Tdworld 4503 Jim Smith

Jim Smith

June 1, 2012
Delmarva Power
  • Born in Dover, Delaware, and moved to Denton, Maryland, at an early age. He now resides in the house in which he lived in as a child.

  • Married to his wife, Jackie, for 32 years. They have two children, Jay and Kaycee. His son, Jay, has been a lineman for Delmarva Power for eight years.

  • Enjoys hunting, fishing, snow skiing, baseball and football.

  • Described by friends as a dedicated family man who has a strong work ethic, cheerful personality, positive attitude, commitment to safety and a desire to please customers. In fact, he has not missed a day of work for the last 26 years.

  • Can't live without his bucket truck.

  • His dad passed away when he was 11 years old, so his mom became his primary role model. He has the utmost respect and admiration for his mom, who is now 89 years old.

Early Years

Back when I was a kid, I was always fascinated by people who worked with electricity. Shortly after I graduated from high school, I was hired by Centreville Electric in Centreville, Maryland, in 1979 as an apprentice lineman. In 1981, I went to work in Delmarva Power's district office in Centreville as an engineer's helper and became an apprentice lineman eight months later.

I have done just about everything an overhead/underground distribution lineman is qualified to do. I worked for many years on major line construction projects, setting poles, pulling new wire, replacing transformers and upgrading voltage to 25 kV. For a brief period, I even trained new linemen at the company's pole climbing school in Salisbury, Maryland.

Day in the Life

After being a lineman for 21 years, I decided to take on a new challenge and became a troubleman and serviceman. I've been in this position for the last decade.

My typical day starts around 7 a.m. when I get into my company truck and log on to the computer to see my job orders for the day. I perform such diverse jobs as inspecting capacitor banks, repairing streetlights and underground secondary cables, and assisting line crews.

Crew Camaraderie

When I was a lineman, it was important to get along with the guys in my crew. I depended on my coworkers to make sure I was focused on safety at all times. Working with electricity is dangerous, and linemen need to avoid distractions in order to do the job safely. Now that I am a troubleman and serviceman, I work alone most of the time, so I rely on my good work habits to make sure I stay safe.

Safety Lesson

I had only been working for Delmarva Power for a little more than a year when one of my coworkers was killed when he made contact with a high-voltage line. He had failed to wear his protective rubber gloves when he went back to make a quick check on a project on which he was working. Seeing a friend die on the job is something that took me a long time to get over. I always focused on safety when on the job, but his death made me strengthen my safety commitment even more. I thank the good Lord that I have never been injured on the job. Focusing on safety sets a good example for your coworkers, and it ensures that you leave the job each day and go home safely and soundly to your family and friends.

Memorable Storm

I have worked on power restoration during several storms within our service territory, including the 1994 ice storm that knocked out electricity to customers for nine days. I even helped restore power to customers affected by storms in Maine, South Carolina and New York.

When a severe snow and ice storm hit Maine, it was especially challenging to restore power. We were there for 17 days, sometimes working in weather conditions that had a wind chill of 30° below zero. The customers were grateful that we were there to help them out in adverse conditions. For example, one customer showed his gratitude by inviting several of our crews into his house for a meal.

Plans for the Future

After more than 30 years working in the utility industry, I still look forward to going to work each day, and I plan to continue working for several more years.

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