Growing tomorrow’s next-gen capabilities to protect Australia today

For Lockheed Martin Australia’s Engagement and Commercial Lead for AIR6500, Kendell Kuczma, growing up on the New South Wales South Coast as the proud daughter of small business operators had a profound influence on her desire to explore a future career as a leader and businesswoman in Australia’s dynamic and rewarding defence sector.

“At an early age, my business acumen and interest in commercial activity developed naturally due to the strong influence of my parents, who have owned and operated small businesses in Canberra and on the South Coast over many decades,” says Kendell.

After finishing her formal education and being equipped with an undergraduate degree in business administration and management, a Master’s in Business from the Australian National University, Kendell spent 14 years honing her commercial experience while holding senior roles within the Department of Defence’s procurement arm – Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group.

After joining Lockheed Martin Australia in May 2016, Kendell’s expertise and experience has been further deepened and enhanced following five years of managing commercial projects at LMA.

“While working in Defence, I was fortunate to have been posted to Spain as part of the Defence team to deliver the Air to Air Refuelling Capability. And later while at LMA, the company facilitated a transfer to the US with our Rotary and Mission System Line of business in US to work on AIR6500 and other International captures so that I could maintain continuity and grow new skills while I was accompanying my husband on his US posting.” 

It has been these combined experiences over two decades that have allowed Kendell to hone her business skills; to acquire deep technical knowledge and expertise; and to share and transfer those key business and technical proficiencies to bring to bear the critical skills to acquire and deliver the sovereign capability needed to support the men and women who proudly serve in the ADF.

“Of all the industries to work in, I chose defence, because we’re making Australia safe. I believe the ultimate aim of Defence and defence industry is to protect Australia and our national interests, and that’s why I’m passionate about working in the defence sector,” said Kendell.

“I had a wonderful starting point growing up and being able to learn first-hand from my parents as they managed a number of small businesses. I learned early on that there has to be a balance between the commercial needs of a business, delivering quality services and products and achieving the best value for money for the customer.”

That’s why today at LMA, Kendell is excited to be working on one the ADF’s most exciting first-of-type projects to develop and deliver a sovereign highly advanced Joint Air Battle Management System for the ADF. Critical to that work has been Kendell’s focus on leading the team in engaging and establishing partnership with Australian industry to identify and invest in ‘best of breed’ local capabilities to deliver a sovereign capability solution.

“It is a privilege to work on AIR6500-1 and collaborate with like-minded Australian industry partners from primes, small to medium enterprises, to academia and government to develop ground-breaking technologies that can be integrated in the program solution.”

“In my role as LMA’s Engagement and Commercial Lead for AIR6500, I’m driven by the opportunity of ensuring that Australian defence industry remains at the core of shaping the country’s future defence capabilities,” said Kendell.