Meet Our People: GAI Substation Design Professional Lexi Brunstad

Lexi Brunstad, MBA is one of hundreds of skilled GAI professionals who help clients create better communities, transportation infrastructure, energy generation and delivery, and more from our office locations throughout the United States. Today, we’ll find out a little about what makes Lexi tick—the background, motivation, and methods that she brings to the table every day for GAI and GAI’s clients.

Slide Name: Lexi Brunstad
GAI Office Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Education: BS in Electrical Engineering, MBA through GAI’s Point Park University On-Site GAI MBA Program Hobbies/pastimes: Music, crafts, volunteering, walks with my dog
On staff at GAI since 2013

Q: Please tell us a little about how you arrived at your area of specialization.

Lexi Brunstad: I have been an electrical substation design professional for more than 10 years. The middle school I attended offered the typical wood shop and home economics classes, but also had the option of an electrical class. We learned about electrical circuits and created a light-up photo—l loved playing with the LEDs, and I became fascinated with lights and power.

In high school I was able to continue engineering classes through Project Lead the Way, a program that our high school took part in with Rochester Institute of Technology. One of my teachers, who was a retired engineer, became my mentor and guided me toward exploring a career as an electrical engineer. I then got accepted to Clarkson University in  Pottsdam, NY, where they offered a concentration in power. It was something I enjoyed and excelled in.

My first internship during college was for a utility where I was able to learn distribution. I returned as an intern for a second year and learned about relaying. I accepted a job with a consulting firm straight out of college, and after a few years found GAI. GAI was looking to build their Substations group—I was the second employee to join the group and have been with the company ever since.

Q: What role do you play at GAI, and what sorts of projects do you typically contribute to?

Lexi: Participating in GAI’s MBA Program put me on the path toward my current position of Project Manager within the Substations group, a role in which I support a range of projects via group meetings, document control, supporting customer material orders, project submittals, ARC requests, drawing management, budgets, and client relations. GAI was growing its Substations group when I started out at the company, and along the way I’ve had the opportunity to do both physical and wiring design for transformer and breaker replacements, aid in the creation of our engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) scope-of-work bid package documentation, provide substation design training for new employees, and more.

In my view, a company that is willing to invest in its employees is a company that is worth dedicating your time to.

Q: What do you like most about your job and why do you feel GAI is a good place to put your skills to work?

Lexi: I like the people at GAI—both within my Substations group and throughout the company. My fellow GAI employees are welcoming, friendly, and helpful, and you do not need to be in the same group or even the same business sector to find a co-worker who is willing to lend a hand. It can be anything from collaborating on design work, helping to point you in the right direction to find an answer, or even replacing the paper for the plotter when it wants to be difficult. The people at GAI are what makes me look forward to getting up every day and coming to work. And the feeling among those of us in the Substations group is a lot like a family—we share a common goal and are there to help each other succeed.

From day one at GAI, it was clear to me that I was more than just an employee number. GAI offered me the opportunity to learn and grow, and gave me the tools I needed for success. I’ve found an atmosphere to learn from those around me. If we ever discover that a particular approach to a task isn’t working out, we figure out what is wrong and fix it versus dwelling on the issue. GAI also enabled me to take part in the company’s MBA program, which showed that they genuinely believed in me and my potential. In my view, a company that is willing to invest in its employees is a company that is worth dedicating your time to.

Q: How do you measure your success?

Lexi: Measuring success is such a complex question. I am extremely hard on myself and care a lot about the work that I do. Looking at the GAI Substations group, my going from being one of the first to join the group to the group now numbering more than 40 employees—being part of that is a success in my view. That the group continues to get more work assigned from existing and new clients shows another level of success. And to go from being a young engineer to helping incoming younger engineers absolutely gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. Earning my MBA and being able to become a Project Manager is yet another indicator of success. I have been successful not only because of the work, time, and dedication that I put in, but also because of the people around me. I would not be where I am without my fellow GAI employees—both those on my team and throughout the company’s other service areas.

Q: What inspires you—what are you passionate about?

Lexi: I care a lot, sometimes so much that it can seem like a disadvantage. However, it is my caring and focus on finding the good in things that inspires me. I care about people, the environment, and animals. I love being able to help others and worthwhile causes. Growing up, I was an active member in our church and a part of our Youth Bureau volunteering. In college, I was in a service fraternity. When I graduated college, I took part in the Big Brother/Big Sister program where I was Big Sister to a young girl with a troubled family life. Recently, I started doing virtual 5Ks that raise money for a range of worthy causes. In this crazy world we share, I like to find the good and bring a smile to anyone I can.

Q: How do you feel that the job you do at GAI benefits the community and the world?

Lexi: I like to say we keep the power on. Without the work that we do for substation design, the electrical system would not be kept up to date. The supply of power in our daily lives would suffer if the systems were not updated or changing to keep pace with ever-growing technology. As much as I love camping, it’s great to have the ability to come home and turn on my lights, charge my phone, and surf the internet—all of which depends on the reliability of our electrical grid. Through the work that we at GAI and our clients do to help support a better-functioning electrical grid, we have a hand in contributing to bringing power to parts of the world that may not be as blessed as we are. I like being a part of that.

Find out more about GAI’s Substation Engineering services—message GAI online and start the conversation about how our multidiscipline professionals can meet your unique project needs.

Lexi Brunstad, MBA, is a Project Manager in GAI’s Substations group. She specializes in electrical engineering, specifically substation design, upgrade, and maintenance services for power generation clients. 

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