Meet Certified Detailer & Paint Correction Specialist, Kelly Mankin, CD SV

Born in Portland, Oregon, Kelly Mankin's journey to becoming a certified automotive detailer and paint correction specialist started when Kelly's father peeked her interest in cars at a young age, but it was a group of colleagues who recognized her talent for detailing and hired her as a detailer part-time while she and her brother operated a restaurant business on the side.

Kelly became known for getting a car - especially the interiors, "crazy clean". In spite of that, it was a Hawaiian vacation that changed Kelly's career trajectory.

Crazy Clean in Hawaii

Kelly found a modest but somewhat primitive beachfront hut in Kona where oceanfront living became a soul-fulfilling time for her. All she needed was the island’s plumeria breeze, the roaring surf, and the sand between her toes. She began taking boating excursions and swimming with the dolphins – still one of her favorite past times – and one day it occurred to her that Kona would be a good place to start a beachside automotive detailing business.

One festive evening out with friends, Kelly created the name Ake Ake Detailing. It sounded Hawaiian but to this day, no one is certain what it means! She used an old surf board to make a business sign and opened her first detailing shop right there on the beachfront. Sixteen years later, people still say, ‘You’re that place by Alakala’s with the surf board sign!’

Kelly threw herself into detailing. She did everything completely by hand – hand wash, hand dry, hand compounding and hand polishing; but she was no slouch at cleaning interiors!

With her detailing business taking off, she began raiding junkyards for car hoods and panels on which she could practice her machine polishing skills.

Getting Involved

A series of life-changing events led Kelly to get involved with the LightON Foundation, a local nonprofit women’s advocacy group for trauma victims.

She takes the ladies from the LightON Foundation out on boat rides and to swim with the dolphins. It is a magical experience not just for the women, but for Kelly who benefited as much from the experience as they did. She still actively supports the Foundation with charity car washes, an annual rummage sale, and yes, she still takes ladies out to swim with the dolphins.

The Automotive Detailing Business Takes a Technological Turn

By 2012, Kelly had built up a customer base but she wanted to provide the highest possible quality of service. Several innovative automotive products, equipment and techniques was changing how car owners viewed their automotive investments and Kelly got her first two commercial detailing gigs with Big Island Honda and McKenna Motor Cars – both who are still clients after 16 years!

She also began cleaning tour company vans, private aircraft, and even helicopters at Mauna Loa Helicopter School. These jobs presented her with bigger detailing jobs that paid well and expanded her service offering.

After five years of slow but steady growth and once again needing more space, Kelly took over the lease on a much larger location vacated by another detailer at 74-5491 Kaiwi Street in Kona - the current home of Ake Ake Professional Detailing.

Training with the Detailer of Air Force One

Last year, Kelly flew to Big Bear, California and spent a week training and getting certified by Renny Doyle of Detailing Success. Doyle is known as the “Detailer of Air Force One" due to his 16-years restoring and preserving the paint on the first presidential jet Air Force One at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

Kelly was after Doyle’s own heart because of her experience detailing aircraft. His intense 5-day certification training courses are not for the faint-hearted and Kelly came away as one of only a handful of successful female detailers in the country to be certified by the Master automotive and aircraft detailer and trainer.

Knowing that the installation of durable, long-lasting ceramic coatings is the hottest ticket in automotive detailing these days, Doyle certified her in Detailing Business, Paint Correction, Headlight Repair, and in the installation of his private label Inspiration Ceramic Coating. Also, as a Recognized Training Center for certification from the International Detailing Association (IDA), Doyle was able to also dually-certify her according to IDA detailing industry standards, including the advanced Skills Validated hands-on (SV) certification.

Shortly afterward, Ceramic Pro saw her work and approached her about being the Big Island’s authorized installer for their innovative line of coatings as well. She is also the distributor of Flex power polishers for Hawaii, and a distributor for P&S Sales, who developed and manufactures Doyle’s private label Inspiration Ceramic Coating.

In March, Kelly went back to Big Bear and earned her certification in automotive sanding techniques – a meticulous process by which she uses a lightly abrasive fine sanding method to remove scratches and environmental contaminants, resulting in a brilliant shine even on aging and neglected vehicles.

It is definitely rare to find a highly trained and experienced female detailer and paint correction specialist, but Kelly Mankin is the real deal! Contact her so you can experience Ake Ake's Island Crazy Clean & Shine!

Certified Member of the International Detailing Association

Kelly Mankin is a certified member (CD) of the IDA, and holds an advanced Skills Validated (SV) certification with the organization. As a member, Kelly is held to a higher quality standard than non-certified detailers. Car owners can be assured that IDA members are tested and certified according to strict industry standards determined by leading industry professionals. The SV designation means Kelly has passed challenging hands-on testing in the field for their abilities. The IDA is active in helping car owners understand the value in professional detailing services and they make it easy for customers to contact an IDA-certified detailer like Kelly in your area!

Certified Member of the Detailing Success Network

Kelly Mankin is certified by Renny Doyle's Detailing Success, the nation’s foremost Master detailing trainer, also known as the "Detailer of Air Force One". Detailing Success detailers receive a certification in detailing business, marketing, physical training in interior and exterior detailing, paint correction, and headlight restoration. Members of the Detailing Success Network have access to a private forum where they gain ongoing support and advice from members of the Network, and expertise from senior members of the Detail Mafia.

Air Force One Detailing Team

Kelly's mentor Renny Doyle selected Kelly to the 2019 Air Force One Detailing Team at Seattle's Museum of Flight back in July. She was chosen from among hundreds of detailers across the country.

Kelly and the rest of the pro bono team also clean and maintain dozens of other historic aircraft on exhibit at the museum including a WWII bomber, a Concorde jet, and the original "Jumbo Jet" 747.

2019 was Kelly's first year on the team and she was awarded Detail Mafia status during the challenging project.

Detail Mafia-Made Detailer

Renny's Detail Mafia are the most accomplished and technologically-advanced team of automotive detailers in the U.S. They must prove themselves through a more than year-long dedication to the mentorship of others; the willingness to work on regional and local projects across state lines; their commitment to ongoing education, trade show appearances, seminars, special events, and product/equipment demonstrations; and their outward show of exceptional leadership and professional skills.

Detail Mafia members come together to solve car appearance problems like damaged paint, oxidized metals, and removing difficult stains and odors — all to keep their detailing and paint correction skills honed sharp!

Detail Mafia members are artisans in the care and maintenance of automotive paint and automotive interiors and they are committed to excellence in everything they detail whether it is an exotic sports car, an everyday driver, or a rejuvenated classic.