Monte Wood, Behind-the-Scenes Hero, Dies

Photo of Monte and Mavis Wood

Mavis and Monte Wood

Sad news to report this holiday season – Monte Spencer Wood, a behind-the-scenes hero at Tampa, Florida-based Perpetual Marketing Associates and PGW Distributing, died peacefully in his sleep in the early evening of December 26, the day after Christmas. Monte, a personal friend of mine and many, many others, was a big man with an even bigger heart. His lively, bigger-than-life presence will be missed by all who knew and loved him. He was just 58-years old.

See more on the life of Monte Wood…

Monte WoodOver my many years in the Tech business, I have come to recognize that just about every successful company has a very visible front man, the face of the business. But behind him is a key executive or employee largely behind the scenes who excels in getting things done. Truth-be-told, if you ask a company’s customers why they do so much business with that company – they almost always point to that behind-the-scenes, get-it-done guy as the reason.

Such was the case at Perpetual Marketing Associates (PMA) a former top manufacturers representative firm out of Tampa, FL. The company was founded by Monte’s brother Jaime, who clearly acted as the outward face of the company to the industry. But with Monte working behind the scenes, the two were an almost perfect combination of visionary (Jaime) and operational execution (Monte).

Tackled the Tough Issues

When you called PMA or PGW, you were most likely to speak with Monte who was there every day, answering questions, taking orders, and supporting their dealers, while brother Jaime was on the road meeting with dealers or brands. Monte was the go-to guy on product questions or perplexing application issues for hundreds of PMA dealers.

“He knew the products better than me,” a deeply saddened and emotional Jaime told me in a proud tribute to his brother. “He would spend hours and hours with dealers, because he cared, he was passionate…,” Jaime added, his voice trailing off.

Jaime said he learned many things from Monte, but especially from seeing how that passion informed everything that Monte did.

Popular with Co-Workers, Dealers & Manufacturers

Everybody enjoyed working with Monte, in part because he just didn’t take life too seriously. He had a quick, booming, and incredibly infectious staccato laugh. And thanks to a vast library of groaner jokes, he pretty much kept work lighthearted and upbeat…but productive.

Once, years ago, I was sitting to the side of Monte at his desk which was near the main entrances to PMA’s headquarters in Tampa, and a dealer I didn’t recognize came storming into the office. The look on this dealer’s face told me he was angry. “Do you know what those IDIOTS did?,” the dealer barked at Monte, referencing a situation with one of the brands that PMA represented. “They really screwed things up for me and I’m pissed.”

Monte Wood on a go-kart

Monte didn’t believe in taking life too seriously

In About 30-Seconds, Everything Changed

I glanced over at Monte and saw his face shrivel into an angry scowl. Suddenly, he grabbed his phone, and said “OK, I’d better call Jaime and let him know we’re dropping Alpine,” Monte declared. Like someone at a tennis match, I immediately looked back at the dealer and watched his angry face seamlessly morph into a shocked expression…then into a look of comprehension…and then into a full-throated laugh at the ridiculous proclamation from the longtime Alpine rep.

Within about thirty seconds, Monte completely defused the situation and had the dealer laughing. And as the laughter was dying down, Monte, without saying another word, picked up his phone, dialed the manufacturer, and resolved the issue. Relieved, the dealer invited Monte out for drinks later.

This was a pretty typical Monte story. He was as unflappable in the face of an angry dealer as he was with a happy one. His equanimity, and humor, were tools that served him well over the years, helping to facilitate productive conversations and to forge strong personal connections.

“Monte was a wonderful man, he made friends wherever he went and was always quick with a joke or a story to lift you up when you were feeling down. And he always went the extra mile if you needed anything,” said former PMA colleague Shawn O’Connell, now with AMI Sales. “We are all devastated by his loss and he will be deeply missed by everyone who knew him.”

Monte Wood and Family

Monte Wood…with wife Mavis, daughter Elizabeth, and sons Spencer and Harrison

Long History in A/V Community

The Wood family has had a long history in the Florida A/V community. Monte’s parents owned Maurice Stereo, (later Stereo by Maurice) a respected high-end audio retailer that helped introduce brands like McIntosh and Luxman to Florida. Virtually from the day they were born, youngsters Jaime and Monte worked in the retail store, helping out around the store and learning all about technology and products. They didn’t learn the business…they absorbed it by osmosis.

Street smart, Monte was always a trusted, loyal, and reliable resource for older brother Jaime. Whenever they had a presentation to do, whether for dealers or manufacturers, frontman Jaime relied on streetwise Monte to help him be sure to get the tone and the tenor of the presentation just right.

A Fount of Knowledge

And for manufacturers, Monte was a fount of knowledge and ideas. In an industry where some have deep technical knowledge but no people skills…while others have great interpersonal relationship skills, but are weak in technical knowledge…Monte was an almost perfect balance of the two.

When I was VP of Sales for a brand represented by PMA, Monte’s call was one of only a few that I would interrupt a meeting to take. I knew I was going to either get an earful for something we screwed up in our new line…or, more likely, he had a product or application idea for us to develop. He has no idea how many of his ideas wound up in our next product development meeting.

Even beyond the A/V community, Monte devoted untold hours in his hometown community, including coaching youngsters participating in PPAL (Pasco Police Athletic League) Football with the Land O Lakes Gators. Monte also went on to help with the Land O Lakes High School Football Department. Some would say that this is just another example of his desire to help others succeed in life, but Monte always swore to me that he got back tens times whatever he put into these endeavours.

That sounds to us like something a really good guy would say.

But His True Love Was His Family

However, there was one thing that Monte loved more than anything else – his family. He is survived by his wife of 37-years Mavis Wood, his adult children – son Spencer Wood, daughter Elizabeth Wood, son Harrison Wood, and brother Jaime Wood.

Monte was an incredibly proud papa, often regaling me with long, detailed stories of his kids’ accomplishments. He was so proud of them, I could practically hear his buttons busting over the phone as he spoke of them with pure love and pride in his voice.

Rest in peace, my friend…

Monte Spencer Wood
May 5, 1959 – December 26, 2017

Celebration of Life for Monte Wood

Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Visitation,: 5-6PM; Celebraton of Life: 6-9PM
Blount & Curry Funeral Home
3207 W. Bearss Ave., Tampa, FL, 33618
813-968-2231


Comments

Monte Wood, Behind-the-Scenes Hero, Dies — 21 Comments

  1. Ted this is such a great story about a wonderful man. After being gone from PMA/PGW over 6 years and working with Monte there for 10 years prior this brought back some fun memories of Monte and my years working and friendship with him. He will be missed.

    • “D” we had some great times back in the day, didn’t we? I love the shot of Monte in the go-kart, during one of the TLCs I attended. He was having so much fun… It’s how I want to remember him…

  2. I feel so sad abou Monty. He was a genuine guy who made everyone feel like a friend. Very few people I’ve met have that capacity. He was a real delight. It really sucks

  3. Monte had a heart of gold, a funny man with a lot of wisdom. My prayers are with his family and friends, Jaime and Shawn and all of us who had the privilege to know him. RIP Monte.

    • Becky, It was an honor to know your uncle…and to write this tribute. And yes, I love that picture too…a moment of happiness I was able to capture.

      My sincere condolences to you and the whole family. Hopefully you can take some comfort in the many positive memories of your Uncle, who was truly one-of-a-kind.

      Ted

  4. I worked with Jaime and Monte in the Luxman days. Ted, I so appreciate your intimate and accurate reminders of who Monte was .And the powerful pair he and Jaime made for us. They accomplished all of our goals and more. Their model along with each of their spirits and passions created a kick butt firm in a very dynamic market. Jaime and the entire Wood family should stand proud for Monte, Jaime and the entire cast of PMA. They will be forever remembered as trail blazers in setting the bar for business excellence. One only needs to know of the strengths,depth and longevity of their relationships with both factory and dealers to know how successful they have been for years. Bless Monte and rest of the Woods family.

  5. Terribly sad news. One of my favorite rep firms to work with because you always got to see Monte’s passion for A/V, his family, PMA, or coffee roasting.

    Thoughts and prayers with his family.

  6. Ted,
    Thank you for writing such a heart felt tribute about Monte, he always thought the world of you as well.He will be missed by everyone that knew him, Monte was BIGGER than life !!!
    Sincerely
    Shawn O’Connell

  7. I am so saddened to hear this news, … I always enjoyed Monte and Jaime, back in the days when we shared rep-meeting time with them. In a room full of reps from all over the country, these were the guys it was great to sit next to. Monte was as friendly and nice a person as I’ve ever met in this business. Jaime, my condolences to you and to Monte’s family.

  8. As well written as it is, I am so sad after reading this article. Monte was a gem, as kind and as fun a man as our industry has ever seen. I truly enjoyed every interaction I ever had with him, when I was the NSM with a factory that was fortunate to work with this rep firm. Rest In Peace, Monte.

  9. I’m so sad to read this; Monte was a truly great guy. I know this must have been a very difficult story to write, and you’ve done a wonderful job Ted. I’ll always think of his infectious smile and laugh; the go-kart picture is absolutely perfect.

    To Jaime and the rest of his family, my most sincere condolences.

  10. Hi Ted, Spencer just reposted this wonderful tribute to Monte, and now almost 8 months later, I can tell you I appreciate the kind words and comments shared by all, it is said that time heals, but for me time has deepend my sadness over the loss of a wonderful man, you never know how much a person filled your heart till they are gone. Gone but never forgotten.

    • Hi Mavis,

      It’s so nice to hear from you. I’m so, so sorry for the pain you feel. I wish I could conjure up the words and expressions that could give you and your family some solace in your loss. Unfortunately, I’m not gifted enough of a wordsmith to be able to do that.

      I have some experience losing loved ones and, for me, the first year was the toughest. Each holiday or family milestone was bittersweet, to say the least. They were a constant reminder of the loss.

      But in some ways Monte will always be with you – in your loving memories, in the eyes of your children, and in all the things he said and did that stay with us. I still hear the echo of his bigger-than-life laugh ringing in my ear.

      Hopefully, in time you’ll come to reflect more on the wonderful experiences you two shared for years…and less on the loss. We’re all better for our time with Monte in our lives.

      Please take care…

      Ted

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