Donor Spotlight: James Salapatas


09 November 2018

Published inPM Philanthropist (archived)

James Salapatas headshot

“Everything in life is a project,” says James (Jim) N. Salapatas, PE, PMP, native Chicagoan transplanted to Colorado Springs, CO. “Well, everything except marriage; that is a continuing process without a defined endpoint,” he adds with a chuckle.

An open good-naturedness dances across Jim’s upbeat conversation, particularly when talking about his commitment to project management. “Many years back, as I was ready to send in my annual renewal for PMI membership, I decided to add a check for PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF) at the same time. It is an easy way to support the exceptional work of the foundation,” says Jim. “I’ve been doing that every year ever since. I hope other people will consider doing the same thing. By supporting PMIEF initiatives, we can help people around the globe to accomplish goals in an orderly manner. That makes the world a better place. It’s really that simple.”

An industrial engineer, Jim first became acquainted with project management in 1972 when a consultant worked with him and fellow employees at Florida Power & Light. That consultant was project management luminary Jim O’Brien, for whom the former PMI College of Scheduling’s PMI Jim O’Brien Lifetime Achievement Award was named. “Project management was a perfect fit with industrial engineering; I took right to it,” says Jim. 

The 1955 graduate of Illinois Institute of Technology went on to earn a master’s degree in management from Florida International University, and his Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification, under the mentorship of the late Linn Stuckenbruck, editor of the seminal Implementation of Project Management: The Professional’s Handbook  (1981). Jim’s own master’s thesis on management is included in the book, as well as two chapters he authored. He has taught project management at DeVry University, founded a student website (, and has authored two continuing education courses on project management for

“Project management has infiltrated every part of my life,” says Jim, noting he volunteered as project manager for his former church’s construction of a US$4.6 million community center, “and came in 2 percent under budget,” he adds proudly. In fact, every Salapatas family vacation, garden plan, and home project is approached with project management in mind. “My wife, grandchildren, and I built a 4x8-foot, 0-gauge railroad layout together. It was quite a project and took us two years to complete.”

Personal responsibility to give back to his profession and to the world community is important to the retiree, who explains, “I have proven in my own life that project management is truly a life skill. I am hopeful my donations will help PMIEF to continue training programs for young people, even elementary school age, so they may take advantage of this marvelous approach to, well, everything they want to accomplish. I guess you could say I want to keep spreading the gospel according to project management,” he adds with a laugh, “because I know lives will be improved and the world will be a better place because of it.”

Jim encourages others to follow his lead and support worldwide education and training in project management by becoming a PMIEF donor.  


By supporting PMIEF initiatives, we can help people around the globe to accomplish goals in an orderly manner. That makes the world a better place. It's really that simple.

James Salapatas