Mel was born and raised in Whatcom County. He is a Vietnam War veteran who earned a MBA degree from Santa Clara University on the GI Bill. Throughout his career, Mel worked in various accounting and financial management positions from start-up organizations to a conglomerate. His most rewarding position was the 12 years as CFO for the Opportunity Council where he was able to strengthen and increase their financial foundation. Mel is retired and is actively involved in leadership at First Baptist Church.