ASU alumnus founds only Black-owned engineering firm on West Coast

Anthony Winston III graduated from ASU in 2006 and hopes to use his company to inspire social change and promote sustainability in engineering

An ASU alumnus currently owns and operates the only Black-owned mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering firm on the West coast.

Anthony Winston III, a 2006 ASU graduate with a degree in electrical engineering, owns Winston Engineering Incorporated, a company he founded in 2015.

Winston Engineering Incorporated offers residential and commercial mechanical, electrical and plumbing services with a focus on sustainability to create projects with net zero emissions.

"For every molecule of carbon that you put into the atmosphere, you're supposed to take one out" to achieve net zero emissions, Winston said, an important task when constructing new sustainable projects and to ensure the younger generation, like his two daughters, can be left with a healthy environment.

When Winston graduated from ASU, he began working at different engineering companies and studying to get his professional engineering license, which requires an engineering degree, four years of working experience and two competency exams, according to the National Society of Professional Engineers — which he failed multiple times.

"I just kind of really had to take a look in the mirror and say, 'You have to make this happen for the betterment of your family,'" he said. "Then I finally passed it. From there, I just Googled, 'how do you start a business.'"

Six years have now almost passed, and Winston said he has not looked back once. 

"At a typical firm everyone has an office and there's always a certain structure that is followed. You kind of have a hierarchy, no matter what," said Nick Corley, an electrical engineer with the company. "At Winston Engineering, we are more on an equal playing field. We all can just talk and we have the camaraderie to bounce ideas off one another."

Over the years, the company has been contracted to work on dozens of commercial, residential and government projects.

"One of the biggest projects we ever worked on was a cannabis growing facility in Oklahoma. It was pretty expansive and there was a lot of work that went into planning it. It was about over 80,000 square feet and was super cool to see the finished project," said John Cifelli, a mechanical engineer with the company. 

Winston hopes to start a nonprofit through Winston Engineering where the company would donate its services to cities in times of need. For example, during a disaster that affects the community, the company could help by donating their services to offset some of the cost of fixing the community in need, he said.

Through his business, Winston hopes to help minorities who have the desire to be business owners of any industry realize their goals are achievable.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, he would travel to local schools to talk to kids about his journey coming from ASU to building his own business. He hopes to introduce internship opportunities into his company to help increase the exposure to the MEP industry, especially in the Black community. 

Being the only Black-owned MEP business on the West coast is a double-edged sword, according to Winston. 

“On one hand it is cool being the only Black-owned MEP firm on the West coast because it comes with some level of recognition," Winston said.  "However, unfortunately, there are still barriers and past events that still affect Black business owners which we are continually making strides against."


Reach the reporter at lkobley@asu.edu and follow @LKobley on Twitter.

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