Seattle City (spot)Light: Shaun Darragh

Shaun Darragh is no stranger to the utility’s Lighting Design Lab (LDL). In 2001, he joined LDL as a Lighting Specialist where he taught courses and provided consultation for four years. Shaun recently returned to the lab where he’s served as a Senior Lighting Specialist the past six months. “I provide consultation to clients ranging from utility and City of Seattle folks to commercial customers,” Shaun explained. “I also develop educational programming for the lab.”

Originally a mechanical engineering student, Shaun shifted gears while at the University of Massachusetts and graduated with a degree in communications with a focus on film and video production. He also achieved a minor in theatrical design. “When I was in school there weren’t many programs dedicated to architectural design so I describe myself as largely self-taught with the help of many mentors,” Shaun said. “One of my mentors was a fellow named Bill Lam, one of the godfathers of architectural lighting design. I was very lucky to have him as a personal mentor.”

Shaun lives in Meadowbrook with his wife Rachelle and their two cats. In this week’s (spot)Light, Shaun talks about his hobbies and his role at LDL.

Shaun at Stevens Pass

“I moved to Seattle in 1994. It has better mountains than the east coast which is where I grew up. I’m a skier. It’s a lifelong passion. This will be my 49th ski season. Locally, I ski Steven’s Pass, but the best place I’ve ever skied is St. Anton in Austria. It’s where Hannes Schneider more or less invented the parallel turn.   His son Herbert participated in my race league when I was a kid. I’m also an avid bicyclist and a scuba diver. My wife is a big diver and she’s the one who got me into it. I dive locally near Redondo Beach, but have also traveled to warmer spots like Honduras and Hawaii. When I’m not doing these activities, I’m usually at home working in my woodshop. I like to build furniture.”

“I’ve been a professional lighting designer for nearly 30 years, including 25 years as an architectural lighting designer. I was originally a theatre designer, but I got into architectural design after a mentor suggested it to me. It hadn’t occurred to me at the time that architectural lighting was designed, but since then it’s been my primary focus.”

“What I enjoy about lighting is that I can directly affect people’s engagement with architecture and the built environment. Light integrates the visual environment. What I specifically love about this job is that it allows me to give back to the design and construction community in teaching what I’ve learned over the years while promoting sustainability. I think it’s incredible that I get to help the next generation of designers, engineers and contractors.”

“At the lab, we teach in the entirety of the Bonneville Power Association service territory. I like City Light in particular because of the utility’s deep interest in sustainability, the ongoing commitment to the industry and the market transformation that we’re all engaged in. It’s been great to be back.”

Seattle City (spot)Light: Eric Strandberg

Eric Strandberg began his career at the utility’s Lighting Design Lab (LDL) as an independent contractor in 1995. Five years later, he officially became a member of City Light and currently serves as a Senior Commercial Lighting Specialist at LDL.  “I describe us as educators,” Eric explained. “We teach classes and offer consultations to anyone making decisions about lighting. There is a lot to know about lighting, and we provide our expertise or conduct research to help with their inquiries, from equipment to lighting design.”

A New Jersey native, Eric has called the Northwest home for 35 years. He graduated from Evergreen College where he studied lighting for theatre along with film and video production. In college, Eric met his wife Hally and, recently, the two celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They live in Ballard with their beloved black lab Stella.

In this week’s (spot)Light, Eric shares his journey to Seattle and what he enjoys about his role.

Eric and Hally at 12,500’ (Harrison Pass, Sierra Nevada mountains)

“I love lighting. It sounds strange, but even as a kid, I was fascinated by light and color. That interest persisted all the way through college to present day. At the Lab, I feel like a kid in a candy store—I love light and I get to tell people about it. It’s also an exciting time to be in lighting. The LED revolution has changed the entire landscape of lighting design and practice.”

“There are different ways to get into lighting. One path is through the arts. Another avenue is through science, specifically physiology in understanding how the eye perceives. The third roadmap is architecture and building engineering. You need to have a science element, but also that artistic mind to be truly successful in lighting.”

“In 1981, I moved to Seattle by riding my bicycle cross-country. It was a one-way trip! I wasn’t into biking before that, but I decided to set a goal for myself. I thought ‘I’d like to get out of New Jersey; I know people in Olympia and I think it would be fun to ride my bike.’ So, I got the equipment, had a little training, grabbed some maps and just went one day at a time. My brother was in Chicago; I had an aunt in Kansas City; and I knew somebody in Denver. Other than those stops, the route was made up as I went. It took a little over 50 days. I spent a few days at various stops, but it essentially took all summer. Yellowstone blew my mind and was a peak experience of the ride.”

“Hally and I love to backpack. Every year we do a week-long trip. We’ve gone above the Arctic Circle. We’ve explored the high Sierra Nevada mountains. We also just did a trip in the North Cascades. Once we hit the high trails, we didn’t see anybody for days at a time. We trekked around granite flows and slabs. It was amazing. Washington state has a lot to offer.”

“I like being part of a municipality and the City of Seattle is a great place to be. Not only do I love being in lighting, but I feel really good about being in conservation. I think conservation is good thing for which to advocate—it sends the right message and is guiding us down the right path.”

Seattle City Light Hires Executive Director for Lighting Design Lab

SEATTLE – Seattle City Light named Irina Rasputnis as its executive director of Lighting Design Lab (LDL). She will oversee the operational administration and strategic direction of the organization, supporting technology and educational needs of regional utilities, the design community, and northwest regional trade allies. Rasputnis will join City Light’s leadership team and report directly to industry veteran, Edward Smalley, manager of City Light’s technology services group.

Irina Rasputnis

Rasputnis is lighting certified by the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions (NCQLP) and comes to Lighting Design Lab from the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), based in Medford, Mass., formerly part of Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, where she was the DLC Program Manager. During her tenure, she conducted large-scale stakeholder insights and needs assessments, built programs, and contributed to the organization’s business planning. In addition to her industry recognized technical expertise, Rasputnis has great purview of utility programs and the educational needs of trade allies.

“Irina is very insightful, and has a high degree of understanding when it comes to navigating complex information and customer needs. What struck me the most about her, was how quickly she drove to solutions when asked about obstacles facing the lighting market today,” said Smalley. “I am excited she will be joining our team and the great group of experienced professionals at LDL.”

Rasputnis graduated from Northeastern University in Boston with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering, and completed coursework toward earning a Master of Arts in urban and environmental policy and planning. She will begin her new role with Lighting Design Lab on Dec. 4, after making the move to Seattle with her family.

Lighting Design Lab
Lighting Design Lab (LDL) is a commercial and industrial lighting validation and education organization service of Seattle City Light with additional funding from other major northwest electric utilities and energy conservation partners. For over 28 years, LDL has provided consultation and learning services to the contracting, utility, design, and architectural communities. Lighting Design Lab’s mission is to build business value for its customers by ensuring they have the education and technical information they need to make informed decisions about the adoption of energy-efficient lighting and connected building technologies and practices.

Twitter: @LightingDLab –

Seattle City Light
Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.

Seattle City (spot)Light: Elizabeth Lyon

Elizabeth Lyon has worked at the utility’s Lighting Design Lab (LDL) for over four years. LDL, a unit of Customer Energy Solutions, focuses on commercial and industrial lighting education and evaluation services for regional utilities, energy efficiency organizations and trade professionals. “I’m the marketing-communications strategist,” Beth explained. “My role is to expand the lab’s visibility and increase the activity of our services.”

Originally from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Beth graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in communications and a minor in business. She also studied retail advertising at the Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising and achieved a graduate certificate in advanced digital marketing from the University of Washington. Beth originally moved to Seattle for work, but was quickly attracted to the region’s diversity and proximity to outdoor activities. She lives in West Seattle. “I love its sense of community; how close it is to the Sound and the fact that it’s very dog-friendly,” Beth shared.

In this week’s (spot)Light, Beth shares what keeps her busy and what she enjoys about LDL.

Beth and Cameron

“Skiing, biking and hiking are a few of my favorite outdoor activities. Our access to the mountains is what makes living in the Northwest so great. I’ll head up to Whistler for a weekend of skiing, but I also like Crystal Mountain. I also ski outside the country. I’ve skied in France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. I just think that the snow is much better. France is my favorite place in the world to ski, particularly Chamonix. Courmayeur in Italy is a close second.”

“I give back by volunteering as a crisis response dog handler and responder. Sadly, my previous response dog, Rex, died unexpectedly, but I have a new partner in training, Cameron. He’s currently away at early ‘boot camp.’ He’s learning typical puppy skills while being exposed to environments filled with a lot of people and a lot of noise.  When he’s about one year old, Cameron will become a therapy dog. He won’t test for crisis response until he’s about two. All handlers and dogs with our response organization (there are several across the country) are highly trained in FEMA incident command, traumatology and dog handling. We’re also registered and insured.”

“Through this work, I’ve had the honor to be at the Oso mudslide and the Seattle/King County Clinic at Seattle Center. And, although rare events, my team was deployed to work the shootings at Seattle Pacific University and Marysville High School, providing comfort to victims and students through the love of a dog. Tragic deployments can come at a moment’s notice and I’m grateful for my boss who is very supportive of this effort.”

“I really enjoy the people I work with at LDL. We’re a small, scrappy team which allows us to be nimble and proactive for our customers. I’m always happy to share the work that we do. If anyone would like a tour of LDL, just let me know!”

Edward Smalley Named Manager for Seattle City Light Conservation Resources Division

Edward Smalley

Seattle City Light recently announced the selection of Edward Smalley as manager of the customer-facing teams for its Conservation Resources Division. In his new role, Smalley will manage the strategic and collaborative direction of the Energy Advisor group, the Residential Conservation Implementation team and the Lighting Design Lab.

“All of the folks in Conservation Resources and at the Lighting Design Lab do incredible work in lighting and energy conservation,” Smalley said. “The opportunities to build upon that work are seemingly endless, and I’m excited to be more directly involved with that effort. Beyond my initial goal of developing a strong, collaborative team, I want to ensure each member has the strategic support, both inside and outside of the utility, to meet the dynamic needs of our customers.”

Smalley worked as City Light’s street lighting engineering manager, establishing the unit and developing the utility’s planned maintenance and LED street lighting programs. Most recently, he served as director of the Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium, a position appointed by the U.S. Department of Energy with support from the City of Seattle and City Light. During his time with the consortium, Smalley oversaw the planning and implementation of the city’s energy efficient streetlight conversion. Seattle was one of the first major U.S. cities to adapt to residential LED street lighting under his advocacy and leadership.

“We are so pleased to have a strategic partner like Edward as we grow our visibility in the market, expand services, and really bring a much higher-level of collaboration between Lighting Design Lab, Seattle City Light and the Lab’s other funding partners. The timing couldn’t have been better,” said Kurt Nielsen, Manager of the Lighting Design Lab.

Smalley began his new position on April 1.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.

The Lighting Design Lab is a commercial lighting not-for-profit education facility funded by major Northwest electric utilities and conservation partners, including Seattle City Light. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the lab provides consultation, demonstration and educational services to the engineering, lighting designer, and architectural communities. The lab’s mission is to transform the lighting market and build advocacy for conservation through the promotion and education of energy efficient technologies and design options in commercial and industrial retrofit applications and new construction. For more information about the Lighting Design Lab visit them online here.