Alden Morris ‘18, is an alumnus of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a degree in Landscape Architecture and a focus on transportation networks. He had an eventful senior year, which included living abroad in Europe for seven months, an experience that included leasing out a BMW and eating grapes all day in the countryside of Portugal for his honor thesis. This led to an appreciation for the wine, brewing and distillery industry. Since graduation, Morris has been involved with several, including the distillery company 1911. He currently is working with a hops farm on their marketing strategies, hoping to become an equity owner within the next year, and simultaneously starting his own company that provides marketing services to small and medium sized breweries. His vision is traveling the world from the value of the various business he’s started, and he’s on his way by launching his first venture.
One can sense that Alden is a person with a lot of energy, vision, and the confidence needed to create and succeed. In explaining where this enthusiasm stems from, the Lansing, New York native shares his transformative experience in college, how he went from a quiet individual in high school to an outgoing, social person in college. “I knew social people tended to get further ahead. My senior year of high school, I went from not talking to people to joining the varsity football and swim team, and I saw the difference between being more reserved and putting yourself out there.” His backstory reveals a whole set of obstacles Alden has overcome, how financial instability had shaped him, and planted this drive for success within him. “I’ve always felts as if I was behind the curve, as if I always had to catch up. Insecurity drives me, but in the sense of when I get comfortable. I don’t like being stagnant. I do well under pressure, and I know I can always be doing more.” But Alden is also aware about how constantly putting himself into overdrive can be a drawback when he says, “I know it’s not all healthy because I’m always burning myself out” — a common trait shared by many driven entrepreneurs.
When asked about role models, he responds, “I’m not crazy about the idea of idolizing a single person to be honest. That being said, I have a lot of respect and admiration for Maria Rose Belding and her work with Means Database, which connects people with excess food to people with the lack of food in an efficient and doable manner.” He met her a few years ago for at an international food prize competition where he was competing. To see her follow her passion for helping people and how her whole concept skyrocketed really motivates him to get to a place in his life where he can also pursue and tackle problems that are important to him.
“I’d like to help kids find opportunities in life,” he says about his interest in impact entrepreneurship. “I didn’t have the best guidance when it came to education, and I didn’t even have support from friends for a large majority of my life. I got lucky because a few of my teachers believed in me, but I know I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t had their guidance. I want to make sure that everyone has the same opportunities to get ahead in life.”
Alden is passionate about the revolutionizing the current education system, focusing on experiential learning rather than fitting into one mold. He has learned that this form of education, like entrepreneurship, is more adaptive and unique to each person who follows that path. He was never a fan of the rigid structure of the current education system because he doesn’t think it values out-of-the-box thinking.
His ability to see the world as an adventure and his non-conformity to structure is what sets Alden apart. That, and his very fine distillery skills.
Story by Blackstone Global Media Fellow Bridget McDonnough ’19
Photo by Blackstone Global Media Fellow Emily Pearson ’21