Dame Dawn Childs DBE FREng
Dame Dawn Childs is the Chief Executive Officer of Pure Data Centre Group (Operations) Ltd. She was formerly the UK Change Director for National Grid where she led the transformation required to meet efficiency expectations whilst still delivering to net zero. Prior to this she was the Group Engineering Director for Merlin Entertainments Group with responsibility for engineering standards, practices and processes of the worldwide portfolio of more than 100 theme parks, resorts and attractions. Previously Dame Dawn was at Gatwick Airport as the Business Transformation Leader, leading a series of transformational airline terminal moves and capital projects and previously the Head of Engineering, responsible for all of the infrastructure and technical services at the airport. She joined Gatwick in 2012 after 23 years as an Engineering Officer in the RAF; which meant not only the transition from military to civilian business, but also the transition from aeronautical engineering to infrastructure and services support. During her time in the RAF she held various positions including: Head of Engineering at RAF Waddington looking after the Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance aircraft fleets; Deputy Chief Engineer for the Air Transport and Air to Air Refuelling aircraft fleets; Logistics Transformation Programme Lead for Air Command; and the Senior Engineer for 216 Squadron.
Dame Dawn has an MBA from Cranfield University, an MA in Defence Studies from Kings College London and a BEng in Mechanical Engineering from Bath University. She is also a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of Civil Engineers, the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Women’s Engineering Society and works as an Ambassador at Alton College. Dame Dawn was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2020.
In 1997 Dame Dawn was awarded the RAF Barrie Smart Memorial Award and consequently gained her pilot’s licence and in 2013 she won a CBI and RealBusiness First Women Award in the Tourism and Leisure Category for being the first Head of Engineering at a major International Airport. In July 2014 she was made an Honorary Doctor of Science by Staffordshire University for services to engineering and she was also recognised as one of the Barclays Women of Achievement for 2014. In June 2015 she was presented with the Alastair Graham Bryce Award by the Institution of Mechanical Engineering for her contribution to the promotion of engineering to children, students, young adults and particularly women. A keen equestrienne; she was the Chairman of RAF Equitation for many years and competed at the Inter-Services level in Show Jumping and Eventing.
Dame Dawn was awarded her DBE in the 2023 New Year Honours List.