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Seattle City (spot)Light: Brett Ronneberg, Electrical Power Systems Engineer

The Basics

How long have you been at City Light? Coming up on nine years. I joined City Light in August 2013 after graduating college.  

Division: Engineering & Technology Operations 

Tell us about your role. What does your job entail? I’m an electrical power systems engineer in the Generation Electrical Engineering group. I design capital improvement projects (CIP) to upgrade or replace equipment at City Light’s hydro plants. My primary focus is excitation systems, which is a subsystem of a generator that is responsible for building and regulating generator voltage. I also help the crews at the plant troubleshoot issues when they arise, and I coordinate regulatory testing to keep City Light compliant with a few different North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) standards.


Hometown: Kent, Wash. 

Alma Mater: University of Washington 

Area of study: Electrical engineering with specializations in power systems, power electronics & drives, and renewable energy. 

Tell us about your family: I live in Capitol Hill with my husband, Troy. I’m from a small family and all my relatives are on the East Coast, so I never had a chance to meet them growing up. My husband’s side of the family is all in Oregon though, so now I get to have the full “big family” experience that I missed out on as a kid. I love spending time with all of my nieces and nephews, and we recently welcomed our first grandniece into the world.  

Just for Fun:

What was your first job and what did you do? I worked at a movie theater throughout high school, selling tickets, scooping popcorn, running projectors, and lots and lots of cleaning. My favorite part was screening the new movies after closing with the other employees. Before getting serious about engineering school, I worked for the local health department for several years.  

What’s one thing that has surprised you about working at City Light? I’m still awestruck at the scale of the dams and generators every time I’m out in the field. It’s hard to comprehend how massive this stuff really is until you’re standing next to a rotor that has been removed for maintenance or peering over the side of a dam. It’s one aspect of the job that keeps me excited about the work that I do. 

What’s your favorite movie genre and/or all-time favorite movie? Many of my favorite movies were released during my years of working at the movie theater. Some kind of nostalgia, I guess? I tend to enjoy animated films the most, my favorite being “Emperor’s New Groove.” “A Bug’s Life” and “Monster’s Inc” are close runners-up! 

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? I’d go explore the world on my motorcycle. I’ve ridden much of the Pacific Northwest, but there’s so much more that I haven’t seen yet! 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Honestly, I think I’d stay right here! I enjoy Seattle’s proximity to mountains and sea, mild climate, arts and music scene, and its food/beer/wine scene.