Brent is the President & Founder of Cygnal, a national public opinion and market research firm that specializes in data-driven approaches to decision making. Cygnal was recently ranked #1 most accurate polling and research firm in the country for 2018 by The New York Times. Brent is a graduate of Troy University with a bachelor’s in political science and has a master’s in public relations. Prior to starting the firm, he consulted with small businesses about advertising and operations. He has since worked with over 600 candidates, corporations, and advocacy groups in helping them develop and execute successful research and communication plans. His experience includes presidential campaigns, national political committees, legislative caucuses, Fortune 500 companies, Super PACs, and state and national associations. Brent resides in Alabama with his wife, Becky, and five, children – Sam, Lilly Grace, Alex, Gray & Remy. Obviously, he spends his free time herding cats – actually a flock of nine Katahdin sheep.
Featured Winner Interview:
AAPC: What does being a 2019 AAPC 40 Under 40 Award winner mean to you?
Brent: Winning the 40 Under 40 Award is really a team effort. None of us got to this point by ourselves – kind of like a turtle on a fence post. We worked with other amazing individuals for stellar candidates who gave us an opportunity to succeed. Each time I see the award, I remember the journey here and the journey ahead to help someone else be in this place in the future.
AAPC: What’s next for you this year?
Brent: We’re moving the family and headquarters to the DC area. I’ve lived in Alabama for 24 years, so it’s going to be a big exciting adventure. We’ll be sad to leave our flock of sheep, but that lot in Arlington, VA, is unlikely to accommodate them.
AAPC: To what do you credit your success at such a young age?
Brent: For many years I saw my age as a liability. It led me to overcompensate. Then I saw folks younger than me succeed with confidence. It was that turning point of embracing my age and being confident in what value I bring to our clients that started the path of success.
AAPC: What advice would you give to a young professional who has their eye on being a future 40 Under 40 Award winner?
Brent: Don’t make winning the award the goal. Instead focus on bringing way more value than you receive in compensation. Whether you work for a committee, are running a campaign, or have a role in the consulting world – if you wake up every day with the mindset of serving others and bringing them value, you will eventually end up with this – and many other – awards.