Wipe the Tears, Heading to San Diego


Wipe the Tears, Heading to San Diego

(Editor’s Note: Jeff has slightly overstated PIE’s exit from Chicago. We will return. We just need to find a venue and date that fits the needs of our ever-growing event.)


It’s hard to stop the tears! You can still find deep dish pizza there, you can still find great steakhouses there, but no PIE in the Windy City! 

There are explanations for the name Windy City. One is to believe it’s because of the tremendous wind generated off Lake Michigan that blows into the nation’s third largest city. I’ve literally had one of my children get blown across the street on our way to Navy Pier on one weekend visit years ago, but that’s not really where it got its nickname. The actual nickname seems to have originated from a reference to the politicians and citizens of Chicago, boasting of their incredible metropolis. 

A more specific example of that is from the New York Sun newspaper back in 1893 when Chicago was competing with The Big Apple for the World’s Fair. The proud and boastful (windy) Chicago citizens and politicians appeared to overstate their readiness as a city to host such an event, and the New Yorkers would have nothing of it.

Chicago just beautifully hosted the annual PIE show and the wind was certainly blowing in the trade show, the hallways, in the presentations, the break-out meetings….and of course, at the bar! 

There are some seriously impressive changes occurring in the parking world. Look at the ParkJockey acquisition of parking stalwarts: Impark, Republic, Citizens, and Lanier. If the parking industry were doom and gloom, why would SoftBank join this formidable team just to walk off a cliff together? 

One of the more unique presentations was from Chance Management. Themed along the Wizard of Oz, Barbara, a true Kansas native (with a stuffed Toto in her arms), Joe donning a tin hat, and Vince representing the scarecrow, revealed some truths and busted some myths about today’s parking market. 

Are the new devastating predictions of the collapse of the parking industry actually true? Or, are they simply fabricated and a bunch of wind like the actual Wizard of Oz, who cowered from truth behind a velvet curtain? The session put a bright light on the truth. Despite everything you hear, the truth is this:

Vehicle ownership is up, not down

Multiple vehicle families are on the rise

Only .1% of all vehicles in the world are electric vehicles

There are more vehicles on the road today than in any time ever in our history

The demand for parking is not going down as a whole (yet)

In a survey of mass transit, virtually every mass transit system takes more time, way more time, to get to your destination than to drive your own car

People aren’t car-pooling either, 70 percent of commuters drive alone. 

While writing this, I’m sitting at Mel’s Diner in beautiful Santa Monica enjoying a mushroom omelet and sourdough bread after spending 2.5 tortuous hours driving from Irvine to my meeting here. To my left going northwest on the 405 was a less-than full Carpool lane (used mostly by imposters risking a $481 fine) while my five lanes were crawling along the 52-mile stretch. 

My drive included a texting cab driver (not Uber or Lyft) plowing into the back of my rented VW Touareg. Miraculously no damage, speaks well for VW. In Indianapolis, 52 miles takes 52 minutes. Bottom line, people love their cars and it will always be that way. People in LA love their cars, just ask Jay Leno. 

Windy Chicago natives love their cars, too. 

The PIE show is a unique blend of the two other domestic parking trade shows, with a twist of vendors. A general mix of vendors, operators, and owners make it a show that should never be missed. The integration and collaboration of parking technologies between vendors makes it worth attending even if customers didn’t show up, but they do show up for the PIE. 

Valuable sessions like Chance’s Wizard of Oz, to the one that recapped the California State University Sacramento Parking Structure V project that showcased a state-of-the-art method of integrating Lighting and Parking Guidance System (PGS) technologies in a Camera-Based and Wireless solution, are more reasons to head west next year for the PIE show.

If you are contemplating what effect holding the show to San Diego will have on turnout, the answer, with John Van Horn in charge, it will only get better. One of John’s strengths, and a strength of the PIE show is that vendors feel welcome and appreciated. 

Hosting a generous opening night session only for vendors is as class act as I’ve seen in this industry. I’ve written on this before in one of my Marketing Minutes. We are all vendors to someone in this industry and it’s high time we recognize it. John figured it out it long ago. 

Being in this industry for now 13 years, I’ve seen lofty executives move to vendor status and vendors move to key decision-making positions. You never know who will be in the right place to help you when you need help the most. It is always the right time to value all participants of our industry as viable, worthwhile, partners, and even family.


Article contributed by:
Jeff Pinyot
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