2015 Engineering Leader Under 40: James Couto, 32

Project Manager, Autopro Automation Consultants Ltd.; Calgary, Alberta; BS Electrical Engineering, Lakehead University; MBA, University of Calgar


James CoutoJames 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.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
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Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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