Power System Operator -- Meet ess Goldsworthy

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Ess records data from a substation. She wears a yellow vest and holds a clipboard as she smiles at the camera.ess Goldsworthy records data in a substation for the SFMTA.

Power System Operator -- Meet ess Goldsworthy  

ess Goldsworthy is an assistant power system operator who helps keep Muni moving. Learn how she built a career as an electrician, working in industries ranging from technology to healthcare. Find out which key skills she applies now at the SFMTA and what her typical workday looks like. Plus, see what she likes most about her job! 

Coursework and jobs before current role:  

ess’ story: 

Goldsworthy has worked in the electrical industry for more than 20 years. She got her education through the Inside Wireman Apprenticeship Program offered by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).  

“IBEW gave me an outstanding education,” Goldsworthy said. “It also helped me be part of something special -- building and maintaining infrastructure and business.”  
Over the years, Goldsworthy has worked in office buildings, mixed-used spaces and single-family homes. Her experience spans industries, too. She has completed projects for technology, defense and healthcare. 

 After working in these areas, Goldsworthy decided to apply for roles with the city. In June 2023, she started a custodian role with Muni Metro. At the time, she set a goal of finding a role internally that related to her electrical experience. Goldsworthy worked hard, completed exams and made this switch happen in just six months! 

In January 2024, she started a permanent civil service position as a power system operator. Now, Goldsworthy works in the substations that power our vehicles. 

Previous coursework: 

  • Inside Wireman Apprenticeship Program offered by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)  


Ess stands in a substation. We see her in the background holding a clipboard as she observes machines.Recording data is one of Goldsworthy’s many responsibilities for the SFMTA. 

Key skills required for current role: 

As an assistant power system operator, Goldsworthy works in the facilities that power Muni. These sites provide the electricity our buses and trains need to run. ess says these skills are key for the job: 

  • Knowledge of electrical systems 

“For this job, it’s really important to have a strong foundation in electrical systems. It’s especially helpful to understand power generation and distribution.”  

  • Punctuality and drive 

“You need to show up on time and be ready to work. We manage substations and other sites that directly power Muni. So, it’s important to be punctual and driven, because your work impacts the entire transit system.” 

  • Grit  

“You also need to have grit. I think one piece of this is being resilient. Another piece of it is tenacity. You need to have a level of belief in your abilities. You need to trust that you can learn new skills. You can’t be derailed by distractions, and you need to keep your mind on your goals. Your work is about keeping people and property safe. That’s the most important thing to remember in this role or one like it.”  

  • Interpersonal skills 

“You need to be able to communicate effectively with our operations team. You also have to relate well with other agencies and contractors. We might have to connect with them throughout the course of a day. So, working well with people is a must for this job.” 

  • Able to report on conditions you observe 

“In this job, you also have to be able to observe and report on the conditions of equipment. The infrastructure we manage is critical to Muni service. So, those skills are key.”  

  • Not taking things personally 

“You always need to stay focused on the task at hand. You can hear other people’s opinions, but then decide: ‘they don’t belong to me.’ I’m going to move past it.’” 

Goldsworthy says she built these skills through her education, career and active membership in labor unions.  

What a typical workday looks like: 

Goldsworthy is still in the training phase of her role. For now, she’s learning about the locations she’ll oversee and the tasks she’s responsible for. Her department is in charge of many substations and locations throughout the city. 

Once Goldsworthy finishes training, she’ll have an exciting mix of duties. These include: 

  • Checking electrolyte levels in batteries 

  • Remotely operating control devices  

  • Testing electrical equipment and alarm devices 

  • Inspecting circuits, transformers and breakers 

What she likes most about the job: 

  • Serving the people of San Francisco 

“I feel lucky that I have the opportunity to use my skills, education and experience to serve the people of San Francisco. It means a lot, because civil service is very important to me. I’m honored to do this work.” 

  • Building new skills  

“I am new to this department, so I’m really liking the opportunity to learn. There’s a lot to know about Muni’s power distribution system, and I’m up for that!” 

  • Feeling supported by her department 

“The power control operations team has welcomed me and been extremely supportive. They’ve given me the training I need to be successful, and I appreciate that!”