Rising Technical Contributor Award

Melissa Turner

Bell Textron Inc.

For pairing technical acumen with decisive action; for igniting the spirit of innovation in customers and co-workers alike; and for serving as both leader and mentor in her community.

Melissa Turner is a mechanical engineer at Bell Textron Inc. with several years of experience in the rotorcraft industry. She works in the Manufacturing Innovation group, helping develop breakthrough manufacturing processes and strategies at Bell’s Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC).

At Bell Textron, Turner is a project lead on the research and development of new gear manufacturing technologies. This includes developing machining strategies and methods that resulted in a fivefold reduction in cycle times while improving quality, as well as testing new materials and heat treatment processes for a sixfold reduction in dimensional distortion, while still achieving the necessary metallurgical requirements. These new processes will affect Bell Textron’s future military and commercial gear manufacturing strategies.

While working on these projects, Turner has participated in hands-on training in coordinate measuring machine (CMM) inspection, gear CMM inspection, contour inspection, heat treatment equipment operation, grit blast operation, part washing operations, and ultraviolet inkjet printing. She believes the best way to make process improvements is by truly understanding how equipment functions and operates.

Turner is a member of the American Gear Manufacturers Association and has taken many courses through its education program. She is working toward certification in gear manufacturing and advanced gear engineering. Turner is also working to grow her knowledge and skills in rotorcraft manufacturing.

Turner describes herself as an extrovert who thrives on collaboration, planning, and celebrating others in the workplace. She joined the company’s Manufacturing Innovation employee engagement committee, where she enjoys planning fun activities that bring the team together. In addition, Turner is a safety advocate for the MTC, raising awareness of safety as the top priority, initiating safety trainings, and reviewing environmental, health, and safety compliance at the center.

Through the Society of Women Engineers, Turner became close friends with other women in her mechanical engineering classes at Texas A&M University. She got involved with SWE Inspire and traveled with other SWE volunteers to local elementary schools in College Station, Texas, to conduct science experiments and teach students. When students were asked, “What is an engineer?” the most typical response was “a train conductor.” She turned that into an opportunity to share how broad, exciting, and inclusive engineering can be.

Turner is active in her church and community. She and her spouse volunteer with various partner organizations and donate to food pantries, women’s shelters, and more. They coordinate the church’s Bible study group and oversee its young adult community. Turner plans to open a booth at her local farmer’s market, with proceeds going to charity.

Turner graduated from Texas A&M University, College Station, with a B.S. in mechanical engineering, and she lives in Fort Worth. Outside work and volunteering, she enjoys exploring the city with her spouse and friends, cooking and trying new recipes, and testing prints with her 3D printer.