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Seattle City (spot)Light: Lance Stotts, Electrical Construction and Maintenance Supervisor

The Basics

How long have you been at City Light? 43 and a half years. 

Division: Transmission and Distribution Field Operations 

Tell us about your role. What does your job entail?  I’ve spent all my time out on the overhead or underground residential distribution (URD) crews until recently, when I moved into supervision in February of this year. My career began as an electrical helper in April 1979 at the South Service Center (SSC) on Whitey Humphrey’s crew. Whitey was an interesting guy. He made Archie Bunker look like a liberal. Quite a shock for a kid 10 months out of high school! In September 1981, I was selected as a line apprentice at the SSC. There were 12 of us that began. Ten of us finished our apprenticeship in September 1985. I am the only one left at City Light from the Class of ‘81. I moved to the North Service Center (NSC) in November 1985 as a lineworker and have continued my career here ever since.  

I worked as a lineworker on the line crews and the URD until 1998. Between 1992 and 1998, I served as the lead for the Pole Top Rescue Program as an instructor and coach for the state competition. I also served as the lead for the Lineman’s Rodeo Program, which featured City Light teams preparing and competing in several local rodeos on the West Coast and Montana. The highlight each year was going to Kansas City for The International Lineman’s Rodeo. In November 1998, I was hired as a line crew chief at the NSC. I served in that role until February of this year. My current role is as an electrical construction and maintenance (EC&M) supervisor for North Line Service, North Streetlight and the electrical reviewers. 


Hometown: My adopted hometown is Seattle. However, my heart is in Billings, Mont., which is where I was born and still visit yearly. My dad and I moved here from Billings about a month before I began third grade. 

Alma Mater: I graduated from Ballard High School in June 1978 with honors – meaning that they were honored to get me out of there! Ironically, my wife also graduated from Ballard High School. She was supposed to graduate from Lincoln High School in 1982. However, Lincoln closed, so I always tell people that she went to Ballard to improve her education! 

Tell us about your family:  My wife Karen and I have been married for nearly 38 years. The woman is a saint! We have two grown children. Amy, our daughter, is married and has two boys. Paul, our son, is also a City Lighter and is married. He has a daughter and two boys. Our oldest grandchild is seven and the youngest is a newborn. 

Just for Fun

Who are your go-to, most listened to music artists? My go-to music is The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, or anything by Merle Haggard. Something by these groups is always on at home.

What is the most rewarding part of your work at the utility? I jokingly tell people that City Light has been feeding me since 1968. My dad was hired as a lineworker helper on his 28th birthday. He was told that if he’d come in one day later, he would have been out of luck. Apparently, back then applicants older than 28 weren’t hired for entry-level positions on the line crew. If not for a lucky twist of fate, there likely would be no Lance story for this feature. (Editor’s note: Maximum age limits do not exist at City Light today.)

What is something most people don’t know about you? I have two claims to fame. In my younger days living with a foster family in Montana, one of my foster brothers played steel guitar and formed a band with his older brothers. The Gairrett Brothers Band played professionally until the early 1990s. Jim Gairrett moved to Nashville and landed a gig as the steel guitar player and music director for Kenny Chesney for many years.  

My second claim to fame is that I coached the 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell in little league all-stars and youth football. I’m pretty sure that he’s long forgotten everything that I tried to teach him! 

I also still own and drive the same car that I drove to work on my first day. It’s a 1977 Camaro Z28. 

What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend? You will usually find me out in the yard or working on a project outside. It’s hard for me to be indoors as I’ve been an “outdoor dog” my entire adult life. If not working in the yard, you’ll probably find me playing in the backyard with the grandkids or grilling with the radio on and most likely a cold beverage.