Damehood awarded to Women’s Engineering Society President Dawn Childs

Dame Dawn Childs

The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) is absolutely delighted to hear that our President, Dawn Childs FREng has been awarded a Damehood in the New Year’s Honours list for her services to engineering.

Dame Dawn has been President of the Society since 2018. After being named as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women Engineers in the UK in 2016 by the Daily Telegraph and WES, Dame Dawn was invited to become a Fellow of the Women’s Engineering Society, and then joined the WES Council in October 2017. She was elected President a year later. Throughout her presidency Dame Dawn has directed the transformation of WES from a small charity run by its volunteers to an aspirational and ambitious organisation, determined to support women in engineering to fulfil their potential and to support the engineering industry to be more inclusive.

Reacting to the news WES Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Donnelly said ‘I am absolutely thrilled that Dame Dawn has been recognised in this way. Dame Dawn has been huge support to me and the Society during some turbulent times, and on a personal note she has been a constant support in my role as CEO offering me mentorship, advice and encouragement. I could not think of a more deserving recipient’.

Dame Dawn began her career in the Royal Air Force and during her 23 years’ service she was the first female officer to hold many of her appointments. Most notably she was the first female Senior Engineering Officer on 216 Squadron and the first female Officer Commanding Engineering Wing at RAF Waddington where she was responsible for the operational maintenance and logistics of Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance aircraft. Since leaving the RAF Dame Dawn has gone onto hold posts at Gatwick Airport, Group Engineering Director for Merlin Entertainments plc and UK Change Director at National Grid, culminating in her current role as CEO Operations at Pure Data Centre, an expert global data centre company.

During her career Dame Dawn has received numerous accolades, including being awarded the Barrie Smart Memorial Award for her significant contribution to the RAF community. She won the CBI and Real Business First Women Award in Tourism & Leisure in 2013 for being the first female head of engineering at Gatwick Airport. In 2014 she was bestowed with an honorary Doctor of Science by Staffordshire University in recognition of her notable contribution to mechanical and aeronautical engineering. She also works to inspire children and young adults to pursue STEM subjects and was further recognised in 2015 when she won the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' Alistair Graham-Bryce Award for her significant contributions to campaigning for the promotion of engineering to children, students, young adults and particularly women. In 2020 Dame Dawn was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering and in 2022 she received an Honorary Doctor of Science from Kingston University in 2022.

The Women’s Engineering Society is absolutely delighted that Dame Dawn has been recognised in this incredibly fitting way and are looking forward to working with her in the coming year.