In 1884 Alfred left the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and returned to Delaware to work for the DuPont Company as an apprentice powder man at the Hagley Yards. He rose swiftly through the ranks of the company and became a partner in 1891.
When Alfred resigned from the family business in 1916, the powder mill laborers felt a great sense of loss. Many had worked for him for years and regarded him as more friend than boss. At an emotional farewell ceremony they presented him with a silver cup paid for out of their $2-a-day wages.