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The Parking Professional: What is your current position with the City of Manchester and how long have you been employed there?
Brandy Stanley: I have been the parking manager for the last three years. I run the city's parking department, which is responsible for management, operation, enforcement, budgeting and revenue collection for all 7,000 of the city's parking spaces.
TPP: What do you like most about your job?
BS: I had the opportunity to build a parking organization from scratch since there was no parking department prior to my arrival. I've also had enormous freedom to design and implement new policies and technology.
TPP: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
BS: Our technology, pricing structure and operations are designed to promote economic development. The public perception is that we exist to make money. We battle that perception every day, one person at a time.
TPP: What's the most interesting parking story you can share?
BS: If you mean printable stories, that narrows the list substantially! I can recall sitting in front of the city council (on camera, incidentally) and being grilled about the "fact" that police officers issue more expired meter tickets than my parking control officers. It was very difficult to maintain a straight face that night - we all know that police officers avoid issuing parking tickets like the plague. Sure enough, an analysis of the last 12 months showed that police officers didn't issue a single expired meter ticket. Oddly, the same city councilor neglected to correct his "facts" on camera at the next meeting.
TPP: Everyone has a unique story about how they really got into parking; what's yours?
BS: I was an undergraduate at the University of Washington and a friend worked for a valet company. He said he made decent money, so I joined. When I graduated, I moved to New Orleans on a whim and needed to look for a job. Since I knew something about parking, that's where I started applying and I've been in parking ever since.
TPP: What's your biggest challenge right now in your day-to-day operations?
BS: Keeping my staff challenged. For the last three years we've been implementing project after project and, now that things have slowed down, it's difficult to stay focused.
TPP: What is the worst/hardest job you ever had and why?
BS: Hardest? In New Orleans, I was responsible for a 24-hour hotel valet operation with a remote parking garage, two self-park hotel garages, two hospital garages and one class A office garage with the help of one part-time assistant manager. It was a challenge finding time to sleep!
TPP: What book is currently on your nightstand?
BS: "White Death" by Clive Cussler.
TPP: Who is the biggest influence in your life? In your work?
BS: In my life, I'd say the biggest influence is my husband. He keeps my feet on the ground and helps me focus on myself and my attitude about life. In my work, there are two people - Tom Wunk, CAPP, with Scheidt & Bachmann and Bruce LaPree, a parking consultant in Houston. I've known both of them through most of my career in parking and have learned many things from them: how to play politics, how to design and implement major operational changes,how to analyze and implement technology and how to gauge and predict the direction of the parking industry as a whole. And, they're also great friends.
TPP: Tell us something personal about you - family, interest, hobbies.
BS: I have a husband and a four-year-old daughter. Halloween is the family hobby - we throw a huge party every year with hand-crafted animatronic props.
TPP: What is the most important issue you are facing in your current position?
BS: Making sure that our operations meet the needs of the community (the real needs, not the perceived needs - like free parking for everybody) and making sure that we are planning for the city's future.
TPP: If someone were to visit Manchester, what must they see or do?
BS: Go to a show or hockey game at the Verizon Wireless Arena. It's ranked in the Top 10 venues of its class in the world.