Faces of CNM: Brunel Koumba

Brunel, who’s from Congo, learned English at CNM and is now working toward a degree in Aviation Maintenance. He’s not afraid to dream big and plans to eventually return to Africa to open his own aviation business
July 22, 2021

Brunel Koumba, 27, is not shy about his plans for the future. He’s getting some prerequisites out of the way at CNM and then plans to enroll in the college’s Aviation Maintenance program. After graduation, he’d like to spend 10 years or so working here in the United States. Then he wants to take what he’s learned and open his own aviation maintenance business back in Congo, where he’s from.

“We need more businesses like that in Congo, and it’s a good opportunity for me to be a business owner,” he says. “My plan eventually is to grow my business and be a billionaire. That’s where I’m going.”

Brunel knows a dream that big will take a lot of hard work, but he’s not afraid. He came to the United States back in 2018 and barely knew any English. He enrolled in English as a Second Language classes at the Montoya Campus and can now write, read, and speak English fluently. 

To support himself, he works as a caregiver at an assisted living facility. He’s on the graveyard shift from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m., six days a week. 

Transitioning to the United States, and to CNM, has been easier than he thought. His uncle, who graduated from CNM, pointed him to the college and encouraged him to enroll. Brunel says he didn’t like Albuquerque when he first got here, but has actually come to love the city.

“I’ve never had any problems in Albuquerque,” he says. “And it’s nice that there’s never any traffic, ha!”

At CNM he’s relied heavily on help from advisors and instructors and says everyone has always been kind and available. 

Melissa Gonzales, an Academic Coach with Connect Services, has helped Brunel figure out his path forward and knows his hard work will help him succeed. 

"As Brunel's Academic Coach, I am continually impressed with his openness to learn and take risks,” Melissa says. “I know he will be successful in his program because he is willing to put the time and energy into what he is learning. He is inspiring and I am grateful to get to work with him.”

Brunel tries to remind himself of his goals every day. For example, he saw a Lamborghini parked downtown the other day, and while admiring the car, he told himself he could own something similar if he keeps working toward his goal.

“I’m not afraid to think big,” he says. “That car could be mine. Why not?”