Stories from Behind the Scenes: Gianni Latina

Gianni Latini, Head of Maintenance at Hotel Savoy, has been working at Hotel Savoy since 1979. He is therefore a human landmark and over the years he has gained a wealth of varied experience. So, who could be better placed to share stories from behind the scenes at Rocco Forte Hotels? Here is what he has to say.

How long have you been dedicated to hotel maintenance?

Gianni: Since the year dot! From 1 November 1979. As a kid, I helped my uncle who was a plumber. I liked taking things apart and reassembling them, such as Vespas. My father also dedicated himself to carpentry, he built a rabbit hut for example. So I have always liked to repair things. Here at Hotel Savoy I had an immense teacher, Alfio, who gave me so much, he was a real guide.

 

What knowledge and skills does a maintenance technician need?

Gianni: Maintenance technicians must feel as if the workplace belongs to them. You have to be aware that the work you do is not always visible to others. After all, everyone can see the tip of the iceberg, but no one sees the inside part. Maintenance takes love, care and pedantry.

In my day, mechanics and electronics were dominant, while today and the future is more about technology. I am very happy with my team [see photo below] as they have all the ingredients that are useful for hotel maintenance. Marco has been working here for 20 years and has strong IT skills, while Roberto is a jack of all trades – he is able to do everything, and has a gift for handicrafts. He’s been by my side for 25 years. Last but not least there is Luca, our methodical, clean and tidy painter. I have a perfect team where everyone makes full use of each other’s skills. I would also like to mention Guido, our IT Manager, who is an ace. I feel like he is part of the team even if he is not a maintenance technician.

What would you say if you observed a colleague underestimating a risk?

Gianni: I would say be careful, because the risk might backfire and damage him or her. Underestimating a risk is like a boomerang, it comes back to hurt you. Each of us is a piece of the security puzzle: if one piece is missing, the game ends. 

Why did you choose this job and what do you like most about it?

Gianni: I chose it for the variety it offers. There are constant challenges and you must think quickly. Furthermore, I like to be present everywhere, to experience all of the hotel’s ‘families,’ or departments, to go around every part of the hotel. I like that maintenance acts like glue between the departments. Maintenance is a crucial department for the hotel’s success and the safety of all the people who gravitate around it. I deeply love this hotel, I feel like it is mine and it is something special. When I retire, I will not look back in speeches at parties, as it would prolong the agony of saying goodbye.

 

A maintenance technician’s toolbox is always full. Which object represents you and why?

Gianni: Multigrip pliers, because they are the most useful and used tool. If they’re not inside the toolbox, you are not going nowhere. They are the king of tools. They’re like me: you need me everywhere and you can do anything with me! 

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