Get to Know Senior Account Executive: Ashley Brasovan
Ashley is a senior account executive for energy in our Golden, Colorado office, and has been with McKinstry for nearly eight years. As part of the sales team that landed Denver International Airport, McKinstry’s largest-to-date Energy Performance Contract (EPC) in Colorado, Ashley lives out McKinstry’s value of making a positive difference every day.
In the Q&A below, you can learn about Ashley’s career with McKinstry and how patience, persistence, and determination brought her here and have helped her succeed.
Learn More About Ashley’s Experience
I joined McKinstry eight years ago as a brand specialist. I was in my second year at Duke, working on my master’s degree in environmental management, when I heard Leslie Larocque speak at a career event hosted by Xcel Energy in Denver. I was impressed with McKinstry’s strategic approach to energy improvements and decarbonization and its turn-key design build solutions. I had done consulting internships throughout college and wasn’t a fan of doing reports and having them sit on shelves. After consistently reaching out to Leslie, she worked with me to find the right fit within McKinstry.
I was interested in sales and business development so in partnership with HR, we co-created the first associate account executive role. There were not a lot of junior-level sales roles in the energy industry at the time, and I had no real work experience other than internships and fellowships. If I wanted to go into business development in the energy industry, I’d have to pave my own way regardless of the company. I was willing to do the hard work to get into a role I wanted to be in long-term and with a company that aligned with my values and professional growth.
McKinstry was very patient with me. From the very beginning, the team in Golden gave me mentorship and shadowing opportunities since I did not have any true sales experience and I was new to Colorado. I shadowed Dan Gacnik, my first manager, and Leslie, and then other account executives those first few years. I learn best with hands-on training and believe this is so beneficial for those new to sales roles. I was assigned to local government, and I was not sure I would like that. But now I love it! I am successful because I am patient, driven and persistent. I have had the opportunity to rebuild a market with high account executive turnover before me while also being in the right place at the right time when we landed the City and County of Denver and Denver International Airport accounts. The last four years, with new policies and more funding that promote the energy sector, have been easier than the first four.
When I was looking for colleges, my university criteria included a top 10 academic school, reputable athletics program (she’s a D-1 athlete) and good weather (she grew up in Florida), and I landed at Duke University. During undergrad, I thought I would be a marine biologist but pivoted to energy during graduate school. The energy sector seemed to move faster and there were more opportunities for growth and making an impact. I also wanted to make a difference in the world, which is really what drives me to wake up every day, and why I moved to Colorado. Here, they want to see change now to benefit future generations. I was also interested in finance, economics and business development; my parents were in finance and sales, and I liked the quick pace and nature of those roles.
I am persistent, determined and patient, and I have overcome adversity throughout stages of my life. As a competitive and professional runner, I have learned to be tough, and I am used to critical feedback from coaches and mentors. I am always aware of my mental and physical state, and I prioritize balance to optimize these. This applies to work, too; my skill set aligns with the slow sales cycle in energy construction, where I can fail, pick myself up, and keep trying.
I love going to a community and knowing I helped make it better. I see solar panels we installed, or a building we helped upgrade in the places that I live, work and play. I have a special place in my heart for rural projects, like Steamboat and Durango. Helping disadvantaged communities find a path forward when they do not have what they need, like sourcing grant funding and resources, is rewarding. I have worked on Denver International Airport, McKinstry’s largest EPC, which is special for other reasons, but I love helping all communities make progress toward their sustainability goals.
Most of our Colorado projects are directly aligned with our Action for Impact plan. Wildfires and extreme temperatures are driving interest in increased community resiliency, coupled with the urge to lower utility costs, improved technology like microgrids and battery storage. Goals are becoming more aggressive.
I was married last year, and we adopted a pug — my first pet. I am a professional runner for shoe brand Hoka, and until recently, I was on Duke’s alumni board. Being outside in nature, maintaining relationships and my social life, and carving time out for my family lead to a diversified stream of happiness.
I put my mental and physical health first. If anything is going to compromise that, I will take a step back. There is more to life than one single day, one stressor or one project. I look at my life as a whole — and ask myself if what I am doing contributes to my physical and mental well-being, and if not, consider what I can do differently.
Persistence plus patience pays off. There is no instant gratification in most facets of life. It takes years to build a book of business, to build a career, and to build personal growth. Sales in our industry is hard, and people want quick success. When it does not happen, they give up. You have to want to win and succeed, but also be patient at the same time. Selling energy performance contracting is a very slow sales process but also extremely rewarding knowing the ultimate difference you are making.