Julia MacDonough uses her background in history and physics to look toward the future.
As the director of business development for defense and intelligence at aerospace company GMV USA in Rockville, MacDonough is trying to determine the future needs of federal agencies and how the company’s products for commercial companies can be modified to fit those needs.
“I love putting things together and putting different concepts together,” MacDonough said.
Parent GMV of Madrid, Spain, is a privately held company with about 1,000 employees that provides mission management systems to private companies.
MacDonough’s hiring is part of the plan of GMV USA, the Spanish company’s U.S. subsidiary, to expand its business into the military and intelligence sectors. With federal budgets facing possible cuts, it has created opportunities for companies such as GMV to provide off-the-shelf solutions at a lower cost and more quickly than through the conventional acquisition processes, MacDonough said.
For example, the federal government is trying to standardize its ground systems for satellites to save money and also expand operations, MacDonough said.
GMV’s technology was on an estimated 45 percent of the commercial telecommunication satellites launched in 2011.
Currently GMV has several bids in on military and intelligence projects, but the sector still is new for the company.
So far, she is the only person in the division.
“Julia MacDonough is an experienced defense and intelligence professional and is an incredible addition to the GMV USA team,” said Theresa Beech, president of GMV USA. “We are proud to continue to expand our mission management and planning knowledge products and services to the defense sector with MacDonough’s expertise.”
Growing up, MacDonough’s dream had been to attend Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Policy, but tuition was too expensive. But the Air Force offered her a full scholarship if she majored in physics and Duke University accepted her. MacDonough ended up earning a double bachelor’s in physics and history.
MacDonough credited her high school science teacher Tom Bross at the Moravian Academy in Pennsylvania with helping her.
“She was a very nice person, bright and worked very hard,” said Bross, who still teaches at the academy. “She wanted to get the answers to every question. She was very diligent in getting her questions answered.”
After college, MacDonough served seven years in the Air Force, leaving with the rank of captain.
The Air Force sent her to the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology, where MacDonough earned a master’s in imaging science and remote sensing.