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Celebrating the Women of KBR Government Solutions US

Celebrating the Women of KBR Government Solutions US

Publish Date:
24 Mar 2020

This year, International Women’s Day on March 8 asked the public to reflect on the idea that “an equal world is an enabled world.” The women of KBR proved this idea true as they enable the organization to do extraordinary things. This March, in honor of Women’s History Month, learn about the amazing, diverse contributions of our own female leaders. 

Kim Bryant, Principal Site Manager – Erbil, Iraq

“Kim embodies great leadership,” said Senior Vice President Ella Studer. “When I visited Al Assad, Iraq, the project site she was working at the time, I was blown away by her leadership and courage to care for her employees and fellow workers.” Due to her tireless efforts and wonderful leadership, KBR selected Bryant to be the site manager of Erbil, an air base in Northern Iraq.

Exuding strong performance and enthusiasm for her job, Bryant’s booth was voted “best display” for KBR’s Zero Harm Day celebration last year. She also led her team to develop the Zero Harm song. 

Bryant lives by former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s famous quote, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” One of the things that makes humans unique, she says, is our ability to create and use tools. “Tools are important because they multiply the effect of physical force, thought or attention. The more a tool amplifies or concentrates your effort, the more effective the tool.” 

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, sports, and entertaining family and friends.   

April Gage, Senior Archivist – Mountain View, California

April Gage is a passionate, multi-faceted Senior Archivist at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) and an incredible asset to KBR. For the past 15 years, Gage has single-handedly managed the center’s artifacts and history archives. 

Her daily efforts work to build the center’s object collections and support their use by artists, academic and technical researchers, as well as the general public. She also supports archiving efforts related to the built environment and space biosciences research projects for the Historic Preservation Office within Ames Life Sciences Data Archive. 

“Why do I love what I do? Archivists are keepers of the historical record. Without us, there is no knowledge of the past,” she said. 

Gage holds a master’s degree in library and information science from San Jose State University and a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Berkeley. She is a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists – the only certified archivist at ARC and one of only two in NASA. 

For recreation, Gage enjoys being outdoors. She is a backyard beekeeper, avid hiker, harvester of wild foods and enjoys processing acorns into flour. For the past few years, she has been helping with the development of her family’s small vineyard in rural Northern California – pitching in with farming, harvesting and winemaking activities. She also spends time sewing and pursuing home improvement projects, as well as learning to restore and reupholster antique furniture under the instruction of a local professional. 

Amanda Grace, Senior Operations Manager – Houston, Texas

Senior Operations Manager Amanda Grace concisely tackles some of the toughest projects at KBR. A Navy veteran, Grace joined KBR in 2005 and has a diverse background in operations. She spent more than four years supporting the third contract of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program in Iraq and Afghanistan, provided project management support to KBR’s legal department throughout 2008 to 2017, and supported the procurement department from 2011 to 2016. Most recently, Grace served as a project manager for the on-site closeout effort of the Aegis Combat System project in Romania from 2017 to 2019.  

Grace utilizes her leadership skills to identify and resolve issues, always delivering quality results. Her portfolio also includes synchronizing Naval Facilities Engineering Command base operations support contracts in Bahrain, Djibouti and Poland, as well as construction and vehicle maintenance contracts. She does all this while making sure to have the quality time needed with her daughter and traveling for personal pleasure.

KBR is proud to have her on board to help synchronize operations for all the exciting new work the company expects to win in 2020 and beyond. 

“I am proud to continue serving my country and supporting our troops around the world,” Grace said. “I love working in a collaborative team environment to move projects to completion while improving customer relationships.”  

Ami Hannon, Materials Scientist/Engineer – Clear Lake, Texas

Materials Scientist Ami Hannon is performing front-line research and developing chemical sensors based on nanotechnology. Having earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering, Hannon is now working on her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of North Dakota.

Hannon has made significant contributions in the chemical engineering arena, to include having published several scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and filed two invention disclosures. In her work, Hannon often collaborates with key KBR partner organizations, such as NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Lawrence Livermore National Lab and the U.S. Geological Survey, to develop small environmental and medical monitoring sensors for use across a broad spectrum of human spaceflight and terrestrial applications.

“I have always been intrigued by science. My work involves discovery and development of cutting-edge technologies. These technologies have potential to develop lab-on-a-chip devices and thereby revolutionize medical diagnostics,” she said. “It would be nice to see some of these technologies come to the market soon and replace current invasive tests.”

Throughout her life, Hannon has spent time as a lecturer at an engineering college in India. When she has time to relax, she loves to hike, read books, meditate and play board games. 

Betty Hayes, Senior Manager and Deputy Project Manager – Djibouti, Africa

Since joining KBR in 2001, Betty Hayes has worked all over the globe increasingly adding more responsibility to her plate through a series of promotions. 

Today, Hayes works as a Senior Manager on the base operating support services (BOSS) contract at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Africa. An extremely knowledgeable acquisition professional, Hayes worked to make KBR successful through its initial challenge of striking Djiboutian workers. Her help directly evolved the project from a potential loss into one of the most successful in performance. For the past eight years, she’s implemented English classes for local national employees enhancing their skillset and opportunities. 

“I love working with all different types of people and the challenges it brings,” shares Hayes. “I love creating workable solutions that will benefit both the employees as well as the company’s bottom line. I was in the U.S. Air Force for more than 23 years where I learned to be disciplined, solve complex problems and how to face adversities. The military is also were I learned the world of government contracts, which have been instrumental in my success with KBR.” 

Currently, Hayes also supports the NASA Kennedy Space Center BOSS Project through the PAE-KBR joint venture due to her extensive project knowledge. When she’s not focused on work, she loves to relax by reading, crocheting, sewing and watching old movies. 

Erin Haynes, Logistics Project Lead – Houston, Texas

Since joining KBR as an Administrative Specialist in 2007, Erin Haynes has quickly moved up the ranks. Today, Haynes handles many key operational items under Senior Vice President Ella Studer. “I have been extremely lucky to work for people who have pushed me outside of my comfort zone and to gain so much experience as well as travel to places like Djibouti and Bahrain,” she said.

Haynes has deployed to projects both domestic and international in times of critical need to help get operations on track. “I love being able to support our operations and projects. The work that is done to support our military is very important to me as a military spouse,” she said. “It amazes me every day to see how many of our folks spend their time away from family to support the work we do so it is important to me to support our projects to the best of my ability.” 

Haynes has done all this while starting a family. Like many mothers, she juggles the many responsibilities of a husband, who is often deployed, her young twin daughters, and the constant demands of her operations position.  In her rare spare time, Haynes enjoys the outdoors and hopes to share her love of nature with her girls as they grow older, hiking in particular. She also enjoys reading and running, especially training for the Army Ten-Miler.

Emily Hendrickson, Mechanical Engineer – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 

Mechanical Engineer Emily Hendrickson is one busy lady! Hendrickson recently achieved her professional engineer license in addition to championing the Oklahoma City (OKC) ASPIRE chapter – KBR’s employee resource group dedicated to the development of women leaders. She also participates in the OKC Morale, Welfare, and Recreation committee and supports numerous projects for B-1, B-52, and the Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems Office.

Called one of the ‘finest engineers’ by Vice President of Sustainment Engineering Jim Bolin, Hendrickson says she joined KBR for the friendly, open community at the OKC office. 

“The opportunity to grow alongside so many willing mentors was something I found lacking at my previous employers. Combining that with the ability to put my knowledge to use supporting our military men and women created an ideal position for me,” she said. 

“I’ve enjoyed the dynamic environment of the OKC office. The fluidity of our projects enables us to experience a vast range of skills across both engineering and project management, and to develop a broad toolset as engineers,” she said. 

Hendrickson spends most of her time outside of work with family, including her young son. She has a passion for animal rescue, as well as reading, crafting and archery. 

Maureen Khairallah, Strength & Conditioning Coach – Fort Bragg, North Carolina

KBR’s Strength and Conditioning Coach Maureen Khairallah, MS, CSCCa-SCCC, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, first discovered her love for fitness as a child watching her mother participate in aerobics.  

Professionally, Khairallah began her teaching and coaching career at various colleges, helping to develop programs for athletic teams. In January 2017, she joined KBR as one of only a handful of female coaches in the Army Special Operations while working as a strength and conditioning specialist for the Preservation of the Force and Family (POTFF) program. 

Khairallah is regarded as extremely valuable to the POTFF program and feels thankful to be able to support our country in this manner.

“I may not actively serve in our military, but I am proud and blessed to have the opportunity to support those that do. I believe in this exact moment of my life that is my duty – to serve our country in a different capacity, not as a soldier, but as a strength and conditioning coach,” she said.  

Khairallah attributes her success to her parents. “Both of my parents immigrated to this country more than 40 years ago and have sacrificed their life to give our family a better, easier one. Without them, I would not be who I am, and without my mom's strength and encouragement, I would not be the woman I am today,” she said.

When she is not in the office, Khairallah enjoys the beach, trying new foods and riding on her Suzuki GSX-R600. 

Lisa Kirkpatrick, Test Pilot – Lexington Park, Maryland

At KBR, Lisa Kirkpatrick is an E-2/C-2 Test Pilot at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Twenty (VX-20) based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. She is category C test qualified and recently re-qualified as a landing signal officer (LSO) for a test detachment aboard Navy aircraft carrier USS Ford (CVN-78). In addition, Kirkpatrick is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. 

"I enjoy being a part of naval aviation and it is rewarding to see the latest aircraft systems delivered to the fleet. I have had the opportunity to conduct high risk flight test, earn multiple aircraft qualifications, and perform LSO duties on an aircraft carrier. What is not to love about this job?" Kirkpatrick said.

Outside of work, Kirkpatrick is also a private pilot who flies a Grumman Tiger for fun. “It's a great way to travel and avoid the hassles of commercial airports,” she said.

Kirkpatrick has an affinity for other adventurous pastimes having fenced in college and currently enjoys hatchet throwing. “While not the typical collegiate sport, I figured it might come in handy one day. So far, not really.” 

Vasudha Kudrimoti, Senior IT Project Manager – Cambridge, Massachusetts 

An accomplished KBR leader, Vasudha Kudrimoti works tirelessly to develop her people and is focused on what she can do for others, both in the workplace and in her community. 

Since joining KBR on the Support Onsite for Information Technology Services (SOFITS) program, Kudrimoti has successfully led the development of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Assurance System (SAS). This multimillion line of code web application is fully operational at all FAA field and regional offices, helping to improve aviation safety and oversight.

“Humility in learning and perseverance in getting things done are the twin rails that my wheels run on,” Kudrimoti said. “Learning is a lifelong activity and there is no substitute for hard work. My successes are simply a combination of these characteristics.”

Recently, Kudrimoti took the lead for the modernization of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Artemis system used to identify and address potential safety defects in motor vehicles and inform recall actions. Vasudha has a Master of Computer Applications from Osmania University in India, 20 years of experience with IT development and support, and 18 years of experience managing software development project teams.

“Outside of work I am probably as busy as I am at work, if not more,” Kudrimoti said. “Dancing has been my lifelong passion. I volunteer as the resident choreographer for a nonprofit theater group called Stage Ensemble Theater Unit that stages stories from the Indian subcontinent in English language.”

Kudrimoti also assists her photographer husband with his work and loves cooking in her spare time.

Dr. Fahima Ouchen, Senior Research Engineer – Dayton, Ohio

Dr. Fahima Ouchen is a Senior Research Engineer supporting the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Sensors Directorate. In 2017, she was named a Fellow for the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) and is now serving as a chair of the "Nanobiosystems: Processing, Characterization, and Applications" conference.

“Attending a small undergraduate school in Algeria, I was always mystified and puzzled by the fact that my STEM courses were distinctly attended by males – I was the only female in the entire program of 50 students,” she said. “It was discouraging to see all of my friends pushed away from the field of electrical engineering and the amazing opportunities it can bring.”

But Ouchen’s love of engineering, fostered by her uncle, influenced her so much that she decided she wanted to base her entire life around it. “I chose to keep pushing forward and make a difference in the field that I was so passionate about. I truly wanted to make my passion my profession and to enable all women around the globe to pursue their dreams through education.”

Outside of work, Ouchen spends time mentoring young scientists and researchers, in addition to helping with community projects, events and other STEM-related activities. She has a passion for astronomy and the exploration of space, which she shares with her children, and loves to travel and learn new languages. “I currently know three languages, and I would love to broaden my horizons in cultural fields.”

Dr. Mercedes Washburn, Senior Systems Engineer – Huntsville, Alabama

Sensors Group Manager Dr. Mercedes Washburn is an important part of the product engineering sector of KBR in Huntsville, Alabama. Providing systems engineering support for air missile defense systems, her group ensures sensors meet government requirements and the needs of the soldiers.

Washburn holds a bachelor’s in industrial engineering from Universidad de Piura, Peru, a Master of Science and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is regarded as an excellent role model and an intelligent, established leader managing KBR’s Systems Engineering Radar Team.

Since joining KBR in 2007, Washburn has taken on various responsibilities to support customers. She has performed a spectrum of systems engineering tasks, including conducting research and analysis of radar data, running simulations, ensuring proper verification of requirements, providing input in the development of test plans, travelling to different sites to support tests, assessing designs, and identifying risks and issues.

At work, her greatest satisfaction comes from seeing something she contributed to come to life and work properly in the real world. Outside of the office, Washburn enjoys her spare time with her two sons. Their family loves to travel and does so as often as possible. She also believes being a Hispanic woman in engineering has been an advantage for her. She is thankful for all the opportunities she has had in her life because of the people who made it possible, especially her family and mentors. “I am who I am because of them,” she said.

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