If you’ve listened to an industry podcast or interview of late you often hear the question, “How did you get into parking?” Responses vary, but two common themes emerge: one, I have no idea how I got into parking, I certainly didn’t plan to be a parking professional; and two, I wouldn’t think of doing anything else, I love the industry and the people I work with.
Little did I know I’d get this same question from my nine year old kids at the dinner table a few weeks ago. It started simply enough about how my work day was. As I talked about a new garage we are wrapping up construction on, my son looked me square in the eyes and said, “How did you get into parking? And why do you love it so much?” As industry professionals we are trained to react quickly on our feet, and this moment was no exception. And I wasn’t about to tell my impressionable kids the initial reaction we all have – I have no idea how I got into parking. My simple response was that I got into parking and love what I do because I love to solve complex and challenging problems. Parking allows me to do that on a number of levels, and no two days are alike.
This started a 30 minute conversation about all the things my team and I work on day in and day out. Our dinner table conversation was both energizing and therapeutic. In one week you could work across a dozen different professions, from facilities management to fiscal oversight to security and process improvement and everything in between. As professionals this industry keeps us challenged and stretches our problem solving skills constantly. I count myself blessed to be in this fantastic industry and have had the opportunity to connect with so many amazing professionals.
Robert Ferrin, CAPP, is assistant director, parking services with the City of Columbus, Ohio, and a member of IPMI’s Board of Directors.