By Liliana Rambo, CAPP

Here are some sayings we constantly hear that have become part of our DNA—the parking geek DNA, that is:

  • “The parking bug bit you.”
  • “Who went to school to become a parking professional?”
  • “We are a very tight-knit group.”
  • “You may leave the industry but you reinvent yourself and come back.”

And while we all laugh about them, I am convinced they have become part of our DNA because they are true. Here is another one: “We are a family and a very tight-knit family at that!” Even though we don’t see each other very often—maybe once or twice a year at conferences—many of us have become close friends and extended family. And thanks to the wonderful world of technology, many of us keep in constant communication.

As many of you saw on TV or the internet, Hurricane Harvey was a very tragic event. Our hearts go out to the tens of thousands of people who are still being affected by the effects of our bayous and other drainage systems from the unprecedented rains brought by Harvey last August.  Relief and response have been the order of the day as our bayous return to their pre-Harvey levels and our communities return to normal routines.

We all asked ourselves for days: Where to begin? Where do we start? How do we even undertake such a massive project as rebuilding the entire southeast region of Texas?

This was how.

We started by helping the person next to us, by helping those we could reach.
And so it began, house by house, street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, and on and on. That’s how we took care of each other, including the employees within our industry who were affected to some extent or another.

The outpouring of calls, texts, and emails from colleagues from all over the U.S. and even internationally was amazing. Your concern was not only was for me and my family but also for everyone who works around me. People were constantly asking how they can help and it was not just words. They were words that became reality as we saw so many GoFundMe campaigns being enacted to help those who needed it the most. We collaborated and helped each other find food, water, household cleaning supplies, blankets, etc.

Through it all, the most important part of this is that we all became one team, one family, and we took care of each other’s needs. Those caring actions filled my heart with pride. Pride for my team, my company, my colleagues, my industry, my city, my state, and my country.

Even though the rain has stopped and some of us have reverted back to normalcy, many of our colleagues are still in need of basic needs or worse yet, mourning the loss of loved ones. Please keep them in your thoughts but from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for all you have done. We thank you for your thoughts and prayers and we know that we are truly blessed to be part of this caring, friendly, and absolutely awesome industry. Parking people matter!

Liliana Rambo, CAPP, is president of Winpark.