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Seattle City (spot)Light: Len Kannapell

Energy Management Analyst Len Kannapell has been at City Light for four and a half years. “I work in Customer Energy Solutions and help commercial customers cut their utility costs and energy use, which reduces their environmental impacts. We also provide incentives to complete energy efficiency upgrades,” Len explained. “What could be better?”

Len grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and earned a B.S. in physics with a minor in journalism from Marquette University. He moved to Seattle in 1985 to work for Boeing, and after 12 ½ years, he became a technical writer. He received a certificate in Energy Accounting from Edmonds Community College. He lives in the Bryant neighborhood with his wife Vera and their two children Berto (15) and Stephanny (12).

In this week’s (spot)Light, Len talks about how he got started in the energy industry, his volunteer work, and his love for Olympic National Park.

Len with his family at Buckhorn Mt.

“My father was a civil engineer. He designed sulfur dioxide scrubbers for coal plants, which got me thinking about energy use. I clearly remember the long waits for gas during the 1973 oil crisis. Fast-forward to nine years ago, when I had a one-man business called Starving Marmot. I did carpentry, including deck building and home remodeling. There were always electrical issues and wiring to sort out, which was my favorite problem. I was looking for a way to transition to the energy sector.”

“I live ten blocks north of U-Village. Ten years ago, I noticed that the traffic circle was completely devoid of flowers – and had excellent sun exposure. The neighbors agreed to let me grow corn. Since then, the circle has evolved into a community garden for mostly geraniums and black-eyed susans. The point is that we have community within our neighborhood: neighbors help each other with babysitting, pet sitting/dog walking and moving furniture. We provide a cup of sugar for those time-dependent baking activities. I even showed a desperate neighbor how to tie a tie.”

“Volunteering is very important to me. There are three causes I focus on. I lead an annual fundraiser climb of Mt. Rainier or Mt Baker for the Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children. I also organize a bi-monthly effort to sort and pack produce at the Food Lifeline Food Bank. Lastly, I perform in a two-man theatre piece called ‘Two Faces in the Shadows’ at churches and prisons. A friend and I started doing this 23 years ago at Faith United Methodist Church. We added prisons a couple years later, including McNeil Island Corrections Center and Monroe Correctional Complex. We’ve been to almost every prison in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Kentucky, and British Columbia. This year, we went to California, doing five shows at four prisons. The best part is Q&A afterward with the inmates.”

“I also enjoy writing, playing tennis, and mountain climbing/backpacking. Olympic National Park, with its solitude, abundant wildlife, and vibrant, moody colors is relatively close to an obsession. I want to reach the obscure places while I have knees and motivation. I blame my parents for this addiction. A family road trip in 1978 to the Pacific Northwest was seminal; the beauty and gloom of the Hoh River trail in the Olympics left an indelible impression on me.”