Kenneth E. Heselton, PE (Retired)

Personal Information

Ken grew up in western New York State in a little town called Andover. While attending the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, Long Island, New York, he met his wife Susan. Ken and Susan lived in Manhattan, center city Philadelphia, and Wilmington, Delaware, the Baltimore area, and their current retirement home in Florida.

He served aboard several merchant ships as an engineering officer for steamship boiler plants while Sue directed staff as the head nurse in several different hospital operating rooms before moving to Baltimore.

Ken and Sue lived around Baltimore between 1972 and 2016. He continued his involvement with boiler plants moving from operator to designer to manager of construction and commissioning to his present semi-retired position as an occasional consultant.

Sue has changed careers twice. She still runs her custom sewing business "Sewfully Sue," which flourished in the 1980's, but it suffered for twelve years when she was elected as a representative to the Harford County Council. Community service still consumes most of her time (and some of Ken's). Sue was renown for getting elected to office spending less than $200. She did it three consecutive times and won her last election spending only the $25 required by the Board of Elections. Sue and a fellow councilwoman created the first "tree bill" in the county which has had an impact on the quality of developments and recovery of some tree-less space in the county. She served on committees for MACO (the Maryland Association of Counties) and NACO (National Association of Counties). She really enjoyed service to the community but was somewhat content losing her last election by 65 votes. Until the decision to move to Florida she served on the County's budget advisory board.

As with most people that find a hobby which takes over their lives, Ken and Sue have an avocation that leaves them little time for anything outside work. Licensed to band birds by the U.S. Geological Survey, they spend much of their time in the woods. They are members of the Eastern Bird Banding Association which Ken served as president for four separate terms. For thirty years in September and October you would find them on top of the Allegheny Front Mountain in West Virginia at AFMO (the Allegheny Front Migration Observatory) where they join many other volunteers to band, mostly warblers, and the occasional Sharp-shinned Hawk shown here, migrating from Canada on their way to the southern states, Central and South America. Ken spent his nights for most of October and November for five years banding Northern Saw Whet Owls as part of Project Owlnet a national study of the migration habits of those little owls. Sue and Ken spent one or two days each week teaching the county's fifth grade students about bird banding at the Harford Glen Environmental Education Center near their home in Joppa. They were also conducting several studies on avian population and survival at Harford Glen.

May 20, 1998, Ken and Sue were acknowledged by the Susquehannock Environmental Center (the first organization to promote recycling) as their 1998 "Environmental Volunteers of the year."

Extended stays in the woods and old age combined to compel them to buy a motorhome. It had something to do with tent fabric failing to keep out sub zero temperatures and twenty-five mile an hour winds while on the WV mountaintop. RVing is a life they've grown to enjoy and it has allowed them to do more. As Ken says "We're in the woods, but when you get out of the hot shower in your centrally heated motorhome, grab some ice cream out of the freezer, and sit down to watch the late news on television - you're not camping!" They have learned to enjoy the motorhome and are on their third vehicle. They traveled more. After all, it's too cold to band birds around Baltimore in January and February and too hot in July and August, so.... Their Siameze cat has the distinction of having visited 38 states.

While they normally spent January to March in southern climes they were unable to escape the winter weather in January of 2016 because Ken had sugurey and the 24 inch snowfall they had to dig the motorhome out of let Sue convince Ken that it was time to retire to Florida. Now they spend the winter months lounging by the pool and watching the snow on TV.

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