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The Parking Professional: What is your current position with Boise State University? What do you like most about your job?
Nicole Bandas: My current position is Interim Director as I have worked my way up through the department. I started as the Events Parking Manager then became Operations Manager to Assistant director, and now amserving both roles as Assistant Director and Director. What I enjoy most about my position is working with people and the spontaneity of our field of work. Within an eight hour period, I will go to a meeting about the construction being done on campus, give new staff a tour around campus, calm irate customers, plan large scale event parking, and acquaint myself with staff and their comments and concerns.
TPP: How has Boise State's recent emergence as a college football powerhouse impacted the campus and your job?
NB: With our recent Fiesta Bowl win, we are already experiencing an increase in visitors to the campus over previous years. During football games we have nearly 45,000 people on campus and in/around the parking lots surrounding the stadium. It is paramount for my department to ensure that everyone gets to where they need to be, does so safely and has a good time while visiting our campus. We are only able to complete these tasks by involving the community and using media outlets to advertise for alternatives to personal vehicles on campus. We pre-sell a majority of the parking on campus, assigning each space to a specified permit holder. Doing so helps fans understand that parking is limited and use the shuttle system. Parking for football games is extremely competitive; we would have RV's parked along the city streets days prior to the games to secure their spots.We worked with the city of Boise to change the parking restrictions for on street parking and limit parking from 2am-5am, thus providing student parking for the days prior to the game.
TPP: Everyone has a unique story about how they really got into parking. What's yours?
NB: What really got me into parking was I needed a job to help get me through college. I attended Northern Arizona University and became one of their top enforcement officers. I intended to work in the criminal justice field working with juvenile delinquents, but after a few years working in that field, I went back to parking and fell in love with the constant challenges that I am faced with managing Transportation and Parking.
TPP: What's your biggest challenge right now in your day-to-day operations?
NB: Our biggest challenge is communication with other departments within the university and the university as a whole. Demand for parking for events on campus alone has quadrupled over the past four years. We find it daunting at times to communicate to our customers about events, construction projects and all the general organized chaos that happens on the campus but thus far have risen to the occasion on this.
TPP: What's the most interesting parking story you can share?
NB: A few years ago, we had a homecoming game for the local high schools at our University. We had many people tailgating - and there was one party with a rather large grill cooking. For one reason or another, one group decided that they didn't have time to let the coals cool so they poured the hot coals into a parking stall. Shortly after, another car pulled into the stall where they had dumped the hot coals. I received a call from one of the event staff that a car was on fire in the parking lot. The fire department was called and we immediately responded to clear the area. The car was a total loss.
TPP: What advice would you have for someone just getting into or looking to get into the parking profession?
NB: Take it all in stride, work to improve yourself and never assume that you will always have the right answers to everything. Never be ashamed to say I don't know the answer, and always be willing to find the answer at a later time.
TPP: You recently applied to the CAPP program, what prompted you to do so?
NB: I am always looking to better myself and the department. By participating in IPI, I feel that I will be able to implement what I learn from the classroom to real life situations for the department. I also think that it is a great way to bounce ideas off of professionals outside of the region that may have already dealt with a current issue that we are facing, why try to re-invent the wheel, take someone's solution and tweak it to fit if you can.
TPP: How has IPI benefitted you in your career?
NB: IPI has been wonderful in connecting me with different professionals in the same field as well as the same situations. It has always been my opinion that diversity is the key to any efficient business or department whether they are a private or public sector. IPI has also helped in keeping me updated in all the new forms of equipment that may be helpful to our field of work.