Carlsbad’s Brad Carlsen leads a double life.
Some days, he’s a firefighter and paramedic with the Carlsbad Fire Department. Other days, he can be found at Guadalupe Mountain Brewery on National Parks Highway south of Carlsbad.
Carlsen is 32 years old and is married with two children. “I have two of the best jobs ever,” he asserted. Brad has been with the Carlsbad Fire Department since his late teens. “I am currently on my 13th year in the department,” he shared. “While working as a lifeguard in high school during the summer, under the supervision of the fire department, is when I decided I wanted to be a firefighter.”
“Being around the department and the guys there, I was given great advice early on and it allowed me to get in the department at a young age. The fire department has been fun and exciting, but also presents some challenges.”
“Time away from home, missed holidays and sleepless nights can be rough.”
When asked what prompted Carlsen to try the brewery business, he replied, “I started home brewing in 2012 and became obsessed with beer and brewing. It is very common for passionate home brewers to dream of someday opening a brewery and brewing professionally. I was fortunate enough to have business minded friends who were also interested in opening a brewery,” he acknowledged. “I love the brewery business. It is awesome. Breweries are inherently fun, laid back places which are a nice change from the fire department, which can be unpredictable and stressful.”
Like any career path, Brad said being a firefighter and a brewer has some differences and similarities. “One similarity would be that in both jobs, I am helping people but in very different ways. At the fire department, I am helping people on their worst day. At the brewery, I am helping people on their best day, or at least a good day,” he chuckles. “Another similarity would be the camaraderie among others in the profession. The brewing industry has an amazing network of people who are always willing to help and share information. The same is true for firefighting,” he explained.
Carlsen said his wife, Kendra, has over the years supported his dual careers. “She stays home with our two kids and allows me to work both jobs,” he shared. “She brings the kids to the brewery for lunch and helps as much as she can while she is there. With two young kids running around, that can be difficult. The plan is for her to be more involved at the brewery once both kids are in school.”
When asked, Carlsen gave this advice to those who may be looking at second career. “Finish your first career before moving on to your second,” he laughingly said. “There are only so many hours in a week. You can always make it work IF you have the right people supporting you.”