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Meet Alumnus Ethan B. ’05, the ‘Voice’
Behind SDOT

Photo of Seattle Academy Alumnus Ethan Bancroft '05

Written By: Gena Wynkoop, Editorial Content Manager

Navigating Seattle's intricate network of bridges, staying updated on freeway construction, and being aware of potential traffic disruptions are essential aspects of driving in the Emerald City. Ethan Bancroft ’05, leveraging his expertise as the Creative Content Strategist at the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), plays a pivotal role in ensuring that residents stay informed about these critical updates.

Through blog posts, timely email blasts, and informative notices, Ethan and his team diligently keep the city alert to any infrastructure developments that may impact daily commutes and the overall flow of the city.

Not only is he a *big deal*, but he’s also a graduate of Seattle Academy. During his time as a Cardinal, Ethan was drawn to humanities and always had a knack for writing.

“I think writing, history, and some sort of research, reading, and synthesizing and all of those skills have been a constant because I did a lot of writing at Seattle Academy. It was a huge skill that I honed there.”

Ethan was also involved in a few sports including basketball and lacrosse but preferred Ultimate, being the co-captain of the team in his senior year.

“I also enjoyed some of the arts in terms of getting outside of my comfort zone a little bit. I gravitated towards visual arts, photography, and filmmaking, but I also dabbled in dance, theater and music.”

After SAAS, Ethan attended Willamette University in Oregon where he studied Rhetoric and Media Studies.

“Right after college, I was looking at public relations and the more traditional tech media route. My whole career has been dedicated to public service, though. Prior to my experience at the City of Seattle, I worked 12 years at a consulting firm doing Outreach and Communications for transportation projects in the region.”

Everywhere that Ethan landed has always had some sort of public service element–something that over the years, he has become quite fond of, specifically, in the transportation sector. A few of Seattle’sbiggest initiatives in Seattle have tapped the expertise of Ethan.

“When I was consulting, all of my clients were working with public sector agencies in the region. I worked for 12 years with my prior company and worked mostly on the 520 Bridge Project. That was like a mini-multi-year multi-billion dollar project, doing outreach and communications for design and construction.”

“I’ve also worked a little bit on the regional Light Rail with Sound Transit with the City of Seattle, but my overwhelming bulk was with the 520 Bridge Project. It was a really cool project for me to get to learn about the regional landscape of transportation and what government agencies there are at every level and communicating with the public, in any number of scenarios and situations.”

Ethan also worked on the West Seattle Bridge closure during the middle and the end of the project, providing updates to the community who were affected by the two-and-a-half-year bridge closure.

“Communication to the public, especially about transportation issues, is vitally important. It’s important to keep the average community member that is impacted in mind. That’s why we do regular weekly email updates. Like during the WSB closure, we did blog posts frequently, and a lot of community outreach.”

“That is essential infrastructure, so when it malfunctions or there is an issue, it's important to get clear information out so people can adjust and prepare the flow of their daily lives.”

Working in the public service sector has been really fulfilling for Ethan especially when it has such a direct impact on the everyday lives of so many people.

“One part I love about my job is the team I get to work with, but the other part is writing and the creative elements because I really do touch on a ton of different topics in a given week. I get to help shape how we describe what’s going on and like to try to make it as clear and user-friendly as possible.”

To learn more about Ethan, you can find him on the Public Service panel at our SAAS Summit, happening Sunday, May 5th, 2024. Please visit