Virtual Conferences–Silver Linings

By Gary Means, CAPP

Back in late February, many of us attended a new IPMI conference called the IPMI Mobility & Innovation Summit. If you didn’t attend, you missed a great deal of excellent content, great speakers, and networking opportunities (a new opportunity is coming in June!). If you did attend, you have access to the recordings of those sessions. The ability to go back on your own time and revisit those sessions is what I am writing about today. Of course, we all miss the in-person conferences and the opportunity to be with our parking and mobility friends and colleagues. As good as the past virtual conferences have been, we all agree that they are not quite as impactful as the in-person conferences and we look forward to being together again soon.

Back in June 2020, IPMI hosted the first industry-wide parking and mobility virtual conference. I’m a parking and mobility geek so I’m not saying try this at home, but I finished my goal of watching each and every session from that conference–over 36 hours of great learning. Basically, every Thursday at 3:30 I blocked out an hour to catch up on a session.

Here are a couple of my takeaways or silver linings I found: In the past, we have all gone to in-person conferences where you must choose between two sessions that are held at the same time. “Oh man, these both sound great, which one do I choose?” Well, now you can go back and watch the session you missed. Another takeaway for me as I went back and watched each session was the reminder of what great people with have in the parking and mobility industry. In the past at an in-person conference, how many of you, like me, might not attend a certain session because we don’t know the speaker and instead, we go over to the session given by our favorite CAPP classmate, etc.? The ability to go back and review these online sessions is a great way to get to know other amazing people in our industry as well.

Let me encourage you to be on the lookout for any new virtual conferences that may pop up before we can once again meet in person; when they’re over, go back and watch the recordings again or for the first time. I hope to see you all in Tampa in December.

Gary Means, CAPP, is executive director of the Lexington & Fayette County Parking Authority and chair-elect of IPMI’s Board of Directors.