But one roll of film turned into another.
If a picture says a hundred words then what do 4,000 pictures say?
Write a book.
In TeamWork, Monette captures the connection between a blue-collar town and a blue-collar team from a perspective never told before. He couldn't publish all 4,000 pictures he took due to high costs. But the remaining pictures are priceless. Sweat from each construction worker drips off each page in this one-of-a-kind collector's item.
"I knew that some day, with a long history of the Packer organization, Lambeau Field, and the history of Green Bay, that a story was brewing and I was in the perfect position with my pictures to tell this story.
"This is a story that nobody else could tell. I had access to every inch of Lambeau for three years (2001-03). History was being made."
In all of sports, $295 million has never been spent wiser. Sorry, Alex Rodriguez. The mecca of pro football could only be penetrated 10 times per year before the renovation project. Over 33 months, Lambeau Field was transformed into a retro year-round stadium/restaurant plaza/team store/hall of fame/wedding destination/banquet hall thanks to a 366,000-square-foot atrium complex that stretches five stories high. Saint Vince has never hovered in such luxury.
The reconstruction preserved the history of the Green Bay Packers.
And Monette's diligence preserved the history of the reconstruction.
The Kingsford, MI native was working on hotels and casinos in Las Vegas and San Francisco when he heard that his Upper Peninsula childhood friend, Mike Constantini was named Director of Field Operations on the Lambeau Field renovation project. Monette called Constantini to express interest and soon the diehard Packers fan was Green Bay bound on a 30-hour car ride that probably felt like 30 minutes.
At Lambeau, Monette was the supervisor of all aspects of construction, a key cog in overall security, and the resident Lee Remmel for a monumental step in Packers history. TeamWork doesn't just recreate the atmosphere at Lambeau during its facelift. It pulls out the personality of the workers that made it happen. The 90-page book which sells for $29.95 is reader-friendly and insightful through anecdotes in a rich, vintage scrapbook style.
Turner Construction, Miron Construction (Appleton), The Selmer Co. (Green Bay), A.J. Martin and Sons (Green Bay), Hougard Construction, and 50 other contractors faced a daunting task.
"I'm talking about having to renovate this great monument in a short period of time and while the tenant was still at home," Monette writes in TeamWork. "To put that in perspective, just imagine that you had to tear off a roof of a house, break apart walls, bring ceilings down, then re-model everything to sparkling new - all while doing it with the family living at home, eating sleeping and watching TV."
The ‘family' had over 60,000 visitors nine times that season. The construction workers had to keep a wary eye out too. The terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 created another storm the workers had to weather. A lot of people. A lot of responsibility. A lot of security. A lot of work ahead of them. They weren't worshiped to Todd Rundgren's ‘Bang the Drum' like those on Sunday. But thanks to TeamWork, a tangible legacy remains.
Hours after Brett Favre dismantled San Francisco for 226 second half yards in a 25-15 wild card playoff win, Monette and crew dismantled Lambeau Field at warp speed. An urgency immediately swept through each worker.
It was game time.
In ten chapters of words, Monette details the specific duties that several people had. In 44 full pages of pictures, he adds emotion and character. It's this raw quality that Monette cherishes most.
"The passion in the eyes of the people who are in the pictures and the love that had to be a part of history being made at Lambeau is my favorite part of the book," he said. "I love the stories I was able to tell about who I am, my family, and the opportunity that I was given to be able to tell this story of Lambeau and its fans and the big halo that we all stand under as a true Packer fan and enthusiast. The book is passionate, comical, informative, and enlightening to all Packer fans.
"This book describes what the word teamwork should mean to us every day."
Stories that would only travel by word of tongue are relived in Monette's book.
Ever wonder where that vintage green and golden glazed 1957 Chevy on the second floor of the Packers Pro Shop came from? Fortune 500 businessman John Bergstrom, the owner of 27 automobile dealerships in Wisconsin. The vehicle lacked an engine, which equated to a mixture of pushing and tugging up ramps. In the driver's seat was a wide-smiled Bergstrom.
Writes Monette, "I will never forget the kid-like smiling face of John Bergstrom as the 1957 Chevrolet truck went up the ramp…This was just another example of why my job wasn't a job."
When reading TeamWork, you're displaced from the recliner. The book's original tone takes you to your local watering hole, on a stool right next to Monette. Its reader-friendly vibe speaks to the Midwestern culture. Monette freely sidetracks onto interesting stories along his road to Lambeau (not Lambert, John Kerry) whether it's Steve Mariucci helping Monette land a construction job in San Francisco or Packers trainer Pepper Burruss pulling practical jokes on the workers.
Yet at the heart of TeamWork are the photographs. Monette's book provides scenes one would only see with a hard hat and a shovel.
You'll see Tom Rizzo, a professional bass fisherman, single-handedly laying the terrazzo material on the Lambeau Field Atrium floor.
You'll see a team of workers tirelessly hauling eleven 750-pound rolls of sod to Lambeau Field. Not even the World's Strongest Man on ESPN2 could do that.
Each picture serves as a reality check. Lambeau Field as we know it, our kids will know it and their kids will know it wouldn't exist without the daily determination of the 1,200 strong who built it in 1,095 days.
"We are construction workers, damned proud of it and that's putting it mildly," Monette writes. "We get up early every day, sometimes with regrets, but 99.9 percent of the time we do it with pride and also thank God that we are healthy enough to perform tough physical labor for 8 to 12 hours each day."
Because of them, Packer fans can enjoy Lambeau Field for 8-12 hours a day…every day.
Notes: TeamWork is ghostwritten by David Warnshuis, a sports writer for the Iron Mountain Daily News … Several pro sports stars grew up near Monette, including Steve Mariucci, Tom Izzo, and Dave Manders, a center for the Dallas Cowboys who played in the Ice Bowl…TeamWork contains a foreword by Packers team historian Lee Remmel and an essay by Kingsford sixth grade student, Macala Ellis, describing the word ‘teamwork'…Monette dedicates the book to ‘all Packer fans.'
To order online, go to pmpande.com, or call (906) 779-2959.