Accredited Parking Organization (APO) Designation – A Great Investment on Many Levels


By Mike Harris, CAPP


Accredited Parking Organization logoWe as parking professionals know the importance of organizational planning. At times we get distracted focusing on the day-to-day fires that need to be put out and neglect the overall operational needs of the department.

Its understandably hard to commit the time and resources it takes to complete an undertaking like achieving the Accredited Parking Organization (APO) Designation. However, I challenge you to at least take a few minutes to review the APO Matrix and do a quick self-assessment of where you currently stand pertaining to the various categories. This exercise can quickly illustrate areas you are strong in and others that may need a little more attention. Once the self-assessment has been completed, you may find that your organization is in better shape than you thought and you’re ready to take the next step and pursue the designation. If not, you would at least have identified the areas to concentrate on to prepare to start the process. Should you decide to go forward, it will require you to view your organization from top to bottom and many areas in between in a very comprehensive way. The process forces your whole team to pull together and examine the processes and procedures as well as the short- and long-term goals and strategies. When the whole team is involved and begin to connect the dots of each area examined and how they really fit together, an organizational roadmap begins to come into view.

Parking normally gets a bad rap for being too intrusive or inconsistent,  in some cases unorganized, and/or only a money grab. Completing the APO process will address all of these issues and misconceptions and many more. When you achieve the designation, the department will be elevated and viewed to be among the best of the best nationally. Having achieved this new status will be a source of pride and will provide a professional image that others will notice. This also increases your departmental morale as your employees will begin to see themselves as a part of a well-run and nationally recognized organization. It will illustrate to your employees that their role is vital and extremely important. Allowing them to be a part of the accreditation process can help them to view all the inner workings and see the bigger picture. Having been through this process both as an APO client and as a reviewer, I can honestly say it is a great investment on many levels.

Mike Harris, CAPP, is Director of University Services for SP+, and a member of the IPMI Accredited Parking Organization Working Group. He can be reached at