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Seattle City (spot)Light: Nate Burns

Nate Burns has been with City Light for two years as of last July. He is a part of the Finance unit where he runs the business case program. “Projects that cost more than a million dollars have an extensive approval process, including oversight by City Council,” Nate explained. “Project managers and engineers come to me with ideas on how to spend our capital and I help them through the process of actually applying for it.”

Nate lives in Seattle with his dog Charles (a Chihuahua, Yorkie, Australian Cattle Dog, and Jack Russell mix). He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Vanderbilt and later an MBA from Notre Dame.

In this week’s (spot)Light, Nate talks about his work at Seattle City Light, his hobbies and why he likes working at the utility.

Nate and Charlie at Mount Si

“Before coming to City Light, I was a Senior Finance Manager at Microsoft, where I managed the P&L for several cloud products. Because I majored in political science, I was always interested in doing something in public service. So, when this position opened, I was initially attracted to it,” Nate shared. “I would say that we get 20-30 projects done through the business case program each year. One of the projects we’re working on is the facilities at Boundary Dam. They don’t have a big enough meeting room for everyone; right now, they’re meeting in the cafeteria, so they want to provide this space. They also want to upgrade some of their other facilities that are in need.”

“I am the son of a sailor and an actress. I was born in San Francisco and grew up in Minnesota and then I’ve kind of lived all over since then. I went to college in Nashville, and from there I lived in Phoenix, San Diego, Indiana, Detroit, Taiwan, Germany, Chicago, and now Seattle.”

“I like to say that I have a pretty diverse set of interests. I love cooking and cook most days. I’ve gotten into making simple meals but varying the spices, which makes it completely different. My favorite thing to prepare now that I live in Seattle is grilled salmon with Leipäjuusto and vegetables. Two of my favorite winter activities are skiing and Scrabble, and this winter, I’d like to improve my speed at both. I’ve recently gotten into skinning, or uphill skiing, which combines my love of skiing and hiking. I’m passionate about fitness in general, and my favorite competitive event is indoor sprint rowing. Last year, I took third place at Seattle’s annual Ergomania competition, and this year, I’d like to translate that skill into rowing on open water.”

“City Light has some of the most amazing people. I love that everyone here has a good sense of the mission. At a lot of companies, I think people can step over each other for their own personal accolades. Here people don’t tend to think in that way. There’s a common purpose in helping our citizens and the greater good and that’s what I really like about working here.”