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Seattle City (spot)Light: Walker Dodson, Energy Management Analyst Assistant

The Basics
Years of Service: Five-plus
Division: Energy Innovation & Resources
Role: I work with customers and contractors to make homes and businesses energy efficient by securing rebates and incentives for energy conservation measures. This is a really unique position as it provides an opportunity for a positive interaction with our customer base while working to meet carbon reduction goals and comply with state mandated energy efficiency laws. Another aspect of my work that I enjoy is working in the field, conducting verification site visits where I meet face-to-face with our customers and trade allies. I am also a member of the RSJI Change Team and a shop steward for PTE17. I participated in the collective bargaining negotiation process and recently completed City Light’s Emerging Leaders program.

Seattle, Washington
Alma Mater: Edmonds Community College and South Seattle College
Discipline/Trade of Study: I studied energy management at Edmonds Community College and earned a bachelor of arts and science degree in sustainable building science and technology from South Seattle College.  
Tell us about your family: My family has strong ties to this region. My maternal great-great-grandmother acquired land on Whidbey Island back in 1943 which is still enjoyed by the seventh generation of extended family members. My wife’s father purchased nearly 40 acres in Oregon back in the 80s, a treasure in the foothills on the outskirts of the Willamette Valley. I’ve inherited the joys and the responsibilities of these lands and never have much problem deciding what to do with my vacation time!

A before-and-after of Walker Dodson’s 2020 hair-growth teleworking journey.

Just for Fun
Where do you currently live and what’s something you love about the area?
In October of 2019, my family moved onto 10 acres of forested land on Vashon Island. I love the rural lifestyle of Vashon (but do not recommend moving just before the onset of a global pandemic!) and enjoy driving by livestock, visiting the many farm stands selling fresh produce and eggs, and passing the occasional tractor on the highway on the way to our modest town. The ferry terminals on the north and south end of the island offer easy access to Seattle, Tacoma and the Olympic Peninsula, which are great options for day trips and further exploration of the Northwest.

What is one of your favorite activities and one you’d like to get out and do more of? I am a devout “do-it-yourselfer” and have quite the checklist of completed projects over the past year of social distancing, from replacing a water heater and dishwasher to installing a new fireplace and water softening system. My first COVID project was to punch a hole through our foundation to install an exterior door to our basement. I have kept busy during lockdown! Working from home has eliminated three hours per day of commute time, which has given me more time for projects and to spend with my family. Also, we love the outdoors and take advantage of the many state parks, campgrounds, and national forests, camping with our two dogs. In the past, I was an avid whitewater rafter, having floated the Grand Canyon and many of the rivers of the Northwest, but it has been a few years, so I intend to get back on the water in 2021!

What brought you to City Light? I guess you could say, it’s in my blood. Both my grandfather and great-grandfather were City of Seattle employees. My great-grandfather was active in politics and helped form Local 17, the same union that represents most City employees today. My grandfather built many of the roads that run through this great city, working for SDOT in the 1960s. My wife and I are the keepers of my family archives and recently discovered numerous city artifacts documenting my forebears’ fingerprints left on the history of the city as it grew from a young town.