What We Do

Business people walking togetherBy Irma Henderson, CAPP

Parking professionals often have difficulties explaining what we do to people on the outside. As it is, my family and friends have given up on trying to understand what I do for a living.

Last year, I was waiting for a flight and a gentleman approached me asking if the seat next to me was taken. He then proceeded to try to strike up a conversation by asking me what I did for a living. I simply said, “Nothing special, I push papers across a desk” and then asked him the same question. He told me that he “sold light bulbs.” Great, plain and simple.

After some small talk and questions about what brought us to the airport, I found out that he doesn’t sell light bulbs. He sells lighting controls for LED fixtures and specializes in motion, occupancy, and photosensors for parking garages. He was from North Carolina and in Southern California visiting a client to see how is equipment was doing while I was on my way to a parking conference in Oakland. We then proceeded to discuss the merits of LED technology and how it performs in the different regions of the U.S.

In the end, we had a great laugh at how both of us simplified our professions to help outsiders understand. What are the chances that someone who deals with sustainable lighting designs meets a parking professional in a random airport?

Irma Henderson, CAPP, is director of transportation services at the University of California, Riverside.

2 thoughts on “What We Do

  1. This resonated with me . The reason we simplify the answer to what we do is that 1) we know the possible negative response that might ensue, and 2) the parking/transportation business requires we exercise so many other disciplines.

    But how interesting it is when you can divulge the multitude of issues and how big of an impact our roles have on their daily living.

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