Meet our Female Innovators and Patent Holders

In a recent study published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in conjunction with Harvard University, researchers found that women comprise only a small minority of patent inventors, just 12%. In fact, the Harvard University researchers note that women are among the “lost Einsteins” – people who could contribute valuable inventions if they had been properly exposed to innovation and relatable inventor role models. What would happen if we added more of these “lost Einsteins” to our already excellent design teams? Would we perform even faster? Smarter? Better?

While we’d like to add more women to our talented teams, we are celebrating the ones we have! And we have some great ones on our teams. Our innovators discussed this gap in patent inventors with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when they visited Bell.

Jennifer Andrews Builds Her Wings


Jennifer was instrumental in her team's earned patent in design space. She assisted in the creation of a variable incident wing developed from her experience on a Bell 430 side-by-side dual main rotor design study. Jennifer also holds a few patent applications in her role as a mentor to interns and as a project lead on Bell’s Innovation Team.After gaining her first major leadership position with just six years of experience, she led a multi-million-dollar flight test project with a lot of confidence and a little bit of nerves. “You have to seize the opportunities as they come along,” she says. “Having leaders and teammates who believe in you feeds your spark, and eventually allows you to find and own that spark.”

Jillian Alfred Awarded Third Patent


Jillian holds three patents on rotorcraft heading control, avoidance of unsafe vertical descent speed and was recently granted a patent for default in-detent vertical speed/altitude hold. She credits her success to the excellent women engineers in leadership roles she’s looked up to and the support she’s received from her managers. 

“The culture of patents has changed in general since patent wars have escalated among companies,” Jillian believes. “It’s more important now than ever to protect your inventions and intellectual property.”

Damage Control Expert Xiaoming Li Discusses Patents and Mentorship


As an associate tech fellow, Xiaoming holds a patent on determination of damage tolerance allowables, and four patent applications on method for limiting interlaminar fatigue in composite laminate, and disk bending shear testing and system, method for defining threshold stress curve in fatigue and damage tolerance analysis, and notch treatment methods for flaw simulation.

Xiaoming has been a leader on technology development for damage tolerance and structural integrity, and lately on 525 structure damage tolerance certification. After receiving many opportunities, she acts as a mentor to the young engineers on her teams and encourages them to take on more responsibility. It’s important for her to think ahead and beyond, take initiative, and strive for better solutions; and she encourages others to do the same. 

About Bell

Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 85 years, we’ve been reimagining the experience of flight – and where it can take us.

We are pioneers. We were the first to break the sound barrier and to certify a commercial helicopter. We were a part of NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. Today, we’re defining the future of advanced air mobility.

Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas – as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., – we have strategic locations around the globe. And with nearly one quarter of our workforce having served, helping our military achieve their missions is a passion of ours.

Above all, our breakthrough innovations deliver exceptional experiences to our customers. Efficiently. Reliably. And always, with safety at the forefront.

About Textron

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Pipistrel, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, and Textron Systems. For more information, visit:

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, changes in aircraft delivery schedules or cancellations or deferrals of orders; our ability to keep pace with our competitors in the introduction of new products and upgrades with features and technologies desired by our customers; changes in government regulations or policies on the export and import of our products; volatility in the global economy or changes in worldwide political conditions that adversely impact demand for our products; volatility in interest rates or foreign exchange rates; and risks related to our international business, including establishing and maintaining facilities in locations around the world and relying on joint venture partners, subcontractors, suppliers, representatives, consultants and other business partners in connection with international business, including in emerging market countries.

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