• With Montisa since: 2017
  • What’s your vision for Montisa: From the very beginning we wanted to create a brand that was different and stood out amongst the hyper-crowded field of manufacturers that make up the contract furniture industry. If you line up products from any of the manufacturers today, they all look the same and you would have trouble calling out one brand over the other...it’s all very homogeneous. Montisa, on the other hand, stands out - we don’t look like anybody but Montisa; you get an aesthetic that is very, very different - it’s cool and distinct. You've never seen a furniture company like us; strap in - we're just getting started!
  • Favorite band (artist) you love to hate: Billy Joel (with the Beatles taking a VERY close second place)
  • Industry experience: The first half of my career I spent at Steelcase in multiple roles. I spent a couple of years at Nucraft in-between tech gigs.
  • Favorite season: Fall
  • Other experience: I've had the opportunity to participate in the development and leadership of several high-tech start-ups.
  • Favorite guitarist: I have three - Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Charlie Burchill (Simple Minds), and Robert Sall (Work of Art)
  • Most valuable skills: A sense of humor, passion for the role, strategic planning, and vision.
  • Favorite soundtrack to a movie: To Live and Die in L.A.
  • Something I’m obsessed with: New technology hardware and applications (it seriously borders on compulsive).
  • Spouse's favorite band (artist): Ben Platt (LL notes - "I have NO IDEA who this guy is. My wife and youngest daughter blast this guy in the car.")
  • Professional inspirations: I’ve been fortunate to have been mentored by some great individuals during my career, but five certainly stand out. All of them have passed on principles and sage advice that has had a profound impact on me. They include: Edmund X. “Bud” Klipa, William “Dusty” Field, Bob Bockheim, Fred Hubacker, and Lawrence Leete.
  • THAT song that makes you want to plunge pencils into your eyes when you hear it: "Mandinka" by Sinead O'Connor and "Puttin' on the Ritz" by Taco. I might drive into a concrete buttress under an overpass just to end it all and release the pain if these songs came on the radio while I was driving.
  • Biggest challenge at Montisa: Montisa is an interesting opportunity. I’ve been involved with start-ups for the past 15 years, either wholly-owned companies or P&L’s within established organizations. Each time the development was from ground zero; Montisa is different. This is a company that has been sitting semi-dormant in the contract furniture space for the past 25 years, so the opportunity to build a new company from one that had some history is an exciting and very different challenge. The foundation of the organization was built 113 years ago and there's a rich heritage to pull from related to both product and storytelling. Blending the storied past with the present, and doing it so that it has relevance today is a very unique opportunity.
  • Favorite Montisa product: Mercury - hands down. It was the first new product we developed for the relaunched Montisa. We had this old tanker desk in the back that we were using for assembly of products (because it could take a beating) and Mark, Pete, Sam, and I looked at each other one day and said, almost simultaneously, "we should update this for today's office." Next thing we knew, we had sketched out a four-legged height adjustable desk with a wrap and two peds that we suspended to the worksurface. We prototyped it, made some improvements on the leg design, and launched it. I use the original prototype as my desk.
  • Favorite band or artist: Minus the Bear - if you haven't heard this band, pull up "Planet of Ice" or "Infinity Overhead"...this is a band that changes the whole sonic-scape of how music is timed and blended. They have their own distinct sound. Sadly, they've just called it quits and won't be touring or recording anymore.
  • Favorite album: "Frontiers" by Journey - I mean, prior to this album they had two video games designed around them as a band - no other band can claim this. This is the last great rocker from them. After this album, Perry in his infinite wisdom fired Steve Smith and Ross Vallory and went on to go full mainstream pop with "Raised on Radio". Tragic.
  • What I do off the clock: Try to stay relevant in my grown children’s lives; adopt more of an athletic lifestyle via bicycle and kayak because the sedentary approach has been a big failure; and avoid those instances and situations that cause my wife to give me her eye roll and exasperated sigh.

Larry Leete listens...