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Thinking beyond Parking Management
Glenn Kurtz, Director of Parking, Georgia Institute of Technology
1. In light of your experience, what are the trends and challenges you’ve witnessed happening in the Parking Management space?
The biggest challenge is keeping up with the new technology. The second biggest investment, after the garage, is the parking access and revenue control equipment (PARCS). This is an invaluable tool for the parking manager and the most visible piece of equipment for the customer. For all intents and purposes it has not changed in decades but today, however, it is more technologically advanced, user-friendly and useful than ever before. However, it is still evolving.
2. Could you talk about your approach to identifying the right partnership providers from the lot?
There are several major technology players in the parking space, and it’s important to get to know them and their products. The best way to do this is to meet the providers in person and see the product in action. By attending annual meetings and expos, you get to meet the manufactures and see the equipment up close and personal. But this is not enough; you need to talk to the managers that use it on a day to day basis. We are a tight community, and if something is not working or if a technology is not working, you will hear about it.
3. Could you elaborate on some interesting and impactful project/ initiatives that you’re currently overseeing?
We are in the process of managing some traditional projects as well as some not so traditional projects.
There are several major technology players in the parking space and it’s important to get to know them and their products
Some traditional projects include building a new parking garage and converting an old parking garage from permit only to permit and visitors. Some of the non-traditional projects include piloting a real-time occupancy system and getting bidding out a parking guidance system.
4. What are some of the points of discussion that go on in your leadership panel? What are the strategic points that you go by to steer the company forward?
The main point leadership discusses is do we need to build more parking and when will the demand for parking start to decrease. It is very costly to build parking and you are going to have to pay for the deck over the next 30 years. Will parking demand still be the same in 10, 20 or 30 years? We are already seeing the impact of TNCs and other micro mobility on parking. It is critical that we utilize parking management and transportation demand management to ensure that we can get the most out of our existing parking before spending more dollars on another parking space.
5. Can you draw an analogy between your personality traits, hobbies and how they reflect on your leadership strategy?
I am a huge cyclist and before I head out for a long ride I like to be prepared by ensuring my bike is tuned up and I have my technology ready to go so that I can measure my performance. This is very much the way I approach my leadership strategy. It is critical that each and every day the parking decks and lots are tuned up and ready to go as customers arrive and that we use technology and data throughout the day to measure performance so that we can make changes as needed.
6. How do you see the evolution of the Parking Management arena a few years from now with regard to some of its potential disruptions and transformations?
I expect there to be a lot less friction paying for parking. This has already started to occur with applications that allow people to pay with their phones. But, in the future, I see phone-based applications going away and built-in onboard system and gate less parking garages that not only allow you to pay for your parking but to pay for other auto-related services. I also see applications that help customers find the most cost and time efficient way to get somewhere that may or may not include an automobile.
7. What would be the single piece of advice that you could impart to a fellow or aspiring professional in your field, looking to embark on a similar venture or professional journey along the lines of your service and area of expertise?
Have fun, if you are not having fun then do something else.