November brings Parking Today’s People in Parking Directory. This year it takes on a different flavor, as it directs readers to our on line search engine to find most parking pros listed in our extensive data base. Annually I’m asked to give a state of the pub column. I’ll give you blog readers a preview here:
Twenty Years, A Great Team, and a New Name
It seems like only yesterday I was making like Hugh Hefner and laying out the first issue of Parking Today on the kitchen table. Hugh built an empire, we, well, ….
Its been 20 years since that rather unprofessional first issue. Some said it was too dark (too much ink). Others were sure we ‘wouldn’t last three issues.” Heh – showed them, didn’t we.
Here we are, some 20 years and 240 issues later. And still going strong. Not that there weren’t some hiccups along the way – We had to throw away a complete press run when we found an egregious error a couple of hours too late. Or the time we spelled the name of the person on the cover wrong and had to reprint the cover. Or the time we mixed up the tower in San Antonio with the one in Toronto (we left that and few noticed.)
You strive for perfection, but never quite get there. There is a craftsman in a pressroom in the Midwest that is going to press a button on a certain day at a certain time and we had better be there or the paper will be blank. Its called a deadline – and we work to it. Without it, nothing would ever be printed.
We have the best of all possible professions. We can create the covering for a bird cage bottom one month, and win a prize the next. We get to start over every month. Pity the workers who really never finish.
This year we rebranded ourselves as “Parking Today Media.” We realized that we are “more than a magazine.” We have an interactive web site that gets tens of thousands of visits. We have our “current news” web site – parknews.biz which gives you real-time parking news updated daily. Plus, we have our trade show, the Parking Industry Exhibition, which has grown comfortably over the years to become a powerhouse in the nonaligned sector of our industry.
Add to all that the newsletters, our people and products in parking search engines, and other marketing products for our advertisers, and we have become a parking media focal point. So the rebranding seems appropriate.
None of this would be possible without the people who make Parking Today Media their professional home.
Eric Abel is the face behind the Parking Industry Exhibition. Other shows have many people behind the scenes, Eric does it with a bit of help on show days, plus some high powered software, support from Kelley, Sue and Joyce, and a lot of hard work. He’s a quiet man, works well behind the scenes, and creates great value. Thanks Eric, 2017 in Chicago is looking very good. Oh, he is fluent in French.
Astrid Ambroziak cuts a pretty wide swath through our end of the industry. She is the founding editor of Parknews.biz and probably knows more about what’s currently happening in parking, worldwide, than anyone else. She culls through dozens of stories each day and picks the ones that will interest us most. She reads them all. She attends as many trade events as she can and develops relationships. If you have met her, you would remember her. English is her second (or is it third, or fourth) language, but you wouldn’t know it from her writing.
Shelly Brown is my closest advisor on all things graphic. She has been there since the beginning, becoming art director a mere decade ago. She is tolerant of my moods, accepting of my drifting deadlines, and is a good friend. Her lack of complaints in the face of unrelenting deadline pressure show a maturity that is an example for the rest of us. She works out daily and plays classical guitar. She is the best.
Romina Gorordo is the one that actually does the work to make PT look like PT. Last month you saw a change in the design of Parking Today. It will carry forward with a few tweaks. Romina is raising two of the most wonderful children. They are all three athletes and swim and race in open oceans (Her Son, Ruka, is a surfer, daughter Ina loves it too.) Her graphic magic makes us all proud, her children make her proud.
Kelley Havener is one of those people who quietly do their jobs so well, you don’t realize its being done; until she goes on vacation. She keeps our databases current, answers circulation questions and problems, handles our marketplace ads, and interfaces with our webmaster, a full time job in itself. In addition, she tracks the P and L for PIE, works closely with our printer to ensure we get the ink on the right pages, and most months, lays out the magazine. She and her husband John are raising one fine young man plus a super daughter.
Joyce Newman title says “publisher’s assistant.” That means she takes care of the messes I make, but that’s only part of the story. She also rides herd on our dealer/installer page, updates the web site, sends out our weekly news letters, works with Astrid and Kelley in supporting their efforts, does actual mailings (you know, with stamps and stuff) and serves as our social coordinator at PIE, the Temecula Group, and other events we host throughout the year. Her avocation is rescuing homeless cats. She has set up a non-profit organization, Ziggy and Friends Cat Rescue, and over the years has saved literally thousands of felines from certain death. Way to go Joyce.
Sue Restivo is my ‘rock.’ I hate all things having to do with numbers, and she doesn’t. She keeps our books, collects money due, pays the bills, and signs the checks. Sue was my first employee and I’m so happy not to have to worry a bit about the ‘accounting’ end of things. She lives 100 miles away, keeps us straight over the ‘net, and with her husband Rick, has raised a wonderful family. Her good humor and wonderful chocolate chip cookies keep us grounded. Thanks, Sue, you are the best.
Marcy – ahhh Marcy. I cannot say enough about our Advertising Director, Marcy Sparrow. She came to us knowing nothing about the industry to assist our existing advertising director, who promptly got sick and left Marcy to carry on alone. And carry on she did. One need only look at the growth of our organization to see what a success she has been. And if you read the financial pages of any newspaper you know that her success is in the face of overwhelming odds. Dead tree media is going away. NOT. At least in this niche. She lives in Phoenix and with husband Jeff are raising two beautiful girls. Jeff demanded, and got, a garage with a parking space for him – out of the 120 degree Phoenix heat. The new house was only a mile from the old one. Jeff and PTM owe Marcy a great debt.
There are others that do not appear on our masthead but add much to our products, Carla, Suda, Melissa, Francine and Bob. Carla Green has some mysterious software that makes this issue of Parking Today, our PIP issue, work. She also knows her way around excel and keeps us out of Microsoft problems. Suda Miller is our webmaster. She speaks geek, does a super job, and keeps all things internet humming smoothly. Melissa Sterzick writes the Amateur Parker column, proof reads, and keeps our mistakes to a minimum. Francine Van Horn works with Kelley and supports our database and PIE attendee efforts. Bob Bonin is our copy editor. He ensures our works meets his high standard for grammar and facts. Someday I will have to meet him face to face.
Our regular columnists Peter, Kathleen and Jeff round out the team. Peter Guest tempers his cynicism slightly when reporting on all things British, European, and Middle Eastern. Kathleen Laney brings a fresh look each month to social media and parking. Jeff Pinyot gives us something to think about as he blends ethics and marketing.
I would be remiss not to mention our operations/marketing director, my wife Robyn. She retired from her day job and moved seamlessly into PTM to help professionalize our internal operations. She is doing a super job and we are lucky to have her on board.
I am most fortunate to have such a wonderful team. You are the best.