About Henry Wallmeyer

Henry Wallmeyer is executive director of the Association for Commuter Transportation.

Are You Ready to “Ignite” and Inspire?

Henry Wallmeyer

“The facilitators did an excellent job of presenting the material.”

“Excellent presentation!”

“Great overview and inspiration.”

“Good information. Fun Time”

“He’s a very knowledgeable presenter with a lot of good relevant experience.”

“This was the best class yet!!”

“This is the best presentation I have been to, maybe ever!”

This is just a sampling of what attendees told us about the sessions and speakers at the 2013 IPI Conference & Expo in Fort Lauderdale. Wouldn’t you like the above to be said about you? It can!

To receive these and perhaps even greater compliments, submit your idea for a presentation and become a speaker at the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo in Dallas, June 1-4. If you are an experienced and articulate individual willing to share your expertise and real-world practices, it’s easy to submit a presentation proposal—we especially want those that illustrate case studies, illuminate important issues, demonstrate how-to knowledge, and increase the professionalism of attendees.

We introduced the Ignite: Parking session in Fort Lauderdale: eight individuals presented for five minutes each using 20 slides that automatically advanced every 15 seconds. Because of the packed room and immensely positive feedback, we are expanding to three sessions in 2014: Ignite: Technology, Ignite: Sustainability, and Ignite: Parking.

An Ignite session is a unique opportunity for you to deliver valuable information in a fun and entertaining way, and we’re looking for engaging, high-energy, multi-tasking, industry professionals to lead the way.

Whether you shine in a traditional 60-minute session or an Ignite session, being a speaker at the IPI Conference & Expo can be an extremely rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. Click here for more information and to submit your presentation.

We look forward to receiving your submission by the October 1, 2013 deadline.

Cheer, Cheer

Henry Wallmeyer

This is one of my favorite times of the year and not just because being outside is once again enjoyable thanks to the cooler weather and the kids are back in school. It is because fall marks the start of college football season.

Les Niedbalski and Henry Wallmeyer

Les Niedbalski and Henry Wallmeyer

I grew up in a house where Saturdays and vacations revolved around Notre Dame football. Our family vacations weren’t to Disney World, but South Bend, Ind., to watch Notre Dame football games. I’m not complaining, mind you, just stating a fact.

Last weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to pass on the tradition as my wife and I loaded our two little ones, ages seven and five, into the family truckster (think the Griswolds) and made the 11-hour trip (Google Maps didn’t take into account the fact that we had kids with us when it said it was nine hours) from Alexandria, Va., to South Bend for the kids’ first home Notre Dame football game.

It was wonderful to show the kids the campus and all the things that make it a special place to not just watch a football game, but experience a football weekend. Things such as multiple trips to the bookstore and seeing the likes of Dick Vitale and Ara Parseghian signing their books in the lobby; saying prayers at the Grotto and attending Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart; seeing famous landmarks such as the Golden Dome and Touchdown Jesus up close and personal; and running down the tunnel of Notre Dame Stadium just as the players do.

But the thing that isn’t on any guide of must-sees is the one that I got a tremendous amount of joy from, and that was meeting  Les Niedbalski, operations coordinator, parking/traffic, at the University of Notre Dame, and IPI member. One of the main reasons I have continued my career working for associations is our members–I enjoy working with, learning from, helping, and interacting with all of them.

With my family in tow, I stopped by Les’ office on Friday afternoon. We exchanged pleasantries, talked about the upcoming game, discussed how things have changed over the years including fields once used for parking that have grown buildings, and got to know each other. It was a great chance for me to meet a member face-to-face after many phone calls and emails, and for my children to meet the person in charge of parking. The highlight from the meeting was when Les gave me a Notre Dame Parking Services hat and made me an honorary member of his team. I wore the hat proudly the next day at the game, hoping someone would ask me a question about parking (or even try to complain) so I could help them.

Associations are all about community. I encourage you to take advantage of our parking community whenever you can by reaching out to parking professionals when you’re traveling or in your own town. And now, I need to take up the IPI members from the University of Alabama on their invitation to visit for a football game. Apparently, they think they do it right down there.

Food Truck Webinar Today

Henry Wallmeyer

My first experience with a food truck, or “roach coach” as it was affectionately known, was as a high schooler working a summer job at DSC05203 a junkyard in Richmond, Va. At precisely 10:30 every morning, the break whistle would sound and we’d head to the food truck waiting at the entrance with the latest in in prepackaged sandwiches, chips, and snacks. It was by no means a culinary treat, but it was a welcome break in the day. Fast forward 25 years and food trucks have progressed from that pickup with insulated diamond-pattern doors covering a refrigerator case to the most interesting-looking fully-functional kitchens on wheels, serving the most diverse food available.

Food trucks are even showing up now the big and small screens. The Great Food Truck Race is a reality television series on the Food Network featuring competing food trucks. The competitors are teams of talented cooks who have dreamed up unique food concepts and want to turn their dreams into a reality, which is to operate a food truck business. (Season four begins August 18.)

On the ABC TV show Happy Endings (which, sadly, was cancelled, but that is for another blog) after Dave Rose was left at the altar by his fiancée, he followed his dreams of quitting his office job and became self-employed with his own food truck business: Steak Me Home Tonight.

Want proof food trucks have really arrived? They have their own association. The DC Food Trucks Association (DCFTA) is a group of nearly 50 Washington, D.C., food truck owner-operators who seek to sustain the wellbeing of our industry, foster a sense of community, and work in partnership with the District of Columbia to improve food truck regulations.

Food trucks have come a long way, but have they come too far too fast? The prevalence of food trucks is forcing parking departments to find unique ways to balance the needs of restaurants, citizens, and entrepreneurs in what many have deemed the downtown food truck wars. For many, it’s a big challenge.

You read about how different cities are facing the food truck challenge in The Parking Professional’s May cover story. Today, IPI is hosting a webinar to further explore the Food Truck Wars. Brandy Stanley, MBA, parking services manager, City of Las Vegas; Gary Means, CAPP, executive director, Lexington & Fayette County Parking Authority; and Mike Estey, parking operations & traffic manager, City of Seattle, will show you what these cities are doing to tackle the challenges that food trucks pose. Register here to see and take away examples of ordinances, pilot programs, and next steps in this battle.

Food trucks don’t just mean Lance crackers and automat-style tuna sandwiches anymore. But what does mobile gourmet mean for your parking operation? I hope you’ll join us today for a great conversation on just that.

Bracket Monday, The IPI Way

Henry Wallmeyer

First there was Cyber Monday and now there is Bracket Monday. Bracket Monday is the day after the NCAA Basketball Tournament Bball for blogis announced, when roughly 30 million people anguish over which 12-seed will beat a five-seed this year, which teams are peaking, and which teams might slide as they fill out the 63 spaces on the now-iconic bracket (I don’t bother picking the play-in games). And while there are estimates that workers distracted by March Madness cost employers about $175 million in productivity during the first two days of the tournament, let’s look at the good that can come from it–in an IPI way.

One of the greatest benefits of IPI membership is the ability to network with your peers from across the country and around the world. Whether at the IPI Conference & Expo, through committees, or by other means, it’s easy to reach out and connect. The best way may be nothing more complicated than an introductory email or phone call introducing yourself as “a fellow member of IPI…” This opens doors widely that might be very tough to even crack. That’s what I love about associations—they create great camaraderie. (O.K. great, Henry, but where are you going with this?)

As I heard Villanova’s (that’s my alma mater’s) name called on Sunday as a number-nine seed (too high in my opinion, but I will take it) and learned our opponent would be North Carolina, I immediately thought about Ray Magyar, CAPP, transportation planner at UNC. And my second thought was that perhaps a friendly wager was in order. I’m not talking mortgage or paycheck-level bets, but a little bet to spice things up–a buck or five, or a beer next time we meet.

This is my assignment for you: use your employment, alumni, or superfan status at a NCAA or NIT tournament school to reach out to an industry peer (use IPI’s Who’s Who in Parking to make the connection) at your opponent’s school and have a little fun. Ideally, arrange to collect on your wager at the 2013 IPI Conference & Expo in Fort Lauderdale. No matter what you wager or when you make good, you’ll have the opportunity to meet new people and make new connections in the parking industry.

Don’t just do it for these first-round games, either. I already have my sights set on Donna Hultine, CAPP, director, parking and transit department at the University of Kansas, for round two. In case you were wondering, my Final Four are: Louisville, Miami, Ohio State, and Villanova (picking with my heart and not my head on that one). Let me know your Final Four and the friendly wagers you make with your peers–comment below.

 


 

Defining Moment

Henry Wallmeyer

Professor Blimm at Villanova University gave my Expository Writing Class (it sounded like an easy A) an assignment to write a Screen Shot 2013-02-08 at 11.15.34 AMpaper that defined something.  Pretty simple right? Until the catch: This time, it was that we could not begin the paper with “The dictionary defines…”  There went the foundation for my paper.

Great story Henry, but what does that have to do with parking?

Over the last several years, the use of technology has accelerated in the parking and transportation industry. And with these advances come new terms and changes to the definitions of words we thought we knew. Here at IPI, we often are asked by the media, our members, and the public for the definition of  high-tech parking items that are becoming more prevalent. I am happy to be able to now respond to these inquires by saying that “IPI’s What’s What in Parking Technology defines…”

IPI’s Technology committee, co-chaired by Mike Drow, CAPP, of Standard Parking, and Peter Lange (a.k.a. Johnny Parking), of Texas A&M University, identified the need for a document to define those techy terms and help parking professionals better communicate with their peers, vendors, customers, and the media. Through a great collaborative effort by the committee, What’s What in Parking Technology: A Glossary of Parking Technology Terms was created.

With nearly 100 definitions that cover Access Control, Video Analytics, and everything in between, this is an amazing industry resource. Use it to ensure that your employees (especially new ones) know the terminology they’ll use a day-to-day basis in the office and with the media and public.

What’s What in Parking Technology: A Glossary of Parking Technology Terms has been mailed with the February issue of The Parking Professional. You can also download it free at parking.org/techglossary.

Look for updates to this glossary, too. As we all know, parking technology is always changing.

Credit Check

Henry Wallmeyer

Do you accept credit cards? The past several weeks have been very busy and very fruitful for the International Parking Institute and our members in helping bring some understanding to high credit and debit card swipe fees that affect the parking industry. Swipe fees have increased dramatically over the past 15 years, and they’re now a top cost for parking operators. Why the rise? It’s simply because the fees are set by Visa and MasterCard, and they have the market cornered.

Earlier this month, IPI announced it had joined the Merchants Payments Coalition to combat  unfair swipe fees. The Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) is a group of retailers, supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, fuel stations, online merchants, and other businesses fighting against unfair credit card fees and for a more competitive and transparent card system that works better for consumers and merchants alike. The coalition’s member associations collectively represent about 2.7 million stores with approximately 50 million employees.

We’re taking other steps in this area as well. Last Monday, I met with Dan Swanson, counsel to U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, to discuss the Durbin Amendment, swipe fees’ effects on the parking industry, and what we can do about the issue as an association and industry. IPI and the MPC view the passage of debit card fee reforms—often referred to as the Durbin Amendment—as a step toward creating a fairer and reasonable payments marketplace. Swanson said he is happy to talk with any of our members and provide insight on this issue. He can be reached at 202.224.2152.

Wednesday, Liz Garner and Doug Kantor of the MPC presented Credit and Debit Swipe Fees: Combating Invisible Costs as part of IPI’s monthly webinar series. They gave a legislative, regulatory, and legal overview of the issues. They also provided details about  the court case brought against the Federal Reserve for poor implementation in their final rulemaking that gave major credit card brands latitude to increase rates on small ticket transactions. You can access the archived version of the webinar here.

IPI will keep you informed of the latest happenings on this issue and with the coalition, but in the meantime, you can control some of your costs by taking advantage of IPI’s Payment Processing Program through AMG Payment Solutions. It is the best program in the industry and will show a direct benefit to your bottom line while IPI works to lower the bigger cost of interchange fees.

 

Grants Awarded for Parking Pricing Projects

Henry Wallmeyer

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced more than $363 million in grants from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to fund a wide variety of highway improvements that include the Value Pricing Pilot (VPP) Program. The VPP Program supports a variety of strategies to manage congestion on highways, including tolling highway facilities through congestion pricing, as well as other methods that do not involve tolls, such as mileage-based car insurance and parking pricing. Awardees and grant amount included:

Multimodal, Dynamic Parking Pricing in Downtown Washington, D.C.
This project will implement dynamic pricing and a reservation system for commercial vehicle parking to manage metered curbside spaces in the congested downtown business district and tourist areas. It will encourage freight travel at off-peak times and enable tour bus operators to find parking, as well as use parking revenues to support transit services. $1,090,000 

ParkSmart New York City
The project continues the work of a previous pilot to introduce higher on-street meter rates during peak times in select neighborhoods to support retail areas by increasing vehicle turnover and allowing more vehicles to access on-street parking. It offers tailored pricing strategies in up to 25 new neighborhood retail corridors to reflect parking demand, and will reduce congestion caused by double-parked and circling cars. $950,000

Kendall Square Employer Transportation Benefit Pricing Trail
The city of Cambridge, Mass., and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will evaluate the effectiveness of a range of current parking pricing strategies used by area employers and provide financial incentives to deploy and evaluate additional new strategies.  $743,872

Performance Parking System Implementation in Los Angeles
This project will install sensors to monitor occupancy and adjust prices for 543 on-street and 366 off-street parking spaces to reduce emissions while searching for parking. $600,272

San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Commission Regional Parking Pricing Analysis Tool
This proposal creates a regional parking database that will allow localities to analyze the effects of various parking pricing scenarios designed to encourage transit and other alternative travel in the Bay Area. $560,000

King County, Wash., Park-and-Ride Pricing in Multi-Family Developments
This project will address a regional shortage in parking spaces at park-and-ride facilitates. The project will facilitate the paid use of parking spaces that are vacated during the day in multifamily neighborhoods along transit routes in the Seattle area, thereby allowing more use of public transit. $543,900

Parking Pricing Enhancement Study in San Francisco
This two-part project will study and assess options for implementing a residential parking pricing pilot and develop transferable technical specifications for SFpark, which would help other cities implement similar programs. $420,000

For the complete list of awardees, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/discretionary/2012vppp.cfm, and be sure to download for free the FHWA’s Contemporary Approaches to Parking Pricing.

We encourage all parking organizations to explore the opportunity to improve their operations with the assistance of federal or private grants. For more information on the FHWA grants, please contact:

Allen Greenberg
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
202-366-2425
allen.greenberg@dot.gov

It’s IPI Conference Presentation Call Time

Henry Wallmeyer

It may seem like we’re all still settling in from the 2012 IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix, but the IPI Conference Program Committee is already hard at work planning the 2013 event in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., May 19-22. If you’ve ever thought about giving a presentation at the largest gathering of parking professionals in the world and helping shape the future of your industry, this is the time to submit your proposal.

Experienced and articulate professionals who’d like to share their expertise and real-world experience with IPI Conference & Expo attendees are invited to submit proposals to present at next year’s event. The official call for presentation explains all the details, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Presentation proposals are due Oct. 1, 2012. The Conference Program Committee will review them immediately  after that date, so don’t be late with yours.
  • Presenters are entitled to a 25 percent discount off full or daily Conference registrations (CAPP candidates are not eligible for this discount). We cannot, however, provide fees or expense reimbursements.
  • Please don’t confuse educational sessions with Expo hall pitches. Make sure your educational session content is based on a relevant topic, concept, or idea, and not your services, products, company, or proprietary information.
  • Submit as many proposals as you want, but make your proposals great to rise above the rest.

To learn more about how the IPI Conference Program Committee judges and selects Conference session presenters, see the April 2012 issue of The Parking Professional .

There is no better venue than the IPI Conference & Expo to share your experience; it’s where parking professionals from around the world go for the game-changing thinking and innovation that will propel them and their businesses ahead. I hope you’ll be part of it and consider submitting your proposal by Oct. 1. Please let me know if you have questions, and see you in Ft. Lauderdale!

Would You Recognize a Threat?

Henry Wallmeyer

With last week’s news that the CIA foiled a plot by terrorists to use a much more sophisticated underwear bomb to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner, we are once again reminded that terrorists hope to do us harm.

Parking professionals need to be constantly aware of potential threats not only because parking has played a vital role in several domestic terrorist attacks (the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the explosion that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City both originated from parking spaces), but also because if terrorists are prevented from attacking in the air, they will shift their focus to the ground.

To help you think differently about potential security threats and help train your staff to do the same, IPI worked with the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to develop the parking module of the First Observer anti-terrorism training program in February 2010. Since then, First Observer, which supports the National Preparedness Guidelines of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has trained more than 12,500 parking professionals to spot suspicious activity and report it to the proper agencies.

An article in the March issue of The Parking Professional [PDF] highlighted successful outcomes of the program. Those who’ve taken First Observer training say it opened their eyes to activity that might not have seemed suspicious before.

First Observer training is free—there are no associated costs—and accessible to IPI members on-site at members’ operations and electronically through online, on-demand training. Everyone who successfully completes the training class will receive a First Observer card and certificate.

If you or your organization has not taken advantage of this free parking-specific, anti-terrorism program, I strongly encourage you do so. You can schedule training and find out more about the program at www.parking.org/firstobserver or by contacting the First Observer call center at 888.217.5902.

If you’ve taken the training already, how has it changed the way you do your job? Comment below.

More Than Just a Job Board

Henry Wallmeyer

Whether you always dreamed of working in parking (hey, it happens!) or backed into your career, getting ahead is a common goal. IPI’s Career HQ  is an excellent place for parking professionals to post their resumes and search for parking jobs, all at no charge. And it just got a whole lot better. Starting this week, we’ve expanded the IPI Career HQ with career advice, professional resume writing services, and access to a career coach.

This new, more robust resource for job hunters–and recruiters–now offers:

  • Career tips.
  • Professional resume writing.
  • Career coaching.
  • Social networking/profile development.
  • Reference checking/employment verification.

You’ll find some intriguing information just by browsing through the Career Tips sections. Advice on writing a cover letter compares “aggressive vs. non-aggressive verbiage” and a section on “negotiating your offer, closing the deal” has some surprising ideas. I guarantee if you start reading, you won’t stop and you’ll learn a great deal you can put to immediate use.

While personalized resume coaching carries competitive-priced options, a great deal of the advice in these new sections is free.

To see and take advantage of these new career resources, visit http://careers.parking.org/resources.cfm and let us know what you think!