Our Industry Person of the Week is Robert Latino, the CEO of Reliability Center, Inc. (RCI). RCI is a 49-year-old Reliability Consulting firm specializing in improving Equipment, Process and Human Reliability. Mr. Latino received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Robert J. Latino has been facilitating RCA & FMEA analyses with his clientele around the world for over 36 years and has taught over 10,000 students in the PROACT® Methodology. Mr. Latino is the author or co-author of six (6) books related to Reliability, FMEA, Human Error Reduction, and/or RCA.
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Robert: Nepotism. Half joking, half true. As you know, I grew up in a Reliability household. My father was global Reliability pioneer. He founded and directed a Corporate R&D Reliability Center for a global chemical company called Allied Chemical at the time (they are called Honeywell today). That was 1972!! You think you’re having a hard go at starting a Reliability effort today, think about trying it nearly 50 years ago. In 1985 he retired and purchased his department from the corporation and started Reliability Center, Inc. (RCI). I was working in a Reliability department at the local Allied plant at the time doing vibration monitoring, eddy current testing, ultrasonic thickness testing, ally analysis and I had a specialty in infrared imaging of built-up roofing systems. Since a position opened up at RCI in 1985, I joined the family business and stayed there ever since.
Q: What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Robert: Honestly, what I have loved most about my job over the past 36 years is having the opportunity to meet such great people (like yourself) around the world. I am most proud of their accomplishments. We at RCI have always measured our success, by those of our clients/friends. The focus has always been on their successes in the field. We know internally, that motivated and driven people who produce such successes, will climb the ladder faster than others. It is not uncommon for us to hear from such clients after a decade or more, and they remember their experiences with us at RCI. That is what I am most proud of…helping others, help themselves using our knowledge, experience, tools and most importantly…relationships.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Robert: This is not a business for thin-skinned folks. If you are truly driven to be in the Reliability space, your world revolves around the pursuit of proaction. The thick skin and resilience is needed because we most often operate in a reactive environment (against the grain). True Reliability Champions tend to be humble folks as there is not much glory shed upon you by leadership, for preventing failures. We have to maintain our own business cases because no one else will (or knows how to). We will only be successful if the front lines get on board, as they are the first line of defense against reaction. They know and see more than any data system we might have in place. It is up to them whether they feel trusted and supported enough to let others know about the ‘hidden in plain sight’ plant they see.
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Robert: This is not necessarily recent, but it is a project that I think will resonate with others. While ‘RCA’ is a common term in the manufacturing and healthcare spaces, it is not broadly understood outside our circles. What I consider to be RCA, our PROACT Methodology, is much broader and holistic than most perceive RCA to be. I am in the critical thinking business and that means I teach people how to logically think through ANY undesirable outcome. I can apply our PROACT RCA Methodology anywhere, anytime.
The project I’m thinking involved my daughter when she was in the 5th grade. I have been a staunch advocate that such critical thinking skills should start at the grade school levels. I wanted to prove that even a 5th grader could do a PROACT RCA. So I taught her in 30 minutes how to use our PROACT software and methodology. I asked her to pick a ‘problem’ that she sees (from a 5th grader’s perspective). She picked ‘Bullying’. She did a magnificent RCA on ‘Why Kids Bully Other Kids at School’. Her RCA actually got her on the local news (https://www.nbc12.com/clip/9527391/12-investigates-young-people-fight-back-against-bullying/). So from my perspective, 1) I was able to teach my daughter at a very young age how to using critical thinking skills to solve a problem, 2) how to use evidence to back up her claims (she cited her sources, with a little help) and 3) that RCA as I see it, works at the 5th grade level! Rob Kalwarowsky will appreciate this news clip!
Q: Anything Else you would like to add?
Robert: I would just like to provide attribution to my family. All of my siblings and I grew up in the ‘family business’ so we are all equal partners in its success and impact on our customer’s success. I would like to give full credit to our parents, Charles and Marie Latino for having the courage to pull all of their kids into a single family business. Anyone else who works (or has worked) in a family business, knows what I mean. Then I want to acknowledge Mark Latino, Diane Gordon, Julie Clarke and Ken Latino for being fantastic siblings, and equal partners in RCI’s success.
THANK YOU, ROBERT! WE LOOK FORWARD TO KEEPING UP WITH YOU THROUGH THE #PUMPTALK COMMUNITY!
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