Black History Month Highlight – Tyonne Dawson

February 26, 2024

Tyonne Dawson


How has your heritage, events, or people in your life shaped who you are today?

I’m from Stockton and I come from a long line of hard-working family members. My great grandfather was a master electrician. He used to teach me things. My grandmother has a small house cleaning business till date, and I used to help her out from the age of 5 right until I high school. My mom has always worked 2-3 jobs to keeps us going. Once I hit high school I started getting into trouble. I knew then I needed to do more with my life. Drawing inspiration from my great grandfather’s teachings on hard work, I did my best to break free from stereotypes associated with my background. I feel like when people see me, they already have their own assumptions in their minds without speaking to me. Every day I make it a point to carry myself differently, to set myself apart and show them who I am instead of playing into their assumption. I strive every day to be a better version of myself than I was yesterday.


What achievements/sacrifices have you made to get you where you are today?

When the call finally came from ABC, I was in the middle of hopping from one job to another, working at Amazon, UPS, and Tesla. I was looking for the easiest way to make a living. But at each job, I kept hitting the ceiling, there wasn’t much growth after attaining a certain position. Receiving the call from ABC was surprising because I had submitted the application when I was 17/18 and had completely forgotten about it. At that point I was at Tesla making $25 an hour, I had a girlfriend, a puppy and was helping my mom with the responsibilities of home. I made the decision to take up ABC on their offer. I packed up my life and headed down to Ridgecrest to work at my first job. I used the money I had saved to go buy my tools. It was the best decision I have made. I still make sacrifices for my future, I’m in classes most night working towards taking my Journeyman’s test.


Why is Black History Month important to you and what would you like others to know regarding BHM?

Black history month is important to me because it highlights the progress we’ve made and how much more work we have to do. It always seems that Black Americans are always shown in the media as being lazy, not hardworking, and never family orientated. That’s not true, there’s been plenty of Black Americans that have had a positive impact either in big or small ways. I was constantly told that I’d never make it, my teachers, peers and some family members would tell me this. But I feel like my hardheadedness and stubbornness made me hold out for something bigger and better.


How do you hope to honor Black History Month as you continue to achieve at Helix?

I would like to become a homeowner before I turn 30. I would like to buy a plot of land and stick a trailer on it for a couple of years and then build my custom home. I’d also like to open my own company and build my team from within my own community showing the young Black youth that there are different paths in life. That there are opportunities for everyone from all backgrounds.


Who or what inspires you to make your mark at Helix?

My family inspires me. From the master electrician who was my great grandfather, to my grandmother who still owns her house cleaning business right down to my hardworking mother. They all inspire me to do and be my best. I know my family was worried about me for a bit, but I think I’ve turned it around for them and myself. I do what I do for them but also for me.