Winny Chanthalalay is a Laotian-American female entrepreneur who owns Crazy Asian Wild Seltzer, a brewery, and is the creator of Nitro coffee for Two Brothers Beverage Company in Wisconsin. Winny holds a Master’s in Engineering and is an Engineering Manager. She is also in the process of starting her own engineering consulting company called Prime Engineering Solutions, which helps women in manufacturing advance in their careers.
As a first-generation Laotian female business owner, Winny hopes to share her story and inspire women who are trying to break free from old-school cultures. In this interview, Winny talks about her experience in the engineering industry, the services Prime Engineering Solutions offers, her future goals for her businesses, and how she balances her responsibilities.
1. Can you tell us about your experience in the engineering industry and how it has prepared you for running your Prime Engineering Solutions business?
Working in a male-dominated industry can be very intimidating, especially for a woman.
I have seen, and in my 13 years experience, women that are too afraid to speak up to ask for raises and promotions, not setting a work and life balance and not sure how or too scared to develop a career goal plan for themselves. I look back on my early career, and I was that woman; I was too scared because I thought I would lose my job if I asked or was not good enough and overthinking myself. I had the skill set and worked very hard. I found many women in that same situation because we tend to limit ourselves when setting goals and reaching our dreams.
I changed the way I think by not limiting my beliefs that were holding me back in all areas of my life, professional and personal. Embrace that imperfect and continue learning, growing, and building my confidence- “I can.” As soon as I shifted my mindset, rewards came in abundance from promotion, my side businesses, and personal wealth and happiness.
My experience and what I learned prepared me to create Prime Engineering Solutions to help women in manufacturing by coaching them to take the necessary steps to advance their careers.
2. Can you tell us what Prime Engineering Solutions offers and where they can sign up?
Women in manufacturing industries seeking promotions into leadership. Women get overlooked for leadership roles in engineering, technology, fabrication where the majority of the workforce and leadership are men.
That’s why I’m on a mission to help women in manufacturing advance in their careers.
My coaching program identifies what their career goals are by understanding what the options that exist, and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses through an assessment. Also, identifying the gaps and creating a development plan that will help them succeed.
For more information, message me on Instagram @prime_engineering_solutions or email me Winny@primeengineeringsolutions.com for a free discovery call.
3. Can you share with us your future goals for both your Crazy Asian Wild Seltzer and Prime Engineering Solutions business?
My Crazy Asian Wild Seltzer business will be moving into a malt beverage product line that is towards less gluten to gluten-free; this will allow us to be more creative in our products while still maintaining the same less gluten and gluten-free like our seltzers. Our branding will be Crazy Asian, just without the Wild seltzer. We are having fun and enjoying this new chapter in Crazy Asian.
My goal for Prime Engineering Solutions is to have more women be in a leadership role in the manufacturing industry.
4. Can you share how you balance your responsibilities as a business owner and an engineering manager?
Trust me; There are some days and weeks it’s not going as plan. I make sure that when I’m pulled into those not so balance days and weeks, I take a step back and think of solutions rather than focus on the negative because that will only make things worse.
Also, I am adaptable and shift things around to get back to balancing it all by falling back to the critical steps of time management, prioritizing your actions, being organized, disciplined and consistent.
5. Can you discuss the impact that being a ﬁrst-generation Laotian female business owner has had on your life and career?
I grew up in an old-school strict Laotian household where I was expected to take care of the family, and education was critical. So while my friends were hanging out after school and on weekends and going to school dances, I was at home studying and working.
This has shaped my work ethic and discipline, which have impacted my career and life.
6. How do you stay motivated and continue to push yourself to achieve your personal and professional goals?
As I mentioned, I grew up in a strict Laotian household, and we were poor when we came to America. What motivates me every day is being able to take care of my family, and watching how hard my parents work pushes me to work even harder to give my parents the life they didn’t get to have.
7. How did you go from creating a seltzer to nitro coffee? and How do you stay creative?
Being an engineer has its perks, my brain is wired to think of solutions, come up with too many ideas and processes! That is the reason why I am so creative and continue to be creative.
I love coffee! When I discovered the chemistry behind nitrogen infused with coffee that sparked my attention to want to create my own nitro coffee.
I discovered at the time nitro coffee was starting to come out and Starbucks was releasing its own nitro coffee. I approached Two Brother Beverage company in Milwaukee, WI with the idea of Nitro Coffee. They loved it and loved my Nitro coffee over Starbucks. They wanted me to create a local nitro coffee recipe for them to represent Milwaukee called “Brew City Nitro Coffee.” It is in over 20 restaurants and bars in Wisconsin.