NPA Hosts Over 800 at Florida Conference


NPA Hosts Over 800 at Florida Conference

The National Parking Association Annual Conference held this past month in Hollywood, FL saw nearly 800 people networking, attending seminars, and viewing parking products from 125 companies. Some highlights:
Rich Varos, Worldwide Director, Smarter Cities Solution for IBM, opened the NPA Convention with his keynote address. In his current role as Worldwide Director of Global Smarter Cities outreach efforts, he is an advocate for smart transportation, analytics and the importance of understanding the changing population, customer, technology and business dynamics shaping transportation and parking business models – both public and private.
Dale Denda, Research Director, Parking Market Research Company, followed with an economic forecast for 2013 including trends, demographic, real estate and parking demand. Denda held forth on existing trends not only in the parking market, but also in potential market segments, including demand for equipment, both on and off street.
He noted that parking mirrors the economy in general, except that it follows, usually six months to a year.  If the economy improves in 2013, one can expect the industry to rebound, in the construction sector, in late 2013/2014.
Jed Hatfield turned over his position as Chairman of the NPA to Jeff Wolfe at the organization’s conference this week in Florida. He noted two main successes during his two years in office.
“I think the new bylaws and related governance will make a huge difference in how the NPA relates both to its members, the industry, and its mission,” Hatfield said. “In addition, the bringing on board of Christine Banning as President represents a sea change in the professionalism we show as an industry organization.”
According to Hatfield, the new bylaws provide for different ‘councils’ within the NPA. Each is an organization with leadership and focus. A council can relate to operators, the public sector, valet operations, and so forth. At some point, a group within the public sector might split off and form another council, say education or hospitals.
“The poster child of this concept this is the National Valet Parking Association which merged with the NPA this year. They can, through their council, work on codes of excellence, assistance and training for members related specifically to their business requirements.”
The concept, he went on, broadens prospects of the organization to offer something to entire sectors of the industry, not just private operators.
“Christine has offered a truly professional approach to organization management. Since she is on board we have had a 40% increase in membership and a number of amazing trade events.
“This past two years has been a wonderful rewarding experience with a great group of people. I am happy to pass the gavel to Jeff and am certain he will have a most successful term.”
Laz Parking’s CEO Alan Lazowski was interviewed on Wednesday as part of the Harwood CEO Leadership Forum at the NPA Convention in Hollywood, FL.
Lazowski chronicled the growth of Laz Parking, from its beginnings with two partners to its current partnership with Vincipark and its success with public private partnerships in Chicago and The Ohio State University.
The highlight of the interview was the story of how his parents survived the Holocaust and later met in Hartford, CT as young adults. His father, at the age of seven, survived by hiding for two years in a forest. During that time he had heard of a girl of about the same age with similar experiences. Years later, at a Hartford wedding he heard the story of that girl, determined to meet her, and the rest is history.
Lazowski lays much of the success of his company on the culture he built following the example of his parents. “Persistence is important, but culture is most important,” he said. “Respect for the individual makes all the difference.”
“The LAZ Way” is the core of LAZ Parking’s company culture.
The next annual NPA Convention will be next fall in Chicago.
Article contributed by the Parking PT team.
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