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Seattle City (spot)Light Dave Russo, Principal Power Systems Engineer

The Basics  

  • Years of service: 41. I was a naval officer before joining the utility.  
  • Division: Engineering & Technology Operations 
  • Tell us about your role: I supervise – meaning that I try to keep up with – the North Systems Design Group. The group designs distribution system improvements and repairs, large services (commercial or industrial), and pole replacements. This includes underground rebuilds; conversions; reconductor projects; and work for major regional projects such as Sound Transit, King County Metro, and WSDOT. We also have an expert traffic control planner and AutoCAD drafter. They’re an exceptionally hard-working group and deserve a great deal of credit for all they do.  


  • Hometown: East Islip, N.Y. 
  • Alma Mater: University of Rochester; USC 
  • Area of study: I have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in systems engineering.  
  • Tell us about your family: I married my wife, Val Torrens, on a houseboat on Oct. 31, 1975. She teaches at Olympic College in Bremerton.  

Just for Fun  

  • What has helped you get to where you are, and what advice do you have for others who want to set off in a similar career direction? I had a few mentors who allowed me to progress at my pace and gave me lots of leeway to learn and make many mistakes in the process. I was assigned a wide variety of projects, so I picked up many miscellaneous skills. My advice is to try to get as much breadth and depth in work as you can. Look for the oddest jobs you can find; you never know what kind of fun you can have and what stray information you can pick up that might come in handy later.  
  • What was your first big purchase with your own money? A house in San Diego. 
  • Who was your favorite music artist growing up? Kids growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s had an awful lot of choices: British invasion, folk, etc. My dad played classical music often. I didn’t have a strong preference. I still have an assortment of old vinyl and cassettes.   
  • What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend? Trying to keep up with house and yard stuff. We’re five minutes from the Hood Canal Bridge, so we like to run over and explore the Olympic Peninsula, especially to poke around the farm stands. I’ve been a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician with Poulsbo Fire Department since 1984. When things loosen up, we’re planning to start traveling up and down the coast again.  
  • What do you like most about your role? I’ve met and worked with interesting people all over the utility and have gotten to play with a lot of the new toys that are coming into use. Many folks have gone well out their way to help me succeed, and I’m grateful.