In late June, Electrical Engineer Jackie Brusoe received the Emerging Leader Award from RMEL – formerly the Rocky Mountain Electrical League – in Denver, Colorado.
“The Emerging Leader Award is RMEL's opportunity to recognize new talent in the industry from RMEL's member companies," said RMEL Executive Director Richard J. Putnicki in his announcement. “The award honors RMEL members with five to 10 years of industry experience who are making an impact through significant contributions within their organization and the electric energy industry."
“Jackie approaches every project, task and assignment the same way: She considers every stakeholder, lays out a plan, then gives 100%. Every project, every time," said Supervisory Electrical Engineer John Quintana, who nominated Brusoe for the award. “Nominating Jackie for this recognition was one of the easiest and most obvious decisions I ever had to make."
His praise did not end there.
“Jackie has been a strong supporter of RMEL, as shown by delivering presentations at several events, including the 2018 Asset Management Conference, and again at the 2017 Transmission Operations and Maintenance conference," he continued. “Jackie has also volunteered her time, supporting RMEL fundraisers at the Colorado Rockies fundraising events. I am certain that Jackie will continue her participation and support of RMEL activities in the future."
Closed Circuit sat down with Brusoe to discuss the award.
Tell us a little bit about your background and what ultimately brought you to WAPA.
I completed my bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering in 1997 and started my career in the oil and gas industry. Several years later I switched gears and left the workforce to raise kids, teaching night school on the side.
I reentered the workforce in 2010 when I hired on at Colorado Springs Utilities. In 2016 I was looking for a change and was drawn to WAPA, both for the organization's reputation and the opportunity to do maintenance program management. I'm so happy here; I love the work I get to do and the people I get to work with.
How does it feel to be recognized this way by RMEL?
Our industry is full of highly capable professionals, and to be selected for this award totally blows my mind. I am both honored and humbled. I am very grateful for the opportunities I have at WAPA to spread my wings.
What has been your experience working with RMEL?
I started attending RMEL events in 2010. I was a new utility engineer and their educational sessions were key in helping me get up to speed. What I love about RMEL is that the topics are both timely and relevant, and there is always a tangible takeaway from their events.
Of what accomplishment are you most proud?
I never thought I would get an award like this, so this is really the tops for me. Before this, though, a big accomplishment for me was getting my engineer's license. I hit my experience requirement for testing at a very chaotic time in my personal life, but I knew that if I put it off until a “better" time, it may not happen at all.
Also, engineering did not come easily to me, so I spent many nights and weekends preparing for the eight-hour test. I will never forget the joy I felt when I opened the envelope with the test results. I lacked a lot of confidence while in college and early in my career, and this helped me feel more legitimate.
As an active member of the Inclusion, Innovation and Technology Committee, how important do you see those three topics when it comes to leadership?
Inclusion and innovation are tied at the hip. Building a diverse team and incorporating inclusive practices creates a space in which people feel both safe and heard, which leads to the free exchange of ideas. I think a key responsibility of a leader is enabling your team to perform, and if you want innovation, you'd better be practicing inclusion.
Has your experience with the I2T Committee and I2T Summit shaped your approach to leadership at all? If so, how?
My work with the 2019 Summit and current I2T Team has been a stretch assignment for sure. I2T at WAPA is wholly volunteer, so these efforts can only come to fruition when employees carve out time to make it happen. I feel a great responsibility to direct their efforts toward maximum benefit while requiring minimum effort. This experience has also included figuring out how to communicate upward more effectively, as there is great interest and support for I2T at the senior leadership level.
What is one piece of advice you have for WAPA employees wishing to grow and develop as leaders?
I think leadership is all about attitude and behavior, not position or title. You can be a leader now. There's no need to wait for a program to accept you or for that position to come along. Ask for an opportunity that gives you a chance to try it out. As you give it a try, enlist the help of someone you look up to for ideas and advice.
Are there any other thoughts you would like to share with readers?
Working at WAPA has been a game changer for me. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities I have had to do meaningful work in partnership with such excellent people.