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The Parking Professional: What is your current position with the Chapman University?
Sheryl Boyd: I am currently the Supervisor of Parking and Transportation Services. I have been with Chapman University for almost 18 years, with the last 10 being in the Public Safety Department. The best thing about my job is my being in a position to help people. During orientation, when I get to address incoming students and parents, I let them know that they can always come to me for assistance with their parking challenges.
TPP: Briefly tell us about your campus.
SB: Chapman University is a small, private university in Orange County, California. It sits on 76 acres and is bordered by residential and historic areas of Downtown Orange. We have 6,500 students and 1,700 staff. With our open campus setting, it creates a whole world of challenges. There are 3,600 parking spaces campus-wide including three garages. In a recent campus-wide services study, parking was ranked with the highest importance but also the lowest rated service. We have since purchased and employed new access control technology and established an auction system, with more convenient spaces having a higher fee.
TPP: Everyone has a unique story about how they really got into parking. What's yours?
SB: Parking used to fall to the head of the public safety department. The demands of running parking and transportation operations played to my strengths - so I became the first university employee dedicated to parking and transportation.
TPP: What's your biggest challenge right now in your day-to-day operations?
SB: Staffing. The human capital required to successfully maintain a parking and transportation operation is great and we are trying to do it with a limited number of people.
TPP: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
SB: As a parking professional, I feel that most people tend to focus on the enforcement side of the industry - thinking that parking is all about the revenues. I try to educate students and faculty that the objective of parking services is to keep parking available for everyone who needs it.
TPP: What advice would you have for someone just getting into or looking to get into the parking profession?
SB: The best advice I can give is to get involved. Join IPI or attend the Conference & Expo - that is where you have the opportunity to talk with other parking professionals and hear their success and failure stories. Get as many contacts from within the industry as possible, these will prove to be invaluable.
TPP: You recently returned from your first IPI Conference & Expo, why did you register? What was the greatest thing you took away from the event?
SB: A couple years ago I attended a meeting in San Diego of College and University administration professionals and met Doug Holmes and Cindy Campbell. I was new to the parking industry and the knowledge and advice they shared with me has stayed with me. I received permission to attend one conference this year and asked Doug which one I should attend and he told me to go to the IPI Conference. It was my first one, and I am amazed at all that I was able to take back with me. The networking opportunities were fantastic. I moderated one of the ShopTalks and the information sharing was great. I also thoroughly enjoyed the site visit to the UNLV campus where I saw some things that I am planning on implementing here at Chapman. Plus, I cannot leave out the Expo floor. There were so many vendors; it was great seeing all the products and technology available.
TPP: Who is your biggest influence in life? In your work?
SB: My relationship with the Lord influences everything I do. In my career, my first Chief of Public Safety, Milt Galbraith, was always pushing me to do better and achieve more. He was a key figure to my success. He encouraged me to complete my college degree, which I finally did in 2006. I also want to recognize my current Chief, Randy Burba as he has been extremely supportive of the parking services program and has provided opportunities for me to grow professionally and personally.
TPP: What is something about you that might surprise people?
SB: Well, anyone who has actually met me is typically not surprised by anything I might do. But for those I have not had the opportunity to meet, you might be surprised to know I drive a Hummer and love going four wheeling. And of course I am a huge LA Dodger fan! Also, I DO read parking signs wherever I go.