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Seattle City (spot)Light: Paul Dockery, Senior Manager of Energy Resource Strategy & Planning

The Basics

How long have you been at City Light? Since December 2022

Division: Power Management

Tell us about your role: I support and lead teams that plan, procure, and manage long-term energy contracts to ensure Seattle City Light has a reliable and balanced supply of power that can be delivered to our customers, both now and in the future. This includes engaging regional partners (peer utilities, market operators, power producers, and trade organizations) to understand and advance the utility’s interests in regional policy. Most of the electricity we provide to customers comes from several utility-owned hydroelectric resources located in the Pacific Northwest. To make up the difference, we purchase additional power from other energy providers, including the Bonneville Power Administration. 


Hometown: Edgerton, Ohio

Alma mater: University of Notre Dame

Discipline/Trade of study: Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and Bachelor of Arts in philosophy

Tell us about your family/pets: My wife is a graduate of Western Washington University and is a full-time caregiver for our three children, ages 10, 8, and 5. She is my best friend, and our kids are as dorky and nerdy as we are. We also have a big fluffy dog that likes to lay around all day.

Just for fun

What’s the most unusual or unique job you’ve ever had? For about six months while working at NextEra Energy, I managed commissioning and energization for newly constructed wind projects. It was a temporary assignment because the number of projects NextEra commissioned that fall and winter required additional coordination and staffing. It meant I wrote energization plans for collector substations at wind facilities, including one facility in Ontario, Canada. The diversity in jurisdictions’ approaches to new generation coming online was an eye-opening experience.

What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend? Have I mentioned that I built a Hobbit hole at our house? My family and I spent over three years building Brackenberry Hollow. We had no plans, just our beloved copies of “The Lord of the Rings” as a guide and two cable reel ends for doors. Most weekends you’ll find me tending to the shire around the Hobbit hole to keep blackberries at bay, cutting down fallen trees, maintaining trails, or mowing the yard. I also host a podcast called “Public Power Underground” where we discuss the world of energy alongside industry experts and cover a wide range of topics, from electrification to the people shaping the industry. We even recently featured fellow City Lighter Francis Sammy in the latest episode called “Distribution Hardware.”

The big game is on – what sport are you watching and who are you rooting for? Watching college football and rooting for my alma mater, “Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame. Wake up the echoes cheering her name.”

What do you admire most about your younger self? I grew up on a small farm in rural Ohio and raised animals for 4-H from the age of 8. It’s not admiration of my younger self, but I remember fondly the time spent caring for the farm animals. I love the smell of pigs now, which I recognize as nostalgia. I also love dairy calves. My love of large dogs stems from the affection I’d receive from sweet, cuddly, and huge dairy calves.

What’s your favorite family tradition or memory? During the calm down time at night before bed, my kids and I have fallen into the practice of laying around reading books together. Sometimes it’ll be on the couch, sometimes it’ll be stuffed on one of the kids’ beds, and sometimes it’ll be strewn haphazardly across the floor. It’s the practice of sharing quietness and space that I cherish. The kids are young enough that it hasn’t become a tradition, and I worry that we’ll get too busy and replace it with rushing around doing our own thing. For now, I appreciate the moments when I get to enjoy being enough for them by just being myself. Sharing space, sharing a practice, and sharing silence.