Mello, who is treasurer for CAA at the state level, has seen his local chapter go dormant due to apathy.
"There are several reasons for it," he said. "The big MSOs feel that they don't really need associations like CAA. They're big enough to create their own environment, and as independent shops, we can't compete with that unless we stick together. I've been involved with CAA for 26 years now. I joined my local chapter's board (Santa Clara chapter) in 1992, and I've been on the board ever since then. I served as president in 1997, and then in 2007, I became CAA state president, which means I served for six years on the executive committee. I have also been the treasurer for our chapter probably for the last 15 years. So, I've seen firsthand how the CAA can make a difference, as long as shops are willing to step up to make it happen."
With no concrete plans to retire, Mello admits that he's a collision lifer and proud of it.
"What would I do if I retired? I do own a Harley Fat Boy and enjoy being a support person every other year for the Cannonball Run that covers almost 3,000 miles,” he said. “In addition, I still want to serve my community for my local Rotary Club (Santa Cruz Sunrise chapter), but at this point, I still like this industry and want to stick around for at least a little longer.”