Celebrating the Retirement of Ernie Monroe

ernie1It is not often in this crazy industry, at least for me, that you remember the first time you met someone. I remember the first time I met Ernie Monroe. I must admit, I was intimidated. It was at a BAF event where agency folks had been asked to display original pieces of art. Ernie was there, having recently moved back to Idaho from the Midwest. I was not an agency guy yet. I was still schlepping television time to clients and media buyers.  I don’t know if it’s his size, quiet demeanor or western-chic sense of style; but, I consider myself a pretty confident person and I was intimidated.

Not much changed over the next 15 or so years, as Ernie and I didn’t run into each other all that much. But, eight years ago, I got the opportunity to work with Ernie.  I discovered something about what was inside the large artist in cowboy boots I’d met years earlier.  It turns out, Ernie is a sweetheart.

I’ve learned this through late night, heart-to-heart talks about the industry. I’ve learned this by watching his desire to do good work. I’ve learned this watching him take younger designers, illustrators, and creative directors (some who were technically his boss) under his wing to impart knowledge and advice that can only be gained through years of the hard knocks in this business. I’ve learned this by watching him dance with Mary and by listening to Mary talk about her husband. I’ve learned this by watching his eyes as he talks about his son, Ted.

Ernie is blunt, but speaks the truth. He is wickedly talented with a pencil in his hand, yet unafraid to learn the ways of the mouse. Ernie has cheated death and found true love.  He has driven fast, taken lots of chances and made a career out of what he loves. Ernie has made an impact on me and our business.

We’ll miss him around here. Congrats on your retirement.