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Seattle City (spot)Light: Cindy Reside Hensel

Cindy Reside Hensel celebrated 20 years with City Light in November 2018. Her work as a Student Engineer and Energy Management Analyst led to her current role as an Electrical Service Engineer in the Customer Construction Services division. “I love being part of the Electrical Service Engineering group because I get to work with large key and industrial customers on the largest construction projects in Seattle,” Cindy said.

Cindy grew up in Bremerton and attended Olympic High School where she played in the band. “I’ve been playing the flute and piano since elementary school,” Cindy shared. “I enjoyed being in wind ensemble and jazz band”. In fact, in high school, I was in the jazz band with Ben Gibbard, the lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie!” She went to college at the University of Washington and graduated with a degree in material science and engineering. She lives in Richmond Beach with her husband and three children (ages five, eight and ten).

In this week’s (spot)Light, Cindy talks about her career path, hobbies and shares her engineering inspiration.

Cindy with her family at Grand Canyon National Park

“I’m a long-distance runner. I ran the Honolulu and Big Sur marathons. I’ve also ran six half-marathons. Running is not just exercise for me; it’s a way of life. It clears my mind and really gives me that runner’s high. When I was a kid, I would see a group of young students run in my neighborhood. I always wondered who they were and why they ran. They motivated me.  So, when I was in junior high school, I decided to sign up for cross country. I’ve been running ever since! I’m not fast, but I’m steady. When training for marathons, I give myself a mileage goal to hit. I always tell myself just one more mile!”

“I love math. That kind of spurred my interest in engineering. My dad also inspired me. He was a mechanical engineer. He used to bring home his drawings and I would watch him create his designs.  High school was another source of inspiration. That’s where I was introduced to new programs like AutoCad and programming. I ended up taking additional classes which inspired me to go into this field. I was planning to have a career in failure analysis with Boeing, but somewhere along the way, I got pulled into the electrical world and have loved it ever since.”

“My kids love math and chess! Our oldest is in fourth grade at Syre Elementary. I’m co-chairing the Math Olympiad program and am a Chess Club volunteer at his school. It looks like the love of math is continuing in our family!”

“I’ve been lucky to work with such talented people at City Light. It’s been a rewarding experience to work with a diverse array of unique and technical projects while providing the best customer service to our customers. During my time here, I’ve always felt the support of management during transitions in my life—from being a student to getting married and having kids.  I’m very thankful I was able to take a one-year sabbatical. Even though they don’t work here anymore, I especially want to acknowledge John Nierenberg and Fred Ojima. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have applied for the Electrical Service Engineer position. It opened many doors for me and I’m so grateful to them for that opportunity.”