With the vision of “a clean-powered planet,” the bar is high for team members at Clean Power Research. VP of Engineering Carlos Brito pointed to enthusiasm for that end goal as the glue that unifies colleagues companywide.
“One important aspect of our culture is our passion for the renewable space and the strong desire to have a meaningful impact with the work we do,” Brito said.
As a key technical leader at Clean Power Research — which has locations in Napa, California, and Kirkland, Washington — Brito leads engineers, technical program managers and other teams as they develop software solutions to help companies manage renewable energy programs, EV initiatives, building electrification and more.
Aside from leading his team to meet or surpass customer expectations, Brito explained that one of his responsibilities is, “Build and evolve increasingly successful SaaS solutions from a solid technical foundation.”
To do this, he needs the right people.
“I want to grow a highly effective and motivated team that can successfully tackle not just the current challenges but the ones we may not even know about yet,” he said.
Central to Brito’s leadership philosophy is empowering team members through independence and autonomy while championing the importance of growth. Exemplifying the professional development possible at the company, Brito cites his own internal mobility within Clean Power Research, where he’s been for nearly eight years.
And, no matter what the level or in what domain, talented professionals will be crucial in the company’s plans for the future — which, according to Brito, include growing its reach.
“There are a lot of challenges as you work on expanding worldwide — not just engineering challenges, but also sales, organizational challenges, etc.,” he said.
In an interview with Built In, Brito unpacked his approach to leadership, why company culture is important for success and what interested talent can potentially gain from a career at Clean Power Research.
What’s your vision for leading your team?
My primary goal is to develop and empower my team to excel at pursuing our mission, which is: To power the worldwide energy transformation with trusted, adaptable and efficient software.
I make sure teams have the necessary support, tools, knowledge and conditions to allow them to realize their full potential and be successful at what they’re doing.
Additionally, we enable and trust the teams to work independently and to strongly influence the direction we take with our products. This allows the teams to have a broader impact and helps them stay motivated and excited about the work they do.
“We enable and trust the teams to work independently and to strongly influence the direction we take with our products.”
We recognize that sometimes mistakes are made, so when that happens, we identify gaps where we can do better as an organization. Having a growth mindset allows us to continually improve how we do things and learn from mistakes. Those are key to our success.
How do you build team culture? Why is that important for the work that you do?
Team culture is something that evolves over time, and we expect every team member to help shape it. At Clean Power Research, we strive to have a friendly, informal, collegial, collaborative, supportive and inclusive environment where everyone can be their best, do their best and help bring out the best in others.
Our culture is important for how we work and collaborate with each other, consider different perspectives and work as a cohesive team. Additionally, our shared passion for our space allows us to be motivated to do our best and be excited about our solutions and the impact we have. We believe that our work is helping address some of the most challenging problems we face as a society, to move away from fossil fuels towards a clean-powered planet.
“Our shared passion for our space allows us to be motivated to do our best and be excited about our solutions and the impact we have.”
4 REASONS TEAM MEMBERS WORK AT CLEAN POWER RESEARCH
- Have a meaningful and positive impact.
“There are a lot of tech companies out there, but I believe that if someone is looking to have a meaningful and positive impact with their work that addresses some of the most pressing and challenging issues we face as a society, the options will be very few, and Clean Power Research will be a clear choice.”
- Grow in their career.
“We have an experienced and exceptional engineering team and provide great support for employees to grow their skills and become better at what they do. Being a relatively small company, we expect employees to gain more breadth of knowledge — compared to big tech, for example, where you see more role specialization.”
- Acquire relevant and transferable knowledge.
“We are a SaaS company developing cloud-based solutions. Employees learn how to develop and operate our solutions in the cloud at scale. This is knowledge and expertise that employees gain that values them in their role — not only at Clean Power Research, but at many other tech companies.”
- Work-life balance.
“We want employees to do their best when they’re working, but to be present for their families and loved ones at the end of the day and during weekends.”
What tools and support do you offer to allow your team to stretch their skills and grow in their career?
We believe that providing our employees with the necessary support to help them grow in their careers is essential for our success as a company. It is a great investment we make that has significant benefits to both our employees and the company.
An important aspect of career development is to understand expectations for each level and clearly communicate those consistently across the teams. At Clean Power Research, we have core competencies and expectations documented for each level on the engineering team.
Typically, our hiring decisions are based on the potential we see with the candidates and their growth mindset — not necessarily proficiency in a specific language or framework, for example. The expectation is that they have what it takes to learn and become very good at anything they end up working on.
“Our hiring decisions are based on the potential we see with the candidates and their growth mindset — not necessarily proficiency in a specific language or framework.”
Managers play an important role in this by working with their reports to identify areas for development and looking for opportunities that allow employees to demonstrate and improve in those areas. Additionally, managers provide timely feedback and training materials relevant to the skills that may need to be developed.
Since managers at Clean Power Research are very hands-on, they also lead by example, and learning on the job and from more experienced engineers is an important aspect of career development. Plus, since we’re a relatively small company, employees may have to wear different hats and are more exposed to different aspects of our products, infrastructure and business, which will positively impact career development.
A great example of our investment in our employees’ career development, and in building leadership skills specifically, is the fact that we’ve been able to successfully grow leaders at Clean Power Research: most of our leadership team in engineering, including myself, have been promoted from within to these roles. Helping employees grow their careers has clearly been a great investment.
What is something exciting that you are currently working on with your team?
I am excited about amplifying our impact by expanding to different regions worldwide with our cloud-based solutions. Some of this has already started.
“I am excited about amplifying our impact by expanding to different regions worldwide with our cloud-based solutions.”
Given how well-established we are in the United States, the great reputation we have and the fact that we have a very strong and happy customer base, we are well-positioned to focus on expansion to international markets.