October 2021 Spotlight: Gerardo Aceves

Veronica CatlinAlumni Spotlight


Yuba College Alumni Turned Self-Made Millionaire

Written by Veronica A. Catlin, vcatlin@yccd.edu 

From humble beginnings, Yuba City native Gerardo Aceves, pursued his dreams and became a local success story.

“I grew up with a single mom who couldn’t really afford anything besides the bills,” Aceves said. “We grew up poor. It was pretty bad. My mom instilled in me at a young age that I would have to work for whatever I wanted.”

With the support provided by the Yuba College Upward Bound program, Gerardo enrolled in college courses while attending Live Oak High School.

He said he noticed his friends at school always had nice clothes and shoes, and they often had luxury items like the newest game consoles while his family could barely make ends meet. Aceves decided early on in life that higher education would be his ticket out of poverty.

“I wanted to get an MBA at a young age. I wanted to use my degree and work for a company like a big bank so I could make $80-100,000 a year,” Aceves said.

He continued taking business courses at Yuba College and said he learned essential information throughout the process. Although he didn’t acquire the MBA or bank job, Aceves was able to accomplish his incomes goals when he started a cellphone flipping service on eBay. He used what he learned and was able to quickly turn his cell phone start-up business into sustainable income. His business had become so successful that he took two years off from school before returning to Yuba where he earned associate degrees in social science and business administration.

His passion for business grew, and when a friend of his approached him about investing in a trucking business he was all in.

“There were a lot of immigrants in the business, and we were inspired by the way they barely knew English but were making millions of dollars in revenue,” Aceves said. ‘My friend knew people, so we started networking with his contacts, learned the business, invested in a truck, and hired a driver.”

It didn’t take long for his new business endeavor to grow. By the second month, he had a second truck and continued adding on new trucks every few months. Aceves said the turning point was the second year because by then he had developed a good reputation and had more options when it came to purchasing trucks. By year four Aceves said he had 30-40 trucks while most companies average ten trucks.

His business endeavors stood out so much that he was recently featured in the July Issue of Comstock Magazine as one of the 12 young leaders making a difference in the Capital region. He accredits a lot of his success to what he learned at Yuba College, a message he shares when he visits the Yuba College campus to speak to current business students about his experience.

“We brought something new to the industry,” Aceves said. ‘We were tech-savvy and figured out how to streamline a lot of things to make the job easier for drivers. Less paperwork, more applications.”

Aceves said he feels very accomplished but still has a bigger vision and set of goals. He went from struggling financially most of his life to starting a business that brings in over 20 million dollars a year, all while staying within his local community.

“Never give up. Most people go through trial and error,” Aceves said. ‘I didn’t know I was going to be an entrepreneur instead of working for a corporation, but I knew I wanted to make something of myself. My goal is to inspire others to do the same.”