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Seattle City (spot)Light: Billy O’Neal

Billy O’Neal has been a safety specialist at City Light for nearly 10 years. In his role, Billy helps the utility stay in compliance with safe workplace regulations; he interprets laws and then enforces them to keep our workplace safe and sound. Billy was introduced to City Light by a friend who worked here and sold him on the company, and he’s never looked back. “I have great coworkers and a great team. We’re split into different areas, but we work together and have each other’s backs,” Billy said. “We help each other out; no problem. I’ve said it before, but this is the best job I’ve ever had.”

Born and raised in Texas, Billy moved to Washington in 1992. He lives in Bremerton with his daughter, two grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. “I love the summers here. It’s the most gorgeous place,” he shared.” I don’t think the weather could be any better.  There are so many places we can visit but I like the beaches near Bremerton.”

In this week’s spotlight, learn about Billy’s time in the Navy and his goal to learn Spanish and play the keyboard.

Billy O’Neal

“I am originally from Texas. I came to Washington by way of the Navy. I was in the Navy for 20 years and I decided to stay here. In the Navy, the medical people are called the corpsmen. Being a corpsman, you can work in the pharmacy, in labs, do physicals, sew people up, all sorts of medical stuff.”

“I was originally a medical assistant when I got out of the Navy; my first job was a medical assistant in an occupational safety and health office. They do things like workplace physicals, but they allowed me to move into the safety realm. I went to Columbia Southern University and got a degree in safety.”

“During my time in the Navy, I got to travel the world and see a lot of different places. Singapore was my favorite. Coming from Texas, my view of the world was kind of small, so visiting other cities and countries allowed me to appreciate the world a lot more. You’re exposed to the different levels of poverty and lack of resources. It’s probably a cliché that people say Americans take things for granted, but we do. The smallest things like taking apples to an orphanage is a big deal in other places. We just have so much, and you don’t realize it until you see people in other levels of living.”

“I’m attempting to play the keyboard and learn Spanish. I haven’t mastered them, but I’m trying! I’ve enrolled in classes and use programs and CDs to learn. My mother used to play piano which was pretty cool. As I became an adult and had time, I thought if my mother could do it, then I could, too! Some people are more gifted, and some work harder. I think I’m one of those that has to work harder!”