A Family Affair: Memories of PIE 2023

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A Family Affair: Memories of PIE 2023

September, 2023
Jonathan Haney

 

One of the parking industry’s strong points is its dedication to ongoing training. Throughout the industry, there are many different types of training sessions, programs and credentials to be earned. Most credentials require recipients to continue in their field and further their education to maintain the credential they earned. This ongoing effort to keep options open to our industry’s parking professionals is a credit to us all.

 

Being a credential holder, I am a CAPP, I benefit greatly from the effort so many put into training. One of the best ways to keep up to date on the latest trends and teaching is to attend one, or many, of our industry’s trade shows. In March of this year, I was honored to moderate a panel of parking professionals at the Parking Industry Expo. It was not my first foray into presenting at a trade show, but this one was different. We’ve all been to some sort of training or presentation whether we’re currently in the parking industry or perhaps before our path led into parking. This presentation was my first opportunity to work with other professionals.

 

It is interesting how I came to be in this position. A fellow industry professional, who also authored a quirky book on parking, miscalculated some dates. It was his idea for the presentation and he had moved forward with putting together a panel of speakers. I happened to be a part of that original idea. However, due to the scheduling issue, the job of moderating the panel fell to another speaker on the panel. That person ended up being unavailable due to a personal issue, and the lot eventually fell to me! So, the third string pitcher was now on the mound!

 

It was fun to work and coordinate with John Van Horn and Astrid Ambroziak! Both John and Astrid were very welcoming and accommodating. I was treated as if I were a long-time friend, even though I had only met John and Astrid a few times in previous PIE shows. 

 

Once the idea for the presentation was in place, I went about repopulating a dwindling panel of parking folk.  This is where our industry shines. The various trade shows I’d attended before afforded me the opportunity to make several awesome acquaintances and connections. Beyond that, the willingness of parking professionals to help is truly amazing. I reached out to some people that I did not know at all and found professional people very willing to help. This is a trait that I’ve found all over the parking world throughout all facets of the industry. Vendors, colleagues, mentors and friends will pitch in and help in any way they can. 

 

Once the panel of speakers was selected, we set about putting together a session that we hoped would be very fun yet educational. The panel of folk I worked with were very open to throwing in some laughs to make our presentation interesting. Little did they know what I had prepared for them!

 

  I’ve developed a gimmick of “punishing attendees” who ask questions by flicking a Frisbee at them! I start my presentations by warning the crowd that questions have consequences, but are most welcome. In writing terms, that would be the narrative hook and it usually elicits some smiles, and certainly some quizzical looks. However, after the first questioner receives their Frisbee, the ice is broken, and I find that more folks are willing to engage in the discussion after some laughter or ducking. The panelists also found that I had created some very interesting introductions for them via creative editing and Power Point features. From Super Girl to the Price is Right all the way to the Tonight Show desk, the panelists were introduced as TV Celebrities in keeping with the theme at PIE 2023. 

 

The presentation was great and was very well attended. The panelists delivered information germane to many different aspects of the parking industry and answered questions from the audience. The time flew by, and it seemed as if it was over after it just got started. 

 

The parking world is almost invisible to those who aren’t a part of it. Yet, we are a global entity working on solutions and sharing in tasks which are normally unseen. A colleague of mine recently said, “We do much more than park cars and write tickets.” Well said, and when it comes to pulling together and supporting each other, I’ve found the parking world is more like a family. It’s nice to know that a great group of professionals can come together to work on a project. The effort and willingness are freely offered rather than pulled or prodded. It’s what makes our industry special!

 

Jonathan Haney, CAPP, is Deputy Director of the Allentown Parking Authority. He can be reached at Haney@allentownparking.com.

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Jonathan Haney
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