Marisol Acosta Montoya never intended to enter the sewer industry. She had a cushy career in television advertising sales for over 20 years, including 15 years at NBCUniversal. But after her father Alonso Acosta Sr. — an immigrant from Tijuana with a second-grade education who had started Acosta and Sons Sewer Contractors in 1971 — passed away from brain cancer in 2017, Montoya took over the business with husband Bernardo Montoya and brother Alonso Acosta Jr. “My mom was the one who said, ‘We’re not closing shop, you’re going to take this over,’” Montoya said. “‘If your dad — with no education, no English — could run it, why can’t you?’”

How did your father run Acosta? 

He was an immigrant who wanted to succeed. The original company was owned by another gentleman and my father took it over and pursued his dream of owning his own business. My dad had a basic formula: Anytime he got a call, he went. He could get the job done efficiently and cost-effective. He never said no to an opportunity. He was very frugal and a hard worker. He was hands-on with the company. He refused to retire. 

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