Regional Group Finds Common Ground
November, 2006Parking Today begins a series of articles on regional associations. This month we spoke with Michael Klein, past President of the New York State Parking Association. The Q and A.
PT: Why a regional association – just what does it bring to the party?
MK: The pluses are proximity and a similarity in the peer group.Easier for travel approval due to lower cost, and more in common with the people that attend.
PT: Do you think that the time spent (by board members) is really worth it?Why?
MK: Yes, although sometimes I wonder...My wife and children probably wonder also as the office work must get done despite other commitment.So it comes out of other time.It is worth it because it gives you a chance to take a step back from the routine and think in a broader context.Also, by getting to know a peer group that are more involved in their industry you pick up helpful information.It’s also good to have someone to talk to that you can share war stories with and realize that you are not alone.
PT:What makes a person want to become involved in an organization such as yours?
MK: One needs to actually like what you do, and have a passion about it.Then being more involved in the industry has its own rewards.And I have found that in both New York and the Carolina’s Parking Associations that the state association board members were (and are) excellent people, many of whom are leaders at both the state and national levels.
PT: What is the best single thing your organization brings to the parking profession in your area?
MK: Networking with knowledgeable parking professionals.
PT: What is the biggest complaint from your members?
MK: That we haven’t held a meeting in New York City.
PT: How many members do you have? What is your annual fee?
MK: Dues paying members range in the 100 to 150 person level.Fees range by type of membership, but are generally $50 for annual dues and $250 for the conference; regional meetings and customer service training typically $25 to $50.
PT: Can anyone in the profession be a member? Can anyone in the profession be on the board and become president (ie, can the local Skidata Dealer become president, or must you be a non commercial member)
MK: Yes and yes.
PT: Can you give me one new approach or idea that your organization has come up with that has helped to make parking a better industry?
MK: Several of the members have come up with ideas that received national attention; ones that come to mind are
• A system to organize stack parking in garages
• Conversion of tennis courts to parking lots
• First ten minutes free at traditional single space meters
PT:Is your organization open to and do you attract all parts of the industry (commercial operators, private and public sector, consultants and suppliers)?
PT: What two people have been most instrumental in the growth of your organization? Why?
MK: The NYSPA founding fathers (and mothers) – without them, it wouldn’t have any members!
PR: How many people usually attend your annual convention?
PT What other things do you do beside the annual
MK: Regional meetings and a relationship with Meeting of the Minds
PT: What one thing would you tell other organizations that they can do to make their groups more successful?
MK: Have a good mailing list, and use it to promote and market the association.
Three Regional Events set for November
The Parking Association of the Virginias, the New Jersey Parking Institute and the California Public Parking Association are holding their annual conferences in November.
The PAV will meet November 5-7 in Virginia Beach. Contact is Robbie White at (804) 379-7696. The New Jersey Parking Institue meets November 14-17 in Atlantic City. Contact Lenny Bier at (932) 828-8864. The California Public Parking Association will meet in Irvine. The Contact is Howard Finnecy at (619) 284-7200.