2021 FierceWireless Rising Star — Verizon’s Marta LaCroix

Verizon's Marta LaCroix. (Verizon)

For 2021, FierceWireless has compiled a young and accomplished slate of up-and-coming wireless executives. We’re doling out the names of our winners, two per day, so that readers have the time to enjoy reading their profiles. These are all folks to keep an eye on as they make a mark in wireless, working in diverse areas of telecommunications.

During one of her college internships, Marta LaCroix worked in a lab environment for six months without having any other human contact because all communications with her colleagues was handled over email.  That internship taught her one key lesson: she needed to work with other people in a collaborative environment.

After graduating from the University of Washington with an electrical engineering degree, LaCroix joined a leadership training program at Verizon where she spent three years rotating through a variety of departments doing many different types of jobs — from RF design planning to systems performance to switch engineering and transport. “I was able to get a full, turn-key view on how the network functions,” LaCroix said.

That early leadership training prepared her for her current role as director of network engineering in Verizon’s Global Network & Technology division where she is responsible for the network planning, engineering, implementation and administration of the wireless network in the Southern California region.

LaCroix said that the best part of her current role is that the job is constantly changing and there are new challenges every day, whether it is planning coverage for a large event or troubleshooting a network problem. “I love that my day-to-day is never the same,” she said.

The most difficult part of her job is explaining to customers and municipalities in her region about how the network is evolving and changing and why they need to improve it by adding a cell site or a tower. “Our customers and community sometimes have a hard time seeing where we need to go to be on the forefront of technology,” she said.

Related: Verizon CEO sees 2021 as tipping point for 5G

She credits many different people at Verizon with helping her during her 11 years with the company and says that she felt especially supported last year when she took a maternity leave for the birth of her first child. “I had so much support from my peers who helped me stay up to speed.”

Although the last year and half has been challenging due to the Covid-19 pandemic, LaCroix and her family have enjoyed their time in California and live within walking distance to the beach. For fun, she said she and her family head there after work to enjoy the sunshine and the sand.