-Richard Chappel tirelessly devoted 30 years to CTTA and the towing industry as a whole in promoting professional concepts to change the image of towing in California and throughout the country. He utilized his public relations background to bring together towers in California in 1969, attempted to form the North American Towing Association in the late ‘70s, was instrumental in the original group which formed the Towing and Recovery Association of America in 1979 and assisted other states in creating their own associations. He traveled extensively to attend local meetings and visit with towing professionals so he could be their strongest and most knowledgeable advocate. Rich was inducted into the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame in 1988 for his outstanding service and leadership.
-May 27, 1928 – April 23, 2012
-Steve Cardinale, dubbed “The Godfather of San Francisco” because he was so well liked by customers and competitors, ran Atlas Towing in the bay area through the 1970s and ‘80s. His love affair with towing began when his tractor and bottom dump trailers had to be recovered from being stuck. Steve was instrumental in starting the Greater Bay Area Chapter of CTTA, received CTTA’s Member of the Year in 1982 and served as Chapter President in 1987. During that time he began a training program for towers which evolved into the current CTTA Training and Certification program. In 1987 Steve received TRAA’s Distinguished Service Award and was inducted into the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame in 1989. In1993 Steve received the CTTA Lifetime Achievement Award and was honored with the CTTA Humanitarian Award in 2005. Steve was a teacher and mentor to many throughout the towing industry, was well loved and is still missed.
ROBIN "BOB" BERRY
-CTTA VP & Member of the Year 1988
-Bob began his towing career in 1967 in Fairbanks, Alaska and purchased his first tow truck in 1976 during his time as a Shell Oil dealer and service station owner. Bob has spent most of his life in the San Francisco Bay Area with wife, Sylvia and together, they raised four daughters. Bob has always been community minded and generously gives his time and expertise. He has served many roles over the years for CTTA, instructor, Greater Bay Area Chapter President, State Director, Vice President and Chair for the CTTA Convention Committee. Bob received the TRAA National Citizenship Award for distinguished humanitarian service following the Oakland earthquake devastation. He also founded and was a substantial fundraiser for the Bay Area Citizens Against Drugs.
-CTTA President 1999-2001
-Carvel started his exemplary history of auto service in 1965 when he purchased his first service station, adding towing services in 1970. Gay’s Automotive and Towing has been contracted with the Glendale Police Department and CHP since 1974. A resident of Glendale and married to his high school sweetheart, Carvel gives credit for his success to his family and employees who enable him to give so generously of his time to community and professional programs. Mr. Gay has been a member of the California Army National Guard, has twice been awarded the California Commendation Medal, and was awarded the Enlisted Excellence Ribbon, the Army Superior Unit Award as well as the National Defense Service Medal. Carvel was presented with a commendation for outstanding response and exemplary service during the Northridge Earthquake in 1996.
-George opened a Chevron Service Station in 1968 and purchased his first tow truck in 1972. He’s been a pillar of the Sacramento business community, active in the Western States Trucking Association, California Trucking Association and California Tow Truck Association, generously contributing his knowledge and experience to CTTA’s education program and mentoring others who have gone on to build their own successful businesses. Mr. Little is considered a heavy duty towing authority due to his extensive experience as an operator, mechanic and business owner. His skill in creating and improving equipment has also been of great benefit to many as he has always readily shared his ideas with the towing community. He has successfully utilized his knowledge as a behind the scenes advocate, making a true difference in the towing industry. Over the years, his work to establish hourly rates with CHP and other law enforcement agencies for towing and successfully pushing back 3rd party dispatch and impound from encroaching on Sacramento region towing has protected towing companies and set a standard in the industry.
-Harry Saehlenou was a native Californian, born in Santa Monica. He started in the automotive industry in 1956 after a tour of duty in the United States Navy. Anaheim-Fullerton Towing Company in Orange County, California was founded in 1958 by Harry and Patricia, it become one of the major forces in the industry in the metropolitan area of Los Angeles. He was a Director of CTTA as a Charter Member, and served as President of the Orange County Chapter. Harry was an advocate of the California Tow Truck Association (CTTA), Towing and Recovery Association of America (TRAA), Friends of Towing Museum (FOT) and the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum. He was inducted into the Friends of Towing Hall of Fame in 1988, recognizing his years of service and effort to advance professionalism in the towing industry.
-Evelyn Harden was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Evelyn purchased Johnson’s Garage and Towing in December 1969, which consisted of a 1949 pick-up, a 1951 tow truck and a two bay auto mechanics shop. Within eight months, they had grown to three newer tow trucks. Evelyn worked at Kern High School District during the week days and did the books, billing, dispatching, and some driving for the business at nights and on weekends. In 1980, Jim’s Garage and Towing became a member of the Towing and Recovery Association of America and a member or the California Tow Truck Association. Jim and Evelyn joined Friends of Towing in 1990. Years later, the business was run by their son, Randy. He eventually purchased the business from them in March, 1996. Jim and Evelyn still continued to be present to work every day and gave great support in the day to day business needs. During the years that Jim and Evelyn were in business, they held commendations from the California Highway Patrol, Kern County Sheriff Department, Bakersfield Police Department, Mothers against Drunk Drivers, The Starlight Foundation, City and County D.A.R.E Programs, and for their fundraising efforts to benefit different community projects or just helping to make things happen in the community.
HAROLD "HAL" PRESENT
-Harold Present was a wrecker driver for the National Guard and Army, and then for a private company in the 1950’s. In 1961, he and his wife Reggie moved their family to La Crescenta and opened their first towing company. At the time, there was no proper zoning for a towing company in the unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County, and Harold was successful in getting the zoning requirements changed from M Zoning to C3, which now makes vehicle storage available in these areas. Harold became friends with Rich Chappel while traveling throughout the State of California helping form other chapters of the California Tow Truck Association. As the CTTA grew statewide, Harold served as an executive state board member for many years. Rich Chappel and Harold Present worked together to be sure towing companies could recover costs for a vehicle abandoned and sold thru lien sale.
-Born in 1942, Frank Andrews has been a fixture in the Sacramento valley for 7 decades. In the early 60’s Frank acquired 3-A Body Shop which had a towing service. In 1966 Frank was awarded a AAA contract but was told he could no longer use the name 3-A Body shop. Frank promptly renamed the business Sierra towing as the Roseville location was nestled at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Soon after the phone book salesman told Frank that Sierra would be located at the end of the yellow pages and would never receive a hit, Frank without hesitation renamed the company Alta Sierra. It was to become the seed bed for a number of successful businesses over the next 5 decades. In 1971 Alta Sierra moved to 202 Taylor where it remains to this day. In 1971 he also opened up C&H paint store. In 1975 Frank sold the paint store purchased B&J Body Shop and Towing. B&J along with Alta Sierra ran roughly ½ the calls in the valley in those years until growth made it too cumbersome and in 1979 created Evans towing out of the north area of B&J. B&J was later purchased by Rick Johnson & Steve Messner. In 1984 Frank purchased Auto Service Center which quickly became one of the larger contract stations in the AAA enterprise. It was later purchased by Bud Boxwell of All Valley Diesel. In 1993 he started Sacramento Body Shop and Carriage Towing which was later purchased by Brian Healy. Frank has served as local CTTA President in Sacramento, 1st Vice President at the State level as well as two term State President. He was instrumental in starting the education program while acting state President and has always advocated for the operators in the field as well as the professionalism they display without recognition.
-Leon Ginn has been married to his wife June for 20 years. He served in the Salinas Police Department and purchased his first service station in late 1950’s that lead to second Texaco station in 1959 and then purchased Doc’s Garage & Tow in 1960. Leon finally left the police dept in 1962 to strictly do the towing and auto repairs eventually expanding into the heavy duty and transport towing. His business grew to 38 trucks and serviced Salinas, Los Banos, Gilroy and Oakhurst. Leon was the first tower to have a light bar and chrome wheels on his trucks. Leon sold to his son in 1989 and started to concentrate on his cattle business. He was the first member north of the grapevine in CTTA and assisted in starting the Greater Bay Area Chapter, Capitol Chapter, and Monterey Chapter. He brought Steve Cardinale into CTTA and GBA Chapter. Leon served two terms as President of the Monterey County Sheriffs Assoc.
He was very active in CTTA serving as State V P. Received Member of the Year Award in 1979 and Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.
-Bill McCarty was born February 1, 1945 in Paris, Arkansas, the son of a coal miner. In the early 1950’s, Bill’s father “Pop” decided to move to California to seek a better life for his family. Pop, brother Jerry and Bill ran a Chevron station and began to feel the need for a tow truck to compliment their business. Bill was so young that he had to stand on a milk box to clean customers windows, he learned early on the principle of hard work. Bill married Carol Cowan July 26, 1963 in Ventura, CA. In 1976, long after Bill’s father had passed away, Bill started McCarty & Sons Towing with the help of Carol, his sons, Rod & Brian and sometimes daughter Suzanne. They had three old, well used trucks and a prayer. Bill was on his way to what has grown today to a very nice size and successful towing and equipment transportation company located in Oxnard, California, one hour north of Los Angeles nestled along the beautiful coast.
Bill served as a charter member of the Tri-County Chapter of the California Tow Truck Association, helping to get it started and served in every office position there. He then went on to serve CTTA at the state level, holding various offices there and then becoming the CTTA President in 1993-1995. Bill was honored with the CTTA Member of the Year Award in 1994, was inducted into the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame in 1997 and he received the CTTA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. He served 6 years on the convention committee for California, a director representing California for TRAA, a COSTA representative and numerous other committees.
-Pat Sweeny owned Alviso Tow starting in 1975 and Pat’s Lien Service in 1976 to present, which is when she began her involvement with CTTA. Pat was Chapter treasure 1983-2007, Chapter president 1985-1986, first women in this position. She was involved in most GBA picnics over the years, many of which at Santa Clara Fairgrounds. Pat served on the CTTA board as Secretary 1987-1988 and Co-chaired two conventions, Concord with Bob Berry and San Jose with Angelo Tomassi. Pat was also a longtime member and supporter of Tow ladies of CTTA.... contributing anywhere it was needed. Pat’s Lien Service received the CTTA Associate Member of the Year Award in 2001 and 2015. She helped establish a Rotary chapter in Alviso, CA and was the secretary and treasurer for several years. In addition, Pat has supported many youth sports teams over the years.
- Earl was born in Valley Nebraska October 25, 1940 and lived in Omaha until March 1956 when he moved to La Habra, Ca and a short time later moved to Whittier, Ca. He went to Cal High School where he met Rosie. The following year he was moved when Sierra High School opened. Earl enlisted in the Navy Jan 8, 1958 in Whittier and went through boot camp in San Diego for 12 weeks. After boot camp Earl was stationed on USS Los Angeles 135, a Baltimore class heavy cruiser based out of Long Beach, Ca. He was honorably discharged on August 15, 1961. After being discharged from the service he attended Rio Hondo Junior College to study automotive repair while working. He worked as an automotive mechanic over 25 years. Earl worked pumping gas and performing light Mechanical repairs at Flying Gas station where he also had his first experience with towing. In 1972 changing a flat tire lead him to the life of towing and he “hooked from then on”. He went to work at Corning Ford, as line Mechanic, Sept 1977 and Earl commuted home to La Mirada off and on until they bought a house in Corning, CA in 1978. Earl left Corning Ford June 1979 and worked in Orland, Ca for B&K industries until June 1980. Other jobs included Voseberg Chevrolet, Dicks Automotive, for about 2 years then Phil Harris, from Phil’s Automotive called and asked if he wanted to work for him in March of 1982. Earl would perform mechanic duties during the day and drove the AAA Tow Truck at night starting April 1981. He handled the day to day business and towed after hours 80% of the time and ended up buying Mr. Harris out in August 1985. Earl gave back to community service organizations as well as his industry through Lions Club: 8 years, as a Member Corning Rotary since April 2000, Corning Rotary President 2004 to 2005. Rotarian of the year Twice, Paul Harris Fellow, Corning Chamber Commerce, Member since 1990. Business of the Year 2012. CTTA Member Since 1990, Served as, North Chapter President 10 years, State B.O.D.
Committee, Education, Legislation, T.R.O.C.Earl was recognized as Member of the year in 2005, Life Achievement Award in 2004, and received the Steve Cardinale Humanitarian Award. He is currently working with a new Committee in Corning Neighborhood Watch since May 2016.
-Glenn has given to the towing industry through tireless volunteerism to the CTTA, his community and his church. Through the years Glenn has successfully run his own businesses as well as instructed light and heavy duty classes for CTTA, and he took the administrative reins as interim executive director in order to move the office operations from Palm Springs to Sacramento in 2011. Starting in 1985, Glenn bought Lafayette Tow, a failing enterprise and made it profitable then started another towing business, LaMarinda Tow, quickly growing from 3 trucks to a fleet of 9. In 1990 he purchased another small towing operation which turned into what we know as Vacaville Tow. Glenn later decided to branch out but didn’t stray far, purchasing a towing equipment dealership in Sacramento now called Truck Body Sales. During his career, Glenn has stayed involved in CTTA activities as a director on the board, President of Capitol Chapter, Vice President of CTTA, Education Committee Chair, Legislative Committee Chair and he served 2 terms as President of CTTA from 2005-09. Glenn was honored as CTTA Member of the Year in 2003. He currently serves on the Towing Regulatory Oversight Council and is heavily involved with the United Coalition for Motorclub Safety. His belief in giving back didn’t end with his industry, he has also been active in the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and activities for local children such as Red Ribbon Week, Friday Nite Live, Vacaville Kid Fest, Fiesta Days and local athletic teams.
-With over 39 years as a business owner and operator, Donna brings a practical approach to her involvement in many aspects of the "FSW" Group. Her Speciality is in the Human Resources arena.As owner and president of Highland Towing and Auction service in California, Donna was elected as the first woman president of the California Tow Truck Association, serving 1987-89. She has been honored by her industry fellows nationally, as well as by the California State Senate for her contributions to the betterment of the industry. In 1986 Donna received the CTTA Member of the Year Award and was inducted into the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame in 1993.For 15 years, Donna served as a guest lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where her business experiences were incorporated into the business school curriculum.Donna holds degrees in Journalism and Foreign Language, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree from George Fox University in Human Resource Management.
She served as President of Portland Opera, is a Trustee of the Cheetah Conservation Fund and is an active member of The University Club, Portland. She now provides education to the towing community through seminars, speaking engagements and strives to help towing operators become more professional.