News Business / Leadership

Engineering Manager Cyril Brunner Strives to Keep Learning about Leadership

Share this post

“Leaders aren’t born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”  ~Vince Lombardi

What makes an effective leader? If you ask Cyril Brunner ‘13, he’ll tell you it’s performance, accountability, and transparency.

Just a couple of years after graduating from UVM with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Brunner was promoted to a management position at Vermont Electric Cooperative in Johnson. In 2017, he returned to his alma mater to complete a professional certificate program to help him enhance his management skills.

On the Job at Vermont Electric Cooperative

Brunner supervises three people as the utility’s Engineering Manager. His team focuses on the development, engineering, design, and commissioning of utility substations, distribution lines, and equipment generator interconnections. Brunner is also involved with capital budget development and management as well as long range asset planning.

After graduating from UVM, he worked as a contractor for Vermont Electric Cooperative and was hired full time in 2014 as a systems engineer. Brunner was promoted after one year to a managerial role.

He recently completed the UVM Leadership and Management Professional Certificate Program.

“I was interested in how I can do a better job managing my employees, especially since I’m a younger manager,” says Brunner, who credits Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power, about making him aware of the importance of performance, accountability, and transparency in leadership. “Managing employees wasn’t something I learned about while I was studying engineering at UVM.”

The UVM program, which consists of eight, one-day seminars between October and April, offers ways to improve leadership and communication skills, and how to navigate conflict resolution, decision making, problem solving, and more.

Striving to Be a Better Leader

At work, Brunner oversees the technical and day-to-day business aspects of his job while managing his employees. To help better connect with his staff, he is particularly interested in emotional intelligence—which was highlighted in one of the seminars in the Leadership and Management program.  Emotional intelligence includes practicing self-assessment, self-regulation, empathy and compassion, relationship management, and effective communications.

“I want to know where people are coming from in order to do a better job empathizing and also understand my strengths and weaknesses,” says Brunner, who lives in Stowe. “I want to bridge the gap between the technical resources I manage and non-technical roles within the company as well as Vermont Electric Cooperative’s membership.”

The Leadership and Management program is designed for emerging leaders, supervisors, and managers of all levels, including professionals currently experiencing obstacles or looking for advancement, and executives who want to reassess their ability to influence others. The program regularly attracts a variety of professionals from non-profits, large companies, start-ups, and small businesses.

“The people in the Leadership and Management program are motivated to be there, and you get lot of different perspectives,” Brunner says. “Even though we all work at different places, the challenges we face are similar. We’re all dealing with communication challenges, personnel issues, and everything in between. But we all value and have a curiosity for learning and figuring out how we can do better.”

Learn about the UVM Leadership and Management Professional Certificate Program