Remembering Ron Morris

I first met Ron six years ago. We both sat on the board of a company that Innovation Works and Ron invested in.

The thing that quickly stood out about Ron was his indomitable spirit. He would do whatever it took to accomplish a feat. At the time he was already battling cancer, so this included actively participating in board meetings despite his treatment schedules or their side effects. One meeting Ron had to excuse himself several times because he wasn’t feeling well. Each time he returned to the room, he was determined and focused as ever.

Over the years, I was fortunate to build a lasting relationship with him. He was one of the first people we consulted about the concept for AlphaLab. His initial enthusiasm for the idea and his continued support have been invaluable in generating awareness and credibility for our program.

He was gracious enough to have me and many of our AlphaLab entrepreneurs on his TAE Radio show and I was honored each time Ron asked me to come talk to his entrepreneurship classes at Duquesne.

Many of you may not know this, but Ron was also an investor in one of AlphaLab’s first companies, Skill-Life. (And he loved to brag about how he made a return on his investment within a year when the company was bought by BancVue.)

I wish more of our more recent AlphaLab entrepreneurs could have gotten to know Ron. When you’re around him, and you see his strength, his work ethic, and his perseverance—whether it was in the way he ran hisbusinesses or the way he battled his cancer—you can’t help but be inspired to give it everything you have. Ron also made you realize all the problems and hurdles you’ve been complaining about are so minute in the grand scheme of things.

I also wish my children could have met him. He exemplified the character traits that you want your children to develop. He was compassionate, loyal, honest, driven, and tenacious. He believed in people and their ability to accomplish great things.

Ron – I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have known you. You will be dearly missed and your impact will be lasting – on the whole entrepreneurial community here in Pittsburgh and on every individual that you touched.

-Jim Jen, Director of AlphaLab

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to take a moment and read about Ron’s legacy at