2020 Professional Recognition Award Winners

Our distinguished 2020 Professional Recognition Awards

Parking and Mobility Operations and initiatives could not succeed without the talented and dedicated people behind them. This year’s Professional Recognition Program award winners are those people on the frontlines and behind the scenes who ensure each daily operation, special project, or new initiative goes beyond expectations.

Maria Irshad

Industry Professional of the Year

Maria Irshad, CAPP

Assistant Director, ParkHouston
Houston, Texas

Maria Irshad, CAPP—known as “the parking lady” around Houston—is dedicated, well-respected by colleagues, and known for her innovation. ParkHouston manages about 9,500 paid parking spaces and 19 off-street surface lots; the enforcement of all parking codes; and the administration of various permits. Irshad leads a team of 75 and provides parking policy recommendations to the Mayor’s Office.

Read more about our 2020 Industry Professional of the Year here. 


Parking Organization of the Year

Philadelphia Parking Authority

The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) in Pennsylvania serves the parking needs of the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with more than 1.5 million residents. The PPA—which has achieved an Accredited Parking Organization with Distinction designation—recently developed a three-year strategic plan, with the goal to advance economic development and improve quality of life while reducing the environmental impacts of single-occupant vehicle use.

Read more about our 2020 Parking Organization of the Year here. 

Benito Perez

Emerging Leader of the Year

Benito O. Pérez, AICP CTP, CPM

District Department of Transportation, Washington, DC

Benito O. Pérez, AICP CTP, CPM, has been advancing curbside management in the nation’s capital and throughout the industry for the past five years. Pérez has been curbside management operations planning manager for the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in Washington, DC, since January 2018. Before that, he was curbside management operations planner.

Read more about our 2020 Emerging Leader of the Year here. 

Megan Leinart

Emerging Leader of the Year

Megan Leinart, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C

Leinart Consulting

Megan Leinart, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C, is president of Leinart Consulting, a professional services marketing and consulting firm specializing in the parking, commercial real estate, and professional services industries. She has over 13 years of experience in the parking industry, working with both public and private organizations. She is a LEED Accredited Professional, as well as a Parksmart Advisor through the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). She is also an APO site reviewer.

Read more about our 2020 Emerging Leader of the Year here.

Barbara Sails

Professional Excellence Award- Customer Service

Barbara Sails

REEF Parking

Barbara Sails has spent over six years providing the highest quality of customer service for patients and visitors to the Markey Cancer Center in Lexington, Ky. The center is Kentucky’s National Cancer Institute-designated center.  As an ambassador, Sails interacts with dozens of patients and visitors daily. Her interactions are key to a frictionless visit, with most patients arriving for chemotherapy or radiation appointments. Sails is mindful of and sensitive to patients’ emotional state and always takes the time to listen as they share news and updates. One of her tasks is to assist with wayfinding and guidance, and her knowledge of the center is especially helpful for new patients trying to navigate their way around.

Read more about Professional Excellence Award- Customer Service here.

Kenneth Kimball

Professional Excellence Award- Finance

Kenneth Kimball, CAPP

Texas A&M University, Transportation Service

Kenneth “Kenny” Kimball, CAPP, is chief compliance officer and chief finance officer, Texas A&M University Transportation Services, managing a budget of $50 million, directing the IT development and support unit, and overseeing the human resources manager and staff. He also volunteers in his church and community and for Texas A&M, leading a university committee of business administrators.

Read more about 2020 IPMI Professional Excellence Award of Finance here.


Professional Excellence Award - Operations

Corrine O’Connor

Philadelphia Parking Authority

In May 1990, Corrine O’Connor started her career at the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) in Pennsylvania as a parking enforcement officer. Over the years, she worked her way up and now serves as deputy executive director. She led four major projects last year that led to the integration of many customer conveniences. First, she led the roll-out of meterUP, a mobile payment application that has had over 5 million transactions and approximately 440,000 downloads. MeterUP accounts for roughly 30 percent of the parking authority’s meter revenue.

Read more about 2020 IPMI Professional Excellence Award in Operations here.


Professional Excellence Award - Operations

Carol Yeager

Texas A&M University Transportation Services,
Parking Services

Carol Yeager has been with Texas A&M Transportation Services since 2008, and has single-handedly created a culture of service toward its personnel and is universally admired and respected. Every year she is a top nominee and frequent winner of the department’s Shining Star awards, which recognize selfless service and commitment to the department’s mission. She is known for her characteristic humor and good nature.

Read more about 2020 Professional Excellence Award winner in Operations here.


Professional Excellence Award - Marketing

Melissa Maraj-Bubela

Texas A&M Transportation Service

The Texas A&M University Transportation Services Marketing and Communications unit is a powerhouse of creativity charged with safeguarding the public image, promoting services, and telling the university’s story. As manager of this unit, Melissa Maraj-Bubela leads the marketing and communications charge for one of the largest parking and transportations operations on any college campus in the country.

Read more about 2020 Professional Excellence Award in Marketing here.

Megan Smit

Professional Excellence Award - Marketing

Megan Smit


At heart, Megan Smit is a brand evangelist. As PayByPhone’s director of marketing and communications, she develops and maintains the North American marketing strategy to increase adoption, usage, and reactivation of users on a global scale. She has created a marketing presence from ground zero and is focused on growing PayByPhone’s monthly active users as the company’s coverage increases worldwide.

Read more about 2020 Professional Excellence Award in Marketing here.

Hugo Contreras

Professional Excellence Award - Leadership

Hugo Contreras

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Hugo Contreras joined Dallas/ Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport in March 2013 as a guest assistant in the Guest Transportation Operations section of what is now the Transportation Business Unit (TBU). After a year of service, he was promoted to ground transportation agent, and in June 2016, he became a quality agent in the Guest Contract Services section, where he was quickly promoted to Supervisor in May 2017.

Read more about 2020 Professional Excellence Award for Leadership here.



Professional Excellence Award - Leadership

Ravinder Bains


As a member of EasyPark’s management team for 3 1/2 years, Ravinder Bains’ innovation in operations and contributions to process improvement has allowed EasyPark to achieve record revenue targets. Bains’ efforts have pushed the company forward as a customer-focused and solutions-oriented organization.

Read more about 2020 IPMI Professional Excellence Award  in Leadership here.



Professional Excellence Award - Innovation

Jannette Benefee

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Jannette Benefee is at the forefront of innovation through use of business intelligence tools and facilitating development of new business solutions. She led the Dallas/ Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport Transportation Business Unit (TBU) in two critical innovative efforts recently. The airport is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy on the Advancing Transportation Hub Efficiency Using Novel Analytics project. The objective of this three-year study is to leverage mobility data to optimize efficiency and reduce the cost of both passenger and freight movement at and around transportation hubs. Benefee has worked closely with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, providing input and ensuring that DFW provides accurate and applicable data to fit the needs of this project.

Read more about 2020 Professional Excellence Award in Innovation here.

David Wallace

Professional Excellence Award - Innovation

David Wallace

Parking & Transportation Services, University of Arizona

David Wallace has been with the University of Arizona Parking & Transportation Services for over three years. He started as a website designer and developer, updating internal and external webpages. As a senior website designer and developer, he has designed and developed several programs and apps for different parking section heads that have improved efficiency tremendously in a wide variety of areas. The apps have reduced the need for paperwork and redundancy, helping better serve customers.

Read more about 2020 Professional Excellence Award in Innovation here.

Kim Jackson

IPMI's Lifetime Achievement Award

Kim Jackson

Princeton University

My parking career started at Rutgers University in 1988, when I began working as the first assistant director for administration of the university’s parking department. I had an amazing mentor, Rita Molnar, the first woman president of IPMC (now IPMI), who got me involved in the association and taught me everything I know about the business. Here we are at a campus event.

Read more about 2020 IPMI Lifetime Achievement Award winner here.


IPMI Chairman's Award

John W. Nolan, CAPP


My greatest joy in working as a managing director in the field of parking, transportation, and mobility has been the opportunity to greatly improve numerous organizations’ operations, enhance capital infrastructure outcomes, and provide multiple mobility programs that have improved the daily working lives of so many people.

Read more about 2020 IPMI's Chairman Award here.


IPMI Chairman's Award

Thomas Wunk, CAPP

T2 Systems

I was asked to provide a list of work accomplishments, but that stuff is not important. Rather, I chose to point out just a few events and people that I look back on and cherish when thinking about my career in the parking industry.

Read more about 2020 IPMI Chairman's Award here.