Park(ing) Goes Trendy

Kim Fernandez

Do you have a 2014 IKEA catalog on your kitchen counter (or in your recycling bin)? Does the photo on p. 30 look familiar? If it does image001-1(it’s the one you see in this post), you’re probably familiar with Park(ing) Day, which is a worldwide event that encourages the temporary transformation of parking spaces into gathering places.

IKEA took it one step farther, posting this video illustrating their parking space transformation on their website. And as you probably know, Park(ing) Day and the parklet concept (turning parking spaces into gathering places on a more permanent basis) have caught the eye of the mainstream media and the public.

It’s also been embraced by parking professionals, who see it as a great public relations activity and way to reach out to their customers via something more positive than gate tickets and citations. For one day a year, they allow community residents and business owners to take over parking spaces, either by feeding the meter as they would to park or by applying for special permits, to construct everything from small parks to cafes to mini-golf courses to art exhibitions, all in the name of social interaction in the downtown area.

Park(ing) Day 2013 will happen on Sept. 20, and organizers say they expect record numbers of cities, towns, campuses, and community organizations to participate. Whether you like the idea or not, are you ready? You can read more about it in the August issue of The Parking Professional, which offers the perspective of parking professionals in several cities that have embraced it as a celebration, along with other thoughts from those on our Ask the Experts panel. And you can see it in this year’s IKEA catalog and on their website, which strikes me as something of a milestone: the parking spot as trendy attribute.

What do you think about Park(ing) Day? Will you participate this year (visit parkingday.org to register)? Let us know in the comments.

 

Saving Lives of Children in Parked Cars

Helen Sullivan

The parking industry is in a unique position to save the lives of a few children this year. We can also prevent devastation and wheresbaby_4cheartbreak for parents who unintentionally forget their children in parked cars, where escalating temperatures can cause heatstroke (hyperthermia) and death in a matter of minutes. Yes, minutes.

When the outside temperature is 80 degrees the inside temperature of a car, even with a window cracked open, can heat to 99 degrees within 10 minutes; 109 degrees in 20 minutes, 114 degrees in 30 minutes, and 123 degrees within an hour. Children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than those of adults. This is illustrated in a video produced by the General Motors Company that can be viewed under the vehicle heating tab on the website of Jan Null, a geophysics professor at San Francisco University who has researched and documented heatstroke among children in parked cars.

IPI issued a news release, “Parked Car Alert: International Parking Institute  Warns of Child Deaths in Summer Heat,” to media outlets last week, and sent our allied state and regional parking associations a localized news release so they can assist in this public service effort.

Every year, more than 20 children die in hot parked cars in the U.S. alone. State laws vary. In some, parents are sent to jail for murder, leaving behind spouses, other children, and shattered families.

Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning column on this topic in 2010. “Fatal Distraction:  Forgetting a Child in the Back Seat of a Car is a Horrifying Mistake. Is it a Crime?”  The column will be painful to read, but I hope you will. Weingarten provides the details, both personal and legal, of numerous cases where children died from heatstroke after being unintentionally left in cars.  Weingarten admits to very nearly leaving his own child in a parked car once–the only thing that saved his baby was a sound from the backseat just before he exited the vehicle. If not for that, Weingarten laments that he, too, would have left his child to die in the car.

How many children have died in your state this year? You can find out here.

Tomorrow, July 31 is National Heat Stroke Prevention Day, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Null’s website and SafeKids Worldwide provide good advice, including:

  • Never leave a child alone in a car, even if you think it’s “only for a minute.”
  • Remember that you are traveling with a child by placing an item you need such as a purse or cellphone in the backseat.
  • Consider placing a large stuffed animal in the car seat when it is not in use, and moving it to the front seat as a reminder a child is in the back.
  • If you see an unattended child in a parked vehicle, call 9-1-1 to bring assistance from a local police or fire department that can open the car while parents are located. If the child is in distress due to heat, find a way to get the child out immediately and spray the child with cool water.

Those who manage or own parking facilities may be able to do more than the average citizen by finding ways to post remembers for patrons.  NHTSA offers ways to become involved in their campaign, “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock” along with an informative, downloadable pdf.

NHTSA is asking people to tweet and post on Facebook every hour on the hour between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on July 31 using the hash tag #heatstroke. We will be joining in that effort at #IntlParkingInst and on IPI’s Facebook page.

This is a perfect time for all of us to be alert to children (and pets, too) left unattended in parked cars, and to share the message with others that in these cases every minute counts.

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.

Continuing the Success

Bridgette Brady

Phew! I’m still reeling from the incredible experience of the 2013 IPI Conference & Expo in Ft. Lauderdale. From the general sessions to the Expo hall, my staff and I brought back so much to our operations.

State and regional associations were also well represented in Fort Lauderdale and several indicated they would bring the successes of the conference home with them to their annual conferences. If you were unable to make it to Fort Lauderdale, try to attend one of these–several are listed on IPI’s Calendar of Events and in the calendar in every issue of The Parking Professional. Here are a few that are coming up:

  • Members of the Pacific Intermountain Parking and Transportation Association (PIPTA) have already talked about bringing some of the success back to their conference, July 14-16 in Eugene, Ore. The list was so long that some of the programs will need to be deferred until next year.
  • The Carolinas Parking Association conference, September 25-27 in Sunset Beach, N.C., will focus on connectivity involving intermodal travel with parking as the connector.
  • The Pennsylvania Parking Association heads back to the City of Brotherly Love October 2-4. The educational sessions that highlight case studies, bring how-to knowledge, and increase the professional level of attendees are particularly valued.
  • New to the calendar, the Wisconsin Parking Association set the dates for their conference, November 3-4 at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisc. There will be a strong focus on bringing information about emergent technology to their attendees.
  • The California Public Parking Association is hosting their 30th anniversary conference November 6-8 in Monterey, Calif. Congratulations to all of the volunteers that have made 30 years of regional industry representation happen!

Mark your calendar for the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo, June 1-4 in Dallas, but check out your nearest state or regional association event, too. You won’t regret it!

 

Action Item: Parking Trend-spotting Survey Time

Helen Sullivan

“Trends, like horses, are easier to ride in the direction they are going.” shutterstock_113788327
John Naisbitt
, futurist, author of Megatrends

Understanding trends can make you smart, make you money, and make you successful.

I urge you to take five minutes to participate in IPI’s third annual Emerging Trends in Parking Survey. There are only 10 questions, plus a few at the end for demographics. I think you’re going to enjoy the new questions we’ve added this year, which help identify cities that are progressive when it comes to parking.

In addition to capturing overarching trends that are affecting the parking industry, there are questions related to trends specific to parking and sustainability. There’s also a provocative new question this year about the bad parking and driving habits parking professionals find most frustrating.

This is a nationally projectable, quantitative study developed and analyzed by marketing researchers that helps us benchmark and monitor parking industry trends. It also creates an opportunity for IPI to generate positive publicity that helps bring greater awareness for the important role parking has in terms of urban mobility, life on this planet, etc.

Your thoughtful answers to open-ended questions on the survey, such as “What’s the next big thing in parking?,” have been the seeds for IPI programming ideas, articles in The Parking Professional, and educational sessions at the IPI Conference & Expo. We listen!

We also use the results to guide the Parking Matters® program. One question asks you to weigh in on what group is most important for us to reach with our messages about the value of parking expertise. The collective wisdom shared in previous surveys to this question alone have been instrumental in targeting our efforts for maximum efficiency.

Ten questions – less than 10 minutes. Please weigh in. Your opinion counts. We’ll be releasing results in conjunction with the upcoming IPI Conference & Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., May 19-22.

Please take the survey now, or by the Wed April 17 cut-off date. The survey is open to all parking professionals, but  IPI members in particular have a track record for incredible response rates to this type of survey, and that is appreciated beyond measure.

Parking Matters® in Korea and Beyond

Rachael Yoka

People in the U.S. used to be worried when Mike Wallace of CBS’ 60 Minutes called for an in-depth interview. It often meant trouble. But, nothing could have been further from the truth when the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) recently knocked at our door with an invitation to feature Tim Haahs on a television news program in Korea. The documentary that resulted is one we are very excited about because beyond Tim’s accomplishments, the segment  explores the complexity and relevance of parking and transportation to the design of cities, both here and abroad.

In producing the documentary, KBS visited IPI headquarters and interviewed IPI Executive Director Shawn Conrad, CAE, on the role and evolution of parking. Since the airing of the show, we have received numerous inquiries about it and our transportation system. People, businesses, and governments are intrigued and challenged by parking and transportation issues and their effects on sustainability and economic development.

The world is watching, and listening, for what’s next in our industry. IPI and its members are responding to those by expanding our reach into international markets and forums in Asia, Europe, and Central and South America. We can’t wait to see what those partnerships and discussions will bring! For now, enjoy the video and let us know what you think in the comments.

 

 

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.

 


 

Parking and Gardening

L. Dennis Burns

Ahh springtime! Trees are budding (at least here in Arizona), the orange trees are getting full, and soon the excitement of Cactus League Baseball will be upon us. I am once again filled with renewed optimism and recently took stock of the broad strokes of progress being made in our industry.

In the March issue of The Parking Professional magazine, I reflect on an unlikely combination of topics: parking and gardening. Great strides are being made in the parking industry, in large part thanks to parking professionals whose energy, creativity, diversity of knowledge, and skills are transforming communities across the country.

Have you ever seen the old movie “Being There,” starring Peter Sellers and written by Jersey Kosinski? (If not, you should!) Sellers plays the main character: one Chauncey Gardener, a simple, unsophisticated, and uneducated man (except by television) whose occupation is that of a gardener. Following the death of his aging employer and through a series of accidental events, Chauncey is thrust into a very high-profile role when he is introduced to a politically connected millionaire. His simplistic responses to the media and others, based on all that he really knows–gardening–are seen as brilliant and insightful. He begins to be considered not as simple but nearly enlightened (thus the title).

Inspired by some of Chauncey’s gardening-themed responses, I began to see connections between parking and gardening that require a bit of seasonal perspective to come into focus. The progress being made by parking professionals in many communities is really quite inspiring and is explored further in my article. One of my favorite quotes in the piece is from British poet, novelist, and gardener Vita Sackville-West, who once said: “The person who has planted a garden feels that they have done something for the good of the world.”

I hope you’ll read the piece, let me know what you think, and join me in congratulating the host of parking professionals who are making significant differences in their communities every day!

 

Inspired Leadership on EV

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)
Ballard

Supporting EVs is a matter of national security for Indianapolis Mayor Ballard

President’s Day is a day of celebration in honor of our nation’s leaders. Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Lincoln, and Kennedy are among those on my list of most admired presidents, but JFK tops the list for his inspired leadership.

President John F. Kennedy, addressing a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961, established the national goal of reaching the moon by the end of that decade. His moonshot inspired our nation to achieve what seemed like a near-impossible dream at the time. Today, we all know Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong stepped off the lunar module’s ladder and onto the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969. Without the president’s leadership, vision, and action, we may never have achieved that milestone.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his own “moonshot” last week: to make his city a national leader in promoting the use of electric vehicles (EVs) over the next several years. He envisions adding something along the order of 10,000 EV charging spaces to the city’s parking facilities in less than a decade. It’s an ambitious goal, and the mayor’s leadership on the topic is to be admired.

The EV push is getting support from another mayor.

Late last month at the Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge, I had the privilege of meeting Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Mayor Ballard has implemented aggressive and innovative efforts to move most of his city’s fleet of vehicles to electric power (heavy-duty vehicles will be powered by compressed natural gas), and hopes to replace its 3,100 gas-powered cars and trucks with EVs by 2025. Contrary to what you might expect, Mayor Ballard is not a left-wing tree hugger: he is a Republican and a Marine Corps veteran of the first Gulf War. He explained that moving aggressively on electric vehicles is motivated by his desire to never send troops to foreign lands to fight for oil, and to allow his city to reap important and significant cost savings. For him, EVs are about national security, both military and financial.

To be sure, Bloomberg and Ballard come from very different ideological places. Each, however, is exhibiting leadership on the sustainability front which is having tremendous impact on the parking industry.

 

 

Parking Love List

Helen Sullivan

 

It’s no secret: I’m a bit fickle. I love some parking garages because they are extreme, some for their sheer physical beauty, some forP-HEART
their history, or because they are iconic, some for cutting-edge and just plain cool design, some for their intelligence, and some for being practical and sustainable. I have a particular soft spot for the ones that are artsy and have a poetic sensibility.

I am in the process of putting together a list of the parking structures I love best, and I’d like to meet a few new ones, too.  Please visit IPI’s Pinterest site to see photographs of a work-in-progress hot list of cool parking places:

  • 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami
  • Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee
  • Santa Monica Civic Center, Santa Monica
  • Michigan Theater, Detroit
  • Autostadt Car Towers, Wolfsburg
  • Car Park One, Oklahoma
  • Greenway Self Park, Chicago
  • Eureka Carpark, Melbourne
  • Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City
  • Nelson-Atkins Museum Parking Garage, Kansas City
  • The Poetry Garage, Chicago
  • Umihotaru, Tokyo
  • Parkhaus Zoo, Leipzig
  • Mineta San Jose International Airport, San Jose
  • Marina City, Chicago

By the way, this is my personal list, not an officially IPI-sanctioned list!  But, we will be surveying parking professionals soon, and with your input, this list will grow. Please share names, places, and photos of  parking facilities with a big wow factor that you love  –  on Valentine’s Day, and beyond.

 

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.

IPI Part of DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)
DSC05123

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu explains the Workplace Charging Challenge
at the Washington Auto Show

IPI has worked tirelessly to earn parking a seat at the table and the fruits of those labors were very evident yesterday, when I had the opportunity to represent the industry at the Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge Roundtable.  This event, which assembled leaders from major automakers, telecommunications, high-tech, and energy companies, is part of a broad and aggressive effort to expand the number of plug-in electric (PEV) cars in use across America and make them an affordable, reliable, and convenient alternative to fossil-fueled vehicles.  In a word, the goal of this program is to finally “mainstream” PEVs in an effort to address environmental and economic sustainability concerns. The ubiquity of charging stations at places of employment is viewed as an important step toward increasing the likelihood that consumers will feel comfortable investing in an EV.

As a Workplace Charging Challenge program Founding Ambassador, IPI has committed to lead an effort that will encourage the installation of charging stations in parking facilities that serve places of work.  We will do this by capitalizing on our vast and engaged membership, by leveraging the work already underway in our sustainability committee, and through established strategic partnerships with other organizations.

Announcing the Challenge yesterday, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu issued a challenge to employers to increase the number of chargers available to their employees tenfold in the next 10 years, saying that offering charging stations for workers increases their flexibility and is “incredibly useful.”

“The thrill of driving by a gasoline station and smiling is one everyone should experience,” he said.

The fact that IPI was invited to be part of this effort is a reflection of the influence and respect we’re earning as an association, and a signal that those outside of our industry are acknowledging that parking really does matter. And while being invited to take part in such a prestigious and important event is truly a mark of success, we cannot rest on our laurels.

Howard Skipper, a scientist working on a cure for leukemia  in the 1970s, once said this about the importance of taking action on critical problems even when all the answers aren’t known: ” We cannot afford to sit and wait for the promise of tomorrow so long as stepwise progress can be made with tools at hand today.” Skipper’s words ring true today on the topic of sustainability. To keep our seat at the table we must act with dispatch and do our part in this and other key efforts.

Read IPI’ s news release here and the Department of Energy’s  news release here.

 

TRB and a Spot for Parking

Shawn Conrad

I have just returned from completing a marathon, but not the kind that involves sweating through 26 miles on foot. This week, the nation’s capital hosted the 92nd Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB).

The TRB is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council. Its mission is to provide leadership in transportation research and information exchange, conducted in a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. From the moment I picked up my meeting materials until they closed the exhibits, I heard about a smorgasbord of transportation-related issues and what mobility will look like in the future. Great stuff!

The five-day program included almost 750 sessions and workshops on all aspects of transportation. With topics such as the Department of Transportation’s session on Map 21 Implementation (I will leave this discussion for a future post); Innovations in Statewide Multimodal Planning; Pedestrian Planning, Policy, and Demand Analysis; Nondestructive Hot-Mix Asphalt Testing; and Reducing Traffic by Increasing Passenger Ridership in Cars, Vans, and Transit, there was plenty of information for every transportation professional’s craving.

But what about parking? What about parking operations, management, technology, pricing, transportation demand management, sustainability, financing, or trends? Some of these things were discussed during the event, but let’s be honest: the only proper immersion on these issues happens at the 2013 IPI Conference in Fort Lauderdale, May 19-22. (That’s my plug, but seriously, as one IPI member said as we passed in the hallway at TRB, “Parking is covered at the IPI Conference.”)

That’s not to say that there weren’t very interesting sessions on parking-related topics, because there were. Topics such as parking’s role in congestion reduction, variable pricing, and managing parking at sporting events were addressed.

But possibly the biggest breakthrough discussion centered around parking occurred during the second day of TRB when Josh Kavanagh, CAPP, from the University of Washington made a strong and compelling argument on IPI’s behalf that TRB create a full-fledged parking committee. The interest for a parking committee is certainly at peak level and IPI leaders have offered TRB their time and expertise to making this committee tangible.

I will keep you updated on our progress.

Meanwhile, those in the parking profession should feel empowered about how vital and relevant parking is to transportation. Advancing the profession and increasing awareness for its importance is vital not just to us, but to the greater good.

I’d be interested in hearing your TRB experiences. Comment below or email me.

 

 

Meet Your State and Regional Associations

Bridgette Brady

Allow me to introduce you to your State or Regional Associations. There are currently nineteen Parking and Transportation Associations representing professionals throughout the nation. Much like IPI, these associations’ mission is to advance the profession. In other words, the associations are bringing IPI home. One of the greater values an association provides is an annual conference. It is the hope that barriers to participating in these important learning and networking opportunities can be alleviated by bringing the event closer to the professional.

I’ve had the opportunity to attend or be part of planning several regional conferences and found the rewards to be countless. I’ve also found associations to be very innovative with conference programming. For example, the most recent conference I attended was hosted by the Southwest Parking Association (SWPA) this past October. Not unlike most associations, SWPA has recently set ambitious goals for increasing membership and level of service to members. The Board brainstormed on how they might achieve these goals and took a chance with a new conference format. The risks paid off for both vendors and attendees.

Some of the unique features included:

• All educational offerings were provided in a plenary format in the same room that meals were provided. Only one session was offered at a time.
• No vendor booths or tables. Instead each vendor had the opportunity to give a ten minute presentation “Power Pitch” to the entire audience during breakfast and lunch, attend the sessions and otherwise network freely during breaks and events.
• Held a “Swag Swap” at the very end of the conference and allowed vendors to take part. This helped to keep attendees engaged through the end of the conference.

For more information about your State and Regional Associations, please contact me at b.brady@wsu.edu.

Parking Lessons from Football Champions

Brett Wood

I feel like you all are getting to know me a little better through this blog. This week’s tidbit is that I am a very proud alumnus of Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 11.25.48 AMthe University of Alabama–very proud of my education and the wonderful strides the university has taken to establish itself as a premier educational institution. But–you guessed it–today I am proudest of the latest notch in the belt that is the Alabama football dynasty. They won their third national title in four years a few weeks back, and their 15th of all time. And while that last number might be debated, what’s not debatable is their place in football history.

How can we relate that success to a parking program?

Alabama football coach Nick Saban’s approach to achieving success can provide you a roadmap to improving your day-to-day operations and implementing your own successful dynasty. “The Process,” which is Saban’s approach to building a program, focuses on small details rather than the end goals, and the primary objective is for every member of the organization to improve the tasks they handle so it’s inevitable that the program is a champion. Consider some quotes about his process:

  • “Eliminate the clutter and all the things that are going on outside and focus on the things that you can control with how you go about and take care of your business.”
  • “We’re not going to talk about what we’re going to accomplish. We’re going to talk about how we’re going to do it.”
  • “Success doesn’t come from pie-in-the-sky thinking. It’s the result of consciously doing something each day that will add to your overall excellence.”
  • “You can’t get from A to Z by passing up B.”

It’s not rocket science. Saban focuses on nutrition, training, education, fundamentals, and player development as much as game planning for the next opponent. Perfection in every facet is possible because of the daily focus on details. In other words, stop worrying about the big picture success, get down in the weeds, and find a way to make your people, your program, and your community better by focusing on the little things and making more aspects of your program shine.

Judging by the Alabama and Notre Dame parking program comparison in the January issue of The Parking Professional, it appears The Process has extended itself to Alabama Parking Services as well. When The Process is rolling, no one can stop it. ROLL TIDE!

Parking Leaders Kickstart the New Year

Kim Fernandez

The New Year’s resolution: the highlight of the holiday season or the bane of one’s existence. It can go either way. Anyone can make a January 2013 Parking Professional Coverresolution that says we’re going to drop 10 pounds or spend less time on the smartphone or read a book a week or do more yardwork, and lots of us swear that starting January 1, we’re going to work harder, treat our bodies better, and emerge 12 months later better and more successful in some way.

The real question, of course, is how you get from point A to point B. How do you lose that weight? How do you cut back on the email without sacrificing career goals? How, exactly, do you make yourself better/smarter/stronger with the same 24 hours a day you’ve always had?

Businesses are no different; nor is the parking industry. We want to be better at what we do, more efficient, more sustainable, and more successful than ever before despite financial, regulatory, and political roadblocks.

How?

Those are the questions we posed to some of the industry’s top experts in the January issue of The Parking Professional. And they answered, giving their honest evaluations of the industry as it stands and concrete advice for 2013 and beyond. Our industry leaders’ interview is a great starting point for anyone who wants to improve their department or their career this year (who doesn’t?), and we hope you find it useful.

Also in this month’s issue are the winners of our first photography contest (how often do you see a dancer on the cover of a parking magazine?), our Social Media 101 guide for parking professionals, and features on managers as coaches and cheerleaders, turning lemons into lemonade and engaging the entire community in the process, and on airport landside employees’ number-one secret weapon for dealing with difficult customers.

We hope you enjoy this month’s issue!

Resolutions

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

A tradition I thoroughly enjoy is putting together my list of resolutions for the coming year. It’s pretty standard for me to include such aspirations as, “work out more,” and “eat less junk food,” but this year I thought I’d turn to many of my colleagues on the IPI Board of Directors for inspiration in hopes of not giving up a week into 2013. I looked back at each of the Entrance columns written in The Parking Professional magazine in 2012 to pull together my list. This year I resolve to…:

  1. Be innovative. In February, Chuck Reedstrom, CAPP, wrote about the ever-changing nature of technology in our industry and the need to stay up on the latest innovations.
  2. Keep learning. In April, Cindy Campbell discussed how important it is to continue to develop professionally and for leaders to help their teams do the same.
  3. Serve others. Rick Decker, CAPP, reminded us in the June edition that ours is a service industry and that we can and should expand the products and services we offer our customers.
  4. Think and act strategically. Following lessons learned in his extensive military career, Al Corry, CAPP, in August discussed how critical it is to have a big picture game plan and to execute that plan.
  5.  Have fun. In perhaps my favorite Entrance column of the year, Mike Swartz in November sagely reminded us to find fun in our work and in life.
  6. Be open-minded. In the December edition, Michael Klein, CAPP, pointed out that one can believe in free enterprise and also in protecting the environment.
  7. Be thankful. While this resolution doesn’t come directly from a board member’s column, each person I’ve had the chance to serve with at IPI reminds me of how special our family really is and how lucky I am to be a part of such a great effort.

Good luck writing your own New Year’s resolutions and thank you for your part in making IPI and our industry a success this past year. Here’s to a happy, healthy, prosperous 2013. Onward.

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.

 

IPI’s Latin Parking Conference & Expo Kicks Off

Bonnie Watts

What a beautiful day in Puerto Rico! After a welcome reception that offered wonderful pre-meeting introductions and networking, the second IPI Latin Parking Conference & Expo launched yesterday morning. IPI Executive Director Shawn Conrad, CAE, welcomed the group of more than 80 people from eight countries to San Juan.

Attendees represent a broad spectrum of expertise, with architects, planners, government officials, operators, and university and airport professionals
on-site.

The conference includes all-day interactive seminars with industry experts facilitating discussions on why Parking Matters®, exhibits, local facility tours, networking events, and roundtable discussion groups. IPI Chair-elect, Liliana Rambo, CAPP, kicked off the morning’s education with The Business of Parking and Profits. She talked about visiting Old San Juan and the challenges faced in the area, and recommended developing a plan, structuring paid parking, and enforcing with courtesy.

A common frustration shared by attendees is how to overcome regulatory hurdles established by city officials who aren’t yet aware about developing parking programs, and the benefits of adding that potential revenue stream to the economy. Spirited discussion happened in sessions, in the hallways, and while visiting with more than 20 exhibitors of parking equipment,  products, and services. It was an exciting day in San Juan!

Parking Gets a Spot at the White House

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

President Obama has just announced his intent to nominate of IPI Board Member Tim Haahs, P.E., AIA, president and CEO of Timothy Haahs and Associates, to the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Building Sciences. That’s an important role and a significant honor. You can read the official White House release here. And more about the work of the National Institute for Building Sciences here.

What was one of Tim’s first reactions when IPI sent heartfelt congratulations? Tim said he will “make sure Parking Matters®!”

For those of you fortunate enough to have met Tim, you know this is well deserved. His visibility in this important post will reflect well on our entire profession and is fitting for such a visionary and capable expert. Tim is a longtime IPI Board member who contributes greatly to parking, transportation and community building. He is an engineer, architect, head of one of the industry’s best-regarded and most successful parking consultant firms, a prolific writer on the topic of parking and transportation, a community leader, pastor, and beloved colleague and mentor to many of us in the parking community.

You can read his bio here, but that doesn’t do justice to the effect Tim continues to have on our industry because of the unique spirit he brings to everything he does, and to his spiritual self that is ever present. All of us at IPI offer him our most sincere congratulations for this well-deserved achievement.

 

Thanksgiving

Shawn Conrad

Our friends at AAA tell us that about 90 percent of U.S. travelers (that’s 39.1 million people) plan to go over the river and through the woods this Thanksgiving in their cars. We know more than anyone that all those cars will be in motion for just part of that time – most of the holiday, they’ll be parked. To aid drivers in the scramble for parking during this busy season, we’ve distributed a news release to consumer media providing parking information, safety tips, and practical advice for holiday shoppers.

We also know that as drivers turn their vehicles into the safe harbor of a parking spot, they probably won’t stop to consider how many parking professionals they have to thank for that remarkable and essential piece of real estate and the industry behind it. So here’s an official thank you from all of us at IPI for your know-how and expertise; without it, we could not connect to our communities, our colleges, our cities, our downtowns, our malls, our museums, our sports stadiums, our entertainment centers, our airports, our hospitals, our retail shops, our residences, our workplaces, or ultimately, our families and friends.

Please count me among those who are thankful for so much at this time of year, and especially for the wonderful people in parking I have the privilege to know.

On behalf of all of us at IPI, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

A Day in the Life of a Parking Professional

Shawn Conrad

What are all the day-to-day tasks involved in being a parking professional?

That’s what we are trying to ascertain with the IPI Parking Job Analysis Survey, which you may have received this week.

This isn’t just another survey–the Job Analysis Survey is particularly important to all of us because it will help us develop a real-world profile of the tasks and responsibilities of parking professionals. That profile will help us better explain the scope of work of our profession to others, and help guide us in developing on-the-mark training and professional development programs within our own ranks.

The difficulty in doing a Job Analysis Survey can be that you really need an extraordinary number of respondents in order for the survey to be truly representative, truly valid. In this day of overburdening emails, too much information, and time constraints, how do you break through the clutter and convince people to take 15 minutes to complete one?

I risked seeming like a wild and crazy optimist when I told our talented and very experienced Job Analysis project consultant, Kate Windom, that I believed our members would surprise her with their response. (Not to brag, but I’m the envy of other association executives when I boast that IPI members in the hundreds fill out our annual call for volunteers.) I knew (hoped!) that I could count on our enthusiastic, thoughtful, and always generous members who were sure to take just 15 minutes to share their thoughts.

Even I was wowed by the response we received to just our first email requesting survey participation. Kate says she’s absolutely never seen anything like it! The response was beyond our wildest dreams!

We still need more. So if you haven’t yet seen an email about the Job Analysis Survey in your mailbox, on IPIs Facebook page, or through the IPI LinkedIn group, please send an email to ipi@parking.org and ask for a link to the survey. Just write “Job Analysis” in the subject line. You don’t have to be an IPI member to participate. It takes just 15 minutes (every one is a gift to us and to the industry) and you could win an iPad Mini just for responding.

The survey is important in our quest to advance the parking profession and your input is vital.

Hurricane Sandy

Shawn Conrad

IPI’s offices are closed today as we, like much of the Eastern seaboard, prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. As I write this, forecasters are saying she will be catastrophic–perhaps the largest storm to ever hit the U.S.

We will open again as quickly as possible when Sandy retreats from this area. Until then, much of our staff will be working from home for as long as power remains. Apologies in advance if
a few of your emails or phone calls receive delayed responses.

Our thoughts are with everyone in the path of the hurricane and all who will be affected. It is times like these when I reflect on the meaning of community. The definition I like best is one that defines community as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. Most of us are fortunate to be part of many different communities, and I am very honored to count the IPI parking community among those most important to me. Stay safe, all!

Last Week to Enter The Parking Professional Photo Contest

Kim Fernandez

You know how the holidays sneak up on us every year? Same with tax day–we think we’re prepared and ready, and then wham! It’s here, and we end up panicking to get everything done before the big day ends.

Consider this your seven-day warning: The Parking Professional’s first photo contest ends exactly one week from today, and you have a little more than 168 long hours to get your entry in. We’ve received a lot of fantastic entries, but we still want to see yours!

Need a little motivation? How about a free registration to the IPI Conference & Expo in beautiful Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., next May? That’s what our Best in Show winner will receive, along with having his or her photo featured on the cover of an upcoming issue of The Parking Professional. You could also spice up your wardrobe with a stylish Parking Matters® shirt or see your photo published in the magazine if you take top honors in our six main categories of pictures:

  • Beautiful
  • Funny
  • People in Parking
  • Structure/Lot
  • Nature
  • Most Offbeat or Unusual

All you need to do is take a parking-related digital photo and visit parking.org/photocontest to upload it into the contest. That’s it! Easy-peasy, but you only have one more week to join in the fun.

Hit us with your best shot! I can’t wait to see all of your entries!

 

Catch the Big One

Bonnie Watts

As I write this, I am exhilarated–and tired. I sure won’t be sending you a photograph of my desk this week. That’s because we opened exhibit sales for the 2013 IPI Conference & Expo and we’ve already broken our best opening-day record. It’s been a wild ride! I guess this is like hosting a Super Bowl in your city for our municipality members, or the freshman move-in day for our university members. A big day! An important day! By Day Two this week, we were 70 percent sold out–already bigger than any other parking conference or expo in the world–and I have a hunch the IPI Conference & Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (on the ocean–such a beautiful place to be in May) will be our biggest show ever. Biggest and best. Behind the scenes, IPI staff is working to make the conference the best ever, on every level.

We’ve got new initiatives underway to ensure that we broaden the types of attendees who attend because we know there are important new ideas, products, and services that need to be shared in order to advance the parking profession–our primary mission. We’re looking at new ways to meet the needs of our attendees so that every day of the conference is full of learning, opportunity, and inspiration.

Mark your calendars now for May 19-22 and we promise to provide expertise that prepares you, technology that empowers you, and networking that moves you forward. And did I mention a whole lot of fun and long-lasting friendships, too?  To our wonderful sponsors and exhibitors (those who have already signed on, and those who may be planning to), I just wanted to say it’s a privilege to work in this industry.