Seattle City (spot)Light: John Abraham

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, John Abraham has been a public servant for the City of Seattle for more than 30 years. He joined the utility five years ago, but not before serving 26 years as a police officer for the Seattle Police Department. At age 17, he entered the Canadian Army, later transferring to the Canadian Navy (too much salt water in his veins) which would be followed by his time with the United States military. “Yup! I have a dual citizenship,” he happily shared.

As City Light’s Safe Driving Program Coordinator, John teaches safe driving tactics to utility employees. John works at the North Service Center Annex and resides in Mukilteo with his wife Joan, who also shares his love of adventure. “We just purchased a RV and can’t wait to use it along the coast,” he said. In this week’s (spot)Light, John talks rides, dives and drives.

John with his ride

“I’ve been riding motorcycles for almost 55 years. My wife and I take trips on our Harley. We’ll often hop on a road we’ve never been on and see where it takes us. Last year we went to Kamloops, British Columbia. We took the back roads and cruised Highway 1. We spent a week on the road just riding. It was a great time.”

“I’m also a scuba diver. I dived in the Navy and in almost every major ocean. I especially enjoy the beautiful waters of Hawaii. Here, I like the underwater park in Edmonds. Divers from all over the world come to the Pacific Northwest—they’re convinced it has some of the most beautiful diving in the world. Which it does.”

“When I was hired, the utility was having trouble with preventable collisions. My job was to reduce those collisions and provide training (both defensive driving and simulator) in addition to classroom and on-site instruction. When I started, the number of preventable crashes averaged 60-70 per year. The past three years’ preventable collisions have averaged about 30 per year. My new concentration is cone course training to emphasize pivot point and backing techniques. I’d like to focus more on that in the coming year.”

“Law enforcement was a great career. Many people don’t realize that while your profession is law enforcement, your job is to go home at the end of the day. The same is true here. Whether you work for City Light as a line worker or in administration, the job is to go home at the end of the day. That’s why I emphasize defensive driving tactics and do everything I can to help people pay attention to their driving. As the seasons change, I provide City Light with any changes to traffic situations. An example of this is the spring when the dusty motorcycles and bicycles come out of the garage from winter hibernation and hit the roads.”

“One of my first instructors taught me that the most important components in law enforcement are common sense and communication skills. I try and live by that. I’ve taken courses that have allowed me to learn how people think and what their attitudes are. When I came to the utility, I applied that way of thinking in my new role. It’s important to adapt your mindset and learn how to communicate with everyone.  This is a great, hardworking organization and I enjoy working with all the folks.”

Thank you, John, for your incredible years of service and for doing your part in keeping us safe! Ride on!