Dawn Baldwin Barrett grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, where she spent summers working at her parents’ hazardous waste recycling facility, the first such facility permitted in the state. She began publishing poems and short stories at age 13. At Georgetown University, she was a feature writer for The Hoya. She worked as a journalist covering the Memphis Beale Street music scene and interviewed performers including BB King, ZZ Top and U2. Dawn’s coverage of U2’s recording sessions at world-renowned Sun Studio opens the band’s 1989 book, Rattle and Hum.
In the mid-80’s she co-founded Wimmer Baldwin Associates, Inc., a safety and environmental compliance consulting firm. Her widely-published writing about employee training program design attracted the attention of textbook publisher Van Nostrand Rheinhold (now John Wiley & Sons) which commissioned Dawn to write Safety and Environmental Training: Using Compliance to Improve Your Company. The textbook was published in 1992.
Dawn wrote the "Environmental, Health and Safety Plan" for AutoNation, a Fortune 500 car dealership conglomerate. For other clients, including Goodyear Tire & Rubber and CZ Inks, Dawn developed a variety of compliance programs, including Facility Response Plans, Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plans, Job Safety Analyses, and Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Plans. She wrote and produced a training video for car and truck dealerships, "HazCom Plus 4," which sold nationwide for more than a decade. She was certified as a Master-Level Safety Instructor by the World Safety Organization, a division of the World Health Organization. Dawn conducted her unique “Training by Design” seminars for safety and environmental managers at industry conferences across the country.
Dawn first visited West Virginia in 1989 and immediately fell in love. Although born and raised in the Mississippi delta, she couldn't then and can't now escape the feeling that the Allegheny Mountains are her true soul's home. The house at Brightside was completed in 2002. She and her family moved to West Virginia full-time in 2006. Brightside Acres, LLC was incorporated in 2008.
In addition to running the ever-expanding operations at Brightside, she has returned to her first passion, creative writing.
In June, 2009, her historical novel, The Corner Cupboard, about four generations of women who lived on Top of Allegheny, received first place in the book-length manuscript category of the West Virginia Writer’s Annual Writing Competition. Her contemporary novel, Angelus, received second place in the same category. Her short story, Resurrection, received first place. And her essay, Apples received first place in non-fiction. Communion, excerpted from her non-fiction book of the same name, received Honorable Mention in the Inspirational Writing Category of the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.
In 2010, Shepard University Writer-In-Residence Bobbie Ann Mason awarded Dawn third place in the school's annual West Virginia Fiction Competition for her story Sounds True. In 2010 she also received an Honorable Mention in the E.M. Koeppel Fiction Awards.
Her essay "What the Wild Things Are" received the 2014 Pearl S. Buck Writing for Social Change Award at the West Virgina Writer's Annual Writing Competition. Also in 2014, her essay "Re-Visiting Self-Reliance," originally published in Countryside magazine, received First Honorable Mention in the Writers-Editors International Writing Competition.
More writing can be found at Dawn's Writing.
Thanks for reading!