We Are All Project Managers


By Paul Whetzel, CAPP 

As parking professionals, we are all project managers. Whether it be a new construction project, repair/upfit project, software/hardware implementation, lighting project, signage projects, etc. we are managing projects daily. At Charleston County, coordination is key to a successful project, and we must have “buy in” from several different department and other agencies before projects are even approved.

I found a quote from Joy Gumz that I thought “hit the nail on the head” regarding project management: “Operations keeps the lights on, strategy provides a light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organization forward.”  I am sure almost all of us have been part of projects that have not gone as planned and if you haven’t -awesome, but your time is coming!

When it comes to project management at the government level, often we must go with contractors that we are not familiar with, many times the lowest bidder, and this creates various challenges.  Recently, we had a upfit/renovation at the parking garages.  The contractor that was awarded the bid was in over their head.  It was a real struggle to complete this project!  It was to the point that we were going to pull the bid bond.  Fortunately, it did not come to this.

After projects begin at Charleston County Parking, we promote good project management by requiring weekly progress meetings with the contractor, architect, project manager, other stakeholders that are affected, etc.  These weekly progress meetings are essential to a successful project.  Topics for each meeting include safety, schedule, significant events, open RFI’s, open submittals, change orders (hopefully very minimal or none), new business, etc.

Paul Whetzel, CAPP is the Parking Operations Manager for the County of Charleston, South Carolina. He can be reached at pwhetzel@charlestoncounty.org .