Parking Australia PACE 2018 – Changing Spaces Within All of Us


Parking Australia PACE 2018 – Changing Spaces Within All of Us

Parking Australia PACE 2018 conference’s theme was Changing Spaces, taking place in Australia’s Gold Coast, Oct. 31 – Nov. 2, 2018. And change it was all about. Not just outer change taking place there, but truly our inner change. Within ourselves, our companies, our families, our cities.

In my experience, there are no other conferences that focus as much on education and engagement as do Parking Australia’s events. What is more, at Parking Australia there is no ego. 

Yes, there are CEO’s of companies and so-called thought leaders and people who run cities, councils and universities. Yet, the common thread is we are all in this together. We are a team. Collaboration is the key.

“Parking Australia was founded in Perth in 1986 as an outcome of a Capital Cities Lord Mayors’ Conference. The Lord Mayors felt there was value in having an organization that would bring together the various elements of and promote excellence in the control and management of parking facilities.” 

The last time Parking Australia Conference was in Gold Coast was in 1996. Parking is very different now than it was back then. In 2018, parking is a part of mobility, transportation and the smart city movement. More and more companies call themselves mobility companies. Gold Coast sunshine shed a new light on mobility.

What is mobility? In Transportation, the word mobility implies moving us as efficiently as possible from point A to point B. And for most of us who use or drive cars, that means point A and point B are entry and end points of parking. Parking our cars, our scooters, our bikes or ourselves. 

Collaboration is non-negotiable
for both our present
 and our future.

What fuels mobility of all types? It is technology, unequivocally, but foremost, it is communication. PACE 2018 emphasized communication. On the exhibit floor, various companies such as Skidata, Care Park, Q-Free, Designa, TIBA, ADVAM, Payment Express, DCA, UbiPark and myriad others were communicating their messages, their service or their product. And in the seminar hall, various speakers educated us, presented or infused us with new energy. 

It all started with the great intro by Lachlan Kennedy, journalist from Channel TEN from Sydney Australia. Lachlan was the glue that kept all the sessions flowing smoothly. He awakened the audience to participation and questions. 

Sharon Prior, the president of Parking Australia, communicated a message of sincerity and hospitality. She and the outgoing CEO of Parking Australia, Lorraine Duffy and the Parking Australia Board, made all of us feel valuable and welcome. 

The first key note of the conference came from a futurist, Steve Sammartino. I have heard many keynote speakers, but I have never heard one who magnetizes hearts and awakens minds the way Steve does. After Steve’s talk, every person was not just energized, but truly inspired. He truly took us back to the courage we had as 6-year olds. Thanks to him, we can all grow a pizza. Yes, grow a pizza. We can drive a car built from LEGOS, and most of all we can re-awaken our imaginations. 

Steve said that language is our first technology. We live in a world today where we need the universal language. What is the language, that most people understand these days? It is the language of emojis. Someday our kids might be doing their exams in emojis. How is that for mobility? 

Steve invited us to be curious and study history. Knowing the past can show us the future. Yet at the same time, Steve suggested we must unlearn what we learned in schools. Our brains haven’t had a “software upgrade in 200,000 years.” 

We have these computers in our pockets called a smart phone. They are based on sharing and people of all economic means have the same access to that computer. But though we live in boxes, work in boxes, operate in boxes, we must be connected to each other. Collaboration is non-negotiable for both our present and our future. 

Further, collaboration was the key theme communicated in seminars from Nolan Hough, Managing Director of MAG-O, Division of Manchester Airports Group; and Hans Oortwijn, Enterprise Architect from Dutch Government Road Transport Agency. Nolan shared his experience with transforming travel, parking, shopping at the Manchester airport. The end result for the customer is ease and convenience. For the companies involved, increased revenue. Beyond vision, the first step in any venture is learning. Read, read, read. Talk, discuss, listen. Have a strategy. There is no hierarchy in a team. 

Hans focused on his experience of creating one stop parking in the Netherlands. One app for all payments, all providers, all the cities. He encouraged everyone to share data and to be transparent. 

I invite everyone in Parking, Mobility, and Transportation around the world to attend the next Parking Australia Conference in 2020. What you will learn at their conferences you can’t learn anywhere else. Mobility, whatever type it is, begins with inner transformation. When we change, the world changes. 

Astrid Ambroziak is editor of She can be reached at

Article contributed by:
Astrid Ambroziak
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