An Authentic Attempt at a Big Thank You!


An Authentic Attempt at a Big Thank You!

I first met John Van Horn not long after I joined Parker Technology, and it was clear from the beginning that John had a big soft spot for parking. It was also obvious he was someone who valued relationships over everything else. 


Honestly, it took a minute for John to warm up to me. I always attributed that to the “Perry Griffith rule,” the idea that most parking professionals didn’t really bother to get to know you until you showed up for 2-3 years. They didn’t want to take a chance that your “new” technology would be a flash in the pan and left without support from a company that completely underestimated how hard parking was! 


I patiently bided my time and showed up every year, and, once I passed the test of time, John was one of the first people in parking to give me a chance to raise my profile and contribute to the parking ecosystem in a meaningful way. I don’t take that for granted.


One of the most meaningful things that John Van Horn did was help connect me with some of the most influential people in parking. I appreciated being included in events where I could get to know other parking magnates more casually. 


I’ve written about this phenomenon before as the human transitive property. If A=B and B=C, then A=C. Because John knew them and he knew me, the introduction, and the transition to getting to know others, was much easier. For someone like me who came from outside the industry, it was pure gold! 


Another door that John opened for me was the door of writing. When I started writing this column five years ago, I was terrified of a blank page. I would twist myself in knots, trying to get something out of my head and onto the page. However, just as pressure makes diamonds, the pressure of a deadline eventually gave way to a wellspring of ideas to write about. 


Over time, writing became easier. It became more focused on the angle and ideas than it was on the sheer terror a blank page struck in my heart. John and his team took a chance on me, and I don’t know if it paid off as handsomely for them as it did for me, but I gained the freedom to stretch and strengthen my writing muscles. That skill has translated positively to so many other business situations, so much so that I will be eternally grateful for the humble beginnings on these pages and the opportunity John gave me.


As I’m sure you know by now, John decided to sell Parking Today and hand the reigns to Kevin Uhlenhaker a few months ago. It should surprise no one that John transitioned his baby to an industry insider with a streak of success and independence – a shining example of the power of relationships over time. I’m looking forward to seeing what Kevin’s experience and imagination will bring to Parking Today and the vision and roadmap he’ll lay out for its success. 


It will be hard to state – or even measure – John’s contributions to the parking industry. He has been its harshest critic at times; its biggest supporter always. Like a parent, he steered us all into the digital transformation with keen observations about ourselves and our constituents. He was not confused about how hard parking was and how much harder it was to get the parking public to appreciate the work we do for them around the clock, just so they could have a non-memorable parking experience on the way to their real memorable experience. 


I know John is going to stick around. You can’t shake parking off you that easily, especially when you’ve built the network of colleagues and friends that he has. But the signal was rendered explicit with the handoff that the window for us to thank John for all he’s done for parking is getting smaller. Here’s my chance!


John, I appreciate all you’ve done for me and all you’ve done for parking. I look forward to many more opportunities to say this to you in person, but I wanted to write it down and get it on the record—something I suspect your journalistic roots will embrace. This industry would have been less close, less caring, and even more dysfunctional without you. You have made it a better place by being in it, and I say again from the heart…thank you!


Brian Wolff is President & CEO of Parker Technology. He can be reached at or visit

Article contributed by:
Brian Wolff, Parker Technology
Only show results from:

Recent Articles

Send message to

    We use cookies to monitor our website and support our customers. View our Privacy Policy