Ken Walters – President and Chairman of the Board
Ken was born in Nashville, TN and currently resides in Murfreesboro, TN with his wife Sandy and two dogs, Fred and Wilma. He is a lifetime fan of Science Fiction, but somehow missed Robert Heinlein until he was in his twenties. His first Heinlein was the Past Through Tomorrow and he was hooked. On his next visit to Manhattan, he went to the Doubleday Bookstore in Rockefeller Center and purchased every Heinlein title available on the shelves. Ken joined the Heinlein Forum in 2013 and The Heinlein Society the same year. He became a lifetime member in 2016.
Ken has spent many years in the technology industry, working for an IBM reseller in the eighties. From there he went on to become Chief Operating Officer at Datatek International, a networking company in Franklin, TN. Ken recently retired from Cisco Systems as a major account manager, after twenty years of Service. Ken took on the role of Membership Chair in 2017 and was elected to the Board of Directors by the membership for a three year term in 2019 and was reelected for another three-year term in 2022. Ken was chosen by the board to be Vice President in 2021 and the seventh President & Chair in 2023.
Walt Boyes – Vice President; Board of Advisors liaison
Walt has more than 40 years of experience in the automation industry, including Executive Committee experience in three companies, and board of directors service in both for-profit and not-for-profit companies. Walt was a member of the Board of Directors of Cypress Envirosystems, and continues to maintain an advisory relationship with the company. Walt’s knowledge of applied high technology in automation is unparalleled and encyclopedic. He has worked in nearly every manufacturing vertical, and with most manufacturing technologies. Walt is a Life Fellow of the International Society of Automation (ISA), and a member of IEEE. Walt is a Fellow of InstMC in the United Kingdom, and a Chartered Measurement and Control Technologist. Walt is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists. Walt is principal in Spitzer and Boyes LLC, a technology consulting firm assisting companies to better market their products in manufacturing and automation. Spitzer and Boyes provides industry analysis, market research, content generation and provisioning, forensic engineering, technology transfer and technical due diligence for mergers and acquisitions. Walt was Editor-in-Chief of CONTROL magazine and controlglobal.com from 2003 to 2013, the longest serving editor in that post. During that period the magazine and website won numerous awards. Walt is the Editor of the Industrial Automation and Process Control INSIDER, which is published by Spitzer and Boyes LLC. Walt is also a freelance author, and acts as a freelance acquisitions editor for Instrumentation and Automation texts. Walt was also Associate Editor and Marketing Director for “Jim Baen’s Universe” magazine (www.baensuniverse.com) a noble experiment in e-publishing that is now closed. He serves on the Editorial Board of the 1632 alternate history project. Walt is now the Editor in Chief of The Grantville Gazette, the magazine of the 1632 Universe. With his wife, Joy Ward, he is co-editor of Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire Press. Walt has published professionally in the science fiction field, and is a member of SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
As a practicing futurist, Walt’s goal as a board member is to raise the awareness of Heinlein’s contribution to the study of the future. He also wants to increase awareness of the need for STEM education, and the uses of science fiction to advance STEM interest in children. He also wants to advance Heinlein’s conception of a well-rounded human being.
Walt was appointed to the Board in 2017 to fill the vacancy caused by the passing of the late Jerry Pournelle, Ph.D., and ratified by the membership in 2018 to serve the remaining two years. He was reelected to the board in 2020 and 2023. He was elected as Vice-President in 2023.
Geo Rule – Treasurer
Geo Rule is a native Californian returned to the roots of his Minnesotan ancestors by his wife, Deb Houdek Rule, who he had the great good fortune to meet as a result of their common membership in a Heinlein fan group. Mr. Rule has been an active participant of the Heinlein community since early 1992 as a member of the Heinlein Forum, the oldest online Heinlein fan group. Prior to his involvement with The Heinlein Society, Mr. Rule and his wife ran their own Heinlein-themed website. Mr. Rule has authored, co-authored, or been editor on various online articles having to do with the works or history of Robert A. Heinlein. He has served previously as Chair of the Academic section of the Society, and in addition to his board responsibilities is also currently serving as Education Chair, where he led the Society’s effort to produce the Educator’s CD available to all interested educators for free at their request. Mr. Rule also helps out as contributor to the online Heinlein Archives project. In his spare time, he is also an amateur historian on the American Civil War in Missouri, and has been published in an academic journal on the subject. He served as the Vice-President/Secretary to the Society from 2014 -2018. He was elected to a three year term in 2007, and re-elected several times, most recently in 2016. Geo was elected by the Board of Directors to be the Society’s fifth President and Chairman of the Board in 2018. Geo stepped down as a board member in 2019. He was appointed Assistant Treasurer in 2023 and re-elected to the Board in 2023 and elected by the Board as Treasurer.
Elizabeth “Betsey” Wilcox – Secretary; Bylaws Committee
Elizabeth “Betsey” Wilcox began reading science fiction in 4th grade, when she rebelled against the age and gender appropriate books her teachers thought she should read. Turned loose to make her own choices, she started with Robert A. Heinlein’s juvenile novels and quickly moved on to his other writings. Soon, SF authors like Asimov, Clarke, Herbert, and Pohl were added to her must-read list. Although she branched out into the mysteries of Doyle, Christie, Sayers and MacDonald, her mother’s preferred genre and authors, Heinlein remains her favorite author, and she often re-reads his works. Over the years, she has corresponded with Mrs. Heinlein, and to her surprise, two of her letters have been found in the Heinlein Archives. In addition to her expansive library, she collects Longaberger Baskets and Star Wars toys. Everything is tracked in self-built databases.
Betsey retired from the United States Air Force as a Nurse Corps Officer with 25 years of active service, 18 in education and training. Her last 7 years were spent at three different bases in San Antonio, Texas. She arrived in San Antonio thirty days before Hurricane Katrina wiped out the house she occupied for three years in Biloxi, Mississippi. Her last assignment occurred during a major Medical Service re-alignment. Her expertise and ability to offer forward-thinking plans and options resulted in her selection to help build, from the ground up, a new Medical Operations Agency.
She considered joining THS several times but was detoured for various reasons. Finally, in early 2013, she hit the Pay Pal button and was immediately drafted to help the Society at the Lone Star 3 World-con. Since then, she has been active on several committees and instrumental in advancing the Society’s ability to do business with electronic voting and “virtual” meetings. She was appointed by the board to fill a vacancy in 2014, and elected by the membership to a three year term in 2015. She was re-elected in 2018 and again in 2021. She was chosen as the Society’s Secretary in 2022.
John H. Seltzer- Heinlein For Heroes; Patterson Archives
John was born in Pottsville, PA on the Heinlein’s first wedding anniversary (10-21-1949). John is a retired Safety Engineer and spent most of his career working in highly hazardous industries such as nuclear, petroleum refineries and mining. John has a BS in Industrial Technology from the University of West Florida (1972) and was a Professional Engineer. He and his wife Susan have been married 55 years and live in Bellingham, Washington. John is a relatively new addition to the Heinlein Society having joined in 2011. John didn’t grow up with Heinlein as so many have; instead he read all of Heinlein in later life. John volunteered shortly after joining the Society in 2011. His first assignment was to take over administration of the Heinlein Society Facebook page. He has since turned over responsibility for the FB page to VP, Ken Walters. John also helped with the new Heinlein Website by moving the majority of the documents over from the old Website. Looking for more ways to help The Society John became Membership Chairperson and began sending out new member letters, monthly dues invoices and doing monthly reports and audits. He also has turned this responsibility to VP, Ken Walters. Currently John is Chair of the H4H program. John helped start the H4H program by purchasing and shipping science fiction and fantasy books. The H4H program, now almost 10 years old, has shipped more than 40,000 books and continues to do quite well. We get books from Baen, Galaxy Press, Wordfire Press, ARC Manor and Black Rose writers and several others. He was also a friend of William Patterson and with patient instruction from Bill wrote several articles for the Heinlein Journal. John is responsible Patterson’s files, which were turned over to THS by Patterson’s family. John also assists Heinlein researchers who come to THS looking for files and information about Heinlein. John’s goals are to help grow membership, continue to grow the Society Facebook Page and Website with the addition of new posts and articles; assist the Heinlein Journal with research and continue to grow the H4H program. John was elected to a three year term in 2014, and was re-elected in 2017, 2020, and 2023.
Dr. Beatrice Kondo
Beatrice Kondo, like Buckaroo Banzai, was born going many directions at once. Her German mother Ursula, and her Japanese father Yoji met in Philadelphia (city of brotherly love, and apparently other kinds of love, too!). She was introduced to the works of Robert A. Heinlein by her father, at the tender age of eight. The family lived in Nassau Bay, TX, where her father was an astrophysicist at NASA Johnson Space Center, and this is how they became personally connected with the Heinleins. An astronaut friend, Dr. Karl Henize, attended a lecture by Robert Heinlein’s brother, and happened to have a Heinlein novel on hand, given to him by Yoji. This occasioned a discussion of astrophysics, and eventually led to a phone call from Robert to Yoji to discuss astronomy. Many more phone calls and letters followed, with occasional chances to socialize in person when the Heinleins visited Annapolis (the Kondo family having moved to Maryland in the interim). Continuing in her zig-zag path, Beatrice’s academic career began at the age of 15 with undergraduate studies at Loyola University in Baltimore (first math, then German language and Literature). She then began a career in software test engineering, testing Hubble Space Telescope management and control software, before transitioning to the private sector, testing communications systems. Eventually the siren song of higher education lured her to a return into academia, and she completed a doctorate in Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2006. Her publications are in the area of molecular phylogenetics, with a special emphasis on closely-related species and the evolution of migration in New World Orioles. Recognizing a love of teaching during her graduate career, Beatrice pursued a teaching post-doc at Cornell College in Iowa, famous for its unusual one-course-at-a-time curriculum. After this, she taught for four years in the undergraduate program of the Department of Biology at The Johns Hopkins University, before joining the Advanced Academic Programs Center for Biotechnology Education in the Fall 2011. After that, she served as a senior analyst for a policy consulting company for a year, before returning to academia as a Senior Lecturer in the Fischell Department of Bio-engineering, University of Maryland.Dr. Kondo was elected to the Board for a three year term in 2016, re-elected in 2019 and chosen by the Board of Directors as Treasurer in the same year. She stood for election and was reelected again in 2022. She transitioned from the Treasurer role in 2023.
Joel S. Davis
Joel was born in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1948. He is a physicist and Chief Scientist for the Systems Engineering Solutions business unit of Ball Aerospace. Joel has two BS degrees from MIT: one in Physics (Course VIII) and one in Political Science (Course XVII). He has a MS degree in Astro-Geophysics from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. He and his wife, Cornelia “Nili” Lange (a retired psychiatrist) have been married 37 years. They were married in the amphitheater on top of Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder and live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Joel joined the Heinlein Society in 2001, as soon as he found out that it existed. Joel grew up with Heinlein, discovering him in his grade school’s library in 3rd grade. Avid about space and science since the age of 3 (inspired, originally, by “Captain Video and his Video Rangers:”), Heinlein’s “Have Spacesuit Will Travel” was his inspiration for going to MIT– he was talking about it by age 10. He has read every Heinlein work he could get his hands on, and his favorite Heinlein works are: “Requiem,” “Citizen of the Galaxy,” and “Job: A Comedy of Justice,” but he likes them all. He got a footnote in William Patterson’s biography of Heinlein for helping track down the actual stories behind Heinlein’s recollection of the sacrifice of a Hobo in Swope Park. Joel is primarily interested in educational projects—e.g., handing out copies of “Have Spacesuit Will Travel” to other teens who might be inspired by it. He is seeking other education-related projects. Joel’s goals include introducing youngsters to Heinlein’s works that they might be inspired to STEM careers by them. Joel was elected by the membership for an initial two-year term in 2020 and was re-elected in 2022.
Mike Sheffield – Scholarship Chair
Mike was born in San Diego, CA in 1960. He served 4 years in the U.S. Air Force as an Electronic Warfare Systems Specialist with the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing “Wild Weasels”. At the end of his service in 1985 he began working at TRW Space & Technology (now Northrop Grumman Space Systems) where he has been for 35 years. During his time there he has worked in several departments, including Quality Assurance, Satellite Integration, Test and Launch and his current position as a Senior Software Engineer.
Mike began organizing SF convention blood drives at Conucopia, the 1999 NASFiC in Anaheim, CA. He joined The Heinlein Society in September 2001 and later that year became the chair of the blood drive committee, in which position he served until 2010, and continues to help helped organize and run drives. He became the chair of the scholarship committee when it was formed in early 2012 and continues in that role today. He served on the board of directors from June 2006 until September 2014, and was the fourth Chair & President of the Society for the last four years of that time. In June of 2004 Mike married his wife, Sharon, who is one of the most brilliant people he has ever met. They live in Long Beach, CA. Mike has a predilection for wearing kilts, much like Lazarus Long. Most recently, Mike was elected to the Board in 2021 for a three year term.
Jim Dutton – Newsletter Editor; Membership Services
Jim is a native of the South, having lived in Alabama, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, and North Carolina. He currently resides near a small town in South Carolina out in “the country”. He maintains that if you have to pass pastures with cattle on the way to his house, he’s in “the country”.
He first read Heinlein in the first month of the Fourth Grade, stumbling upon The Star Beast in the elementary school library, and what kid wouldn’t think that title is cool! Only days later, Star Trek premiered on TV and a life-long devotion to Sci-Fi in books, television, and film was born. Jim’s next encounter with Heinlein was in Junior High School with Red Planet, and Heinlein soon became his favorite author for a lifetime. His favorite and most read Heinlein … Citizen of the Galaxy.
Jim has been both a professional writer and an IT professional in his career, for the last 20 years developing custom eCommerce systems currently running on a suite of web servers on Amazon Web Services. Over the last several years, Jim has written more than twenty novels and novellas in the genres of Heroic Fantasy, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Fairy Tales (the novellas), and even a series of RomComs. (Getting into RomComs surprised him and that’s a long story).
He married his wife Betty in 1979 after winning her in a bet at Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina concerning whether a long-running report job was in a loop or just printing a whole lot of data. He’d also discovered she was a sci-fi fan based on a book at her office desk. Jim and Betty are dog lovers, having raised and loved five toy poodles. They currently have the last of the poodles (Chili) along with two wonderful dogs Jim rescued after they were dumped in his rural area … Doris and Max.
He was once a dedicated tournament chess player (former SE HS Champion and NC Amateur Champion) and the chess coach of a NC State Championship team. Jim served as Chairman of a prominent scholastic chess association, and served on the board of a popular writers community. He’s done pro bono web sites and hosting for non-profit organizations, feels honored to serve the very worthy goals of The Heinlein Society, and is in awe of the many great people he’s met since his involvement in the Society.
Jim provided minor assistance to Board member John Seltzer in organizing the Bill Patterson IP, became the Newsletter Editor as of the June 2023 issue, and was first elected to the Board in the 2023 cycle. He has agreed to assume the Society’s Membership duties.
Non-Director Committee Chairs
The pic is where you will usually find me. On the computer managing a religious social media site as an atheist, blogging see below, and staying in contact with a bunch of interesting and intelligent friends on general social media. Clothing from personal blood donations (~250 WB) and Heinlein Society pins from blood drives I have run (5 cons ~300 units.) The Heinlein books on the working shelf are beat up from overuse, the hardbacks and replacement paperbacks are on the public shelf downstairs. I have read all the Heinlein fiction most several times and several a lot of times.
I was educated as a Chemist, but worked mostly in marketing. I bicycled to work long before it was cool. Bicycles are transportation, cars are fun. Other hobbies: Singing in symphonic choirs; hiking, backpacking, and recently trail building: volunteer work mainly with ACT the Stanford GSB pro-bono consulting team to non-profits.
Dr. C. Herbert Gilliland – Academic Chair; Editor-in-Chief, The Heinlein Journal
Dr. Gilliland is a retired professor of English at the United States Naval Academy, and a retired naval reserve captain. He taught courses there on topics ranging from Renaissance literature to science fiction. He particularly enjoyed teaching a special course on Robert Heinlein, a graduate of the Naval Academy and the author of Starship Troopers. (This is the first college course ever dedicated entirely to Heinlein.) Herb’s scholarly work tends to be concerned with naval history. He is the author of Voyage to a Thousand Cares: Master’s Mate Lawrence with the African Squadron 1844-1846, which received the North American Society for Oceanic History’s John Lyman Book Award. With Robert Shenk, he co-authored the biographical Admiral Dan Gallery: The Life and Wit of a Navy Original. Although he has written many things since, Dr. Gilliland is always proud that his very first appearance in public print was a letter to John Campbell published in Astounding magazine. He is also a member of the board for the Robert A. Heinlein Award, given annually to a science fiction writer whose work has inspired exploration of space. Dr. Gilliland was appointed by the board to fill a vacancy in 2015, and elected by the membership to a three year term later in 2015. He was re-elected to a second three year term in 2018, and chosen by the Board of Directors to be Vice President – Secretary in the same year. He was appointed Chair of the Academic Committee and Editor-in-Chief of The Heinlein Journal in 2020. Most recently Herb was reelected to the board of directors in 2021 for a three year term. He moved on from Secretary duties in 2022 to concentrate on The Heinlein Journal and retired from his Director position in 2023 one year early.
John Tilden – Webmaster / Operations; Discord; Heinlein Forum liaison
John (aka “JT”) was born in New York and currently resides near Baltimore, Maryland. He first encountered Robert Heinlein’s work as one of the cool books with the “atom” sticker on the spine in the library’s fiction section. After college, he read the uncut Stranger in a Strange Land for the first time and was prompted to go ‘online’ to the new Prodigy network to see if anyone else wanted to discuss Heinlein. He found a simple subject line entitled “Heinlein Forum” and posted a reply. Over thirty years later, the discussion of Heinlein’s work is still a pretty good way to meet interesting people online and in-person.
John retired from the U.S. federal government as a Senior Technical Advisor. He has served on the board of his local community association and was its webmaster for over two decades. He spent eight years on the national board of his fraternity, Alpha Sigma Phi, and serves as his chapter’s Alumni Association Secretary. He is married with two sons. He enjoys reading and collecting comics when not engaged in volunteer work.
John is a charter and Lifetime member of the Heinlein Society and has volunteered at blood drives and local conventional panels. He was also pleased to attend and help out in a small way with the Heinlein Centennial effort, including a panel presentation about Heinlein Fandom Online; helping with the blood drive; and, due to his tuxedo, helping seat attendees of a memorable Gala dinner. John was an early Membership Services chair of the Society where he was pleased to become acquainted with Mrs. Virginia Heinlein. He was appointed to serve out a term in 2012 as a director and Treasurer of the Society and elected to a three year term beginning in 2014. He was re-elected in 2017 and 2020. John was chosen by the Board of Directors as the sixth President and Chairman of the Board in 2019. John moved into the role of Webmaster/Operations Committee chair in 2023.
Nominations & Elections Committee
Will first discovered Robert Heinlein at age 16 and was hooked. Heinlein’s work kindled Will’s love of science fiction, as well as a strong interest in developing skills in math, sciences, and logical processes. He first used these skills designing data systems for medical facilities before moving on to contract withthe US Army Corps of Engineers where he developed tracking systems supporting archaeologists repatriating the remains of US service personnel from Southeast Asia. He is now the manager of anefficiency command center at a major vacation destination where he and his team gruelingly analyze every tiny and seemingly insignificant aspect of a guest’s experience to ensure the visitors never even notice how much work happens to give them a flawless holiday experience.
Since joining The Heinlein Society in 2016 Will has volunteered to help with various tasks. You will find him representing THS at Worldcon and Balticon nearly every year, and since 2017 he has assisted in organizing and executing the online annual election. In 2023 he was appointed as the chair of the Nominations committee, where he will continue to manage the elections. He worked on the 2023 THS Membership Database upgrade and migration.
He continues to enjoy reading, but also spends his time walking (after giving up running half marathons) and cooking. He will rarely refuse a glass of bourbon offered in friendship.
Public Relations/Social Media (THIS COULD BE YOU!)
WorldCon Party Planning/Social
Keith Kato is a charter member of the Society and the fifth President. He is literally world-renowned for his “Chili Party” at WorldCons and has allowed the Heinlein Society (and recently, the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies) to be a co-host of the event.
Roger Christenson has been a Heinlein fan since the first novel he ever read, Rocket Ship Galileo, at a young age. Reading Heinlein inspired him in science as far as a B.S.E.E. from the University of Denver, though he never worked in that exact field. After some 20 years in such loosely related fields as tool & die designer, CAD, and computer programmer, he’s semi-retired (which means busier than ever trying to make ends meet; selling stuff on eBay and occasionally editing videos), but finds a little time to dabble in various hobbies like animation and model-building. Roger’s honored to have exchanged e-mails with Mrs. Heinlein after finding her on the alt.fan.heinlein newsgroup. He’s donated over 16 gallons of blood (pay it forward!), and was a member of MENSA, although he feels like he’s been getting a little stupider ever since. Roger took on the role of Twitter editor in 2017.