Can you build a $30M empire on trash? We ask Maria Rios

What does it take to turn your dream into a reality and get your name into the marketplace? What needs to happen to turn your vision into a self-assured corporation?

In the last half a century, the world has transitioned through many dimensions: from public sector supremacy, liberalisation and economic reform, embracing now a new chapter of inclusion and transformation change. Where are the millionaires who believe in their vision, create a better reality, and make it big?

We went searching for the blue collar millionaires who are not afraid of getting their hands dirty to get their job done. We had the privilege to talk with Maria Rios, from Texas, US. 

Maria Rios
Maria Rios is a millionaire who doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty. She has built a $30 million empire from trash.

Maria Rios is the President and CEO of Nation Waste, Inc. (NWI), the first female Hispanic-owned waste removal company in United States history and one of the largest minority-owned companies in the state of Texas.  NWI is a fully-certified, commercial waste disposal company specializing in construction, demolition, commercial/industrial non-hazardous waste removal, portable toilets and recycling services.

Maria Rios is living the American dream, as she began her U.S. journey emigrating from El Salvador as a child. Her family came to the U.S. to pursue education and a better life. Through reliance on faith, a relentless work ethic and determination, Rios graduated from Houston Community College and earned her BA from the University of Houston.

You are a massive inspiration to millions of women around the world. What are your most recent achievements, Maria?

In 2015 the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) announced that I was one of the top 27 women entrepreneurs in the world.  Fortune named me as one of the 2013 Fortune Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in the U.S.  Goldman Sachs honoured me as one of its 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs. 

Can you tell us more about a docu-series in which featured on CNBC?

CNBC’s Blue Collar Millionaires, is profiling big personalities who have gained wealth “by getting their hands dirty…and rolling up their sleeves…with a can-do mindset.”  My episode was called “The $30M empire built on trash.”

You are known for making a difference to the marketplace. What are your most recent solutions for the workplace?

In the U.S. nearly 5,000 people die and approximately 27 million work days are lost each year because of injuries in the workplace. In 2018, we launched a new division, Nation Safety Net, which leverages a technological solution powered by IBM Watson IoT. To keep workers safe and mitigate the cost of workplace injuries, Nation Safety Net, in partnership with IBM, created an IoT solution that uses environmental sensors and wearable devices to identify potential dangers and  help employees avoid injury.

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Dr Marina Nani
Dr Marina Nani


Dr Nani is the Founder of Sovereign Magazine. She is also Editor-in-Chief of Sovereign's sister publication, Rich Woman Magazine. Passionately advocating for Social Edification, Dr Marina Nani is coining a new industry, MAKE THE NEWS ( MTN) with the aim to diagnose and close the achievement gap globally. Founder of RICH WOMAN SOCIETY™ Marina believes that there is a genius ( Stardust) in each individual, regardless past and present circumstances; "not recognising the talent in each individual, leaves our society at loss. Sharing the good news makes a significant difference on your perception about yourself, your industry and your community."