Collins Aerospace Executive Also Helps Others Soar
By David Perry
For Kimberly Kinsley ’91, ’92, the road to professional success is paved with a passion for STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Kinsley oversees 2,300 employees in the U.S. and Europe at Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon Technologies subsidiary and one of the largest suppliers of aerospace and defense products.
Kinsley’s road to UMass Lowell was mapped long before she arrived (as Kim Boudreau) for her freshman year in 1987.
Her father, Joe Boudreau, would share stories of bringing her through Ball Hall when she was still in a stroller in the early 1970s, during his time as a polymer sciences student here.
It was her father, a polymer chemist, who recommended UMass Lowell to her.
“The program was small but diverse,” she says. “The faculty included some of the pioneers in the plastics industry. It was a casual, non-pretentious environment where you had the ability to be yourself and do things you wanted to.”
Kinsley was recently appointed vice president and general manager of Environmental and Airframe Control Systems for Collins Aerospace. She oversees a segment of the Power and Controls unit, which designs, develops, manufactures and services environmental control systems, flight controls and drive shafts for commercial and military customers.
Her division deals with aircraft pressurization and temperature control as well as fuel tank inerting systems — making sure the fuel does not ignite even if there is a spark — mostly for commercial airplanes. The division also works on flight control computers, and couplings and shafts for military and defense.
Kinsley is based in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, one of Collins’ 300 locations. She has been with the company for seven years.
Robert Malloy ‘79, ‘87, professor emeritus and past chair of the Plastics Engineering Department, remembers Kinsley’s hands-on engineering skills.
An outstanding student, Kinsley had “a great work ethic and was just a very nice person as well,” Malloy says.
It was not as common for young women to follow their love of science when she was growing up, but Kinsley credits her father with encouraging her passion.
“I liked math and science, but he nurtured it,” she says. “I had the drive to build things, understand how they worked and solve problems. It was strong in me. My dad encouraged it.”
“He knew about plastics and he was thinking about what would be needed in the future. I’m a very tactile learner — very practical, very hands-on — and that is part of what I remember about what I got at Lowell. I was able to go do things in the labs,” says Kinsley.
She got something else from UMass Lowell. She met her future husband, William Kinsley ’91, who is currently a commodity manager at Otis Worldwide. During their UML days, she lived on the 15th floor of Fox Hall, he on the 16th. They clicked. They now have a daughter, Alison, 10.
Not only is Kinsley a professional success, but she is also dedicated to helping others negotiate the steps on corporate ladders.
She is involved with diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, which she says “are aimed to attract and develop diverse employees in a technical company and industry and to help all employees grow, thrive and belong.”
She is executive sponsor for PRIDE, an employee resource group supporting LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) employees and their allies, and is an active leader in Raytheon’s Women in Line Leadership (WILL) Rise program, which is focused on developing women in profit-and-loss roles. “Many of these women come through engineering and it’s important to help support them in making that transition to business leadership,” she says.
Sometimes, it starts at home. A couple of years ago, Kinsley put together a “Girls Who Code” club for her daughter Alison’s school.
“She’s pretty good at math, and loves video games. So, she has that ability. I’m just trying to cultivate her confidence, which is critical for girls and women to excel in STEM and in business,” Kinsley says.