Dawn's route into engineering was via a four year indentured technician apprenticeship programme with Froude Consine, during which time she gained an HNC in Electronic and Electrical Engineering. Whilst doing her apprenticeship, her Managing Director packed her off to Birmingham one afternoon to ‘go and raise the awareness of careers for girls in engineering’ and she's still doing it, 20yrs later.
On completion of her apprenticeship, she spent some time as a Systems Test Engineer – testing and inspecting engine test equipment (dynamometers and instrumentation) before actually going out into the field as a Commissioning Engineer – a daunting prospect being stuck on the other side of the world having to solve problems with limited or no access to expertise in-house - in the days before internet access and e-mail. Whilst with Froude Consine, she won the Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award. She took a brief foray into research with Automotive Products working on an automated manual clutch mechanism, but soon went back to studying, gaining the extra units required for an HND. She then went on to design Machine Tools for the Automotive Industry before returning to the field of engine test. After that, she spent some time working for a privately owned Austrian company in the UK (AVL UK) project managing the design, build, installation and commissioning of engine test beds for UK Automotive suppliers (as well as designing a few herself) before taking a short break to have children.
Throughout her working career she have been involved in raising the awareness of women in and careers for girls in, engineering. So much so, that she joined the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) in 1998 – she desperately needed other women to talk to as she found more and more that she was on her own and her interests outside of work were different to those of her male colleagues.
She was asked to stand as Senior Vice-President for WES and in October 2005 she was elected to the position of President. Being President of WES has enabled her to meet other women from around the world who, within their own associations, have the same aims as WES. Dawn's involvement with WES has given her many opportunities outside work that she would not have been able to experience – she has chaired adjudicating panels for EES and Young Engineers for Britain as well as witnessing fantastic presentations from YinI finalists. She has also been into numerous schools to talk about careers in engineering as well as sitting on National Advisory Committees for organisations who promote engineering, science and technology as a worthwhile career. Dawn is also a School Governor and Schools Liaison Officer for 2 branches of The IET.
Following the birth of her second child, she was asked to provide consultancy services to a local STEM Enhancement & Enrichment provider, so she decided to become self employed drawing on her knowledge from her work with WES and industry to develop links with local organisations and their engineers.
Dawn has also worked for the RAEng, pulling together the ‘Shape the Future’ directory under the guidance of Matthew Harrison.