Fragrance Notes Issue 2, 2019 - Page 11

THE HARDEST, GREATEST THING “I had just turned 60… I needed to make a change.” At the time, Ken, his wife, and their children Heath and Sarah lived in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, and he was working from his home and commuting to Intarome’s plant in New Jersey. Life and work were busy, and Ken relished staying active. He funneled his energy focus into high-intensity sports, including triathlons. He taught indoor cycling (also called spinning) and was a 3-star spinning instructor. “ “ which he immediately accepted, leaving his post at Florachem. “The attraction for me was, with ingredients, you’re pretty much one of many, and you’re all selling on price and service,” he says. “But, with fragrance, there’s a technical side to it, and a creative side, which was really attractive to me. I felt like that would really allow me to stretch out and use all of the tools I had.” “It was wonderful how it all fell into place,” he says. “It took me about two years to get my chops, learn the systems, and learn how to sell a fragrance. But, once it happened, it happened, and it was a perfect fit.” FEATURE My job performance doubled or tripled, because… I was happy! It’s amazing how that can change your professional life. With Heath and Sarah by then grown and out of the house, Ken and his wife made the hard decision to divorce. While everyone was heartbroken, “It just struck me,” he said. “I knew I didn’t want to live the rest of my life in that situation. I needed to make a change.” It wasn’t easy on anyone, but they came through it, as families often do. Always an involved father, Ken loves his children dearly and bursts with pride when he speaks about them. Heath, now 30, who looks like his father’s clone, followed in Ken’s footsteps, becoming a chemical engineer. He married Ken with his Congressman John Curtis (R-UT-3) during Fragrance Creators’ 2019 Lobby Day Erin, a friend from high school, and they live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sarah, 25, studied at Syracuse University and is an elementary school art teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia. Ken remained in tune with his self- proclaimed “geeky side,” and during this time found himself on a message board chatting with fans about Battlestar Galactica, a remake of the classic science fiction TV show. “We would meet up every night with a group of 30 or so other nerds and just talk about the show and the episodes,” he says. “We did fan fiction, role playing, all sorts of nerdy stuff.” It was on the message board that he struck up a friendship with a woman named Virginia (which also happens to be his mother’s name), a Virginia native and mother of four who was 17 years his junior and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints. The two became good friends, chatting often about their passions and lives, and eventually realized there was an undeniable spark between them. As the dust settled, Ken moved to Utah to be with Virginia, and the couple was married four years ago in a simple ceremony in Las Vegas. The experience, though painful, was transformative. “I’ve been able to become the person I always knew was in there,” he says. For the first time, he says he feels free, attributing much of that to the comfort of his partnership with Virginia. “She loves me for me,” he says. “We have this incredible ability to communicate about anything… I can say anything to her, and she knows it’s coming not from a position of trying to demean her, make her feel bad, but from love.” Issue 2, 2019 | FRAGRANCENOTES.ORG | 11