A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty


Abby A. Cotta, Age 38

Electric Power Account Manager, Caterpillar Defense

Abby A. Cotta

Cotta has served in several roles at Caterpillar, and currently is responsible for growing the company’s electric power solutions in support of the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal agencies.

“Abby has a remarkable ability to manage complex projects and contracts related to Caterpillar’s support of the U.S. federal government and Department of Defense, resulting in significant cost savings and increased operational efficiency,” said her nominator. “She led contract compliance efforts for Caterpillar’s successful five-year contract award with the Department of Defense, valued at $1.2 billion. Abby continues to demonstrate an extraordinary ability to understand the unique needs of our customers and provide tailored solutions to meet and exceed their expectations.

“One of the most remarkable aspects of Abby’s leadership is her commitment to meeting the needs of customers during times of crisis. By providing logistics coordination for rental generators spread across the U.S., Abby plays a crucial role in supporting Caterpillar’s disaster response operations for FEMA. Her efforts to supply 79 generators during Hurricane Ian enabled affected communities to quickly restore power and essential services in the aftermath of the hurricane.”

Cotta also coordinated an urgent Department of Energy order for the delivery of 45 gensets, worth $1.5 million, to Ukraine.

“Abby has a mindset to figure out how to say ‘yes’ to an opportunity, which has led to significant sales growth for Caterpillar,” said her nominator.

Outside her work life, Cotta is married to Nick, and the couple has three children, including a recently adopted daughter. She is an active volunteer at her children’s school.

Childhood ambition: “Private investigator.”

Advice to 20-year-old self: “Network as much as possible. Take chances. Most importantly, it’s okay to make mistakes because you will always learn something that will help you in years to come, even if you don’t feel that way at the time.”

Unknown to colleagues: “I played in the girls’ high school golf state championship.”

Best advice: “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood. This is a Stephen Covey principle, but a previous leader of mine said this regularly and it has been the most used piece of advice I have received.”

Biggest challenge: “Work-life balance.”

Motivating social issue: “Unequal access to education and health care.”

Local inspiration: “William Rutherford” and “his generosity … and vision to create Wildlife Prairie Park and other nature facilities.”