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Seattle City spot(Light): Shanna Crutchfield

Shanna Crutchfield always knew she would live in Seattle. Upon graduating high school, she moved from Louisiana to join (as she says) “the majestic mountains and beautiful natural landscape” of Washington state. Last year, Shanna celebrated 30 years of service with the city of Seattle, an achievement recognized by the Mayor’s office. What made the moment extremely special was that Shanna received the award alongside her sister, whose 30-year career at the Seattle Police Department was also honored. Shanna also has another sister who retired from Seattle Public Utility a few years ago.

For years, Shanna was City Light’s program manager for the Race and Social Justice Initiative, but she joined City Light in 1988 as an administrative specialist. Her career spanned various positions, including her home base at South Service Center where she was the executive assistant to the director and at the Seattle Municipal Tower (SMT), where she served as a liaison to the law department. She’s also impacted the organization within the personnel department, developing new initiatives and supervising employee training. Shanna has worked in every business unit of the utility, and through her training programs, she’s interacted with every employee—two feats not many can claim.

Shanna’s dedication to serve others shines. It’s a mission that drives her very being, extending into her West Seattle home, where she’s hosted more than 40 international students. This motivation is also seen in her favorite quote, “If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.”

In this week’s (spot)light, Shanna shares her career at City Light and how it’s helped light the path to her next chapter in life…retirement.

(L-R) Shanna Crutchfield with Mayor Ed Murray, and her sister Melba Ayco at Mayor’s Award ceremony last year

“The Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) is important. We’re here to provide the best customer service experience and to do that, we must be intentional in making sure that we’re addressing the needs of every customer…that no matter where they live, what they look like, or what their economic status is, that if we want to live out the mission and vision of this utility, then we must be committed to RSJI,” Shanna said.

“That’s what makes it important for me. I know that there are certain communities of people, certain neighborhoods, who at times feel like they’re forgotten. For a government agency, I think that must be a core value…that we’re here to serve and that what you look like and what you have access to, should not be a barrier to that service.“

“RSJI also recognizes workforce equity and access to education. Coming to Seattle, I immediately jumped into the workplace. Pursuing college wasn’t an option. To see how I progressed in the organization, without having a 4-year degree, is a prime example of equivalency. I made an investment in City Light and they made an investment in me.”

“My favorite thing about City Light is the people. When I see the lights on the streets, I think about the people who do this work. That tangible light represents the commitment from our employees, and that commitment benefits all, no matter who you are. The people here take pride in providing a service to the public. And because I spend a lot of time with employees in training rooms, I get to see that, I get to hear that.”

“I have two children who live in Houston. That’s one of my future goals…to move to Texas to be closer to them. I also have twin granddaughters, and that really excites me. That’s another piece to my job…when I do this work, and think of other people doing this work, I know it’s going to make better outcomes for their future.”

“I had no idea when I started that I would be here this long. The city provides such growth opportunities. There are so many different departments, and for me at City Light, because of all the movement, all the special projects and opportunities that I’ve worked on, it has been an amazing career.”

***Shanna’s last day at City Light is Friday, March 3. Shanna, thank you for your unwavering service to the City of Seattle. Congratulations on such a fulfilling career and best wishes for a wonderful retirement!