Seattle City (spot)Light: Allen Lunde

Allen Lunde is one of the newest faces to the utility, more specifically the Skagit Hydroelectric Project. As a summer intern, Allen is working at the Skagit’s warehouse and is assisting with inventory management.  “A large part of my job is understanding the operation of the project and seeing how different departments communicate with one another,” Allen explained. “My role is to come in with a fresh perspective to see if I can fill in any gaps.”

Allen grew up in Federal Way (shout out to the 253-area code) and has enjoyed his Northwest upbringing. “Washington just has so much to offer,” he shared. “I find it hard to imagine ever moving away.”  A senior at Washington State University (Go Cougs!), Allen is studying Information Systems and Finance.  He also serves as an ambassador for the Carson College of Business.

In this week’s (spot)Light, Allen talks about his time in Newhalem and the excitement of living in such a thriving region.

Allen enjoying the outdoors

“Growing up, my life was centered around faith, family, friends and soccer. I played club soccer for several years; it’s been fun re-living the ‘glory days’ with intramural soccer at WSU, or just kicking a ball around with friends. Within the past year I’ve done a half-marathon with a buddy and completed the STP bike ride with my dad! I enjoy hanging out with my loved ones and staying active.”

“It’s exciting to know that I live in and around one of the fastest growing areas in the nation. Within the past ten years, it seems like the rest of America (and the world) is starting to figure out just how special the greater Seattle area can be if you get out and experience it. Different parts of the community have felt some backlash of that fast-paced growth, of which I witnessed firsthand while volunteering at the ROOTS shelter in the U-District. I’m not a civic engagement expert by any means, but I would like to see leaders of this wealthy Seattle tech-scene continue to step up and create change to help our homeless crisis.”

“I live on-site in Newhalem right in the heart of the North Cascades. It’s beautiful here, and I’m blessed to be able to call this place home for the summer! I love how a plethora of hikes and trails are a ten-minute drive away and that I can go adventuring any day of the week. I also enjoy meeting different people at our Skagit project. There’s a wide-variety of job descriptions and each employee has unique responsibilities. So, with everyone working in different areas, there is a certain sense of community present. We are all working toward something much greater than ourselves and that bond is the glue that holds everything together. Everybody up here is extremely friendly, and we look out for one another. It is immediately apparent that these servant leaders are working with the best interest of Seattle citizens at heart.”

Seattle City (spot)Light: Stefanie Johnson

Stefanie Johnson just celebrated two years at City Light and is part of the Power Contracts, Regional Affairs and Strategic Planning division. “I manage some of our wholesale power and transmission contracts and participate in stakeholder forums with BPA and CAISO,” Stefanie explained. “We engage in regional discussions around certain issues and policies to determine how they might impact the way City Light delivers and sells power, and we advocate for solutions that will benefit the utility and our ratepayers. I also am the lead for the Energy Imbalance Market transmission team.”

A Tacoma native, Stefanie headed east to study political studies and history at Whitworth University in Spokane. She went on to achieve a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington. “I’m a big UW fan and have season tickets to Husky football and volleyball,” she shared. “I have a good group of friends that will rally for games.”  She lives in Beacon Hill, an area she loves especially since it’s not too far from her family in Tacoma.

In this week’s (spot)Light, Stefanie talks about her path to City Light and shares her favorite weekend escape.

Stefanie is all smiles on Anderson Island

“Before City Light, I was an analyst at the Washington State Attorney General’s office for over ten years. The team I worked on served as the ratepayer advocate for customers of investor owned utilities. I knew nothing about the utility industry when I started, and never anticipated spending my career in this field, but I was drawn in by complexity of the issues and the importance of the services provided.”

“In between college and grad school, I did AmeriCorps for a year. I wanted to serve my own community, so I went back to Tacoma. I worked with children in foster care as their educational advocate. I helped make connections between children, schools and foster parents. It was a challenging experience, but meaningful.”

“One of my favorite things to do is spend time at our family house on Anderson Island. My grandparents built the house 60 years ago, and we’re very fortunate to have this place that brings us all together, and where we’ve made so many memories. During the summer, I visit as much as I can. We have this great spot right on the water, so I spend a lot of time taking beach walks, boating, and swimming. Our neighbors have a basketball court and when I was a kid I played in many family pick-up games there, but now it is more often where my nephews beat me at H-O-R-S-E.”

“I really enjoy working at City Light. I’m always learning something new. A lot is changing in this industry and we are trying to figure out how to best serve our customers as we move forward. I’ve also been involved with our ‘Women in Power’ group since its inception and am a vice-chair. It’s been really exciting to see our momentum build. Women are underrepresented in the electric industry. Women in Power’s focus is on fostering professional development, providing support for one another, and bringing to light issues that impact women in the workplace. Having a place where women can come together, work on challenges and build relationships is important to helping change the status quo.”

Seattle City (spot)Light: Josh Walter

Josh Walter first began his City Light career as an intern in 2008. In 2009, he returned to the utility and now serves as a Strategic Advisor for the Power Contracts, Regional Affairs and Strategic Planning division. “We advocate for City Light and our resources to participate in energy markets in the West to benefit our customers,” Josh explained. “We work directly with the Bonneville Power Administration and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and try to make it easier and cost effective to bring our hydro resources into various market opportunities.”

A Montana native, Josh attended Washington State University and later transferred to Montana State University where he graduated with a degree in political science. He also spent two years in AmeriCorps and attended law school at Vermont Law School. “I started law school with the intent of studying environmental law,” Josh explained. “At the time, our school offered a new curriculum that specialized in energy. I found myself moving away from the environmental focus and spent more time on the energy law and policy side of my legal studies.”

Josh lives in South Lake Union but is moving to the Leschi neighborhood with his wife Kelly and their two children, Amelia (four years old) and Leo (ten months old). In this week’s (spot)Light, he talks about his role at the utility and shares a few of his hobbies.

Josh and his son Leo (at 8 weeks old)

“I grew up in Butte, Montana. It was everything you could want as a kid. I was surrounded by mountains and rivers and spent a lot of time outside. I’ve always enjoyed living in places that have great access to the outdoors…. Montana…. Washington…. Vermont. When I was in AmeriCorps, I served as a crew leader for the Montana Conservation Corp and spent a ton of time in Yellowstone. That was beautiful.”

“I’ve been trying as much as I can to get back into running. Historically, it’s something I’ve done quite a bit, but has just gotten harder with two kids. I like running along the waterfront. I’m also a woodworker. I do quite a bit of woodworking when I have the time. I’ve made cabinets, tables, and various other pieces of furniture. There are quite a few things floating around our house that I have made…our dining room table…cutting boards…our book shelf. Recently, I made a vanity for my parents’ home.”

In terms of his work at Seattle City Light, “our group conducts a lot of research and participates in numerous and diverse stakeholder groups. This mainly consists of utilities getting together to discuss initiatives to see where we might fit in; and for Seattle, how these potential activities will benefit our customers. For example, Bonneville or CAISO may have a new idea or a change to a current business practice. We participate to influence what the ultimate outcomes are. We’re advocating to make it better for City Light and our customers.”

“One of the great things about this work is I’m always working on something new. Things move relatively slow in the energy world, but there’s enough change in issues to keep it interesting. There’s a lot of new, innovative, interesting things to keep us intellectually stimulated. We have a great workgroup. I also like that my interest in the environment is an important theme here. I value the fact that environmental issues are a major focus of the utility.”

Seattle City (spot)Light: Martha Molina

Martha Molina celebrated two-years at City Light in early June. As the Return to Work Coordinator, Martha works in the utility’s Safety division. “I act as the liaison between the Seattle Department of Human Resources and City Light’s supervisors, managers and injured workers,” Martha explained. “In my role, I help bring people back to work. Studies show that the quicker an employee returns to work following an industrial injury, the better chance they have for a 100% recovery as opposed to being away from work.”

Martha was born in Guatemala, but also lived in Los Angeles for six years before moving to Seattle. “I moved here when I was ten, so I’ve spent the greater part of my life in the Northwest,” Martha shared.  “I haven’t been to Guatemala since I was four. We have a big trip planned this summer and I can’t wait!”

Martha lives in Federal Way with her husband Mario and their two chihuahuas, Buttercup and Dixie. In this week’s (spot)Light, Martha talks about her volunteer work and how it’s applicable to her role at the utility.

A family selfie: Martha, Mario, Buttercup and Dixie

“I went to Highline College, transferred to the University of Washington and graduated with a degree in political science. I originally wanted to be a lawyer, but after working at a law firm, I realized that it wasn’t for me. The law firm where I worked specialized in worker’s compensation. From there, I went to a risk management group. Both of those experiences gave me a good foundation for the work I do now. I’m able to interpret code and laws and know how to apply them.”

“I do a lot of work with the community, specifically with young woman empowerment. I help young girls develop their skills for professional careers and, overall, build their self-esteem. I recently presented at the ‘Young Educated Ladies Leading’ (Y.E.L.L.) Summit where girls 14 – 18 years old participated in a variety of different workshops. It’s so important to develop those life skills. It’s also important to have an outlet; to learn how to speak for yourself and to be confident in who you are and how you feel. Those are themes we focus on at these Summits. My presentation was titled ‘Embracing your Inner Monsters.’ It’s fun to work with youth and teach them that no matter what challenges or obstacles you face, there is still opportunity to grow and be successful.”

“I also volunteer with Hispanic Seafair. I help with interview workshops, resume reviews, drafting cover letters…topics that align with career and vocational pursuits. Ironically enough, throughout the claims process, there is a portion that deals with vocational assessment which ties into my day-to-day work at City Light! Also, go Huskies!”

Seattle City (spot)Light: Alfred Love

Alfred Love has been at City Light for three years, but just celebrated 20 years of service with the City of Seattle. He began his career in the Parks and Recreation department and is now the Credit and Collections Supervisor in the utility’s Customer Care division. “People hear the word ‘collections’ and think negatively, but that’s not the case for us as the customer is the one making contact,” Alfred explained. “We deal with closed accounts, move dates, unreceived bills and finalize open transactions.”

A longtime resident of the Northwest, Alfred grew up in Rainier Beach. He lives in Kent, but is still active in the Rainier Beach community. Alfred and his fiancée, Ashanti, have five children and one grandson. In this week’s (spot)Light, Alfred talks about his volunteer work in the community and why he enjoys customer interface.

Alfred with his team

“I used to go to the Rainier Beach Community Center when I was a kid. I was always there to play basketball. Eventually, I started coaching which led to a position working in the after-school program. I was in high school at the time, so it was a part-time position, but eventually I applied for a full-time position as a recreation attendant. I’ve always enjoyed positions that were customer facing.”

“I’m still very much involved with the Rainier Beach Community Center. I’m the head coach of two basketball teams and the founder of the Seattle Youth Recreation Foundation (SYRF), which is a non-profit organization for the youth. I created the organization to help the kids at the community center have a better team experience. We take the kids to an annual travel basketball tournament and other monthly outings. It gives them the experience of being on a team without having a certain level of skill or finances to support the endeavor. It’s a recreational team. I’ve been running SYRF for nine years. It’s a wonderful experience. I’m also a minister at Spiritual Blessings Christian Church which also keeps me going.”

“I’ve been coaching basketball for 30 years. I’m now coaching kids of kids I use to coach! I’m still running plays from my early years of coaching and my previous players, who are now parents, are recognizing those plays! It’s funny how it comes back full circle. But the play still works, so why not?! I’m a basketball guy; a community guy. I just love to do what I do and keep it going.”

“My desire to serve and help others ties into my role here at City Light. I like coming up with process improvements and looking at things from different perspectives. It helps to serve our mission of customer service. We don’t want our customers to go to collections. That’s not our goal. Our goal is to prevent them from getting there. There are different programs we implement to help streamline the process. I’m always looking at ways to update that process and make sure that things are in a constant state of improvement. Like I said, I’ve always enjoyed positions with customer interaction.”