Meet the Team

The Environmental Justice and Service Equity Team (EJSE) leads the implementation of the City of Seattle's Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) within SPU and in partnership with other City departments and community-based organizations.

Kathleen Baca, Director
Kathleen provides oversight and strategic direction for Community Affairs and Environmental Justice and Service Equity. She oversees internal and external communications and advancement of the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative throughout the Utility.

Patricia Bell Wyrick, Administrative Staff Assistant

"I manage a wide array of logistical details and processes for our division. In addition, I am a key member of department-wide and interdepartmental initiatives focused on creating a more inclusive and racially equitable workforce culture. When not in the office, you will find me enjoying family time and the arts." 
Core areas of work include:

  • Division Administration
  • RSJI Coordination and Project Assistance
  • SPU RSJI Change Team Member
  • SPU Culture Change Work Representative

Katia Garcia, Women and Minorities Business Enterprise (WMBE) Manager

"I have lived in Seattle since the age of three and received my Master’s in Public Administration and B.A. in Accounting from Seattle University. I feel fortunate to work toward imbedding racial equity within the City every day. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my husband, two sons and our extended family as well as exploring the beautiful outdoors of the Pacific Northwest."

Core areas of work include:

  • Women and Minority Business Enterprise (WMBE) Program Manager
  • Branch Equity Teams Liaison – WMBE Subcommittees
  • Financial Risk & Services Branch Advisor and BET Liaison

Steve Hamai, Senior Racial Equity Advisor

Over the past 11 years Steve has led efforts to establish and embed racial and service equity into Seattle Public Utility policies, plans, decision-making, and project design processes. He is a trusted core team member of multiple utility-wide initiatives, teams, and line of business decision-making bodies, bringing voice and equitable design alternatives to customer engagement and problem-solving. A native of Berkeley, CA, Steve received his degree from San Francisco State University, has resided in Seattle for the past twenty-four years.
Core areas of work include:

  • Racial Equity Analysis and Planning Lead
  • Branch Equity Team Program Manager
  • Drainage and Wastewater advisor and BET Liaison
  • Financial Risk & Services Branch Advisor and BET Liaison
  • Project Delivery and Engineering Branch Advisor and BET Liaison

Natalie Hunter, Racial Equity Advisor 
"I’ve been an employee of SPU since it was first established. I’ve been involved in the formation of the City’s Race & Social Justice Initiative as a key partner in its development at SPU. Employees around the City refer to me as the RSJI Historian. I house the RSJ and Diversity learning resources including books, DVDs, VHS, and historical & current documents."
Core areas of work include: 

  • Racial Equity Analysis and Planning
  • Drinking Water Advisor and BET Liaison
  • WMBE Data and Reports 
  • SPU RSJI Training, Resources and Reporting, SharePoint Site 
  • SPU Culture Change Work Representative 
  • Citywide Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Interdepartmental Team Member 

Sam Keller, Senior Community Planner
"I am social worker by education, community organizer by trade, and racial equity enthusiast by heart. I am honored to join EJSE where we seek to embed racial equity throughout the utility. I work from a place of curiosity and learning with a deep commitment to meeting people where they are. In my spare time, I am a long-distance runner."

Core areas of work include:

  • Racial Equity Planning and Analysis
  • Community Connections Operations Manager
  • Hazardous Waste Management Program Racial Equity Team liaison
  • Drinking Water Advisor and BET Liaison
  • Solid Waste Advisor and BET Liaison

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.