Seattle City (spot)Light: Jerry Koenig

For City Light's Jerry Koenig, it’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when” an emergency will strike.

For Jerry Koenig, it’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when” an emergency will strike. As City Light’s Emergency Management Strategic Advisor, Jerry oversees the utility’s emergency management program.

Jerry grew up in Eugene, Oregon. He served 20 years in the United States Air Force under the fire department before being trained for emergency management. He received a degree in Fire Service Administration from Western Oregon University and lives in Mill Creek with his wife of 31 years.

Emergency Management Strategic Advisor Jerry Koenig

“Of all the places I’ve lived, I would say that Alaska has been my favorite. It’s awesome and has so much going on—even in the winter. There’s the Iditarod, the Fur Rondy. When we lived there, we spent a lot of time getting out in the woods…hiking…camping…my son and I even did a 20-mile hike together. It’s just an incredible place.”

“I’m really into history and genealogy. I’ve been researching my family since I was my teenager. I talk a lot with second and third cousins all over the country. I also spend a lot of time at the Central Library which has an excellent genealogy library. If I have some time on my lunch, I’ll disappear and head there. I read and do a lot of research in my downtime.”

“In terms of preparedness, the responsibility for taking care of yourself and your family is on each of us individually. One thing I used to teach the Boy Scouts was that if you’re comfortable, you’re doing it right. If you’re warm, dry, fed and unhurt, you’re doing everything right. It’s the same thing in a disaster. If you’re comfortable, you’re doing it right. If you’ve got a problem because you don’t have power or food, well, that’s something that you need to think through ahead of time. Have an earthquake kit, have plenty of food…plan for water and bathroom facilities which are always going to be a big problem. Are you prepared to live on your own without leaving your house for three days? Seven days?” (FYI: seattle.gov/emergency and ready.gov are excellent resources for emergency preparedness).

“One of my favorite initiatives that I help implement is the utility’s training program for emergency responders. It’s to the point now that, when we have an activation, I don’t tell anyone what to do. Our team goes right into motion, and it’s fantastic to watch. I’m proud of the experience and strength of our team.”

“City Light has amazing people with amazing stories and amazing capabilities. I’ve told people for years—I even told my son this when he graduated from college—it’s not about what you do. It’s about who you’re working with, and if you enjoy the people you’re working with, it doesn’t matter what you do. “

Thank you, Jerry, for your service to our country and for being a part of City Light the past eight years.