For this month’s Get to Know NSTXL’s Employee Spotlight, we wanted to highlight our very own ultra-runner and mentor to women in the defense industry, Tara Kilcullen.
Tara brings with her almost 20 years of experience in development and management which makes her the perfect fit as the Director of the Training and Readiness Accelerator (TReX). Learn more about her work at NSTXL, her favorite projects, and what she feels makes NSTXL special.
Tell us more about your background and what led you to NSTXL.
I started my career as a sub-contractor working for Lockheed Martin in their Training & Simulation Ground Vehicle team. From there, I went to Raydon Corp for over 12 years where I had the privilege of being able to continue to grow from technical content development (3D models, terrain, instruction) to management (project and department) to leading a cross-functional engineering organization to business development. It led me to Aptima where I was able to continue to grow and evolve my skillset, eventually bringing me to NSTXL where I’ve been able to utilize my entire breadth of skills to help continue ushering modernization into the hands of the men and women who protect us.
I didn’t expect to have a career in MS&T, and I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s been an honor to be able to provide training and more to our warfighters and emergency personnel at all levels.
About Your Role.
As Director for the TReX Consortium, it’s my job to bring government and industry together with the shared goal of providing innovation for modernization. While each of us may have a different story for what brought us into this industry, we all stay for the same reason: Ensuring our men and women who protect us in all forms have what they need to continue to protect us and go home to their families.
What is your favorite part about working at NSTXL?
I love that NSTXL is a vessel to provide modernization and more to the men and women who serve. I love that NSTXL strives to be transparent not just within our organization but also to all of our customers. I also love the people I work with. We all understand and identify in some way with the big picture: government and military modernization are essential and what we do allows this to happen quicker than other methods.
What is the most exciting project or success you have seen in your role?
With TReX’s focus on overall modernization, all the projects that come through are exciting in their own way. TReX has brought both Traditional and Non-Traditional companies together in ways that otherwise may not have happened and continues to bring innovative technologies forward.
What is something you wish more people knew in the industry?
It’s very fulfilling to know that the work we do in the defense industry matters. Together we can make a difference, change how the industry is perceived, and impact how the government innovates and modernizes.
What is something about NSTXL that you feel would be good to highlight for members of government?
I truly believe that NSTXL’s open consortium format is leading the way to get modernization and innovation into the hands that need them. It provides visibility to more companies allowing for a greater opportunity to better fills the gaps with the right technology.
Why are you passionate about your work at NSTXL?
All of the above. I know what we do matters, and by providing a platform where innovators and government can come together to fill the gaps and needs, modernization can and will continue to happen.
In my experience, NSTXL has proven to be a company of inclusion and diversity. I have found this to be an important part of any company’s success. As we grow, I’m confident we will continue to carry this forward. I’m excited to be part of a leadership team that is committed to lifting each other up and valuing each other.
I run ultra-marathons because a doctor once told me I would never be able to run or workout again. I’ve had my ups and downs with my health, but after that comment, I’ve never looked back! It’s not in my nature to be held back by perception or diversity. I use it as fuel to keep moving forward. Also, it’s an excuse to run around and get to know every place I visit.