Atkinson alums leverage sustainability for aggressive benefit, sector-wide change

Schilling Cider began utilizing aluminum cans earlier than aluminum cans have been cool for craft alcohol. “In 2013, folks far most popular cider and different alcoholic drinks in bottles,” mentioned Colin Schilling, BA’10, MBA’12.

“No cider makers used cans. From a enterprise standpoint, it appeared like an odd resolution,” mentioned Schilling, CEO of Schilling Cider. In 2012, he co-founded the corporate with Mark Kornei, BA’11, MBA’12, who’s CFO on the Seattle-based cider-maker.

Mark Kornei, Colin Schilling, Ian Townson
Mark Kornei BA’11, MBA’12, Colin Schilling BA’10, MBA’12 and Ian Townson MBA’12 at their commencement from Atkinson Graduate Faculty of Administration

Following a cool-factor, nonetheless, by no means factored into plans the duo had once they launched their enterprise. Recent out of Willamette’s Atkinson Graduate Faculty of Administration, Schilling and Kornei have been excited by being change brokers for social and environmental good within the beverage trade.

And due to the sustainability-grounded schooling they obtained in acquiring their MBAs from Atkinson, the co-founders have been effectively geared up to realize their objective.

“In 2012, we began speaking about beginning a enterprise, in February of 2013 we obtained our license for cider and the next April we offered our first can,” Schilling mentioned.

Schilling credit his schooling from the Atkinson MBA program with straight driving his skill to discovered, develop and proceed to steer his firm. “Studying from a guide is okay however that solely will get you to date. Atkinson actually took all the things to the experiential aspect,” he mentioned.

9 years since founding the corporate, Schilling, Kornei and a 3rd classmate from Atkinson, Ian Townson, MBA’12, who’s Schilling’s COO, have notched spectacular accomplishments. The 75-person firm, with tasting rooms in Seattle and Portland and a distribution attain across the nation, is rising at a charge of 60 %.

Colin Schilling, nonetheless, isn’t resting. Actually, he’s nonetheless targeted on aluminum cans and guaranteeing they continue to be a reusable useful resource. Within the face of a pattern to label aluminum cans with customized printed sleeves and stickers, Schilling has bought gear that enables the corporate to print its personal cans in-house.

“We try to teach different beverage producers and shoppers in regards to the toxicity and unsustainability of labeling cans with plastic sleeves and stickers. Printed cans are infinitely recyclable, and cans with stickers usually are not recyclable,” Schilling mentioned.

Social and environmental innovation as foundational ideas require diligent and relentless consideration to element as a way to drive any group.

“The Schilling case reveals that adopting an ethic constructed round sustainability and utilizing it as a strategic compass is sweet for each the enterprise and the surroundings,” mentioned Elliot Maltz, emeritus professor of promoting at Atkinson. 

“Correctly applied the technique can create a long run aggressive benefit and inspire others within the trade to undertake extra sustainable practices,” Maltz mentioned.

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