ISE graduate student presented Lean Engineering Award

Diego Caputo, a graduate student in the Auburn University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, was recently named the 2022 JT Black Lean Engineering Student of the Year. Tom Devall, director of auto manufacturing initiatives for the department, selected Caputo as the recipient of the award.

Devall said Caputo was an exceptional student in his Lean Systems engineering course and has been a teaching assistant for the course since fall 2022.

“Through his participation in class and in the lab, it was clear he was passionate about the subject,” Devall said. “He goes above and beyond in making sure things are done well and has made some improvements that have been beneficial to the lab.”

Caputo earned an undergraduate degree in industrial engineering from Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in 2017. He gained work experience, such as working as a data specialist in the human resources department at the Bank Superintendency of the Dominican Republic, before moving to Auburn to pursue a master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering in 2022.

Caputo grew up in a family of engineers. He said he was always fascinated by the idea of how they used engineering principles to solve problems, design structures, optimize systems and improve processes. He was also interested in the application of these principles in real-world scenarios and the impact it can have on businesses and society.

He chose to study at Auburn because of the well-established industrial and systems engineering program as well as the opportunities it offered for hands-on learning and real-world experience.

"I have to admit, my love of Auburn and its community grows more and more each day, and I know I'll have mixed emotions on the day I graduate,” he said. “I’ll be happy to complete my studies but sad to leave behind the place and people that have become important to me.

Caputo’s future career goals include working for a company in which he can apply ISE principles to improve its processes and make a positive impact on the world. He also hopes to one day return to Auburn as a doctoral candidate to continue research and stay involved in the ISE community by publishing articles and presenting at conferences.

“I feel that the ISE department at Auburn is preparing me well for the future,” he said. “The program provides a strong foundation in the theoretical principles of ISE and also emphasizes practical, hands-on learning opportunities. The professors are always available to offer guidance and support, and the department has a thriving community of students and alumni who are dedicated to advancing the field.”

The JT Black Lean Engineering Student of the Year Award was named in honor of the late JT Black, who gained national recognition for his Lean Manufacturing research, which began in the early '80s before American companies adopted the discipline.

“I feel both honored and humbled to be named the 2022 JT Black Lean Engineering Student,” Caputo said. “This accomplishment is a recognition of all the hard work and dedication I’ve put into my studies and work, and it motivates me to continue striving for excellence. It also means that I have the opportunity to represent the ISE department and the university in a positive light, and to promote the importance of Lean Systems to others.”

Media Contact: Carla Nelson, cmn0023@auburn.educ, 334-844-1404
Diego Caputo (left) has been a teaching assistant in Tom Devall's (right) Lean Systems engineering course since fall semester.

Diego Caputo (left) has been a teaching assistant in Tom Devall's (right) Lean Systems engineering course since fall semester.

Recent Headlines