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Parking Personalities: Jeffrey Okyle

Ruth Goodwin

Jeffrey Okyle / VP Portfolio Accounts, SP+ (Standard Parking) / Los Angeles

 

ABOUT SP+: SP Plus Corp. (Nasdaq: SP) is an industry leaders in professional parking management. Through their SP+ Parking, Standard Parking and Central Parking brands, the company operates several thousands of parking facilities comprising in excess of 2 million parking stalls in hundreds of markets across both the U.S. and Canada.


INTERVIEW WITH Jeffrey Okyle:

DESCRIBE YOUR JOB IN A NUTSHELL… I focus on new business opportunities for our parking and transportation verticals, as well as consultation to clients for new development, acquisitions and dispositions. While I concentrate geographically on Southern California, SP+ and our clients sometimes take me to other parts of North America. The other part of my job is to create lifelong relationships with our clients and the charitable institutions they support.


HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE PARKING INDUSTRY? WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU'VE SEEN SO FAR? 31 years; all with the same firm through a series of mergers and acquisitions. The automation of the industry, both the front line, as well as the back office operations.


WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY HEADED? IN WHAT WAYS WILL PARKING BE DIFFERENT IN 5 YEARS? To a large extent, the industry is moving towards further commoditizing the service industry, in particular the parking industry. It will continue to be important to provide offerings which differentiate the company from the competition.  Relationships continue to be a successful link in providing the bridge between the client and provider. Customer parking choices will be more closely tied to on-line offerings providing the end user with options in advance of their decision making process of where to park and how much to pay.  On-line choices may slow the growth of parking rates. Another factor which is evolving will be autonomous driving vehicles.  This market segment is developing very quickly and could begin to provide an option for the public to commute in new and exciting ways.  If this evolves into “shared” car programs, we may see less vehicles per household on average.  It is foreseeable a commuter could “book” a ride to and from work, much like Lyft or Uber, and never have to pay for parking.  As Uber has rolled out sharing rides, this could also be an option for autonomous vehicles.  I’m not saying autonomous vehicles will replace all current forms of automobiles, nor replace parking garages at places of business, but it could theoretically have a negative impact. 


WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST PARKING PET PEEVE? (FEEL FREE TO TELL A PARKING STORY HERE IF YOU WISH). My biggest pet peeve is when someone behaves stupid, as opposed to ignorant.  Being ignorant of a situation implies the person does not understand the subject matter.  But being stupid means the person has the capacity to understand, but just behaves poorly. Translating this to my parking experience allows one to consider the best information, and most direct information, comes from field staff.  People often say the frontline is the backbone of a company, and I would strongly agree.  Our frontline staff enters into rental agreements or purchase agreements on homes; provides training via raising children and monitors their school progress; lives under a tight budget which includes utilities, food, entertainment, education, health costs, maintenance, etc.  We do not give our frontline enough credit to understand exactly what our customers like and how they like to be treated, nor the sensitivity of economic conditions and how much and how often to raise rates, or maximize revenues.  Lesson learned:  engage the frontline staff and ask for their opinion and advice.


FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SP+ (STANDARD PARKING) VISIT WWW.SPPLUS.COM

Toronto Parkers Beware...

Ruth Goodwin

This Monday October 5th Mayor John Tory and Police Chief Mark Saunders have announced they will begin towing and ticketing mercilessly again. The last time they went on a parking blitz like this (in January) over 53 000 cars were tagged and over 11 000 towed.

So how do you avoid getting caught? Simple. Visit www.whereipark.com, type in your home or work address, check out the myriad of affordable spots we have available and sign up for your new monthly parking spot.

#DontGetCaught. #BookAMonthlyParkingSpot

 

#ParkingPersonalities: Tim Wootton / Rover Parking

Ruth Goodwin

THIS WEEK'S #PARKINGPERSONALITY IS THE FOUNDER OF ROVER PARKING, TIM WOOTTON!

Tim Wootton / Founder of Rover Parking / Toronto

ABOUT ROVER PARKING: Rover is a dedicated marketplace for private parking giving individuals or small businesses the ability to rent out their parking spots in way that was not possible before Rover. These parking spots are then made available on a real-time hourly basis to anyone who is looking to park.

INTERVIEW WITH TIM WOOTTON:

DESCRIBE YOUR JOB IN A NUTSHELL… Start-ups are an exciting job, especially in Toronto where the start-up community is growing stronger by the day. The role of any founder in a start-up is to ensure that each meeting you take and each decision you make moves the company forward. In the technology sector time is of the essence and making decisions as opposed to deliberating them is crucial. The job in a nutshell, for myself at Rover right now is to increase the supply of parking spots each day by constantly improving the technology, building partnerships and taking the time to talk to our customers.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE PARKING INDUSTRY? WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU'VE SEEN SO FAR? I have been in the parking industry for slightly over a year, however have been struggling with the parking process for over 15 years. Mobile processing is the biggest change I have personally experienced and it is still in its infancy. Less than 1% of parking is currently paid for by mobile processing so while the change is happening it still very new even though it is spoken about constantly. 

WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY HEADED? IN WHAT WAYS WILL PARKING BE DIFFERENT IN 5 YEARS? I am a little biased here! However, the way many industries seem to be headed is towards the sharing economy and making use of unused assets. AirBnB and Uber are the obvious examples of this however many industries are starting to see their own versions of the sharing economy and parking is at the forefront. Cities such as Toronto have limited real estate so making use of under-utilized space is extremely important. Technology in parking will continue to evolve and so will the supply. The question is what will that supply end up looking like? The mixture is already changing and I expect in 5 years cities around the world will adopt the sharing economy model for parking.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST PARKING PET PEEVE?  After being so entrenched in the parking process over the past year, my list is a long one! So taking my Rover hat off, and thinking about the last time I used what I call traditional parking I would have to say the payment process is what gets me every time in Toronto. The fact that when I park on the street I have to walk to a machine, put in my credit card, wait for it to initialize, think about how long I want to park for, pay, take the ticket, walk back to my car and put the ticket on my dash frustrates me to no end. On top of that, should I decide I want to park there a little longer, I have to come back to the car and go through the entire process again. Everyone has been through this, most people have got tickets, the lucky ones haven’t. All I have to say is there is a better way!

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ROVER PARKING VISIT www.roverparking.com

Moving Day!

Ruth Goodwin

If you’re like me and the thousands of people across Canada who moved into a new place for September 1st, its possible you are looking for parking.

We all know parking in the city can be a nightmare if you don’t have a designated spot. Yes, depending on your location you can apply for a street permit in downtown Toronto but even then you can be subjected to waiting lists and slim pickings on your street.

This is where we come in! WhereiPark offers a quick and user-friendly way of locating cheap, designated parking spots in your area. Type in your new address on our map and watch the available parking pop up all around you. Or alternatively if you don’t have a car but a free parking space, consider listing with us! You can make up to $300 extra per month, hassle free. So what are you waiting for!

www.whereipark.com

Gender Specific Parking

Ruth Goodwin

Apparently in Germany there are female specific parking spaces. For real! According to a recent article in #TheTorontoStar, many parking lots in the country are required to reserve at least 30% of parking spaces just for women.

It sparks an interesting debate because the spaces, which in some cases are larger than regular parking spots, may imply that women are worse drivers (or parkers) than men. But on the other hand they are often in well-lit areas of large parking lots that might be dangerous at night.

The article begs the question; Is women-only parking sensible? Or Sexist?

Reading this I’m also reminded of Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg who famously demanded closer pregnancy parking for expectant mothers at Google’s headquarters (before moving to Facebook.)

So what do we think? Is women-only parking something we should adopt in Canada?

Take a look at the article here:

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/08/10/women-only-parking-spaces-spur-debate-in-germany.htm

#ParkingPersonalities: Craig Peters / ParkSmart Inc.

Ruth Goodwin

This week's #ParkingPersonality is the General Manager of ParkSmart, Craig Peters!

Craig Peters / General Manager of ParkSmart Inc. / Nationwide

ABOUT PARKSMART:

ParkSmart is a company that operates in two fashions. We manage parking on behalf of property management companies or owners (Residential and Commercial).  And, ParkSmart is the leading Municipal Enforcement Management and Services company in Canada. 

INTERVIEW WITH CRAIG PETERS:

Describe your job in a nutshell…

As General Manager, I am responsible for the overall operation and performance of ParkSmart as a whole.  I am responsible for leading the company and our team in an efficient and effective manner that will drive results in a positive direction for clients and owners.  

How long have you been in the parking industry? What is the biggest change you've seen so far?

I have been in the parking industry for over 7 years and the biggest change I have seen in this industry has not happened yet.  The dawn of a new way of parking is upon us and is very exciting to be part of.  Parking has not changed much in the past decade but the old way of thinking and operating is no longer going to be efficient.  Technology and people are always adapting and in due time so will parking.  We have started to see the emergence of License Plate Technology along with mobile payment applications which has started to really heat things up. ParkSmart is pushing for new and fresh technologies and we hope to play a large part in these changes as they happen. 

Where do you see the industry headed? In what ways will parking be different in 5 years?

Just like mentioned above, parking is ever adapting but the old way of thinking is no longer efficient.  The young adults coming out of college and university have really started to adapt their way of thinking.  Technology is advancing in every area of life and parking is no different. 

What is your biggest parking pet peeve? 

Biggest pet peeve in parking…?  Now that is a big list! I would have to say my largest pet peeve is customers who believe they are entitled parking and think they are above anyone else in the parking lot.  There is no need to treat people with disrespect in order to get your own way and taking liberties at another's expense is just not the right way to do things. For example getting upset over a parking ticket and treating enforcement officers with total disregard is not acceptable. Parking enforcement is not a personal attack on one individual but instead it is a means to help control and manage occupancy and revenue generation in the whole location.   We have to remember that these officers are actual human beings doing a job.  Everything is open for conversation but taking a step back to understand what took place can go a long way.  Parking in major cities is no longer free and space for parking is ever shrinking, so please be patient and understand that we in this industry are doing our best to improve your experience every day.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PARK SMART VISIT WWW.PARKSMART.CA

HOT HOT HOT SPOT ALERT! #TORONTO

Ruth Goodwin

It is HOT in Downtown Toronto today but we're turning up the heat even more with this hot monthly parking space!

155 Wellesley St. E, Toronto

This great underground spot is well lit, available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week and has security on site to watch your vehicle. AND its just $100 a month! That's 3 dollars a day. So cheaper than taking the subway to and from work! 

For more information about this space and more visit www.whereipark.com! 

#ParkingPersonalities: Josh Eisen / Parking Logix

Ruth Goodwin

This week's #ParkingPersonality is the President of Parking Logix, Josh Eisen!

Josh Eisen / President of Parking Logix / Toronto

ABOUT PARKING LOGIX:

My company provides the most accurate, cost effective and simple way to install  parking counting systems available. We use  sensors to track cars IN and OUT of facilities, and wirelessly update signs and apps with real time occupancy information to direct motorists to facilities with open capacity in an effort to reduce congestion and increase customer service. 

INTERVIEW WITH JOSH EISEN: 

Describe your job in a nutshell...

My job is to set the strategy and then execute. 

How long have you been in the parking industry?

I have been involved in the industry for over 10 years now, starting off in Sales and Operations for one of the largest operators in North America, and then several years working in venture capital and parking technology firms. 

What is the biggest change you've seen to the industry so far?

The biggest change I've seen is the level of innovation that has come in the industry with the nearly ubiquitous adoption of mobile devices.  

Where do you see the industry headed?

We will continue to see consolidation among the bigger parking operators and more property managers taking operations in-house with new simple parking tools.  

In what ways will parking be different in 5 years?

The connected car presents great opportunities to reduce current congestion by directing cars into facilities with available space, and greater service by having simplified payment through vehicle recognition on site. 

 What is your biggest parking pet peeve? 

 Nothing gets more more upset than having disabled parking spaces taken by regular parkers. Get me angry just thinking about it! 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PARKING LOGIX VISIT THEIR WEBSITE AT WWW.PARKINGLOGIX.COM

 

#ParkingPersonalities: Benjamin Sann / BestParking.com

Ruth Goodwin

We love connecting with parking influencers and getting their thoughts about the industry. So we've reached out to some leading #ParkingPersonalities in North America and find out more about them! 

This week's #ParkingPersonality is BestParking.com Founder & CEO, Benjamin Sann:

Benjamin Sann, Founder & CEO of BestParking.com, New York 

Interview with Benjamin Sann: 

TELL US ABOUT BESTPARKING.COM...

BestParking.com steers motorists towards the cheapest and most convenient parking facilities in 105 cities & 115 airports throughout North America.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE PARKING INDUSTRY? WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU'VE SEEN TO THE INDUSTRY SO FAR?

I've been overseeing BestParking's strategy and operations for the past 9 years. The largest change I've seen so far is the adoption of pay-by-phone and reservation technology.  I think that vehicles of the future will be fully autonomous. Motorists will be automatically guided to the best facility based on their budget, the weather, and other factors. And all payment will be automated.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST PARKING PET PEEVE?

My biggest parking pet peeve is when vandals keying my car when I'm parked on the street!

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BESTPARKING.COM VISIT THEIR WEBSITE AT WWW.BESTPARKING.COM