Shining Stars

TPP-2015-07-Shining StarsBy Larry Cohen, CAPP, and Gary Means, CAPP

You’re about to meet a parking services officer with a characteristically friendly smile who is well-known for her high level of service; an excellent leader and respected supervisor who keeps his team motivated to do its best; a municipal authority whose independent status enables it to consider current and anticipated parking industry advances; and the seasoned leader of the largest parking, transportation, and fleet operations of any college campus in the country.

Sounds like the ultimate parking dream team, right? All of those examples are realities, and they’re all 2015 IPI Professional Recognition Program winners. Nominated by their peers and selected by a committee of industry professionals, this year’s winners exemplify the positive spirit, can-do attitude, and upstanding characteristics the industry sets as goals.

The Professional Recognition Program was created by IPI to acknowledge the staff who operate, maintain, and manage parking operations and the individuals who are changing the perception of parking as a career and profession. It honors those who exemplify excellence every day and who, through their actions, add “professional” to their job descriptions.

Staff Member of the Year
Cindy Ishaq
Texas A&M University

Aparking services officer IV at Texas A&M University, Cindy Ishaq is responsible for the daily operation and customer interface at the University Center Garage. Although she primarily works there, you will also find her working across departmental units to support events whenever needed. She often volunteers for additional assignments, specifically supporting campus events, where she leads a team of cashiers.

She is a team leader within Texas A&M’s Special Controlled Access Network (SCAN) unit and regularly cross-trains parking officers to work with the management system. She is quick to help new employees learn the ropes and shows patience and caring getting them up to speed. She keeps her supervisors informed of upcoming challenges, offers insight, and shares historical knowledge on the operation as a guide to making independent decisions. Cindy also serves on the university’s Employee Advisory Committee—a position she was elected to by her peers that advises university leadership about issues of importance to the staff. She is observant and can be relied upon to generate solid solutions to issues that arise.

Her duties include monitoring space availability in the garages, assisting customers and campus visitors with directions and proper operation of technology, and ensuring staffing assignments are filled. She adjusts computer counts to accommodate demand, operates and repairs gates and equipment, troubleshoots ticket equipment malfunctions, issues citations when needed, provides motorist assistance, and directs traffic.

This is far from Cindy’s first award. In 2011, she received the Texas A&M University Vice President for Administration’s Candle Award, recognizing her as a guiding light in providing excellent service in her everyday job duties. Cindy received the 2009, 2011, and 2013 AJ Jones Award, an annual department award voted on by her peers that honors the parking services officer who most exemplifies the characteristics of customer service, compassion, dependability, humility, selflessness, hard work, and dedication to the department. She received the annual department Shining Star Award, voted on by her peers in 2010, 2012, and 2014, to honor her character, work ethic, honesty, and commitment to the department. Clearly, she is revered by her coworkers for her good character, positive temperament, and winning attitude.

Cindy is well-known for her high level of service, and many customers know her by name. She does her job with dedication, excellence, and a friendly smile!

Supervisor of the Year
Clint Willis
Texas A&M University

Texas A&M Parking Facilities Projects and Maintenance Unit Project Manager Clint Willis serves as the main contact for all construction projects on campus that involve any aspect of Transportation Services. In an ever-changing campus landscape, this is virtually every renovation, construction, or modification that occurs within Texas A&M’s boundaries or the surrounding area. He reviews plans and specifications and makes recommendations for modifications to better suit the campus vision.

Clint represents the department at meetings with on- and off-campus stakeholders to schedule and successfully coordinate all work performed by contractors and others on behalf of the department. He maintains positive relations with the City of College Station and the City of Bryan, the county, the local railroad, the Texas Department of Transportation, and others involved in projects that affect campus. He is the go-to guy for questions and meets with stakeholders on a regular basis.

Additionally, he leads a team of 13 employees that provides barricades and signs for events during and outside normal work hours, such as football games and other athletic events, concerts, plays, student move-in/out, and fun runs. He leads the operation of a sign shop that produces hundreds of signs every year, supervises the installation and maintenance of bus shelters, and guarantees compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations, even during maintenance and construction projects. He coordinates with the campus special events unit to ensure temporary signs and barricades for events are deployed on time and removed as needed.

Clint is responsible for all work orders involving parking lots, garages, bus shelters, and crosswalks—more than 1,000 specific work orders last year. Because many of these tasks disrupt customers’ usual parking arrangements, they are often accomplished after-hours and on weekends.

In 2011, Clint and his team, along with the special events unit, were awarded the Division of Administration’s Awards in Excellence Team Award for distinction in promoting teamwork to accomplish a common goal.

During a ramp-up of the 2014 game day program, Clint led his team in securing gravel for a 23-acre field to be improved for football parking in inclement weather conditions, and was instrumental in supervising the entire project. The university was able to provide parking for an additional 2,700 vehicles during inclement weather as a result of his efforts. The area is now being used for overflow parking for other events.

As is often the situation with large departments, decisions are made for the betterment of the department that affect teams and units. Recently, the department began a partnership to accept passes from a local transit authority on the university transit system that operates routes both on and off campus. As part of this agreement, the signage at all 123 off-campus stops was adjusted to reflect the change. This job fell to Clint and his team, but he accepted the challenge in stride and made the adjustments to make the transition seamless.

Clint’s talents as a leader and a positive role model set him apart and make him worthy of recognition. He keeps his team motivated and inspired to do its best, even when the hours are long, the weather isn’t ideal, and the tasks to be accomplished are continuous.

Parking Organization of the Year
Pittsburgh Parking Authority
Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s ability to deliver its full spectrum of services is largely the result of the distinctive organizational concept that marked its founding. For while it is charged with meeting parking needs across the city, supporting economic development and quality-of-life initiatives, and even contributing substantially to funding other city services and activities, the agency is a stand-alone entity fully responsible for paying its own way. In practice, that independence translates to the requirement to remain sufficiently financially stable to cover annual operating expenses and repair and maintenance costs while also meeting bondholder coverage ratios and debt obligations generated by large capital projects.

The Authority’s independent status enables it to consider current and anticipated parking industry advances, rank them on a scale of cost vs. benefit, and, as funding permits, implement those offering the greatest effect. The advantage of that position began to be applied just more than two years ago with the conclusion of a process considering the transfer of public parking assets to private control. The proposal was judged to be dramatically successful financially but was ultimately determined not to be in the city’s long-term interest.

Until recently, garage-based advances were not mirrored on Pittsburgh streets, where coin-operated, single-space meters remained in place, many worn and unattractive reminders of another era. Card-accepting, multi-space units managed off-street metered parking, but only a handful had been installed in curbside locations. Pittsburgh’s universal adoption of multi-space metering and its card-payment feature would have been received enthusiastically if improvements to the system ended there. But the Authority doubled down on its upgrade by being the first city in America to commit fully to a concept whose core component was pay-by license-plate technology and the many features it offers. By the end of 2015, adopted advances will include remote purchasing of additional parking time, drive-by enforcement employing plate-reading cameras, citywide coverage of pay-by-phone usage, and the introduction of dynamic pricing based on fluctuations in customer demand in locations where the concept is warranted.

The effect of these changes in the management of metered parking has been both significant and widespread. Receipts from on- and off-street spaces rose dramatically as a percentage of annual revenue totals. Card-based payments now dwarf those involving coins.

The new meters’ capacity to record detailed parking data reshaped enforcement schedules and will be central to the broad adoption of a dynamic pricing concept currently being tested. External reaction to the introduction of multi-space metering, meanwhile, tracked closely to pre-installation expectations. Less predictable was an outcome linking the system’s sleek design, operating features, and obvious investment cost of to a greater appreciation of parking as a vital public utility. But that seems to be the case. Consider public reaction to a five-year schedule of rising meter rates enacted by Pittsburgh’s City Council and the later approval of a series of annual increases in garage parking costs. Although their pocketbook impact is fully in force, response to those actions remains decidedly benign. Add statistical evidence that customer usage of metered spaces is increasingly in compliance with posted restrictions, and it is reasonable to conclude that public attitudes regarding parking services are improving.

The implications of rate hikes have been matched by the Authority’s ability to leverage their effects. A stronger financial base has increased annual spending for repairs, and maintenance ensures the continued soundness and safe operation of an aging garage network.

And it has provided flexibility to explore fiscal support to add facility upgrades to keep pace with technological advances occurring elsewhere. One grant has been obtained to install four charging stations at a downtown garage to accommodate customers with electric vehicles; another will help reduce operating costs at the authority’s largest facility by installing LED lighting throughout the structure. The organization’s reliably impressive annual financial performance has not gone unnoticed by city government. It served, in fact, as the basis for a 2014 reworking of a cooperation agreement governing revenue sharing between the two parties. As applied to Authority financial projections for 2015, payments to the city will approach $25 million—some $7 million more than the amount transferred in 2014. The authority’s management team views that sharply increased funding target as simply another performance milestone that will contribute to its organization’s stature as one of the finest in the industry.

James M. Hunnicutt, CAPP,
Parking Professional of the Year

Peter Lange
Texas A&M University, Transportation Services

As the executive director of Transportation Services at Texas A&M University, Peter Lange is responsible for providing leadership for one of the largest parking, transportation, and fleet operations on any college campus in the country. He oversees all transportation and ­parking-related functions for the university, including parking, transit, and vehicle fleet operation and maintenance. The department employs approximately 154 staff and 337 students and manages nearly 37,000 parking spaces spread throughout 138 parking lots and five parking garages.

The transit unit of the department transports an average of more than 150,000 passengers per week, on and off campus. The fleet unit leases more than 700 university-owned vehicles and operates a full maintenance facility, maintaining 1,200 vehicles and an additional 3,000 pieces of equipment. The unit also oversees fleet services for the entire A&M system. Transportation Services issues more than 40,000 student and faculty/staff parking permits each year and is responsible for the installation and maintenance of all traffic signs and markings on university streets.

The department is self-sufficient and receives income from permits, visitor parking, and violations and fines. Departments are charged for annual rental of vehicles, maintenance and repair of vehicles, fuel, and daily rental usage. The transit unit is dependent on an allocation from the student-paid University Advancement Fee and revenue from bus charters.

In addition to managing the usual day-to-day business of the department, Peter builds relationships between the Transportation Services Department and a wide variety of constituent groups, including community leaders, faculty, staff, and students. He is called upon to interact with the Cities of Bryan and College Station, Brazos County, the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas A&M University System Facilities Planning and Construction Department, and Facilities Services to control effects of construction or traffic management-related work on campus and in the surrounding community. He interacts with on-campus departments to effectively manage projects and partner for the greater good of the university. Peter is recognized as an effective spokesperson regarding issues and the goals of the department, the university, and the community, and is successful in identifying and developing philanthropic, public, and constituent support for projects for the department and the university.

This year, the Professional Recognition Program Committee launched the Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing individuals who have had a significant effect on the parking and transportation industry and IPI throughout their careers. For 2015, members of IPI’s Board of Directors were asked to nominate deserving individuals who epitomize the parking and transportation industry. Next year, members will be able to nominate as well.

Lifetime Achievement Awards were based on the following criteria:

  • Have served a minimum of 20 years in the parking and transportation industry.
  • Be serving in a parking and transportation position at the time the nomination is made or have retired from a parking and transportation-related position.
  • Be an active member of IPI in good standing or an individual who is retired from the parking industry after having been an IPI member.
  • Evidence of exemplary leadership as a parking and transportation leader.
  • Exemplary leadership is shown by administrative roles held, accomplishments in those roles, and recognition by peers and lay persons for significant contributions to the parking and transportation industry.
  • A record of service and leadership as a member of IPI and its affiliates. Indications of service and leadership include participation on boards, committees, task forces, publications, and presentations etc.
  • Community service.
  • Service to the profession above and beyond normal job responsibilities. This includes service to educational organizations and agencies other than IPI, as well as other significant contributions to the profession.

Larry Donoghue
President
Larry Donoghue Associates, Inc.

International Pioneer in Developing Parking Management Programs
A national and international pioneer in developing parking management programs, Larry Donoghue has enjoyed a parking industry career that has spanned more than 50 years. Calling himself “the oldest living parking consultant,” he has spent more than three decades in revenue-control consulting and done extensive research in revenue management. He has developed new methods of performing operational audits; cashier manuals and instructions; training in internal audit, supervisory personnel, employee conduct, and fraud detection; and programs to eliminate customer- and employee-based shrinkage. In addition, Larry has mentored and guided many industry professionals in their own parking careers.

Timothy H. Haahs
President
Timothy Haahs & Associates, Inc.

A Visionary Promoting a Multi-modal World and Parking’s Integral Role in Community Development and Revitalization.  A visionary leader in the parking industry, Timothy H. Haahs promotes the concept of a multi-modal world in which architectural design can successfully integrate parking with community development and revitalization. Tim is an advocate for creatively integrating mixed-use and parking to better use limited space, create activity, generate foot traffic, and enhance community, believing that “parking is not about cars; it is about people.” Tim was appointed by the White House to the National Institute of Building Sciences Board of Directors. As an industry leader, he has worked to elevate the role of parking in the planning process by building awareness and integrating parking resources from the inception of a master plan.

Dorothy Harris
Assistant Deputy Manager of Aviation/
Landside Services
Denver International Airport

A Dedicated Leader in Airport Parking; Served as the IPI Conference & Expo’s Greatest Ambassador. A 27-year veteran of the parking industry, Dorothy Harris is Assistant Deputy Manager of Aviation/Landside Services at Denver International Airport. She is a past member of the IPI Board of Advisors, past Chair of its Board of Directors, and has served on its Strategic Long-Range Planning, Finance, Rules & Bylaws, Awards of Excellence, and Technology Committees. Dorothy serves as the primary IPI volunteer ambassador with the Host Committee for the annual IPI Conference & Expo, directing a strong, local volunteer base to provide a welcoming atmosphere for all attendees.

W. Douglas Holmes, CAPP
Interim Parking Manager
Borough of State College, Pa.

A Pioneer in Creating Community Within the University Parking Sector and Promoting Parking Professionalism through the CAPP Program. Doug Holmes, CAPP, recently retired as Acting Director of Transportation Services at Penn State University and is currently Interim Parking Manager at Borough of State College in Pennsylvania. He is the creator and editor of the CPARK-L parking listserv, a parking information source and clearinghouse for campus and municipal parking officials. Doug played a leading role as Chairman of the CAPP Credentialing Board in reshaping the program and making the world’s leading credential in parking even more relevant to today’s parking professionals.

Michael Swartz
Retired Managing Director, Real Estate Services, SP+

A Leader Whose Business Acumen Was Instrumental in Paving the Way for IPI to Become the Largest Parking Association in the World. Active in the parking industry for more than 30 years, Michael Swartz was Senior Vice President at SP+ Administrative Services, overseeing Standard Parking’s risk management, procurement, and corporate real estate functions. During his tenure as a director, he successfully campaigned to allow commercial operators to have Board representation. He was instrumental in developing and managing IPI’s business and financial plan as part of the association’s reorganization in 2006. His business expertise and financial acumen have played a key role in IPI’s ability to develop and expand new member programs and services.

Larry Cohen, CAPP, is executive director of the Lancaster, Pa., Parking Authority and co-chair of IPI’s Professional Recognition Committee. He can be reached at lcohen@lancasterparkingauthority.com.


Gary Means, CAPP, is executive director of the Lexington and Fayette County, Ky., Parking Authority and co-chair of IPI’s Professional Recognition Committee. He can be reached at gmeans@lexingtonky.gov.

TPP-2015-07-Shining Stars