Like many other ground-breaking technology companies, Darsell and Koleya’s vision for ACI began as just an idea sketched out on a piece of paper. Industries are often revolutionized by the discovery of better solutions to their most basic problems, and ACI’s core concept was a modification of an old, outdated combustion design that had seen little improvement in decades. Combustion burners used in heating and power generation are typically inefficient, have high levels of emissions and use large amounts of diesel or other fuel. The patented invention behind ACI’s technology was a significant improvement that could offer a cleaner, safer and more cost-effective way of combusting fuel. Over a decade-long process, Darsell and Koleya’s idea on a piece of paper was transformed, though dedication and hard work, into a commercially viable product with major industry partnerships.
Throughout it all, Koleya had to learn to balance the struggles of single motherhood with the heavy demands of entrepreneurship, and the uncertainty involved in trying to bring a completely new technology to market. Tragically, her father passed away after fighting a brave battle with cancer when she was 31, and in her grief, she was thrust unexpectedly into sole leadership of the company.
While losing her father and mentor was incomparably difficult, Koleya was determined to keep his dream and legacy alive and prove to herself that success was in reach even in the worst times of hardship. She rose to the challenge, taking to heart all the important lessons he had taught her over three decades and pouring everything she had into ACI’s development. As she found her footing and began generating new opportunities, her confidence in herself and optimism for the future of the company grew.