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Seattle City (spot)Light: Cathy Leone-Woods

Director of Regulatory Affairs Cathy Leone-Woods has been at City Light for eight years. “I’ve been in the utility industry for nearly 30 years,” Cathy said. “I’ve worked in power supply, transmission, and regulatory affairs. When reliability standards went into effect my team at the time established a program on how to be compliant. That’s how I began working with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) which is a huge component of my work at City Light.”

A self-proclaimed local girl, Cathy grew up in Seattle and has stayed in the region. “I’ve always been within a 40-mile radius from my birthplace,” she said with a chuckle. “My mom’s family is Washington state pioneers. We were here before the state existed!” She attended Seattle University and graduated with degrees in electrical engineering and law. Cathy and her husband Chuck live in Tacoma and have two children, Audrey and Emmett.

In this week’s (spot)Light, Cathy talks about her career and the joy she takes in public service.

Director of Regulatory Affairs Cathy Leone-Woods

“I started as an intern at Tacoma Power. I was looking for a summer job and wanted to get some experience. I was in law school and wanted to become a patent attorney. I originally signed on as substation gardener, but when they saw my resume they offered me work in power management. I completed two internships there and was offered a job which I accepted. I only intended to work there a couple years but got bit by the electric utility bug.”

“Regulatory Affairs is just as it sounds. We deal with regulators in three overarching areas. We oversee regulatory processes and interactions – things like filing, applications and approvals. We also ensure regulatory compliance which is what we’re most known for. In this regard, we work with regulators and our business unit stakeholders. There’s a lot of relationship building. Lastly, we advise on regulatory aspects and climate that would affect proposed activity.”

“I genuinely enjoy what I do. Public service is very important to me. I live my life according to my values and honoring my essence, my attributes. I’m somewhat idealistic; I want to make the world a better place. I also know what I like to do, so it’s a matter of combining the two. I love analytical work. I love to learn. I love new things. When you look at what I do – policy work, new regulations, change, analytical legal strengths, determining what’s the right thing to do – those are attributes that align with who I am. It’s meaningful because I contribute to the greater good by providing a good product here.”

“My husband and I are about to enter another phase of our lives – empty nesters! Its bittersweet. Yet we are excited to resume some favorite activities. I love to ski and go almost every weekend during the season. I love a good breakfast, especially with friends and great conservation.  I love the arts. I love to read. I love the outdoors. The physical beauty of where we live is incredible. It’s like appreciating art in its own way. I also love ice cream. I have a reputation for that. As a matter of fact, I just found a new spot in Missoula, Montana. Check out Big Dipper ice cream if you ever find yourself there!”