Emerging Global Leadership Award

Jennifer Alexander, Ph.D.


For driving innovation in lifesaving smoke detection technologies; for modeling teamwork, technical rigor, and effective communication; and for ensuring a collaborative environment where others can thrive.

Jennifer Alexander, Ph.D., is a principal engineer for Carrier and is the smoke detection technologies leader for the company’s Sensor Center of Excellence (COE). In this role, she partners with global teams across Carrier’s fire and security business units to develop new smoke detection technologies. She leads not only the technical development of prototypes and algorithms across global platforms, but also ensures integrated product solutions that align with other cross-functional teams, to understand the voice of customer, set priorities, align technology deliveries, product quality, and manage turn-backs.

Dr. Alexander interacts regularly with global teams, providing technical feedback and leadership for development programs, and her sign-off on technical approaches is frequently sought after before a program moves to its next phase. She communicates effectively with lab technicians and upper management (technical and non-technical) alike.

In 2020, Dr. Alexander led a “tiger team” that developed an algorithm-based solution to enhance product performance while limiting the cost impact associated with new, stricter standards. Within a few months, an initial assessment was completed and reviewed with the business and global stakeholders. In 2021, a formal technology program was launched, led by Dr. Alexander, to develop new residential products going forward. Under her leadership, the technology entered product development and is slated for commercial launch this year.

In parallel, Dr. Alexander drove the technical path to recertification and relaunch of a flagship smoke detection product that had been recalled prior to the existence of the Carrier Smoke Sensor Center of Excellence. She also led algorithm work to enable Carrier’s first connected smoke alarm products to a successful market launch in December 2021.

Dr. Alexander established new laboratory capabilities at United Technologies Research Center for fiber-optics-based sensing technologies for building and aerospace applications. The new laboratory was established rapidly by acquiring and modifying a used ISO shipping container and quickly impacted global development programs focused on high-sensitivity smoke detection for data center applications.

She also serves as a mentor, guiding laboratory technicians on task management — helping to transition them from executing simple procedures to a fuller understanding of the “why” of conducting tests — a process that results in fewer reworks for the team. She also prioritizes creating a positive work environment by participating in professional women’s committees, organizing social events, and working with human resources across the company to accommodate the needs of people with service dogs.

Dr. Alexander holds a B.A. in physics and mathematics, summa cum laude, from the College of St. Benedict, and a Ph.D. in physics from The University of Iowa. In her free time, she volunteers to foster and train service dogs for people with disabilities.