Mono Pumps and later moved over to Delta Electrics.

He began playing cricket for Tracy Village.

Adam says he has many wonderful memories of his cricket-playing days – the key highlight was playing for the Northern Territory as opening batsmen.

In 2007, Delta Electrics created a standalone water business, which soon began trading as Think Water Winnellie, and Adam was brought in as manager. A second store, Think Water Virginia, was opened in 2011.

“When we opened up Winnellie, I had never managed a person in my life. I realised that I needed to fasttrack my business knowledge and leadership skills.”

Over the years, Adam gained high-level training from the federally-funded Entrepreneurs program, Mt Eliza Business School, Acumen International and, more recently, the Australian Centre for Business Growth.”

“With all the training I have undertaken it’s apparent that there is a formula for successful companies. It’s not all hard work and a little luck. Planning, strategic thinking, leadership and culture play a huge part. All I have tried to do is follow the formula as best I can.”

Adam built up his shareholding over the years until he owned the company.

Think Water Darwin, which services the resources industry, government, Indigenous communities and walk-in customers, bought a sparkling new headquarters nearly three years ago, which brought the two stores together into one location at Coolalinga on the outskirts of Darwin.

Adam is full of praise for his wife, staff and strategic partners who have all helped him get to the position he is in today.

“To do it well, you need to bring people along for the ride – you can’t do this stuff on your own.”

He now plans to continue growing Think Water Darwin by specialising in water management, especially now that 15 Northern Territory mining projects are edging towards final investment decisions.

Adam knows that success in business is rarely by luck – as they say, the harder you work, the luckier you get.

“Whatever success I’ve had has been success by design,” he says. “Nothing has just happened. We think it through. We constantly think about putting the business in the best position to maximise opportunities, pick the right ones and then make sure we do something special with them.

“I like to think of myself as happy but never satisfied.”