top of page
  • Foto do escritorArnon Melo

Seneca graduate honoured for generous support of newcomers

Arnon Melo named one of Top 25 Canadian immigrants
Aug. 25, 2022

It’s an immigrant story Arnon Melo will never get tired of telling. “I came here to learn English and fell in love with Toronto and Canadian culture,” said the Seneca graduate and winner of this year’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards. “I felt like I was coming home in a way. It felt so right.” In 1990, Mr. Melo, 24, left Brazil for Canada by himself. With few language skills and no job prospects, he did what many new immigrants do to make ends meet — he took on one odd job after another. The first one, on a factory assembly line, involved sorting through packages of green and red flashlights. “Turns out, I was colour blind,” he recalled with a chuckle. “So, I lost that job.” From there, Mr. Melo worked as a waiter and a cleaner. He also flipped burgers at a Harvey’s restaurant late at night. It wasn’t until he got a job working at the Grand & Toy store at the Toronto Dominion Centre that his life took a different turn. “A customer who was a lawyer introduced me to Seneca’s International Business diploma program,” he said. “He changed my life. Going to Seneca changed everything for me.” Mr. Melo fell in love with supply chain and logistics while at Seneca and went on to work in the industry for 10 years before he co-founded his own international shipping company in 2002.

Today, MELLOHAWK Logistics works with 65 partner agents around the world and has offices in Mississauga, Miami and Sao Paulo. A new location in Ontario is planned for 2023. “We are a mini-United Nations — we speak 25 languages together,” Mr. Melo said. “We celebrate diversity and newcomers, and we hire Seneca students. In a way, that’s who I am.” In fact, Mr. Melo’s partner, Peter Hawkins, is the only Canadian-born employee at MELLOHAWK, which is a combination of the couple’s last names. With advice from a numerologist friend of Mr. Melo’s in Brazil, a second “L” was added to make the name “vibrate.”

“The week we changed our name from MELOHAWK to MELLOHAWK and changed our brand colours, we got a $100,000 contract,” Mr. Melo said. Along with Mr. Melo’s recent award, MELLOHAWK has been recognized by Access Employment, Mississauga Board of Trade and Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce.

Arnon Melo celebrates his Order of Rio Branco medal with Ambassador Wanja Campos da Nóbrega of the Consulate General of Brazil in Toronto. (Photo: submitted) Outside of work, Mr. Melo is immersed in helping his community. While serving his second term on the CONCID Brazilian Citizenship Council of Ontario during the pandemic, he and his team worked with the Embassy of Brazil to demand the Brazilian government pay for flights for hundreds of citizens stranded in Canada.

“These people had no money, no flights and no place to go,” Mr. Melo said. “People would send me messages late at night, crying for help. In some cases, I called their landlords to say they can’t evict these families. I was the emotional support for many people in desperate situations.”

With help from the City of Toronto and the Ontario government, Mr. Melo’s team organized three flights for 665 people. For his efforts, Mr. Melo was awarded Brazil’s Order of Rio Branco medal last December.

“I was very emotional and touched,” he said. “That medal is not only for me. It’s for all my fellow team members and friends in Canada who came together to help.”

Mr. Melo says he is honoured to have been able to give back and help other immigrants. His word of advice for newcomers is that they should be patient as they update their skills.

“Take the time to adjust to the ways of life in Canada,” he said. “And network, especially outside of your community. See how Canadians behave in business and how they shake hands. Be aware of your surroundings. That’s what I did.”


bottom of page