At Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, our portfolio features highly-specialized technical services and a range of software and hardware products. Our resume also includes many bright, intelligent and hardworking women who support multiple groups from human resources to space solutions.
In honor of this year's Women's History Month theme #ChoosetoChallenge, we're showcasing a few women who are tackling the latest scientific and engineering obstacles.
Amanda Pope, Sensor System Analysis & Engineering (SSAE) department manager, started with Dynetics four years ago as a program support specialist with a background in business and accounting. When the SSAE team needed help bridging the gap between engineers and the corporate process, Amanda jumped at the opportunity to serve Dynetics in a different role. Over the last few years, she's climbed from managing subcontracts to her current position of department manager.
- What sparked your passion for a career in your field?
I love a challenge. When deciding on a career, I was told that the government contracting world was difficult, but of course, if you were going to live in Huntsville, it really was the career field to be in. It is a hard field to navigate, but very rewarding. Women can, and should, do hard things and I think working in the government industry can be just that.
- What has been the highlight of your career with Dynetics?
The highlight of my career, so far, happened last year in the midst of the COVID pandemic. I was able to attend a hot fire test at Eglin Air Force Base for my customer. The days on the range were long, but the reward of experiencing firsthand the results of our hard work was incredibly fulfilling. We had active duty soldiers present to handle the equipment themselves and get real feedback on how it could affect their lives on the battlefield. We all know that our work is for the warfighter, but sitting in front of them, hearing their direct feedback, was a moment I will never forget.
Kathy Laurini, Dynetics Human Landing System Payload and Commercialization lead, joined Dynetics in 2020 after retiring from a 35-year career with NASA. After supporting multiple space programs throughout her career, Kathy knew working with the Dynetics Human Landing System team was an opportunity she couldn't pass up.
- Tell us a little about your career with us here at Dynetics. How did you end-up coming to work for Dynetics? What projects have you supported?
I joined Dynetics in May, 2020. I had retired from a rewarding career with NASA in early 2019, and was working as a consultant. I was nine years old when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the lunar surface. Watching that event and pondering how it was possible triggered my interest in studying engineering. The chance to join the Dynetics Human Landing System team and to play a role in delivering the first woman to the Moon was too exciting to pass up.
- What does Women's History Month mean to you?
For me, it's a chance to celebrate the contributions women have made for the betterment of our society. I hope by recognizing these contributions, more people will be comfortable with female leaders across government and industry, because I believe that will lead us to a better world.
Nichole O'Brien, IT Solutions branch manager, came to Dynetics more than 27 years ago to help research, assess and create commercial offerings. After supporting multiple groups throughout her career, Nichole began to focus full-time on growing cybersecurity and IT with the company in 2000.
- When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Initially, I wanted to be an astronaut. Growing up in Huntsville, everyone my age wanted to go to space or be involved with the space industry. Working with the company helping to put the first woman and next man on the lunar surface is pretty close though!
- Which woman do you most look up to?
Condoleezza Rice - she is proof positive that working hard and sticking to your principles can help overcome real or perceived disadvantages. She is a leader, politician, diplomat, teacher and a hard-core football fan.
The Dynetics family is comprised of many talented and educated individuals that span a wide range of careers and we're proud to have women leading the company on many different fronts. Since the company's inception more than 45 years ago, women have made great strides to not only help advance their own careers, but Dynetics, too. As we celebrate the women of Dynetics, we're reminded of their accomplishments in aerospace and defense contracting throughout the years and across the globe.