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Seattle City (spot)Light: Gilberto Ramirez

Gilberto Ramirez has been a structural painter at City Light for the past ten years. Born in Mexico City, he moved to Seattle 20 years ago and enrolled in an ESL class at Shoreline Community College. “The best part about that was I met my wife—she was my teacher!” Gilberto happily shared. “Lana and I have been married for 14 years.”

Together, they live in Mountlake Terrace with their nine-year old son, Santiago. “My family keeps me busy,” Gilberto said. “I coach my son’s soccer team which has 14 kids. We play every Saturday. My wife is teacher of Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. She’s a black belt. My son practices with her and is also on a gymnastics team.” In this week’s (spot)Light, Gilberto talks about his hobbies and his role here at the utility.

Gilberto (left) with his son, wife and mother-in-law during a trip to Los Angeles

“I enjoy living here because of the rivers and the mountains. My family and I like kayaking. Our favorite places to kayak are Orcas Island and Deception Pass. There’s just so much to see and the water is very smooth. I’m also a scuba diver and go out near West Seattle, but also near Mukilteo and Orcas Island. I like diving because I get to see the nature under water—the fish, the sea life. People have seen octopus, but I still haven’t! Maybe someday.”

“City Light is a good company. I feel like part of the family here and I really like my job. There are seven of us who work as structural painters at the South Service Center. We paint everything—asphalt, trucks, transformers, sheetrock, metals, towers, parking lots and signs. It’s paint, but every job is different. Once you’re done, you look at your work, see what you completed and are satisfied. It’s especially nice when others see your work and tells you that it looks great. That always feels good.”

“The towers are the most challenging to paint because you’re harnessed in and climbing up hundreds of feet with heavy equipment. It requires careful attention. We always put safety first. We also go below ground to paint the walls underneath the city. This is another area where we must be very careful because we’re surrounded by high voltage. We have a safety watch that directs us through the process. We also have a lot of training.”

“I’m inspired by my family. By my son. I try not to give up. Sometimes, the job is hard, but I keep moving. I’m a hard worker and I try to pass those traits onto my son. To never give up and keep moving—those are my goals.”