IT Developer Turned Axe Thrower: Meet William Tetsworth III

HeadshotCommon careers in the technology industry include software development, IT management, web development, and… axe throwing? According to IT alumnus William Tetsworth III, that’s correct! While working as a Public Sector Senior Security Consulting Engineer at Cisco during the day, William started his own axe throwing business, Tomahawks 51. 

GraphicTomahawks 51 is Tallahassee’s first axe throwing venue and you can often see their mobile unit throughout the city and at FSU football games. “For 75 minutes you have a dedicated ‘Axe Master’ or coach that is with your group 100% of the time not only teaching every person to throw with personal attention, but keeping everyone safe, and of course playing some games. We focus on safety, fun, and competition in that order,” explains William. This approach allows Tomahawks 51 to stand out against other axe throwing venues that typically have one supervisor overlook multiple throwing groups. Tomahawks 51 is also a member of the International Axe Throwing Federation (IATF) meaning they offer competitive leagues aiming to qualify for the national championships in Toronto.

William has been an entrepreneur since he started his own IT business at 16. Creating Tomahawks 51 allowed him to combine his entrepreneurial spirit with his IT skills. William was able to set up the Tomahawks 51 website as well as focus on SEO skills and create Google, Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for the brand. He was also able to install all of Tomahawk 51’s internal devices such as televisions and POS systems which kept initial costs of the business down.

Tomahawks 51However, William still has his day job. “I have never not worked two jobs at a given time,” he says. “I work at Cisco during the day, and some nights as a Network Consulting Engineer (NCE) for the US Public Sector (USPS)… My wife, Erika, has been able to help me with day to day operations of things like social/traditional marketing, employee hiring/firing, payroll, beautification of the space, and much more. We also have a very good friend of ours as the manager who has given us the confidence to be able to sit a little bit back with true day to day ‘headaches.’ This leaves me with working out logistics of things like wood, beer, our mobile unit, throwing axes, person to person marketing, and business to business marketing.” 

Because William and Erika still work ‘normal’ jobs, they are able to treat Tomahawks 51 as a hobby and a passion. “If we are breaking even or better I am happy,” says William. As such, Tomahawks 51 is always looking for ways to give back. They participate in fundraisers and make donations for organizations and clubs around the city. So far, they have worked with several FSU clubs and larger organizations such as St. Jude. 

As a self-proclaimed numbers guy, William wants Tomahawks 51 to continually increase its business, although for only being 7-months old, it’s doing quite well so far. “When I tell people that we are profitable on paper I always get the same response of, ‘That’s great for a new business because that usually takes 3-5 years’ so we’re on the right track,” he says. “We constantly get asked about franchising and more recently much more seriously so.” Who knows, William could be bringing axe throwing to a city near you!