Seattle City (spot)Light: Joe Andrade

Crew Chief Joe Andrade has worked at City Light for 29 years. “As a relief crew chief lineman, I work out on the line and restore electricity,” Joe said. “I also install new services to new customers.” He’s part of the utility’s Transmission and Distribution Operations division and is based at the South Service Center.

Joe served in the United States Airforce for seven years. “I was a cable splicer,” he shared. “I was stationed in Texas, Germany, Ohio and Tacoma. The northwest is beautiful, so I decided to stay here when I finished; it’s been 45 years!” He applied to City Light’s lineworker apprenticeship program and never looked back.

Joe and his wife Amanda live in Federal Way. He has two children, his daughter Brittnii and his son Jordin. In this week’s (spot)Light, he talks about his childhood on Africa’s Cape Verde Islands, his family (hint: Jordin is an Olympian) and his hobbies.

Joe with his son Jordin

“In my role, every day is different. You do the same work, but there are new challenges daily. And that’s what I like about it—finding solutions for each problem. It’s exciting when you start from scratch and finish with a perfect result. In the end, we provide power and service to customers, making everyone happy. The only thing I don’t like is the weather!”

“I was born and raised on an island called Brava which is part of the Cape Verde Islands off African’s western coast. It’s rugged; the weather conditions make it hard to get on and off the island. There’s nothing on the island but rocks. We lived very primitively; our house was on top of a volcano. We survived mainly on fish and potatoes. I remember being barefoot and walking on dirt. When I was six, my family left the island on a rowboat. It was a long journey, but after stops in Portugal and Rhode Island–and after planes and larger boats—we ended up in Sacramento, California. My dad was already there. He raised money to send for us. I remember kissing the ground when we landed and thinking, ‘What is this?’ It was concrete! Things changed for me once we moved here; I was introduced to so much; everyday things like lightbulbs and toilets. It was all incredible.”

“Jordin visited the island recently and confirmed everything I’ve shared with him about my childhood. He was there because he represented Cape Verde in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and will compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He’s a track and field athlete. I was his coach in Brazil. I, too, ran track and field. When I was in high school, I ranked third in the United States for hurdles. Ten years later, my brother ran hurdles and was ranked third in the world. And twenty years later, my son is running hurdles in the Olympics. I like to think I inspired the sport in my family!”

“I don’t run anymore—heck, I can barely walk! But I do love photography. I love photographing stationery things and snap pictures around the South Service Center for our events. My wife and I also love to travel. We visit Europe often. We also like the Caribbean. I’ve been to China, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska and recently came back from New York. Cuba has been my favorite place; I loved it.”