I got this from a correspondent today:
I moved to the Texas in March 2005 and started working in parking. Like you, I have a journalism background. I have been researching and soaking up all parking-related info. Your blog has served me well. I have been reading “The High Cost of Free Parking” and am on the verge of becoming a full-fledged Shoupista.
Do you have any suggestions or advice for a parking industry newbie? Thanks!
This is a tough one —
My first bit of advice is networking. We don’t reallly have a resource in our industry for problems you will encounter. Network, network, network. Join your state association and attend all the events. Meet people in your job in other cities. They will have the same problems you have and perhaps an answer or two.
Second, avail yourself of what training does exist. The PIE conference in Chicago will have a lot of training programs for you. Boot Camp is a great place to start. I am prejudiced about the program, since I designed it, but its a good place to start. There are also the IPI and NPA programs.
Third — Read PT every month. There are a lot of good ideas in there that may help.
Fourth — there are discussion boards on our web site, and on others, plus list servers that can give you information, and quick.
Be a sponge. Absorb everything you can about what’s going on in your city. Get out and visit the locations, spend time in booths, follow enforcement personnel, ride with the meter repair folks, and find out what they are doing. Ask questions and if you don’t like the answers, or they don’t make sense, follow up. Remember that parking can be complex, but its not quantum physics.
Most of the experts who really know about parking started as sponges. Of course now they are old like me and took 30 years to learn the job.
And remember one thing, if nothing else. You are in a professions that really means something to your community. What you do affects most parts of it. Be proud of your career.