Seattle City (spot)Light: Keith Osborne

This September will mark Keith Osborne’s third year with City Light. As part of the safety unit, Keith is the utility’s Ergonomist. “I develop the process, handle the assessments, visit the sites (both field and office), make recommendations, build metrics and manage the operations of it all,” he explained.

Born near Chicago (look for the Blackhawks banner at his workstation), Keith lives in Bremerton with his wife Linda where they enjoy the quiet setting. “We really like to spend time in our backyard,” he shared. “It’s our own little oasis.” Before moving to Washington, they lived in Colorado, but not before Keith served 25 years in the United States Army. “The military was great. I would not be who I am and where I am now if it wasn’t for the military,” Keith said. “I would do it all over again.” He also holds two bachelor degrees — one in applied management and the other in business administration — from National American University along with a dozen certifications. In this week’s (spot)Light, Keith shares how his interests and career blend together.

Keith with his wife Linda at Ocean Shores, one of their favorite places to visit

“I had a lot of injuries when I was in the military and know what it’s like to work through pain. The ability to lessen the injuries or discomfort of others was appealing so I volunteered to lead the ergonomics and wellness program at my last job. I became a certified specialist. I was already certified as a master fitness trainer and corporate wellness specialist which also complements this line of work.”

“When I meet with employees it’s often ‘This the job I’m doing. These are the tasks I’m completing. This is the chair that I’m sitting in. Can you look at these to see if a) I’m doing it correctly and b) if anything needs improvement?’ Productivity is huge. People are more productive when they’re comfortable. We have an online assessment tool that folks can take. I review their assessment and schedule an appointment which will determine what’s needed whether it’s a different chair, keyboard, computer mouse, desk etc. We also spend some time discussing how they interact with their workstation.”

“It’s important to be active. That’s one focus of my job, encouraging folks to move throughout the day, but it’s also something I practice in my personal life. In my garage, I have a treadmill and TRX bands that are suspended by support beams. I like to get outside, too. My wife and I go hiking and camping. Golf is another hobby of mine. I also enjoy learning about military history.”

“I moved here three years ago and love it. The climate, the energy. I take walks during the day to absorb it all. Our favorite place in Seattle is the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Ivar’s on the Pier and the Seattle Art Museum are also popular places with us.”

“I’m glad I work for this city. It’s been a great experience. People have been energized in wanting to get involved with the ergonomics process and growing it. Hopefully, we can keep getting good results, drive down the injury rates and make a good impact on this organization.”

Seattle City (spot)Light: Tomas Todd

Electrical Construction and Maintenance Supervisor Tomas Todd (aka T. Todd) just celebrated 20 years with Seattle City Light. Based at the utility’s North Service Center, his role encompasses the prioritization of the Relay Unit’s projects and support to the Distribution, Transmission and Power Production electrical systems. This includes Relay testing to meet the North American Electrical Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) compliance regulations.

This week, we shine the (spot)Light on Tomas for his previous occupation: 21 years of service with the United States Navy Seabees. “They told me that the ‘Navy is not just a job, it’s an adventure’ and I wanted to see the world,” said Tomas. And see the world he did—from the tropical region of the Marianas Islands to the arid countries of South East Asia and North Africa.

Tomas still serves his community today. Involved with local causes in Edmonds, he’s spent the last 12 years on the 4th of July planning committee and serves on the Coast Guard Auxiliary.  “You know what the Navy stands for? Never Again Volunteer Yourself,” he joked. “But I can’t help it. I enjoy working with others.”

Tomas diving the deep blue sea.

“Everyone thinks the Navy is ships, submarines and aircrafts, but I was in the occupational 13 field as a Constructional Electrician, responsible for the electrical power production, transmission and secondary supply. There are approximately 7,500 Seabees assigned worldwide. The Seabees was formed during WWII to provide horizontal, utility and vertical construction in times of conflicts and contingencies, something that today is ongoing in a few parts of the world. During peacetime, the Seabees provide civic action support throughout the world. Most recently, they completed building schools in Ethiopia and Honduras, as well as humanitarian assistance to several other areas.”

“The military is probably the most diverse organization. People come from all over—it’s a mix of ages, social areas, ethnicities and religious backgrounds. It exposed me to different ways of life which allowed me to understand and experience other ideas. I think the Navy was part of my success in being a people person. I like to learn about people’s ideas, thoughts and cultures, especially when it comes to food, languages and traditions.”

“I always wanted to come to Seattle. I liked the idea of everything being green—it’s the Emerald City! I also like the ocean. I’ve dived most of my life, even in the Navy. I decided to drop my anchor here because it had the best opportunities for me.”

“I try to dive a couple times a month and take advantage of being close to the Puget Sound and Canada. I also taught diving at my local dive shop and dove Alki beach often. Diving is great pastime because it allows you to explore a different environment that isn’t seen every day. It also changes with the time of year which brings different species of flora and fauna. Underwater photography is a great way to capture these dives and can be shared with others or kept as mementos. The most interesting critter I’ve encountered in these waters was a Giant Pacific Octopus.”

Tomas, we salute you for 21 years of service to our country! We also thank you for your contributions to your community, the City of Seattle and all over the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle City (spot)Light: John Abraham

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, John Abraham has been a public servant for the City of Seattle for more than 30 years. He joined the utility five years ago, but not before serving 26 years as a police officer for the Seattle Police Department. At age 17, he entered the Canadian Army, later transferring to the Canadian Navy (too much salt water in his veins) which would be followed by his time with the United States military. “Yup! I have a dual citizenship,” he happily shared.

As City Light’s Safe Driving Program Coordinator, John teaches safe driving tactics to utility employees. John works at the North Service Center Annex and resides in Mukilteo with his wife Joan, who also shares his love of adventure. “We just purchased a RV and can’t wait to use it along the coast,” he said. In this week’s (spot)Light, John talks rides, dives and drives.

John with his ride

“I’ve been riding motorcycles for almost 55 years. My wife and I take trips on our Harley. We’ll often hop on a road we’ve never been on and see where it takes us. Last year we went to Kamloops, British Columbia. We took the back roads and cruised Highway 1. We spent a week on the road just riding. It was a great time.”

“I’m also a scuba diver. I dived in the Navy and in almost every major ocean. I especially enjoy the beautiful waters of Hawaii. Here, I like the underwater park in Edmonds. Divers from all over the world come to the Pacific Northwest—they’re convinced it has some of the most beautiful diving in the world. Which it does.”

“When I was hired, the utility was having trouble with preventable collisions. My job was to reduce those collisions and provide training (both defensive driving and simulator) in addition to classroom and on-site instruction. When I started, the number of preventable crashes averaged 60-70 per year. The past three years’ preventable collisions have averaged about 30 per year. My new concentration is cone course training to emphasize pivot point and backing techniques. I’d like to focus more on that in the coming year.”

“Law enforcement was a great career. Many people don’t realize that while your profession is law enforcement, your job is to go home at the end of the day. The same is true here. Whether you work for City Light as a line worker or in administration, the job is to go home at the end of the day. That’s why I emphasize defensive driving tactics and do everything I can to help people pay attention to their driving. As the seasons change, I provide City Light with any changes to traffic situations. An example of this is the spring when the dusty motorcycles and bicycles come out of the garage from winter hibernation and hit the roads.”

“One of my first instructors taught me that the most important components in law enforcement are common sense and communication skills. I try and live by that. I’ve taken courses that have allowed me to learn how people think and what their attitudes are. When I came to the utility, I applied that way of thinking in my new role. It’s important to adapt your mindset and learn how to communicate with everyone.  This is a great, hardworking organization and I enjoy working with all the folks.”

Thank you, John, for your incredible years of service and for doing your part in keeping us safe! Ride on!