“We’re all in the same boat.”
Lisa Melchiorre continues to remind herself of this as she and her staff navigate through some uncharted waters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s a sentiment shared by Mountain Home businessman Chuck Ceccarelli.
Ceccarelli, who has connected with Melchiorre in recent weeks, has a long history of being resilient and resourceful. He started a towing company at a young age, and quickly learned he wasn’t satisfied with some of the products on the market.
He started developing his own products, and now holds many U.S. patents and is considered one of the leading innovators in the industry. In fact, he’s in the International Towing Hall of Fame.
Ceccarelli, who has been featured on the CNBC documentary series “Blue Collar Millionaire,” also builds luxury motor coaches and creates products for fishing and recreational vehicles.
Ceccarelli, who describes himself as a “janitor, counselor, manager, hard worker, money finder” on his LinkedIn page, has enjoyed his success in business because of his passion for trying new things.
“We innovate, innovate, innovate,” he said.
Ceccarelli recently arrived at Melchiorre’s office having prototyped face shields for possible use by health-care workers. It’s a kind gesture; hospitals and health systems across the globe have faced challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic has swept through, but St. Luke’s Health System has stewarded its supplies and has not run out.
“I left there – just on a personal note – just overwhelmed by the feeling that I needed to help,” Ceccarelli said.
Word of mouth regarding his kind – and creative – response to the ongoing global health threat seems to have traveled.
“We’ve had requests from as far as New York,” he said.
Ceccarelli said his company, In The Ditch Towing, had made face shields on a 3D printer. That has proven to be time-consuming.
“We figured out a way to design them with aluminum, and now we can produce about 500 a day,” he said.
For In The Ditch, switching gears is all in a day’s work.
“We’re a standalone manufacturing company, and we have about 80 employees on the manufacturing side,” Ceccarelli said. “In the last 10 years, we’ve brought over 500 new items to market. We’ve been featured on some national television shows for our innovative abilities.
“We have five full-time mechanical engineers, and we mentor companies from all over the world. We tell everybody that we’re Mountain Home’s best-kept secret.”
Chris Langrill is a writer and copy editor for the St. Luke’s Communications and Marketing department.