Winston L. Shelton (‘48 BS)
Winston L. Shelton, a native of Clay County, W.Va., graduated from West Virginia University in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. While a student at WVU, he was a member of the Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu engineering honor societies.
Shelton is the founder and president of Winston Industries, an $18 million international corporation that designs and manufactures new cooking technologies. He has over 45 patented inventions, his most recent and significant being Controlled Vapor Technology.
Shelton began his career as a research and development engineer in the Home Laundry Department of General Electric’s Major Home Appliance Division. He was instrumental in the development of clothes-washer technology including the design of the spiral agitators that all washing machines use today. During his 20 years at GE, his inventions received 35 patents.
In 1968, Shelton retired from GE to start his own company, Winston Industries. In need of financing for his new invention, the Collectramatic Pressure Fryer, he approached Colonel Harland Sanders, Kentucky Fried Chicken founder. Colonel Sanders not only provided financial assistance, but also recommended that KFC franchises incorporate this new technology. This revolutionary pressure fryer became the primary cooking method of KFC franchises throughout the world.
In 1980, Shelton made a discovery of global importance to food preparation. Identified as Controlled Vapor Technology (C-VAP), this revolutionary cooking method utilizes controlled air, controlled water and controlled velocity to create an ideal environment for holding, proofing, thawing, roasting, steaming, poaching, re-thermalizing, baking and displaying food. C-VAP ovens and food holding devices, which control temperature and humidity by computer, can precisely cook, then keep food hot in a moisture-rich environment.
A U.S. patent for Controlled Vapor Technology was granted on February 27, 1996. Schools, hospitals and restaurants such as Wendy’s and Boston Market are already using C-VAP units and plans are underway to develop equipment for home use. Furthermore, the technology is being introduced to the nation’s culinary institutions as part of their basic curriculum.
Today, Winston Industries manufactures over 33 products and is expanding the technology into steamers, convection ovens and proofing cabinets. Based in Louisville, Ky., the company is in the middle of a $2.5 million expansion of its facility and a doubling of its workforce.
Shelton has received numerous awards and honors for his achievements including an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration degree from Sullivan College in 1996. Shelton is active with the Louisville Chamber of Commerce and has been a strong supporter of urban renewal projects. He is the founder of the Chenowith Run Environmental Association, a community based environmental issues group that deals with open space and green space protection and community planning and zoning issues.