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Seattle City (spot)Light: Van Pieper, Electrician Constructor

The Basics

How long have you been at City Light? Five-and-a-half years 

Division: Transmission & Distribution Operations – North Substation 

Tell us about your role. What does your job entail? I’m an electrician constructor journey worker primarily at the North, University, and Viewland-Hoffman Substations. My job revolves around installation, repair, maintenance, and replacement of all the transmission and distribution equipment located within the substation so that we can better provide uninterrupted service to our customers. My crew and I also assist with the various trouble calls at the North Service Center and electric vehicle charging stations. I enjoy the diversity of work from intricate panel wiring, pulling in long cable runs, construction, climbing up on the high voltage transformers, operating heavy machinery, working from a lift, and testing the equipment, to the meditative moments of cleaning porcelain bushings for a few hours.


Hometown: I was born and raised in Forks, Washington 

Alma Mater: Washington State University 

Discipline/Trade of study: I went to Washington State University for three years before realizing that I didn’t need to get a degree for business management. I had started working at my mom’s motel when I was 12 and basically started managing it for her a year later whenever she went out of town. For 19 years, I was a direct caregiver/manager working in group homes to support individuals with developmental disabilities to fulfill their basic needs and life choices. In 2015, I took the City Light B.E.A.M (Basic Electricity & Applied Mathematics) class “just for fun” and then got hired as a four-year apprentice. 

Tell us about your family: I live in Everett with two cats, Jupiter and Juniper, who belong to a former co-worker. Last July, he was moving to Pennsylvania and asked me if I would take care of the cats until he found a place to live that allows pets. Since then, I’ve become a cat lover, and they are now “temporary-permanent” as we like to call our quick-fix solutions at City Light. 

Just for Fun

What would people never guess that you do in your role? When I show up, I set the intention to raise the vibrational frequency to make the work environment a more cohesive, collaborative, and overall great place to be while still being effective in accomplishing the job.   

What is your motto or personal mantra? “You have the power to create your own reality, so be impeccable with your thoughts and words.” 

What’s something that has made you smile recently? I feel like I am perpetually smiling on the inside and especially so when I see someone I know. I did get a bit giddy when I saw a tuxedo cat in the park walking off leash with its human and dog.

What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend? I am pretty fascinated with learning about and putting into practice many areas of metaphysics. I am oftentimes exploring a diverse range of new and intriguing activities that solicit inspiration, peace, joy, and/or appreciation from within: being a kid with my cats, nieces, and nephews, taking aerial dance, yoga, Qi Gong, and spirituality enriching classes, going to community events, concerts, and comedy shows, as well as hiking in nature and traveling. I especially love having one-on-one conversations with a friend where we have the opportunity to connect.    

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? I am very content with the Pacific Northwest as I truly enjoy living through all four seasons, the accessibility to various forms of nature, and the rich diversity of resources and cultures (most importantly, savoring international cuisine). I would consider Spain or other areas around the Mediterranean because I love the vibe and opportunity to experience something new.