Rowan announces its fall "Venture-Preneur in Residence"November 20, 2012
Rowan University continues its “Venture-Preneur in Residence” Program in which outstanding entrepreneurs lend their expertise to students by lecturing in selected courses, presenting in student forums, leading faculty discussions and mentoring and advising students around topics of creating new businesses during a week of residency. The latest holder of this position will be Alisa Morkides.
Morkides is the founder and owner of Brew Ha Ha!, an independent chain of 10 coffeehouses headquartered in Wilmington, Del.
She received her B.S. degree in chemistry from Bucknell University, after which she worked briefly as a bench chemist for the Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, Mich. Realizing that a behind-the-scenes role as a scientist wasn’t her passion, Morkides returned to school and earned her M.B.A. in finance from the University of North Carolina.
During the next 10 years, Morkides held management positions in several large Philadelphia-area corporations, including Rohm and Haas Chemicals and The Franklin Mint. This experience showed her that “big” business wasn’t for her, and she decided to pursue a long-held dream to become an entrepreneur. Trading on her financial background, she earned her Certified Financial Planning designation in early 1993 and made plans to start her own investment counseling firm.
A pivotal vacation to Florence in the spring of 1993 changed all of Morkides’ well-laid plans. Inspired by the high-quality coffee experience served up in Italian cafes, she put the financial planning business aside and pushed full-steam ahead towards achieving her dream of opening Wilmington’s first bona fide espresso café.
The first Brew Ha Ha! opened in Greenville’s Powder Mill Square in December 1993, and quickly became a favorite local gathering spot. Morkides now operates ten coffeehouses in Delaware and Philadelphia. Along the way, Brew Ha Ha! earned numerous quality awards, including Best Coffee in Delaware for 18 years in a row. Brew Ha Ha! has also been featured in numerous publications, including in Inc. Magazine as one of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the United States.
Morkides and her husband, Chris – a therapist and reformed convenience store coffee drinker — live in Wilmington with their daughter, Kina.