Big ideas

After losing his father to cancer, Marcus Moles finds his business, classes, and dreams keep him going

Marcus Moles '17 isn't sure what careers he'll end up in — but he has big ideas. Space exploration. Sustainable energy. Helping to cure disease. "I want to have an impact," says the business management major who's getting a minor in finance. "I want to revolutionize something in the world."

But first he's trying to help people going through struggles in life, as he has.

The Nazareth hockey player first attended another college but found the hockey team there wasn't as rigorous as he'd hoped. As Moles was deciding which college to transfer to, his father was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma brain cancer, a rapidly growing disease. Seven hard months later, in January 2014, Peter Moles died.

"I wanted to do something," his son recounts. "He left behind a huge legacy because of the person he was and the business he built." Peter Moles had created a company from scratch that built multi-million-dollar custom homes in the Adirondacks.

"His mantra was simple: Work hard, play hard," says his son.

Pacing at home one day, Marcus Moles was struck by an idea.

"What do most people want out of life? To be remembered for something, big or small."

That idea led him to create an ecommerce business called Kompass selling clothing to honor specific individuals who are dealing with a major challenge. He donates 10% of the profits to a charity connected to that person, and he writes and posts a story about the person to share their legacy more widely and to inspire others.

The first honoree was a Nazareth student's mother who survived breast cancer and now visits and encourages other cancer patients. Clothing sold on the website has the Kompass logo and the home latitude and longitude coordinates of the honoree. Moles doesn't include the person's name on the clothing, preferring a design that could be worn often. He's planning Kompass clothing items and stories honoring his father as well as a fellow student's father who has a spinal injury.

By running his fledgling business while being a full-time student, assistant captain of the hockey team, and co-chair of the student-managed Golden Flyer Investment Fund — a group that meets twice a month — Moles has learned better time management. His entrepreneurial work has taught him about logistics such as structuring a business, trademarking, distribution, and growth.

His finance instructor got him hooked on investing, and Moles could see himself working as a portfolio manager after college. But for later in his life, he is drawn toward other possibilities.

Moles thinks about solar power, climate change, space travel — and sees many opportunities to make a difference in the world.

He is inspired by people such as Elon Musk, the Tesla Motors CEO and former PayPal entrepreneur who founded aerospace manufacturer SpaceX to reduce the cost of space travel and enable the colonization of Mars.

"I want to be able to say I did something huge. I want to be on the Bill Gates/Warren Buffett level, not because wealth means power, but because I could help a bunch of people," says Moles.

He's already been recognized for his work, one of just three students in this many-college region to win a $1,000 scholarship from the Small Business Council in 2016. He was nominated by Rochelle Ruffer, his professor and chair of undergraduate programs for the School of Business and Leadership at Nazareth, for being a good student, leader, and entrepreneur.

"Nazareth has been a great atmosphere for me to grow," says Moles. "I've been able to take something out of each class and apply it to something in business or finance or tangible skills."

To cope with his own loss, Moles has found it useful to keep busy, like his father always was. "Channeling my energy into school and hockey and my company has really helped me. Coming here, I've found my purpose and it's kept me on track."

Moles adds: "I don't want to waste time dwelling on it. I'll always have those memories and the values he gave me. I don't want to sit and feel sorry for myself."

Instead, he's starting to create his own legacy.

Marcus Moles

Marcus Moles '17

"I want to have an impact," says the business management major who's getting a minor in finance. "I want to revolutionize something in the world."

Marcus Moles and Dr. Ruffer

Marcus Moles with Dr. Rochelle Ruffer, chair of undergraduate programs for the School of Business and Leadership. Marcus won a Small Business Council Scholarship given at the council's Gala Luncheon on October 4, 2016.