•Professional Achievement - Level I•

Valerie Dawson web.jpg

Valerie Dawson

Senior Manager

Stowbins, Bin Systems & Secondary Supports

Interiors Responsibility Center

The Boeing Company

Business Management Certificate, Texas A&M University;
B.S., Aerospace Engineering, Texas A&M University

Walk aboard almost any modern Boeing commercial aircraft and you will encounter an Interior product which Valerie Dawson is or has been responsible for design engineering during her 12 year career at The Boeing Company. Including products you can see, like seats and overhead stowbins to products that are behind the scenes such as the water and oxygen systems.

In her current role as Senior Manager, Stowbins, Bin Systems & Secondary Supports for the company’s Interiors Responsibility Center, Ms. Dawson oversees 48 employees.  Her team is collectively responsible for interior products worth hundreds of millions of dollars and ensures that design engineering aligns the company’s product strategy.

Raised by her mother in a single-parent home, Ms. Dawson set her engineering career goals early – in middle school in fact – after participating in a simulated Space Shuttle flight to the moon and serving as a mission control specialist. That experience helped solidify her Mexican-American grandfather’s influence who, as an aircraft mechanic in the US Air Force, dreamed of his grandchildren pursuing careers in the aerospace industry.

Her interest in math and science ultimately led her to Texas A&M University where she earned a degree in aerospace engineering while holding leadership roles in numerous academic and cultural organizations. A co-operative education program with United Space Alliance at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston led Ms. Dawson to become a certified Space Station Instructor while in college.  In this capacity, she developed curriculum, taught classes, and conduced simulations for astronauts in training as well as for mission control operators. 

The experience gave her the confidence to push beyond her comfort zone and accept a payloads design engineer position with Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Everett, Washington, far from her family and friends in her native Texas.  

Soon, she was working directly with airlines, seat suppliers (including on-site support in Japan), regulatory agencies, and internal engineering groups to design, certify, and install passenger seats on Boeing’s iconic 747, 767, and 777 airplanes. Within three years, she was named co-leader of the 20-engineer team and led a cross-airplane model initiative to realign technical data submittals to the Supplier Data Transmittal system. She has also successfully delivered several airplane seat programs, the first for which received an award in recognition of zero second effort and zero certification issues.  

One of only 50 200 applicants to be selected to become an associate for the highly competitive 2010 Class Boeing Commercial Airplane Leadership Development Excellence program, Ms. Dawson was soon selected to attend the Transition to Management class at the Boeing Leadership Center. Shortly after completing the two-year Leadership Development program, she was promoted to manager at the Seat Tech Center, where she lead product strategy, knowledge management, and technical excellence for passenger and attendant seat products. She also supervised a remote team of engineers at European seat suppliers, and after six year of successful leadership in several areas, she earned a promotion to her current role.

A member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and the Boeing Hispanic Employees Network (BHEN), Ms. Dawson has always been mindful of her Latina heritage, particularly after completing an accelerated Spanish Language and Culture course at the Universidad de Cadiz in Cadiz, Spain during high school. She is also a past HENAAC Luminary honoree and is a tremendous role model, especially for her two young sons.