While working as a secretary at a Florida-based asphalt company, Connie Lorenz noticed receipts that weren't quite matching up.
"I found about $1.5 million missing," she explains on CNBC's "Blue Collar Millionaires." It turns out the company's president was embezzling money, says Lorenz. She immediately notified the owner.
Becoming a whistle-blower changed her life.
Impressed by Lorenz's integrity, the owner offered her the chance to take over and eventually buy him out. Lorenz says on the show: "He had a meeting with me and said if I could help him turn the company around and regain some of his losses that he would give me the company.
"I didn't know if the owner was really serious about his offer, but I thought it was a great opportunity, so I spent the next seven years working my a** off trying to figure out the industry. I attended seminars and conferences. I toured asphalt plants. I talked to every contractor out there that did asphalt."
Her diligence paid off.
In 2006, the owner approached Lorenz and said he was ready to hand over the business. "He truly gave me the company: The assets, the checking account, and the debt too. But there was far more money in the checking account than the debt," Lorenz says.
She officially took the helm of Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems in 2007 and the business grew, grossing $1.3 million in revenue after her first year. Last year, the company earned $2.6 million in revenue. Lorenz's net worth now exceeds $2.5 million.
Lorenz, who started working at age 13 to help her family put food on the table, says she never imagined attaining this level of success: "Living the childhood that I did, I never thought for one second I would grow up to be a millionaire. Not even a 'thousandaire.'"
Her mindset has since shifted. "I think that what it takes to make it in life nowadays is just hard work and believing in yourself," she says. "I believe that everybody could be a millionaire if they wanted to be."