Chief Executive Officer
Winton Machine Company
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
As a female in the male-dominated industry of manufacturing, Lisa Winton is committed to empowering the next generation of female voices. She leads by example, having pushed herself over the past year to become more comfortable speaking in public. She serves as a board member of the National Association of Manufacturers, on various committees through the State of Georgia Technical College, and with local STEM youth, and she is regularly invited to be a guest speaker. “I am consistently impressed by both the quantity and quality of the questions I’m asked and the thoughtfulness of the young women who wait to talk to me afterward.”
Winton and her husband founded Winton Machine in 1998. “Being partners in business and life can be a challenge,” she says, “but it has been, by far, the best decision we’ve both ever made.” Winton Machine designs and manufactures coax and tube fabrication machinery for industries such as HVAC, refrigeration, construction, agriculture, aerospace, electronics, military, recreational and medical. Their mission is to provide value to every customer’s bottom line. Often, this means customizing a standard product, which differentiates Winton Machine from the competition.
Winton believes leaders must remain nimble to be successful. “Everything is changing so rapidly,” she says, “and we have access to so much and information directed at us constantly.” She attributes her personal success to leading with transparency, being honest, remaining humble and surrounding herself with smart people who have different experiences. “I have built a strong network of experienced professionals that I can process an issue with,” Winton says. “Often when processing an issue with a peer group I find that the problem I thought I was addressing isn’t actually the main problem at all. This process affords me the opportunity to look at the problem differently and leads me in a better direction.”
Using that guidance to inform decision making has paid off. Winton considers hiring key personnel her greatest accomplishment of the past year. “It’s easy to hire quickly to ease the pain of a loss and think you’re moving on,” says Winton, “but that isn’t an equation for success. You must take your time and look toward the future needs of the company.” She also recommends that companies “hire up” if they can afford it.
As Winton Machine approaches its 25 year anniversary, Winton has big plans for the company’s future. This includes streamlining processes through automation, improving customer inefficiencies and increasing marketing initiatives, including a complete brand refresh. Winton plans to apply her inclination to seek out the advice of experts to her sales team, bringing in an outside coach to sharpen their skills.
Winton vows to remain committed to the success of her own team as well as young entrepreneurs, especially women. “Entrepreneurship is about taking calculated emotional, physical and financial risks every day,” she tells those who are coming up behind her. “To have started in a business in a basement and be operating and growing after 25 years proves that the risks are worthwhile.”
Although I've not gotten to participate wholly in the events over the past year, I've met a few incredible Titans that I hope to connect one on one with. Connecting with like-minded individuals facing the same challenges is a great benefit. I've also found a new vendor.