19 Jul Longtime engineer Ken Jesneck retires from WithersRavenel
From subdivisions to stormwater, water lines to transportation and construction, Ken Jesneck’s career has run the gamut of civil engineering responsibilities. But now, after more than 30 years on the job, Jesneck is ready to retire.
A longtime WithersRavenel employee, Jesneck, PE, LEED AP, started with the company in 2000 after nearly a decade at other firms. From a very young age Ken knew he wanted to be an engineer, ever since a local newspaper wrote an article about him and his fascination with construction going on across the street from his childhood home in Ayden.
The N.C. State engineering graduate is a big supporter of WithersRavenel’s employee-ownership business model, and it’s his fellow owners that he will miss the most.
“I’m going to miss the people that I work with,” he said. “The company is really a collection of some great people.”
Ken was one of the few WithersRavenel employees who continued to work from the office as the company maintained a small crew at its various sites during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. “Coming into the office every day, Loftee (Smith), Jason (Bertoncino) and I have been together for a year and a half,” he said. “I’m going to miss those guys more than anything.”
“I’ve been here 21+ years and I’ve seen our company change for the good in many respects. Sam and Tony have built something they should be proud of. I think it is something everyone should be proud of, working here.”
And while he’s ready “to transition into a new phase of life,” he has many fond engineering memories.
“I’m an engineer at heart, and always will be. One of my biggest thrills is seeing a project on paper, and then seeing it being built, and then seeing it after a number of years.”
Long Lake Subdivision in Raleigh was a particularly memorable project for Ken. “I got to be on the forefront of stormwater management with that one,” he said. But at the end of the day, all the projects have been exciting, he said.
In retirement, Ken and his wife, Charlotte, will continue to explore their love of travel. New England will be the first stop, followed by a cross-country camping trip, taking them to scenic National Parks sites in the Western U.S. The Western trip has been a goal of the couple for years.
“I hope the heat subsides (out West),” he said. “Our tent doesn’t come with an air-conditioner.”
Another planned stop: Hawaii. “COVID put a damper on our 30th wedding anniversary in 2020,” he said. So Hawaii is now in the plans for the next anniversary.
One of Ken’s well-known travel-related passions is Disney. But he wants to set the record straight: he is not moving to Orlando. “It’s a great place to be young at heart,” he said. The Jesnecks went to Disneyworld three times during the pandemic, and love to get wrapped up in the atmosphere.
He loves “being able to put the world aside and live in the moment of being a kid again. It brings back a lot of childhood memories. It’s a different world.
“You don’t have any outside influences. You get to shut out the news, go to the park and get exhausted, then rest, then do it all over again the next day. And that’s a different type of tired and relaxation.”
WithersRavenel and Ken’s clients wish him the best of luck in retirement and on his travels! Below are some photos from his retirement party.