For those who never knew Vern Smith, he had a career with and around PG&E for over 50 years. A proud journeyman lineman, Smith was even more proud about being a member of IBEW 1245.
He spent his career with GC Line in the San Jose area. Upon his retirement, he became an inspector overseeing contractor work on PG&E facilities.
During his career in GC, Smith struck up a relationship with a then PG&E Human Resources rep, Laura Selheim. She eventually went on to become Vern’s wife as well as a senior director in Electric Operations. Make no mistake, despite working in senior leadership, Selheim was a friend to 1245 throughout her career.
Sadly, Smith passed away unexpectedly at home last September. Selheim recently received a check from IBEW as a payment for Smith’s life insurance policy.
Selheim recently reached out to 1245 Senior Assistant Business Manager Bob Gerstle, an old friend of Smith’s, dating back to his days as a PG&E lineman in then Belmont yard. Knowing of her late husband’s love and respect for IBEW 1245, as well as his trade, Selheim asked if she could donate the insurance check to one of the many scholarships offered by 1245.
Gerstle asked Selheim if she was aware of the recently founded Jairus Ayeta Scholarship, named in honor of an apprentice tragically killed on the job in 2018. After a brief explanation, it was agreed that Selheim’s generosity would be used to furnish the next two scholarship winners with climbing tools.
“This is a tremendous way to honor the legacy of Vern Smith,” said Gerstle. “From the bottom of our hearts, Local 1245 would like to thank Laura Selheim!”