Seattle City (spot)Light: Katie Seling

Katie Seling has served on City Light’s Customer Energy Solutions (CES) team for the past six years. “In my current role, I evaluate the effectiveness of conservation programs,” Katie explained. “Are our customers saving what we think they’re saving? Are people participating in areas we think they are? How well is a program designed—is this something we can make more streamlined for our customers? Have we reached all of our customers and made programs available equitably?”

A native Washingtonian, Katie grew up in Lake Stevens and lives in Shoreline with her husband, Peter. They have two young sons with whom they enjoy the area’s parks and activities. “Green Lake is one of our favorite places to hang out during the summer,” she said. In this week’s (spot)Light, Katie talks about her family, her love of music and how her philosophy degree from the University of Washington laid a strong foundation for her job.

Katie and her sons at a Pride parade

“I really like living here. I love that we’re so close to the water and that we have such easy access to the mountains. I also like the climate—maybe not ten months out of the year when it’s raining, but it does make everything green. My husband and I have traveled around and can imagine living in other places, but not for long. We talk about taking our family to live abroad for a year or two, but we’d always return home to the Northwest.”

“Right now, baseball is kind of taking up the bulk of our family time. My older son is a baseball fanatic. My husband is also a huge Mariners fan. We’re a Mariners family. Even when they’re losing, we cheer them on. So, we’re either watching our son play baseball at the park or have it on TV, the radio or getting updates on Peter’s phone.”

“Music is also another family activity. When he’s not teaching middle school kids, my husband is a musician—he plays guitar, primarily—so the kids are constantly playing the various instruments we have at home. Seattle has a great music scene. Some of our favorite places to catch a show are Neumos and the Neptune. Lo-fi and the Columbia City Theater are amazing little venues. I like it when my husband plays there and at the Vera Project, where our kids sometimes join him on stage. We’re very proud to be KEXP supporters, too.”

“I like to write and am a creative person, but philosophy grounded me in analysis and critical thinking. So, I’ve applied those traits to my work with our conservation programs. I also love data and determining who is taking advantage of our programs and who isn’t. Another huge focus of mine is ensuring that the utility is creating good equity-focused programs. It’s important that RSJI (the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative) is broadly integrated into various aspects of our organization like internal operations, our programs and our evaluation process.”

“I like working at City Light because we’re serving the community. I don’t like doing work that doesn’t connect to my values. Community service, education and social justice are my three top values, and if I’m not part of those things, I just can’t whole-heartedly invest in my work.”

Seattle City (spot)Light: Seema Ghosh

Seema Ghosh first came to City Light as an intern when she was studying electrical engineering at the University of Washington. After college, she remained in the utility’s generation group for another two years, but left for graduate school at Georgia Tech and later pursued a career in renewable energy. After nine years at a consulting firm, Seema returned to the utility as a Power Systems Engineer, a position she’s held the past nine months.

“My home is in Customer Energy Solutions (CES). I’m in our technology services group there,” Seema explained. “In that role, I look at new and emerging technologies and figure out how we can support the customer with things like connecting a battery or figuring out different ways to conserve energy. Just staying on top of the market.”

Born in Wisconsin, Seema’s family moved to Silverdale, Washington when she was ten. She now lives in Columbia City with her husband Kris, 15-month old daughter Ruby and a pitbull mix named Betsy. In this week’s (spot)Light, Seema shares what sparked her engineering career and the drive behind her work.

“My parents always encouraged me to become an engineer. At first I wasn’t sure; all I knew was that I wanted to do something meaningful–something that would make an impact on my community, as well as the world. I ended up liking math and science and decided to give engineering a try. In my classes, we studied renewable energy sources and that’s when I realized that my engineering work could make a positive impact.”

“I interned at City Light because I wanted to be in power and energy. Being in the generation group was awesome. We visited dams and got to see firsthand how energy is created. I left to do consulting work in renewables, but eventually came back. I connected with folks in our conservation group and when I learned about what they were working on, I knew I wanted to be part of it. The same with our technology unit, they are working on grid modernization and other interesting, forward-thinking initiatives. As a consult, I read and had discussion with clients about what’s happening in the industry but here I get to be part of the team that’s actually implementing new solutions and technologies.”

“Currently, I’m working on the public electrical vehicle (EV) charging program. That’s been taking up most of my time and I’ve enjoyed it. The majority of my background and experience consists of technical analysis and engineering, not program implementation. Supporting the EV project is exhilarating because, I’m actually building something. That means talking to different groups like construction, rates and transportation. The whole process has been interesting, especially figuring out who I need to talk to and why. It’s a big picture problem that requires a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. On top of that, everyone I’ve spoken to has been super helpful and excited about the project.”

“Through the EV pilot, it’s been amazing to see how a utility runs. I mean, we do everything. Transmission, generation, distribution, billing… the whole gamut. It’s cool to work at a place where the projects that you’re working on have a local impact.”