EastBay Today

Feature
Posted May 11, 2021

Choosing Victory

Veteran, business owner, single mom, survivor Marci Bertuzzi, eyes penning parenting book post graduation

“Over Before You Know It.”

That motto has guided Marci Bertuzzi — single mom, Marine Corps veteran, and domestic abuse survivor — through a lifetime’s challenges.

Bertuzzi’s can-do philosophy recently propelled her to earn a Cal State East Bay bachelor’s of science degree in business with a concentration in entrepreneurship — a degree she earned with a 3.95 GPA while parenting her daughter, now 16, and even founding her own oil and gas consulting firm.

The degree took her seven years, Bertuzzi says, with a year off to establish state residency after moving from her hometown in Texas for a job transfer to California. 

“I’ve been through a lot of stuff. But you either choose to be a victim or a victor.”

“I want to show my daughter that while life will throw you curveballs, it’s how you swing the bat that determines your ultimate success,” she said. “You can do anything if you really want it.”

Now 36, Bertuzzi was determined to earn her degree despite the hardships she faced as a single parent going to school and working full-time, and in spite of the fact that her career was going well without it.

In her last position, she managed a 27-member team, the majority of whom were mechanical engineers. 

A counselor at Diablo College in Pleasant Hill, where Bertuzzi earned her associate’s degree, told her about East Bay’s entrepreneurship program. 

“I didn’t know that entrepreneurship was a degree,” she recalls but adds that she thought it was perfect since she already knew that she wanted to go into business for herself.

Amid her studies in 2018, she founded Petra IQ, a data-quality consulting firm that focuses on discovery, strategies, business process frameworks, risk analysis, and governance and regulatory standards for clients in the oil and gas industry.

Betuzzi’s career has its roots in her military service, which began shortly after the 9/11 attacks. 

“I wanted to be involved, to help and serve my country,” she said.

In the Marines, she received intelligence training, including surveying and map-making. In her work today, she uses the same software she learned in the military.

Her daughter was born at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. 

“My daughter’s father was physically abusive and at one point I nearly lost my life,” she says. “I’ve been through a lot of stuff. But you either choose to be a victim or a victor.”

“Push through it, get through it, and then it will be in the past.”

She missed eight months of her daughter’s babyhood when serving one tour in Fallujah, Iraq. But after her service, she moved back to Houston and got a job in pipeline routing for the oil industry.

As Bertuzzi ponders her life post-college, she still has significant things she wants to accomplish. One of them is to complete writing a parenting book with the same name as her motto, a mission she undertook because so many other parents have asked for her advice.

Her motto from boot camp will ensure that she perseveres. 

“Every time I was running, which I hate, I kept thinking, ‘you will be fine,’” she said. “Push through it, get through it, and then it will be in the past.”

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