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December 2012, Brandon Blevins

December 13, 2012

Brandon Blevins

The first person we are featuring during the month of December is Brandon Blevins, a Senior Analyst at Southern California Edison, who recently received a promotion two levels above his previous position.

Blevins, 28, is a member of Cohort 7 and is scheduled to graduate in June 2013. The GEM Program thanks Brandon for striving for excellence both inside and outside of the classroom.

Briefly describe your current role and responsibilities.

Currently, I am working in the Corporate Environmental Policy group of Southern California Edison. Working here means that you are working with external regulators on key policy issues that are related to air, climate, water, and waste. California is one of the more progressive states in the U.S. when it comes to energy policy and regulations. My responsibilities include collaborating with my group to identify, plan, and execute strategies to collaborate with state regulatory agencies on policies with a goal to develop a California energy future that ensures safe, reliable, and affordable electricity.

How has the GEM program benefited you and your company? Have you been promoted since you began the program?

The GEM experience has provided me with a toolset to view complex situations as opportunities rather than issues. It has provided me with the understanding of fundamental business applications in the energy industry while also emphasizing leadership development skills that have greatly impacted how I work on teams. This combination improved my ability to contribute to, and lead, strategic teams at my company. Since I began the GEM program I have been promoted twice and continue to take on new responsibilities and opportunities.

What are/were some of your favorite things to do during cohort weekends?

It’s impossible to overemphasize the value of networking with your cohort. Whether it was team building exercises in class, socializing outside of class, or just hanging out during coffee breaks, getting to know so many driven, intelligent, and innovative individuals is amongst the most motivational aspects of the GEM program. Hands down getting to interact with my professors and classmates face to face was the best part.

What are some of the things that you never forget to bring during cohort weekends?

A pen, a pad of paper, a sense of humor, and my southern pride.

Please share a story about GEM that will entertain other students.

The Real Lessons of GEM:

  • There is no assigned seating, but don’t you dare sit in my seat from last Quarter!
  • If you want to make a meaningful discussion board post, TRY USING ALL CAPS.
  • The three stages of recording a WebEx Group project. First, have a practice run. Second, somebody forgets to unmute themselves. Third, “This is the final take, no matter what!”
  • You didn’t stay out too late the night before; you were “growing your professional network.”
  • When you receive a group email, expect everyone to Reply All. Because replying to a single person is no fun.
  • Support GEM students in growing their careers – hint: it adds value to your education!

Why did you choose the GEM program at CU Denver?

The GEM program offered two characteristics that no other Master’s program could match; a close partnership with the energy industry and flexibility for my work-life balance. I wanted to pursue a degree that provided me with the tools to increase my work performance today, prepare me for the opportunities of tomorrow, and comprehensively growing my knowledge in the energy industry. Furthermore, the GEM program provided my family the flexibility necessary to ensure that our work-life balance remained intact. The program has been more impactful than I originally hoped it would be.

Has GEM changed your perspective? If so, how so.

In the GEM environment, you are working side by side with professors and students who are balancing job responsibilities, school responsibilities, and personal responsibilities. Throughout the program, you are learning about how to be respectful of the different ways people prioritize responsibilities while still striving to produce quality projects for a variety of topics related to the energy industry. Ranging from Human Resource Management to Financial to Regulatory to Engineering, the key to conquering all of these areas (because trust me, nobody is an expert in everything) is teamwork.

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