Shukracharya was the preceptor of the asuras and was the only one who knew the sanjeevani mantra. Since he commanded such power, I'm wondering if he was a brahma-rishi. The wiki page as well as other sites do not mention this but I just want to make sure.
Certainly he was a rishi of great caliber. He did one of the most difficult penance ever and thus obtained the great vidya of immortality directly from lord Shiva. This puts him in the category of highest seers.
Ushanas is the name of a Vedic rishi with the patronymic Kāvya (descendant of Kavi, AVŚ 4.29.6), who was later identified as Ushanas Shukra. He is venerated as a seer in the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna tells Arjun that among Kavis he is Ushanas. Ushanas is also the name of the author of a Dharmashastra.
Apart from this, his contribution to neeti shastra is also phenomenal.
He was also given the elite status of planet in the saura mandala.
S’ukrâchârya said :-- I ask for Mantras, O Deva! from you that are not possessed by Brihaspatî, for the defeat of the Devas, and the victory of the Asuras.
Vyâsa said :-- On hearing his words, the all-knowing S’ankara S’iva began to think what He would do in this matter.
Certainly, this is with the revengeful object of attacking the Devas, for their defeat and for the victory of the Asuras that this Muni has come.
The Devas ought to be protected by me; thus thinking, S’ankara Mahes’vara advised him an entirely difficult tapasyâ to practise.
Full one thousand years he would practise tapasyâ with feet upwards and head downwards, he will have to inhale the smoke of burnt husk. Then he will get the Mantra and his desires will be fulfilled.
That would be done; thus saying to S’ankara, S’ukrâchârya practised that excellent vow, peaceful and inhaling the smoke of husk to get that Mantra.
In this way one thousand years passed duly, the God Mahâdeva was very pleased and addressed S’ukrâchârya that He had come to give him boons that he desire.
36-37. The God Mahâdeva said :-- Whatever there exists in this universe, whatever you see with your eyes and whatever cannot be described in words, you will be the lord of all these and the conqueror of all. There is no doubt in this. You cannot be killed by any creature; you will be the ruler of all beings and will be reckoned as the best of the Brâhmanas.