Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Jim Mello

Company Founder & CEO

About Jim

After serving as President of WWPSA (now WPA) and working for a few pet industry manufacturers, Jim started Mello Sales in 1985.  Jumping into his station wagon, Jim would routinely drive the I-5 calling on distributors from San Diego into Vancouver, B.C.  As the industry grew, Jim strategically added partners to help him.  In January 2005 Jim asked Kevin and Julie to join him in incorporating the business.  Jim remains at the helm, lending his expertise as the company continues to grow and evolve as the industry changes.  He frequently counts his blessings.  “It is a miracle to make a living doing something that you enjoy with customers who are genuinely friends.”  Jim’s favorite pastime is visiting his 4 children’s families and the 9 amazing grandchildren they have given him and his wife Barbara. 

Kevin Mello

President/Key Accounts

About Kevin

Kevin cut his teeth on dog toys!  He once was the crazy kid playing in the elevator at the trade shows; now Kevin is a respected member of the industry.  After earning his degree in communications at University of Arizona he joined his father in growing the business.  Kevin started detailing stores in 2001 and worked his way up to managing the majority of our best customers.  In 2005 when the company incorporated, Kevin was named company president.  We all hope his wife allows him to bring their children to the shows when they get older.

Julie Hutchings

Vice President/Operations & Sales Manager

About Julie

With 12 years of management background in the airline industry, Julie joined Jim in February 1999.  Her innate work ethic allowed her to quickly learn all aspects of the business.  Her passion and big picture thinking make her a vital member of the organization.  Jim invited Julie to become a partner when the company incorporated in 2005.  As vice president, Julie is the jack of all trades.  She has her hands in everything from sales to human resources.  As if her hands weren’t full enough, Julie and her husband have two children (13 years apart).

Yevette Barry

Account Executive - AK, ID, MT, WA, WY, Northern OR

About Yevette

We struck gold when we found Yevette. Previously a mortgage account executive, Yevette has sunk her roots into the wonderful world of pet products and has been a part of the Mello Sales Group, Inc. family since May 2009.  Born and raised in Northern Washington, she understands the passion this region has for natural products and the ideology behind healthy living while caring for the environment.  Her amazing attention to detail keeps us all on our toes.  Yevette has two adult children who also live in the beautiful northwest, an adorable new grandson, and 2 rescue kitties, Dobby and Khaleesi.

Steve Sabo

Account Executive - Key Accounts

About Steve

Steve was born and raised in Chicago.  He relocated to Phoenix, AZ in 1993 to work inside the PetSmart office as an Account Executive with a leading private label brokerage firm.  During this time, he met his wife Linda at PetSmart, and they soon became pet parents to an English Bulldog named “Duke” who rose to fame as the PetSmart dog.  Duke was used in print ads in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s and received royal treatment during his office visits with Dad.  After raising a famous fur baby, they had two beautiful children and are now proud grandparents.  Steve resides in Scottsdale, AZ with his wife (a retired pet supplies buyer) and is a pet parent to: Daisy, Paddy, and Peanut.  In his spare time, Steve enjoys going to concerts, sporting events, and spoiling his two grandchildren.  Steve joined the Mello Sales Group team in 2013 and has focused primarily on growing and expanding our manufacturing partner’s product offerings at PetSmart.   

Ben Rehling

Account Executive - Southern CA, Southern NV, UT

About Ben

Ben started out in the pet industry in 2009 managing pet stores in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. While working in those stores, he was able to facilitate many different outreach programs to help the community whether it be through donating pet food to the homeless, educating the community on CPR and emergency preparedness or raising awareness for many pet rescues. Ben still uses that sense of outreach to work closely with stores in Southern California, Southern Nevada, and Utah.  He enjoys helping them successfully service the needs of their local pet communities. Ensuring stores have a great mix of products and sharing his innate knowledge of pet care and training, Ben brings enrichment to the stores and their customers as well. Ben lives in Southern California with his wife and their two rescue dogs, Naima and Zemo. They spend their time hiking, going to movies/concerts and going to the beach.

Gina Lane

Account Executive - Northern CA, Northern NV, Southern OR, CO

About Gina

Gina started working at her uncle’s pet store when she was 15 years old and has stayed in the industry ever since.  She has owned two successful stores, been a buyer for a high-volume feed store and worked as a distributor sales representative.  Gina is a diehard animal lover and spends much of her free time assisting non-profit organizations to increase the quality of life for pets.  Gina started working with Mello Sales Group in 2012.  Since that time, she has learned not to work at adoption events because she is still that little girl who brings home every stray.  Her life is full with 4 dogs, a cat, and a duck.  By the time you are reading this, know that the count at her Northern California ranch is always changing as she shares her love with all pets in need.

Rob Beenham

Account Executive - BC and Alberta, CAN

About Rob

Rob joined the Mello Sales family in 2021 with three decades of experience in the pet industry, having started in pet specialty retail in 1991. He brings with him an eclectic mix of pet industry positions, including retail, distribution, purchasing, and obviously sales. Rob has a wealth of knowledge covering all facets of the sales equation, with the unique advantage of understanding the retail/distribution side of the business as well. He brings this experience and knowledge to bear when helping retailers, and distributors see the advantages our manufacturing partners bring to the table, all with respected trustworthiness, and sly sense of humor. Residing in beautiful BC, Canada, Rob was the perfect choice to help Mello further expand our reach into the western Canadian marketplace, with someone who not only lives there, but understands the specific needs, and wants of Canadians. Rob is a self-proclaimed nerd that enjoys collecting Spider-Man comics and memorabilia, as well as movies, in his downtime. He has a supportive wife of 25+ years, Samantha, a young adult daughter, Autumn, two fur babies, MJ the Frenchie, Romeo the Siamese, and one feathered friend, Bebe the Parrotlet.

Steve Rose

Account Executive - AZ, NM

About Steve

Steve was lucky to find his way into the pet industry when he moved to beautiful Seattle Washington in 1987 where he met his lovely wife, Wanda.  They worked alongside each other running a small Iams Pet Food Distributor business that quickly grew beyond all their expectations.  Thirty plus years later having been involved in both the distribution and manufacturing side of the business, Steve developed many wonderful customer relationships and friendships.  Wanda and Steve and their three German Shepherds (Esphino, Gero & Rikki) relocated to Phoenix Arizona in 2019 seeking the sun. In January of 2022 he was very excited to join the Mello Sales Group and continue his journey with our amazing group of pet professionals.

Kevin Albinder

Account Executive - Southern/Central CA & Events

About Kevin

Being an all-around pet lover, owning pets his entire life, and having had previous sales experience, it was a smooth transition with Kevin joining the Mello Sales Group after having worked in the produce industry for years. Kevin joined the pet industry and Mello Sales Group in January 2022 and hasn’t looked back. Just as in the produce industry, the tight knit pet industry keeps people around forever! Kevin quickly acquired the nickname K2 with 2 Kevin’s on the team, and I think the owner gets to keep his full name! Kevin has 2 pet children (cats) Tootsie and Pegasus and owned a Rottweiler for 13 years (Xena). Kevin is also a proud new parent of a human child, Emerson! He loves to explore and after coming over from Virginia in 2018, he has quickly learned the layout of California to assist customers throughout the state.

Erika Berry

Executive Assistant/Tradeshows

About Erika

Erika’s undeniable love of animals started with her family pets (dogs, cats, fish, etc.) and grew into a passion she would dedicate herself to.  She began volunteering at a local pet hospital which evolved into a paid position.  While attending college Erika worked at various grooming salons and veterinary offices.  Erika is now an executive assistant in Mello Sales Group’s San Diego office.  She works directly with the president of the company, Kevin Mello.  Her assignments include managing trade shows and working with two of our largest customers.  Erika still lends a helping hand as an elected board member of a nonprofit organization that raises money for a local dog park.  She has a degree in Environmental Studies (minoring in Geography) that she received from California State University, San Marcos in 2021. When she’s not at work, Erika loves exploring San Diego’s food scene and hanging out at coffee shops with her dog, Miles.

Carri Mello

Ecommerce Management/Accounting

About Carri

After receiving her degree in Environmental Studies and marrying Jim’s eldest son, Jeff, Carri came to work for Mello Sales Group in 2007.  Blessing us with her background in commercial real estate, Carri’s attention to detail is always on point.  She has grown with the company and has held several positions.  Carri is our expert in e-commerce sales.  When she is not working, she loves spending time with her husband and their two beautiful daughters.  Carri enjoys traveling and playing with their kitty, Ellie.

Jena Jones

Special Projects/Customer Service

About Jena

Jena officially joined the industry in 2007 after years of helping her Aunt Julie. She has had the unique opportunity of moving around within the company through the years. She managed the main Napa office for 4 years; then moved to San Diego with her husband and assisted Kevin in our Southern California office for 8 years. In 2019 she added the Pacific Northwest to her list of West Coast adventures where she currently resides with her husband and their 2 kids. Jena offers administration support and is always lending a helping hand wherever assistance is needed. Her experience makes her a diverse member of our team.