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Seattle City (spot)Light: Chris Wallace, South Substation Crew Chief

The Basics

How long have you been with City Light? Seven years  

Division: Transmission and Distribution Operations, more specifically South Substations  

Tell us about your role. What does your job entail? My role is the South Substation electrician constructor crew chief. In my role as a crew chief, I’m a first-line supervisor. I plan, assign and monitor the work of my team. I develop workload forecasts, which ensure the availability of equipment, parts and personnel to complete projects. I also coordinate and monitor safety and training programs, as well as provide guidance, training and performance measurements for electrician constructor apprentices. In addition, I provide technical assistance to my direct reports, contractors and employees of other work groups within the utility. 


Hometown: West Seattle, Wash. 

Alma Mater: Washington State University, Go Cougs! 

Area of Study: Bachelor’s degree in social science with an emphasis in sociology  

Tell us about your family: I have a loving wife named Taryn, who is a loan officer at Elevated Home Loans in Puyallup. She is the hardest working person I know. She works full-time and is a full-time mom of three, all while pregnant with our fourth on the way. We have three beautiful children. Scarlett (5) is a spitting image of her mother (thankfully!) and a little firecracker. She certainly runs the show and keeps her brothers in line. Then Chris Jr. (3), who goes by “Junior,” is the sensitive one who always wants to be by mom’s side but will give anything to go outside and ride his “dirt bike.” The youngest, Aidan, is 18 months. He is a true “Wreck it Ralph.” He’s almost as big as his brother already and he is into everything! Always on the move and always wrecking whatever projects his siblings are working on; he is the wild child! We are expecting our final child in September. We’ve named her Sloane and can’t wait to meet her! We live near Lake Tapps, Wash., and enjoy being outside as much as we can. We camp and boat as often as the Northwest weather lets us, and we really enjoy riding our dirt bikes.   

Just for Fun

What’s one thing that has surprised you about working at City Light? One thing that has surprised me about City Light is the family atmosphere. Coming from a background in construction, there was a lot of turnover, so you didn’t get to know your coworkers for more than a couple months at a time. Here at City Light, I see lifelong friendships that last into retirement, and I look forward to adding to that culture and building my own network of lifelong friends during my career here at the City.  

If you could have dinner with one person, living or deceased, who would it be and why? It would have to be inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla. As one of the most genius minds of not only his time, but of history, his inventions continue to impact our lives daily. I think the conversation would have no end. Also, there is no true autobiography of the man. I think talking to a person of that level of genius would either be enthralling or mind boggling, as the topics might just go right over my knowledge level – ha! Either way, it would make for a night with little silence in the room. Tesla made dozens of breakthroughs in the production, transmission and application of electric power, paving the way for my career path.  

What’s your favorite movie genre and/or all-time favorite movie? My all-time favorite movie genre would have to be comedy! Mid ‘90s to 2000s comedies are my wheelhouse. Jim Carey, Adam Sandler and all the greats from that era. All-time favorite movie would have to be “Varsity Blues.” Extremely cheesy, but with a mix of comedy and drama, it brings me right back to my high school football days and is an overall classic in my eyes! 

What is one thing you couldn’t live without and why? Coffee! It’s not just the pick-me-up for the day that it gives me. I enjoy a hot brew in any scenario – either sipping quietly by myself as I collect my thoughts for the day or with a good friend to reminisce on old times or catch up. I enjoy the experience of drinking coffee as much as the effect it has on me.  

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Honestly, it would be in Washington. Somewhere just east of the Cascades, on a lake in the woods. I absolutely love the seasons in this state (at least the east side of the state). I want to live where there are hot summers for boating, and cold, snowy winters for snow sports!