2015 Engineering Leader Under 40: James Couto, 32
James Couto, 32
Project Manager, Autopro Automation Consultants Ltd.; Calgary, Alberta
BS Electrical Engineering, Lakehead University; MBA, University of Calgary
Couto is currently the youngest project manager contracted at Autopro Automation Consultants. He started with the company as a junior engineer in 2007 and quickly progressed to intermediate engineer, senior engineer, and finally project manager. His rapid advancement meant he held the position of senior engineer much earlier in his career than most of his peers. Couto also manages his own company, Couto Consulting, and a separate Software-as-a-Service business. He is recognized at Autopro as a strong leader and an effective team builder, and he is always looking for ways to improve processes and drive efficiency in projects. Couto’s broad range of skills and experience, including an excellent balance of people and technical skills, contributes to his tremendous ability to mentor others, even staff members more senior than he is. Over the past year, Couto successfully completed his MBA at the University of Calgary, an achievement that consumed all of his spare time. The desire to broaden his experience and move away from a pure technical focus to one that includes the business perspective prompted him to pursue the degree independent of financial support from the company. When off the clock, Couto volunteers with Engineers Without Borders and works as part of their corporate engagement team to establish awareness of and engagement with the organization. He has also participated in the 2012 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer and raised more than $5,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.