For Leticia Latino van Splunteren, business isn’t just about the bottom line. It’s about changing industry culture, building meaningful relationships and contributing to a family legacy. Neptuno Group was founded in 1972 by Baldassare Latino, an Italian immigrant that left his country in the late 1950s looking for better opportunities abroad. He arrived in a blooming Venezuela where anybody willing to work hard had plenty of opportunities to contribute to the country’s imminent growth. Although he didn’t have a Bachelor’s degree, he got involved with the deployment and installation of the first Power and Electrical Networks in Venezuela and that led him eventually into Telecommunications, where his company has helped deploy over 10,000 Towers in America, some of which were the very first Cellular Networks. Baldassare Latino now at age 85 still is the CEO of Neptuno Group and shows up at the office every day. While Antonio Nativo, is the General Manager of Neptuno Group and has been with the company for over 35 years, he has been instrumental to its growth and solid reputation. All of Latinos kids eventually got involved in the family business, Salvador Latino, a Civil Engineer with over 20 years in the business, runs all international operations and is the Group CTO. Antonella Latino joined the business after gathering years of work experience at SHELL, and she’s the CFO for the group. Leticia, who wanted to be recognized for her own talent and not because of her family correlation, was the last one joining the company after having worked several years for Merrill Lynch and Telecom Giant Nortel Networks. The purpose of her joining was to open and manage Neptuno USA and try to penetrate the challenging US market. “Our goal is to create meaningful relationships that transcend products, services, projects and TIME. A family business, if run well, has an ‘always there’ quality that is certainly valuable to our customers as it provides continuity and convergence of past, present, and future”, says Leticia Latino-van Splunteren, CEO of Neptuno USA, Corp. The culture of the company has always been about ‘Legacy’ and now a full transition of leadership with the second generation is transforming that culture into ‘Leveraging the Legacy and know-how to bring Innovation to our customers and our Industry’.
‘True North’. “I loved the book because it shares the stories of failures and personal tragedies of over 100 top executives, and how those shaped them up to be the leaders they are”
Disrupting Telecommunication Space
Incorporated in 2002 Neptuno USA is an offspring of Neptuno Group, a family-owned business that counts with over 45 years of international hands-on experience in the Telecom, Broadcasting and Utilities industry. Besides Engineering, Manufacturing and Installation of Towers and the Build-to-Suit of Telecom Sites, Neptuno has won several patents, such as Perfilated Monopole, an Enterprise Grade Asset Tracking Software and a Revolutionary 3D Tower Mapping that allows taking any measurement on the tower without even climbing it, and enables the creation of a Digital Library of the Network that is vital in Emergency Recovery Situations.
Seventeen years later, with Leticia at the helm. As a company that has several products, Neptuno is solving several real problems. First: in helping deploy telecommunication services where it is lacking or is not up to standard. Second: in facilitating field technicians who have been working for years with very manual tools or without automated processes through their 3D Mapping Site Survey and reducing tower fatalities. Third: preparing Wireless Operators for Emergency Recovery Efforts through their Asset Lifecycle Software called NAAP. It enables tracking of all telecom assets deployed at the sites so vital information can be centralized and is available in real time to get back in operation as soon as possible. Forth: by taking an active role in the Smart City initiative. The company has created the brand SmartTecPort to promote Street Furniture that will enable the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G deployments by housing sensors and Small Cell Equipment. “5G calls for densification which means more antennas and equipment in urban areas. However telecom deployments have always faced resistance, people want the coverage and service but they don’t want to see the equipment anywhere near their homes or their neighborhood, it’s the eternal contradiction”, says Leticia. Consecutively, the company has set several initiatives aimed at bringing awareness about what cities and citizens can expect to happen with the advent of the new technology to set the right expectations. She is also an active member of the SmartCity Council TaskForce and the WIA City Networks Task Force. It is inspirational to see like her father who had been part of the ‘Cellular Revolution’; Leticia is carrying his legacy forward by being instrumental in fuelling the ‘Smart City Revolution’. “I am very committed to contributing to this new “era” and to have Neptuno and our SmartTecPort be big contributors in that front”, says Leticia enthusiastically.
In addition to running Neptuno USA and SmartTecPort, Leticia is also a passionate advocate of nurturing “Human Connections” through her Back2BasicsPodcast and #Time2Reconnect movement. She also mentors young women that want to start a career in Telecom. Leticia was honored with the 2018 Women in IoTaward by Connected Magazine and has been featured as one of the prominent women in Telecom by TowerXchange, the Wireless Industry Association, and AGL magazine. Neptuno 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. She co-incidentally happened to meet Bill George as the Key Note Speaker at the WBENC Summit Salute in March and highly recommends his book ‘True North’. “I loved the book because it shares the stories of failures and personal tragedies of over 100 top executives, and how those shaped them up to be the leaders they are”, shares Leticia.
Leticia Latino van Splunteren, CEO, Neptuno USA
To change for the better what hasn’t changed
Any industry needs leaders, early adopters, innovators, and Leticia suggests what is happening in the Telecom industry is that a good number of those that are like that, are quitting traditional corporate jobs and are pursuing more innovative career paths, and those that are staying in the corporate world, maybe because they are a bit more risk averse, are not embracing innovative products and services when presented to them. She has thus come to the conclusion that the biggest competitors for industrial disruption are Status Quo and Inaction. “I once heard, “playing it safe is the best way not to get fired”, I admit that answers like that have made me a little paranoid over the years, but nothing like the thrill to change that answer to: “yes, let’s just do it!”, says Leticia boldly. At Aspioneer, we believe that the pursuit of such a vision is worth fighting for.