15 Things You Probably Do Not Know About Parking Professionals by Bonnie Watts, CEM

If you’re looking for a special occasion to recognize unsung heroes, the calendar is full of the likes of National Boss’ Day, Administrative Professional’s Day, Clergy Appreciation Day, National Nurses Day, Friendship Day, and even Ferris Wheel Day (yes, there really is such a thing).

The closest thing a parking professional gets is Park(ing) Day. For those who never think about parking until it’s a necessity, parking is a means to an end. But for parking professionals, it’s the very meaning to their existence and often, they are unsung heroes themselves. I thought it would be fun to share a few interesting things about parking professionals, who are often behind the scenes but play an integral role in making parking as easy, accessible, and, yes, even environmentally-friendly to thousands of people moving throughout their day.

  1. Parking professionals know this is BIG business.  They know 30 billion is just a number, and the impact goes far beyond that.
  2. No, being in the parking industry doesn’t mean they are teaching adolescents how to park—but “Back to School” means a lot more to them than just peace and quiet around the house.
  3. Be prepared. Their friends may not want to drive around looking for parking with them, lest they suffer a lecture from a Shoup-ista on the disadvantages of free parking.
  4. CAPP, IPI, GPC, EMV, LED, LPR, TDM, POF (Pay on foot, not Plenty of Fish)—get ready for the alphabet soup that punctuates their vocabulary.
  5. Everyone is in the parking business (or at least six degrees from separation), right?  They find connections all the time—healthcare, retail, universities, cities, sporting events, concerts. Everything always leads back to parking.
  6. Planning date night? Dinner with friends? Catching a movie? Within moments, the options are narrowed down by best or most ample parking, and parking professionals slightly chuckle to themselves.
  7. Tell them all about your latest parking ticket. Got a booting story? They love fun parking stories and probably have some to rival your own.
  8. Whether traveling to exotic locations or with the family for spring break, the first thing they will notice when surveying the landscape from their hotel room view, is—you guessed it—any type of parking facility.
  9. If you’re attending a sporting event with them, wear comfortable shoes. They are going to park the furthest out but closest to the exit.
  10. Solar roadways make (most of) them geek out. Honeybee habitat on garage rooftops—the greening of the industry has made great strides.
  11. Anyone could do this, right?  Parking is actually a really tough job—dealing with the public, serving on the front line as first observers for safety and security.
  12. Yes, they drive around looking at parking garages for fun.  The architecture can be wonderful (and sometimes less so).
  13. Never underestimate a good sign or a bad one.
  14. They secretly get confused with new pay-to-park apps too but once mastered, wish they had thought of it first.
  15. They care. They genuinely care about the public and their customers. They care about creating drivable, livable communities and they want to be a positive part in your day-to-day movements. They are always striving for faster, more efficient, safer, and greener ways to get you where you need to go.

Parking professionals have a different lens in the way they look at the world and particularly, how we all get around. If it wasn’t for them, it would change the way we go about working, living, and functioning in our environments. I think that justifies some recognition. Maybe it’s high time we add “Parking Professionals Day” to the list of special occasions we celebrate.

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