Seattle City (spot)Light: Melissa Skelton

Melissa Skelton has been at City Light for three and a half years. She initially served as a Legal Affairs Advisor on a small team in the General Manager’s Office, but now works in Regulatory Affairs as a strategic advisor. “I love my job. I’m in the right place at the right time,” Melissa said. “My work centers around monitoring regulatory policy issues and dockets at the federal regulatory level for matters associated with transmission and wholesale sales of power.  So, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is my main ballpark, where we look at high-level issues that affect the entire utility and engage City Light as necessary.”

Melissa was born in Washington D.C. but spent most of her life in Kansas. She attended the University of Kansas (go Jayhawks!) and earned a degree in Biodiversity, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology. “With my ecology background, it really matters to me how City Light interacts with our environment,” Melissa shared. “Everything we do (or don’t do) affects every other living thing on this planet.”

After college, she took the legal route and attended Washburn University School of Law. Melissa and her husband Joshua relocated to Seattle in 2014 and welcomed their first child, Malcolm, two years later. This past February, they welcomed their second son, Conrad.

In this week’s (spot)Light, Melissa talks about the joys of being a mother, running with elk and sailing around the world.

 

Melissa with her family.

“I love trying new things. I love to cook and travel. I like to hike, go to hot yoga, anything active. I also enjoy reading, being part of book clubs, all those types of things. What’s cool is that Joshua and I incorporate our kids into the things we like. We bought a double jogging stroller, so we take them out when we go for a run or take them hiking. We can still do a lot of the things we love and show them what we love.”

“Right now, I’m focused on running. I’m training for a 10k in September and excited to have a reason to train. It’s also helping me get back in shape after having our second baby. There are two places where I love to run. One is Meadowbrook Farm. It’s right at the base of Mount Si. It has beautiful views. There’s a big elk herd out there; you can often see them in the early morning hours. It’s neat to be out there with your thoughts and nature and run next to elk. How cool is that? The other place I like to run is Snoqualmie which is where I live. We have some bears in the neighborhood behind us. They’re black bears so they’re not aggressive but there is a mom with two babies, so you must be careful. I have a pretty fast pace when I run in the evenings around there!”

“I was fortunate to do the Semester at Sea program when I was in college, which is a semester aboard a ship sailing to ten locations all around the world. We started in Vancouver, then went to Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Egypt, Croatia, Turkey, Italy, and Morocco before ending back in Miami. It was an amazing opportunity and opened my eyes to issues around the world. I’m looking forward to international travel again in the future (once the boys are out of diapers!).”

Seattle City (spot)Light: Scott Richter

Office Aide Scott Richter has worked at City Light for 20 years. As part of the Safety, Health and Wellness team, Scott helps to manage the day-to-day duties of the division.  “I’m responsible for a lot of the filing, office supply maintenance and mail deliveries,” Scott explained. “I also help with CLEA and our archives.”

Originally from Mississippi, Scott moved to Washington with his family. He’s lived here for 30 years and currently resides in Federal Way. In this week’s (spot)Light, Scott talks about his journey at City Light and shares a few of his hobbies (hint: you can find him at the movies).

Scott on a recent trip to Disneyland

“I like going to the movies. I make recommendations to others and tell people what films they should and shouldn’t see. Right now, I’m excited to see Mamma Mia 2. I liked the first movie so much and am looking forward to the new one. The music is fun; I like musicals. I also like to watch TV and play my Nintendo Switch.”

“Canada is on my bucket list. My parents and sister have visited. I also want to check out the ‘Wings Over Washington’ ride at the pier. Within the past year, I took a trip to California and visited Disneyland. I hadn’t been there since I was seven. It was nice to see all the changes and visit two parks instead of one. While I was there, I got to ride ‘Soarin’ Around the World.’ It was interesting. I want to compare that attraction to ‘Wings Over Washington’ because it focuses on local scenery.”

“I’m a sports fan. I like it all. I’ve been watching the Seattle Storm. The Sounders are trying to win some games to get into the playoffs. The Mariners are struggling but I still watch them. I support all our local teams. Once a year, I’ll go to a game at Husky Stadium.”

“I was the City’s first supported employee. During my time here, I’ve been recognized with a Light, Power and Pride award for customer service. I wish other supported employees would receive the same recognition. I think some people forget what we do and how valuable we are. We bring many years of service; there are now more than 100 supported employees throughout the City. The program has grown a lot and I’ve come a long way since I was first hired. It’s been a long road, but I now have a strong support system. The people I work with check on me, on my job tasks. They know what I’m capable of doing. There was even a time when the team asked for my opinion about hiring another supported employee. I shared my advice and they took it. It’s a good feeling.”

Seattle City (spot)Light: Eugene Haller

Sr. Compliance Analyst Eugene Haller has been at City Light for two and a half years. As part of the Regulatory Affairs division, Eugene helps ensure that the utility is following government regulations. “There are quite a few regulations that are put out by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC),” Eugene explained. “All of these regulations promote electrical grid reliability. Kind of like OSHA which promotes safety. It’s the same deal on the electrical side.”

Before joining City Light, Eugene served in the Navy for nine years. During his tenure, he attended the Navy’s Nuclear Electronic Technician School. “It was a fantastic hands-on experience,” Eugene said. While in the Navy, he also attended The New School in New York state and graduated with a degree in human resources management. “My career is nowhere near the subject I studied in school,” Eugene shared with a laugh.

Eugene and his wife Kirsten are high school sweethearts who have been married for 17 years. They live in Black Diamond with their two daughters, Claire and Chloe. “Spending time with my girls is my favorite thing to do – even if it’s just picking raspberries in the backyard,” Eugene said.

In this week’s (spot)Light, Eugene talks about his time in the Navy and shares a few of his hobbies.

Eugene with his family at Rattlesnake Ridge

“Work’s been dynamic recently. The industry has been fast-paced in keeping up with technology and other advancements. We’ve been busy with different projects. We recently turned over an entire suite of standards that impact the system control center. That was substantial. Our team also helped to ensure that the Denny substation was brought in correctly on the compliance side.”

“I served as an Electronics Technician in the Navy – it’s kind of how I got started in this field. I went to South Carolina where I did some of my schooling and eventually transferred to the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in Everett. From there, I went to New York where I taught for three and a half years. I absolutely loved teaching as an instructor in New York. The Navy was a great experience for me. I was able to travel the world, meet new people and learn so much from my time as an instructor and as a student. My favorite place I visited was Australia. It was a three-week port call which made for a lot of fun. The extended time gave us more opportunity to explore.”

“I still love to travel. My wife and I go camping in Nehalem Bay in Oregon. We’ve made it our annual camping trip these past five years. It’s just beautiful. The kids love playing in the creeks. My wife and I are rock hounds, so we’re always looking for interesting finds.  We like looking for agate rocks in the waters down there. Another favorite hobby of mine is shed horn hunting. It requires a lot of hiking and gets you out in the wilderness. Over the years, I’ve collected some beautiful antlers. I plan to start making items out of them. So far, I’ve made a coat rack and a towel hanger. I want to build a lamp or chandelier and maybe some furniture like a bench or stool.”

Seattle City (spot)Light: Will Andersen

Will Andersen has worked at City Light’s Skagit Hydroelectric Project since August 2016. He joined the utility as a Generation Supervisor of Skagit Operations and is now the Sr. Operations Manager. “I’m responsible for the Operations and Maintenance of the Skagit Project,” Will explained. “My duties cover Hydro Operations & Maintenance, work planning, budgeting and capital improvements projects as well as ensuring reliability, availability and compliance. I lead my management team to shape Skagit’s future.”

Originally from New York state, Will was born in Long Island and grew up in the mountains just south of Montreal, Canada. Will’s managed a portfolio of hydroelectric projects for 18 years, including 12 hydroelectric projects across New York, California and Washington. “I came to Washington in 2014 on assignment with ENEL Green Power and lived in North Bend,” Will shared. “I love the PNW vibe; it seemed like the best place to raise my daughter.”

In this week’s (spot)Light, Will talks about life in the Northwest and what he enjoys about the Skagit.

Will snaps a selfie in front of Ross Dam

“I split my time between Newhalem and the Fairhaven/Bellingham area. Bellingham offers so much, but still feels like a small town. It’s on the ocean and is full of good food and activities. The San Juan Islands is my favorite place to visit; sailing the islands is breathtaking.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever been to a more beautiful state than Washington. I love the nature. The trees, mountains, rivers, Lake Whatcom and the Puget Sound. Places like Artist Point on Mt. Baker stand out in my mind, especially when you can see views of Mt. Shuksan. Washington’s micro climates are unique and something you don’t find on the east coast. In a short drive you can experience ocean margins, rainforests, mountains and deserts.”

“I love to travel, hike and sail. I’m also a boat builder and build wooden boats in my spare time. And, of course, I love spending time with my daughter. She’s six-years old and just graduated kindergarten.”

“Midway in my career I decided that I wanted to manage a project like Skagit. I liked the idea that Seattle was largely powered by renewable hydroelectric energy. I liked the whole Pacific Northwest package. Seattle is a great small city and I wanted to be a part of it and the Skagit Project. When you’re in Seattle, you’re on the ocean and 30 miles from the mountains. What more could you want? The Skagit Project is a great place to be. What I love most is working with my team, crews and colleagues. It an honor to work with such fine people.”

Seattle City (spot)Light: Julie High

Julie High began her career with the City of Seattle in 1989. Throughout her tenure, she’s held roles at Seattle Public Utilities, Finance and Administrative Services and Transportation. This August will mark Julie’s one-year anniversary as a Senior Management Systems Analyst at City Light’s Skagit Hydroelectric Project.

After her father got out of the Navy, Julie’s parents relocated their family from Atlanta to Seattle (her mother’s hometown). Julie has since lived in Auburn, Port Angeles, Bellevue and now calls Newhalem home. “I live in one of the City Light houses,” Julie said. “I love having a beautiful home right on the Skagit River with so many hiking trails abound. My kids and I are getting kayaks, so we can go out on the lakes.”

Julie graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Washington (UW). “My parents encouraged me to apply for an Engineering Aide job right after I graduated high school,” Julie shared. “I applied, got the job and went to college in the evenings. That’s how I began my City career.” She also has a Master of Public Administration from Seattle University.

In this week’s (spot)Light, Julie talks about her career with the City and shares her joy of living amongst nature.

Julie basking in the beauty of the North Cascades

“Years ago, I was driving the North Cascades Scenic Loop and saw City Light signs outside Newhalem. I was surprised that you could work for the City and live in such a remote site! I said then that I hoped to transfer to the Skagit Project before I retire. I was always looking for that opportunity and jumped at this job last year. In my role, I do workload planning and WAMS work orders for the crews. I love working with them; there are many different trades so it’s fun to see the variety of work. I also do budgets and management reporting.”

“I love to ride my bike. I used to commute from Bellevue to downtown Seattle. I’m a little nervous to ride it here with the tourist traffic on the curvy roads, but I’ve been getting back out there. I love to hike and explore the woods. We’re planning to go hunting this year. I like riding motorcycles and plan to buy another one soon. Last year I went on a ride around Mexico’s Baja peninsula. It was so much fun; I’d love to do more trips like it.”

“My daughter Alli just finished her freshman year at UW. My sons Blake and Reid are entering twelfth and seventh grade, respectively. Reid likes to ride his bike around the neighborhood and get treats from the Skagit General Store. We all love dining at the Gorge Inn. Newhalem is a beautiful place, it’s great for stargazing since there’s no light pollution from the city.”

“The City of Seattle is a fabulous place to work. Career opportunities are varied; you can never get bored. I’ve been so thrilled to join City Light because of the wonderful people at the Skagit Project. It was a big move away from family and friends, but everyone has been very welcoming and are fun to be around. The work is very interesting; there’s so much to learn.”