Heritage Month Spotlight: Dawn Treece

Dawn Treece
Department Manager of Electro-Optic Products and McKinney Manufacturing
Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems

Bringing the humanity to engineering

As far back as she can remember, Dawn Treece felt writing and art would be her life and her livelihood.

“That’s how I best expressed myself,” she said.

Then she took a physics class her junior year and fell in love with the spark of creative inspiration in science and chose a life of Einstein and Edison infused with Toni Morrison and Michelangelo.

“I thought what Einstein came up with was so unique, new and mind-blowing,” she said. “Edison was equally amazing. I saw that I could pursue a creative, innovative environment through engineering. I also realized I wasn’t good enough to be the next Michelangelo, so I had to make a decision — be a starving artist or a prosperous engineer — and engineering won.”

Out of college, Treece was initially interested in General Electric because of their medical imaging products. And today, she is the department manager of Electro-Optic Products and McKinney Manufacturing for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems.

With 32 years of experience between Raytheon and legacy Texas Instruments, Treece now leads a group of more than 100 talented electrical engineers and is responsible for the development, build and test of airborne electro-optical products. She oversees the many facets of the product life cycle, from business capture all the way through production and sustainment.

“Dawn is the kind of leader who makes everyone around her better,” said Aaron Maestas, SAS director of engineering for Surveillance and Targeting Systems and Program Area Chief Engineer, who works closely with Treece. “She is a thought leader among her peers and creates an environment that encourages early career and established members to test new ideas and novel approaches to solving hard problems.”

Treece knows that while one person might have an inspiration, it often takes an integrated and highly collaborative team to bring that idea to life in a way that benefits internal and ultimately external customers.

“I have the privilege of working with people who are so passionate about what they do,” she said. “My job is to foster a work environment that transforms individual contributions into diverse and collaborative solutions that help make the world a safer place,” she said.

And Treece often takes her work home with her – in a good way. She finds the time outside of work to talk with young students about STEM education and the possibilities of a career in STEM fields.

“I’m an encourager,” she said. “No matter how young the student is, and no matter where I am. Whether at a Raytheon event, at the mall or in the market, I’ll approach them and stress the importance of embracing STEM, bringing awareness to how engineering fits into our daily lives.”

That’s why Treece has continued to write in her spare time, channeling her lifelong passion and talent into the beginnings of a children’s book series that teaches life and STEM concepts for preschoolers and kindergarteners.

She hopes the next generation of engineers and inventors will benefit from her perspective and be inspired to see the genius within themselves…see the genius of Einstein and inventiveness of Edison and use that to inspire them to develop the next generation of engineering products.

Even with all she has accomplished in her career, Treece isn’t done creating yet. She wants her name on a U.S. patent before it’s all said and done.

“I’ve thought about it since high school physics,” she said. “This goal keeps me curious and drives me to invent something patent worthy. I’m inspired by the possible – the everyday possibility of accomplishing something phenomenal for the greater good.”