Do you sometimes find it difficult to explain to people what you do as a parking professional or even what the parking industry is? Try explaining it to a bunch of middle school students. Better yet, try explaining it to them after they’ve had a chance to sit in of a firetruck and talk about what firefighters do all day.

That’s exactly what I had to do a few weeks ago and let me tell you something: if you can sell the parking industry to a room full of 12-year-olds, you can sell it to anybody. Don’t get me wrong–it was a great honor to speak at the McNair Middle School career day. The kids were great and had lots of questions. I think we have to admit, however, that if we’re going to talk to students about parking for 45 minutes, we have to find ways to spice it up a bit.

I was able to get their attention by talking about all the cool cars I get to see and some of the famous people I’ve seen and met while working in parking. That held their attention long enough to get to some of the so-called “boring stuff,” such as leading a team and managing revenue (it helps to make constant references to sports and video games).

All in all, it was a successful career day. Not only did I feel like the kids learned something but I also learned: Even 12-year-old kids are willing to listen to us talk about parking as long as we relate it to something they are already interested in or concerned about. I’m pretty sure this would work with adults as well. First McNair Middle School, next the world!