On Friday, May 4th, we lost a colleague and very dear friend – someone that had an unbelieveable gregarious, endearing, straight-shooting, New Yorker-presence in everything he did. Monte died of an unexpected heart attack while returning to work from one of his regular lunch-time basketball games. He had just turned 60 a month ago. He plowed out of Asylum every lunch to b-ball or soccer like he was back in Long Island in his high school days. He played hard, just like everything he did in his life.
Monte grew up in Long Island, NY in the Heaton household, the youngest sibling with older sister Rande Greiner and brother Scott Heaton, Jr. He attended Half Hollow Hills High School in Dix, NY where he played football and graduated in 1970. After high school, Monte attended University of Florida from 1970-1973 - he was always a Gator at heart. Monte received his BS in Chemistry from State University, Stony Brook, NY in 1974, then his Masters Degree in Marine Chemistry from State, where he graduated Magna cum laude in 1978.
Monte started his career at Interstate Electronics Corporation, Anaheim, where he was an Environmental Chemist. His marketing career began in 1983 with Dynamic Solutions/Waters/Millipore and would go on to span three decades. He wore many hats while leading marketing communications, sales, applications development and product management during those 10 years.
Monte eventually made his way back to the West Coast and waves. In 1993, he was hired as the Director of Marketing at Digital Instruments. It was at DI where I first met Mr. Monto (you big businessman).... there is a long, hilarious story that can only be told by Monte on that name. While scientists developed this great new instrument called an AFM, Monte blew everyone else out of the water by writing about this amazing new technology and putting DI on the map with "Monte marketing". In his tenure there, he authored countless application notes, ads, data sheets, press releases, web pages, articles and oversaw all the tech writing.
His work at DI alone fits in eight huge, bulging binders that still sit in his bookcase. He would patiently explain the difference between an "app note" and "data sheet" to the non-marketers. He was such a character and so fun to be with, even with the stress of deadlines. He was fiercely loyal and a bulldog with the competition. Always forthright, he listened to your ideas, and brought a no bullshit, tell-it-like-is attitude to marketing and all aspects of his life. You wanted him on your team. When DI was bought by Veeco, the culture and business changed, and so like many of us, in 2001, Monte left the company.
Monte continued his career at IMT, a micromachining foundry in Santa Barbara only a block over from DI, where he served as VP of Marketing and Sales until 2008. Using his marketing savvy, he brought in new
customers to quickly expand the business and created the IMT brand, now
recognized as the global leader in MEMS. In 2008, I was ecstatically reunited with my old boss, mentor, partner in marketing crime, and "big bro" here at Asylum. With him as commander, we would conquer a totally different AFM market than when we started years before-Monte always loved a challenge. As EVP of Marketing and Business Management, Monte catapulted Asylum to page 1 on Google searches, authored many new app notes, data sheets, and press releases. Monte had an astonishing success record with numerous competitive grants and awards. His writing and marketing skills were critical to Asylum netting three prestigious R&D 100 awards and three very competitive Small Business Innovative Research awards he went on to help administer. And once again, he patiently explained the difference between an "app note" and "data sheet" to the non-marketers.
After work each day, he rushed home to be with his dog, kids and wife, the loves of his life. He adored his daughter Ashley and was so proud she was continuing in her old man's footsteps as a writer. He was equally proud of his son Monte Jr., an absolute clone of his father, who will graduate in June from UCSB. He'd come in my office and tell me about the manly-man things they did together like a good movie or a Steely Dan concert. To hear him tell of those shared moments with this heart-felt look on his face during our early bird mornings at Asylum would nearly bring tears to my eyes. He was madly in love with Nel, his wife and partner for over 32 years. He cared for her during times of sickness and tirelessly did everything and anything for his entire family.
He loved surfing, The Doors, catching new movies,Tom Ka Gai, Steely Dan, his dog Ari, the art of the negotiation, his co-workers, colleagues and company, red wine and vodka, the Gators, lunch-time soccer and basketball, his surf vacations with Vinnie, the Silverstrand, and of course, his family and friends.
He loathed the competition, deceit in marketing (and life in general for that matter), and anyone that would only give half the effort while thinking they were really something great. He had special words and definitions for that, as you can imagine.
Monte was a wordsmith extraordinaire. These mere words, which could never be crafted as well as his, will not do him justice. If you knew Monte, then you know what I mean. His shoes never will be filled. The Monteith gusto never matched. We are all going to miss that crazy whistling in the morning, the tapping on the chair arms during meetings, his "slaps" as he bull-dozed to the fax machine to make a deadline, and that humongous, deep laugh and Monte smile. No other.
I will so miss you, big Bro!
"...almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me." Ishmael in Moby Dick
Monte's ashes were paddled out to sea at his favorite surfing spot. A celebration of his life, potluck and BBQ, will be held at Arroyo Verde Park in Ventura:
Date: Saturday, Aug. 25
Place: Arroyo Verde Park, Redwood Glen Picnic Area, Ventura
Monte had a soft spot in his heart for underprivileged kids and kids without parents. Donations in Monte's name may be sent to "Operation Hearts and Home" in Long Island, his home town. If you would like to relay a funny, crazy, story about Monte, or would like to send your condolences, please email firstname.lastname@example.org