By Patrick L. Wells

The Super Bowl of Parking Conferences just concluded, and like many organizations, we didn’t know ahead of time what to expect. We heard the rumors that clients who normally attend had scrapped travel plans from a fear of health concerns.

However, upon arriving in Tampa, I immediately noticed a level of enthusiasm and excitement from individuals that I haven’t seen in a while, an eagerness to talk and, yes, HUG! My first Shoptalk was moderated by Chris Austin, CAPP, from the University of Buffalo. There were more than 150 individuals in the room, most from colleges and universities. Participation was lively and many were eager to share their thoughts–the session could have easily lasted longer.

When the Expo hall opened, our anxiety reappeared as we wondered how much traffic we would see. It was fantastic! Individuals were engaged, eager to listen to what we had to say, and  excited to be seen.

The virtual world  has definitely had its advantages the last 21 months, allowing us to maneuver in a business climate like we have never seen before and still be successful. However, at the end of the day, in-person contact is needed–we crave interaction, especially the serendipitous encounters that help establish and drive business. We also intuitively want to utilize our complete arsenal of senses by evaluating body language and, maybe most importantly, have fun!

To this point, as 2021 Industry Professional of the Year, Brian Shaw, CAPP, with Stanford University mentioned during his acceptance speech, “This week brought me the energy I needed!” Thank you, Brian, I agree. It brought us all the energy we’ve been missing.

Patrick L. Wells is senior associate, regional director with DESMAN.