A successful leader understands the significance of integrating technological advancements in business to increase the overall organizational efficiency. Through such an apprehension, Leticia Latino, the CEO of Neptuno USA, Corp., took her organization in attaining a global recognition for transitioning Neptuno from being mostly a Tower Manufacturer to adding technology driven products and services to its offering.
Her unique way of approach, by socializing with her co-workers and clients, assisted her in delivering more customer-oriented solutions without failure. Along with the qualities like decisiveness, adaptability and curiosity, Leticia believes that a leader must possess a sense of humanity for building better relationships.
CIO Look takes an immense pleasure in featuring such adherent leader and addresses her coherent contribution in telecomm industry in its new edition Transformational CEO’s.
Below is her story,
“The Neptuno Group is a family affair”, quotes Leticia Latino van-Splunteren. Her father, Baldassare Latino, founded the company in 1972 in Venezuela, after emigrating from Italy in search of better options. She has seen leadership and entrepreneurship as an example since her birth. At 85, he still is the CEO of the group of companies, while she leads Neptuno USA. After having worked for several years in Merrill Lynch and Telecom Giant Nortel Networks, in 2002, she accepted the challenge to expand the company’s horizons by establishing it in the US and exploring various ways to innovate and get ready for the new technology “wave”.
As a result, Neptuno has patented several tower designs and has applied 3-Dimensional technologies to Site Surveys, Tower Mapping and Virtual Telecom Assets Libraries. The company also contributed in the development of NAAP, a Telecom Asset Management Software, geared to help manage Assets Life-cycles, and is taking an active role in the Smart Cities movement through one of its spin-offs and newly formed SmartTecPort.
Leticia believes that when an individual is innovation oriented, it may at some point, impact and transform his/her leadership to support organizational learning and implement an innovative culture. Innovation is directly linked to change, hence it is not always an easy task to change the company’s culture, success lies in one’s ability to engage the entire organization in the creation of that very “special something”. In her case, she states that her company has committed to the SmartCity vision and is navigating through that change—of transforming from a passive structure provider to Smart Infrastructure provider. Even though of such a transformation, she believes in leveraging the years of experience to catapult her company to the next chapter. “When someone highlighted the inspiring impact of the fact that my father was an enabler of the Cellular Revolution, and now I’m fully committing our companies path into to the SmartCity revolution, the responsibility of taking that ’baton’ forward is really meaningful to me,” says Leticia.
Neptuno currently focuses on three main verticals—Tower Engineering and Manufacturing and BTS projects, IoT Asset Tracking and “Smart Cities. Neptuno was born with the Cellular Revolution. Initially, the company only installed utility poles, but when the cellular hit-hard, the company understood that there was a very compelling target market that needed to be served. Networks where being built in such a rapid pace, that whoever could contribute to satisfying the demand for products or services quickly positioned itself for substantial growth.
Neptuno manufactured and installed some of the first Wireless Towers in the Americas, accounting for about 10,000 year to date. Then, in 2005 and under Latino-van Splunteren’s leadership, the company sensed that there was also the need for tracking Telecom Assets as operators grew too fast and were suffering from a clear lack of data centralization and inventory accountability. NAAP efforts are currently focused on bringing IoT as an enabler of better Asset Tracking. Lastly in 2018, the company decided to actively participate in the SmartCities initiative by forming SmartTecPort, a company that will own and operate Artistic Smart Infrastructure to help cities embrace new technology, like 5G, but preserving the cities aesthetics in the process.
“I don’t like getting too deep into what the competitors are doing, rather I focus on developing strong and genuine connections with our customers and finding solutions to their needs”, says Leticia whilst explaining her outlooks on dealing with the competition.
To tackle the competition, Leticia states that Neptuno maintains a good relationship with the customers that eventually help in attaining information regarding competition’s products and partial agendas. She exemplifies her business as a long marathon thus tries to keep her company away from the competitive effects.
Neptuno prides itself of being an innovation solution provider; its approach has always been around customizing solutions rather than push an ‘off-theshelf’ one for its customers. Engineering the right solution is an art, and one Neptuno is really good at. As a result, it does have several iconic structures that have received international praise for its engineering design, as well as several patents and trademarks. Running the family business is an interesting spot to be in. Leticia believes that sometimes one may feel that he/she doesn’t have anywhere to go, but also realizes that one can actually go wherever he/she wants to, because it is you that’s driving the bus. Being a fully privately-owned company, the idea of partnering up with Smart Money comes up from time to time as it could help the company grow to its full potential. For the time being, it will keep focusing on its three verticals with particular emphasis on Smart Cities as its disruption is inevitable.
Leticia is a recipient of the 2018 Women in IoT award by ConnectedMagazine, and has been featured as one of the prominent women in Telecom by TowerXchange, the Wireless Industry Association and AGL magazine. Besides, she also plays a role of an active member for the SmartCity Council TaskForce, the WIA City Networks Task Force and mentoring young women that want to start a career in Telecom. Neptuno, her company, is also a finalist in the 2019 WeInnovate! Program promoted by WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) to showcase their company’s expertise in areas of innovation that are critical to WBENC’s Corporate Members. In addition, Leticia is a big advocate of nurturing “Human Connections” through her Back2Basics Podcast and through the #Time2Reconnect movement, which she created.