Matt Brunner’s childhood was like that of any other kid growing up in Windsor 20 years ago.
Long days of racing bikes down Main Street, playing football until sunset and never-ending competitions with his younger brother were mainstays back then — activities the business leader said helped shape him into the hardworking success story he is today.
For more than six years, Brunner has helped grow and strengthen the Fort Collins division of AlphaGraphics — a national graphic design and marketing group. In that time, he has embraced the challenge of 60-hour work weeks and time-management juggling act to meet each and every client’s needs — qualities he said come with his dream career.
“I’m a huge fan of the harder you work, the more good things happen to you,” Brunner said. “I firmly believe in that.”
That hard work recently paid off in a big way. In the 2012 fiscal year, Brunner netted about 80 percent of the Fort Collins division’s sales, totaling about $1.3 million. The sky-high sales totals recently earned him a spot among “Colorado’s 25 Most Powerful Salespeople,” determined by ColoradoBiz magazine.
“I always wanted to be the best at everything I could, and I think that translates into a big part of being a successful salesman — having that internal drive,” he said.
The list consists of leaders from across the state — mostly the Denver area. It was based on, among other things, devotion to the company, tenacity and raw-numbers successes.
Brunner said he doesn’t often embrace the spotlight, instead opting for life behind the scenes. He lauded everyone else’s efforts, especially thanking the owners who gave him a shot and the entire sales support and production team.
“Honestly, it’s not really anything I do,” he said. “I’m out there on the forefront. ... I’m the one who gets the glory, but I can’t do it without them.”
It’s been a long road for the 32-year-old Windsor native.
After graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in marketing and management, he bounced around the Front Range, working at jobs in Windsor, Fort Collins and the Denver area and even attempted to run his own insurance firm. It wasn’t until 2006 when things really fell into place at AlphaGraphics, he said, adding that he always knew he would make it.
Now he had an outlet.
“I love sales,” Brunner said bluntly. “I can kind of create my own path. I directly drive my success or my failure.”
It’s all part of the game — one he embraces despite the challenges of meeting-packed days, cold-calling clients and, of course, the dreaded “no.” Turning that initial denial into an eventual long-term partnership, he said, is the most rewarding element of the job.
Moving forward, Brunner said he hopes to continue his sales success this year, while hopefully striking a better work-play balance, potentially reliving his earlier days in what he called the quintessential world of small-town America.
“All of northern Colorado almost seems to have this bubble around it where there’s just good people everywhere you turn,” he said. It’s just a positive situation in Windsor, Greeley, Fort Collins — everywhere.”