Seatttle City (spot)Light: Doreen McGrath

In the time Doreen McGrath has spent at Seattle City Light, she has seen massive changes in its IT needs and its culture.

Doreen McGrath is a web team supervisor for Seattle IT, but the team she supervises works strictly for Seattle City Light. She started at Seattle City Light in April of 1985, and after 31 years at the utility she moved to Seattle IT when the City of Seattle consolidated its information technology (IT) services. In the time she has spent at the City, she has seen massive changes in both its IT needs and its culture.


Web Team Supervisor Doreen McGrath recruiting for IBEW Local 77 at an event

“I supervise the City Light web team, and we support the internal City Light website and City Light’s external site. We build applications, run analytics, push out data for the outage map and things like that. It’s always interesting to watch the live analytics on the outage map; if there is even news of a windstorm, people just park themselves on the page.”

“My job is very interesting because almost every part of the utility has an internal or external web page. I’ve learned a lot about the company, from Skagit Tours to the Denny Substation or Environmental Affairs, because we’ve made pages for all of those different work groups,” said Doreen.

“Over the years, my job has evolved from mainframe programming to desktop object-oriented programming to multi-tiered application development. City Light’s first website was put up in the 1990s; when I became the working supervisor for the web team, I had to learn web development.”

“I’ve always liked the people at City Light. They really care about the City and they appreciate that City Light is publicly owned, not an investor owned utility. Working with the people at the utility is definitely the best part of the job for me.”

“Politics are also fun for me. I’ve been active in the Freedom Socialist Party for over thirty years. I’ve always wanted to change the world, but I know there is no way I can do it by myself. You have to organize people.”

“I’m a shop steward for IBEW Local 77, a union for electrical workers. They really fight for people. Nobody is perfect, but they are making great progress, particularly for a blue collar union. I lived through the bad old days, and I was a member of the Committee for Equal Rights for several years. We really pushed IBEW Local 77 to change the way they treat women and people of color.”

“I have seen a lot less overt sexism and racism since the time I was hired, but our workforce still isn’t as mixed as it should be. It needs to truly reflect society and have people of all backgrounds working together.”