Operating A Family Business

Brady MeloNot many Young Executives can say they’ve experienced the growth of their family’s business since its inception, but I can. My dad, David Melo, founded Melo’s Gas & Gear (Bakersfield, CA) in July of 1999. I joined the company a month later as a truck driver at the age of 26. Now I’m 36, and I was made operations manager three years ago. I take pride in the fact that I’ve helped to build a strong company.

Part of my job is to make sure that deliveries are made quickly and that we’re compliant with DOT regulations. I also regularly meet with our dispatcher to address routing issues, and I keep a list of our permits and licenses so I know when they’re up for renewal. If I have a question about compliance, Mike Dodd, GAWDA’s DOT, OSHA & EPA Security Consultant, is very helpful in providing answers.

You can’t really know what’s going on with a company just by looking at it on paper, so I find it very important to spend as much time as I can behind the counter. Being a hands-on manager keeps me informed of what our 20 employees need, and it earns their respect—they know I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. I’ll do whatever needs to be done at the company, even if it means staying until 8 p.m. to fill cylinders.

One of the most important things I’ve learned in my job is how to deal with different personalities. As operations manager, I might see 100 customers with 100 different personalities each day, and I need to know how to talk to every one of them so I can offer them help. My dad’s taught me that knowing how to deal with people can only be learned from experience, and learning from those experiences is how you grow.

My dad’s made many connections during his 35 years in the industry, and he’s introduced me to them at GAWDA meetings. However, the Young Executives’ events give me the chance to expand my network even further; I can make my own connections with people my age. I enjoy talking with other Young Executives because it’s reassuring to hear that they face the same issues, like retaining good employees, as I do.

I love working for my dad, and I’ve taken on more and more of his duties as president as time goes on. Although it’ll be a while before he hands the reins over to me, when he does, I’ll be proud to take over a business that I’ve helped to develop.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Brady Melo Meet the Author
Brady Melo is operations manager at Melo’s Gas & Gear, located in Bakersfield, CA. In his free time, Melo enjoys RVing and playing softball.