Breaking down barriers in engineering and management
Before entering the gaming industry, Kilmer worked for Dow Chemical USA and Argonne National Laboratory. As lead project engineer at Dow Chemical, she provided corporate electrical engineering and consulting and design services. At Argonne National Laboratory she held many roles, including technical and management leadership for strategic planning and program management.
“I moved to Las Vegas in 1999 to help my son’s respiratory problems,” explained Kilmer, “The week the doctor recommended we move to a drier climate, I received a call from a friend at Bally about a possible opportunity in the gaming industry. They were looking for someone with my experience and background to lead a project management team. I interviewed, accepted the position and began my career in the gaming industry.”
Working at Bally Technologies for 10 years, Kilmer has held a variety of leadership roles in project management, engineering and product compliance. In her current role, she leads, “a remarkable team of talented individuals responsible for protecting and preserving the name, reputation, integrity and good will of Bally Technologies. We accomplish this by ensuring compliance with regulations and requirements established by gaming regulatory agencies in the nearly 300 global jurisdictions in which we operate, and providing software release engineering services for our multiple business lines,” Kilmer said.
It was a professor who set Kilmer on her career path. “I was caught between becoming a physicist or engineer. I had a professor who saw that I was having difficulty making this decision. He asked the three questions: What, why and how? After responding, I realized that I enjoyed the applied aspect of science. He said (to me), ‘You have your solution. You’re definitely an engineer.’ With that, I enrolled in his electrical engineering classes and the rest is history. His interest, encouragement and guidance set me on my early career path.”
She believes in the importance of mentoring and has guided several young female engineers at Bally and is active in the Society of Women Engineers. Kilmer is the mother of four children and two of her daughters are also engineers.
Kilmer credits her parents and grandparents for her continued success. “I grew up in a family that had high expectations. My sisters and I had multiple responsibilities at an early age. From working at family businesses to helping build our house, we were expected to participate in nearly every job. We had to learn how to fix the car before we could drive it. We were always told we could do whatever we wanted to do, if we set our minds to it and gave it our all.”
As for other women entering the field of engineering, Kilmer advises, “Hold true to your core values. Trust your intuition. Inspire and be inspired. Learn and share willingly. Understand that some of life’s biggest blessings begin as monumental challenges.”
She is also passionate about supporting food banks and organizations that provide support and shelter for victims of domestic violence. In addition to collecting clothing and toiletries, she works with agencies to supply business clothing to help women who are interviewing for jobs and preparing to enter or re-enter the workforce. Kilmer also enjoys tutoring in math and science.
Kilmer believes it is all about perspective. “I begin my day being thankful. My job can be very hectic so having gratitude helps me stay grounded. Life will always have its issues and challenges—be thankful and learn the lesson. And of course my husband and family constantly inspire me. My husband tries very hard to keep me grounded and reminds me to keep a sense of humor.” With her accomplishments and attitude, Kilmer is truly a Fearless Female.