Give Marquette

Marquette University Alumni Association

Opus College of Engineering Award Recipients

Service Award

River Hills, Wis.

As dreams become realities and the innovators, designers and inventors of the world go to work, Billie Jean of Michael Best & Friedrich works with her clients to protect the things that make those ideas unique.

As an intellectual property attorney with more than 20 years of experience, she works closely with clients to protect new technologies and help them continue their successful endeavors. Her technical background as an engineer enables her to understand her clients’ product development issues, as well as the realities they face when marketing products and services to complex global markets.

“The Marquette qualities of excellence, faith, leadership and service guide what I do on a daily basis,” she says. “I learned that mission in college and continue it in my career.”

That mission includes an incredible commitment to service. Billie Jean is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and Women in Manufacturing, and she volunteers with the Florentine Opera Company, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and United Performing Arts Fund, among others.

She’s also working with associate professor of biomedical engineering Dr. Lars Olson on his human-powered nebulizer project, which helps people in developing countries suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. When Billie Jean is finished with her career in intellectual property law, she hopes to start her own business.

“Success to me means wanting to go into work every day and making a difference in the world,” she says. “My personal formula of success = determination + risk taking + thick skin + positive attitude + surrounding yourself with interesting people.”

Fun Facts

Favorite quote: “ ‘Happiness is not something made. It comes from your own actions.’ — the Dalai Lama.”

Favorite Marquette memory: “French fries at Whales on Wells.”

Dream dinner date: “Amelia Earhart.”

Marquette faculty or staff member who had an impact on you, and how: “Bridget Kesner from University Advancement for her love of and dedicated service to the Opus College of Engineering.”

When you were in grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up, and why? “An astronaut since they got to use the coolest technology.”

Marquette legacy: “Perhaps my son, who is in eighth grade.”

Who has been the most influential person in your life, and why? “A female high school algebra teacher who started me on my career into engineering.”