In her 32 years at Seattle City Light, Electrical Construction and Maintenance Supervisor Wanda Davis has worked across various sites like the Cedar Falls and Tolt Hydro Projects, the Skagit Project Substations and her current location at Technical Metering Operations. In her role, Wanda supervises field crews and coordinators, including meter electricians working on installs and repairs along with local outreach construction.
This summer, she’ll celebrate retirement and looks forward to spending time at her Puyallup home with her wife Jeri and grandson Alex. In this week’s (spot)Light, Wanda shares her inspiration for the trade, what she’s learned in her career and how she’ll kick off her golden years with one big adventure.
“I started riding motorcycles when I was in my 20s. In fact, my brother and I are hitting the road in July for an Iron Butt Ride—we’re riding border to border from Canada to Mexico in 36 hours. My wife is also going to ride with me on my Harley trike. We plan on taking our time on our way back to enjoy some of the sights.” “We love nature—snowshoeing, camping, hiking. Washington is amazing. We have everything from the mountains and oceans to rainforests and desert, it’s so diverse. We also love the performing arts. One of my daughters is the founder and director of the Seattle Women in Jazz Festival so that’s one of our favorite things to do in the city.”
“My mother was a good example for me to follow. She was the kind of woman who could do anything with her hands. If she wanted a bookshelf, she’d just build one. She had an eighth-grade education and when I was in high school, she went back to school, got her GED, went to college and ended up with a degree in mathematics. She became a teacher in Alaska and would fly into Eskimo villages to teach children.”
“Part of my inspiration for entering this line of work is my mom. She never let the fact that she was a woman stop her from doing whatever she wanted to do. In her era, women didn’t generally receive math degrees, but she did. She raised us to go whatever direction we were interested in and to not let any barriers or society stop us. Of course, having six brothers, I ended up a bit of a tom girl. So, I’ve been doing things like this my whole life. I didn’t know that girls weren’t expected to do it—I just did it. Now, I’ve got two trades under my belt.”
“I enjoy helping the people I work with; to help them grow in their lines of work. It’s been good to give back. Whatever job we have, we all get there with the help of other people. It’s that whole ‘it takes a village’ concept, but it does work. No one gets to where they’re going without the help of others. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do at the utility. It’s been a great career.”
“I love what I do. I don’t know everything. Even after 32 years, there’s still so much to learn. If I were to give any advice, it would be to always be open to learning. No one knows it all. You can learn something from someone who has only been on the job for one day. They have different experiences, different backgrounds and different ways of thinking. Always be open to learning.”
Congratulations, Wanda, on your retirement and for your illuminating career at City Light! Wishing you the best!