Jessica Kinman was born and raised in the Seattle, WA area, although with her family ties to Alabama, moved back and forth between Washington and Alabama throughout the years. Her father inspired Jessica’s interest in engineering at an early age as she naturally excelled in the STEM subjects. Jessica spent her first year of high school at Granite Falls in Washington before moving to Alabama during her sophomore year. At age 16, Jessica earned her GED and started college early. She scored so high on her GED exam that she received a scholarship to attend community college in Alabama. By age 17, she moved out and attended Auburn University to work on an electrical and computing engineering degree.
While at Auburn, Jessica trained as an electrical engineer in co-op placements and in 2007 moved back to Washington and began working at Boeing as an electrician, while also taking classes at the local community college towards her engineering degree. She worked her way up to a position as an electrical lead and then a manufacturing manager. Still, she had not completed the degree she had started several years earlier. Jessica had a daughter in 2008 and was a single mother, working full time. At that point, she left the engineering program due to the inflexible class schedule and transferred to Washington State University’s online program, where she earned a BA in Business Management and Operations and later her MBA.
During her last year of working on her MBA, Jessica discovered that Boeing had a partnership with Oregon Tech. She enrolled to complete the engineering degree she had previously started while concurrently finishing her MBA. She completed her MBA through WSU in 2016 and the mechanical engineering degree through Oregon Tech in 2017. Jessica’s daughter accompanied her mother to Oregon Tech classes while her mom worked diligently to finish her degree in the evenings after work.
While at Boeing, Jessica moved from the manufacturing floor to manufacturing core, where she helped simplify applications and systems within the company. After her time at Boeing and with three degrees in hand, Jessica was hired as a consultant at Dassault Systemes, helping them with digital transformation for all manufacturing and engineering companies. She held a director position in their worldwide aerospace and defense industry on business strategies and IT structuring. As of 2021, Jessica embarked on a new career path with Amazon as a Worldwide Solutions Leader for their cloud provider (AWS), still working with the aerospace industry and smart products.
Jessica has been highly involved with the Women in Manufacturing (WIM) organization for the past six years and helped found the Washington chapter about three years ago. WIM helps support, promote and inspire women who work in manufacturing through mentoring students, professional development workshops, and networking events.
In addition to being a single parent, her career, her ongoing education, and working with WIM, Jessica has always desired to serve in the military. Jessica joined the Washington Air National Guard as a direct commission civil engineering officer in April of 2021 with a goal to retire as an officer in 20 years.
Jessica is a lifelong learner and explains, “I’ve always been good at seeing the bigger picture; where to go, and how to go, and how to fix all the problems versus being the type to only identify the problem and sit there. I like to solve problems.” Jessica thrives on challenging herself and looking ahead. Outside of work, Jessica enjoys supporting her daughter’s passions, attending Seattle Sounders soccer games with her fiancée, and traveling around the world. She and her fiancée are also in the process of building a house. Fun fact, Jessica’s sister is a mechanical engineer and also worked at Boeing, where their father worked.
Of her experience at Oregon Tech, Jessica explains that earning her mechanical engineering degree was her proudest academic experience. This was a degree program that she began right out of high school and through all of the obstacles and barriers throughout the years, it was the one degree she did not want to ignore. Also, the Oregon Tech faculty and staff created a family atmosphere that helped support Jessica and her peers as they all balanced work, home, and school.
Jessica’s advice for students is to have a support network: friends, students, family, and colleagues. Jessica reflects on her time at Oregon Tech by explaining, “The support and relating to each other at OIT is what made us stronger.” In the future, be on the lookout for a special event with Jessica which will surely inspire current Oregon Tech students on how to balance school, work and family life.
To learn more about Women in Manufacturing, visit https://www.womeninmanufacturing.org/.
~Becky Burkeen, Alumni Relations Manager