When I was six years old, I got separated from my family in the Buenos Aires subway system. But I was excited to be in a city of 12 million people and took it as an adventure, riding the train to the end of the line. By then, Metro security was in communication with my mother, and, a few minutes after I stepped off the subway, she arrived, very relieved, to reclaim me.
Mariano Legaz, vice president of Supply Chain Services for Verizon, understands the critical need for important communication across complex systems. He learned that lesson as a boy lost in a subway labyrinth and also witnessed it during a catastrophic emergency that occurred early in his telecommunications-industry career.
“I had the opportunity to support the efforts to restore communications to a city where an explosion in a military factory had caused a lot of devastation in the community,” Legaz recalls. “The event triggered several explosions affecting a 3.5-mile radius, leaving first responders and people in general without communications. Ten thousand people were evacuated. We worked around the clock for more than 48 hours to install temporary communications equipment, and it felt very special to be able to support rescue efforts and provide some relief.”
In his current role within Supply Chain Services, Legaz manages a Strategic Sourcing team of about 2,300 people, with an annual operating budget of $450 million. Together, they source products and services for the entire global Verizon organization, totaling approximately $32 billion. That involves 30,000 active contracts, for example, and, through contract negotiations in 2010, his organization generated more than $1.5 billion in savings.
His job also includes responsibility for warehousing, transportation for global Wireline business units, and investment-recovery management. Plus, his team oversees Verizon Fleet Operations with more than 39,000 vehicles, 400 garages, and 630 mechanics. Meanwhile, they promote sustainability efforts to reduce CO2 emissions across the Verizon footprint. To do that, his team partners with different internal groups on such things as energy efficiency, green facilities, green products and packaging, reserve and recycle processes, and alternative fuels. Then they work with public affairs to do external-awareness communication of the sustainability efforts.
Legaz has enjoyed outstanding leadership success, but he’s also had to overcome challenges — such as being one of the youngest people on most teams. “This has been a great opportunity for me,” he says, “but has also created the need for me to quickly mature professionally.” Another challenge was moving to the USA from Argentina and having to adapt to cultural differences in the workplace. “These challenges confirmed the obvious truth about how little we know and how much more we can learn. They have inspired me to be humble and pushed me to lead by working alongside our teams, respecting others’ opinions, and focusing on continuously improving my leadership skills.”
Vice President of Verizon Human Resources Alfred Torres, who nominated Legaz for the Eagle Award, says that Legaz is dedicated to his work and also to coaching and mentoring others. “During the time I have known and worked with Mariano, I have been impressed with his deep commitment to business excellence and strong leadership.”
The inspiration, Legaz says, comes from his loved ones. “My personal life and experiences nurture and enhance my knowledge and philosophy in a feedback loop that touches business and all other aspects of my life. My family keeps me grounded — my wife with her accurate observations, candid feedback, and ultimate support; my kids with their love.”
CareerFOCUS Magazine and the National Eagle Leadership Institute® salute 2011 Eagle Award winner Mariano Legaz.
The Leadership Promise at Verizon
Verizon is a global leader in delivering innovation in communication, information, and entertainment. Our employees do this by building great networks; providing an outstanding customer experience while delivering innovative products, services, applications, and content that customers want.
We understand that transforming how we do business and exceeding our customers’ expectations require a diverse, talented team that develops unique and unmatched solutions that create value for our shareowners, customers, and communities and make Verizon a great place to work.