Tag Archives: conference

IPMI 2021: The Energy We Need

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.

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like IPMI!

2021 IPMI Conference logoBy Shawn Conrad, CAE

Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons. I love the tapestry of colors you see when walking through the woods, I get ready to follow the MLB playoffs and World Series, and I look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday, when my extended family converges on our house to catch up on life and give thanks.

This fall season is very special to us at IPMI in that it marks our first in-person Conference & Expo since we were together in Anaheim, Calif., in 2019. That seems like an eternity ago. While we’ve enjoyed the virtual events we’ve held during the past 18 months, there is nothing like seeing and talking with friends and colleagues in an event where collaboration occurs on the Expo floor, the education sessions, or even as we share a beverage.

When we moved the 2021 Conference & Expo in Tampa from June to Nov. 29 – Dec. 2,  we made a calculated decision to give our members more time to recover from the turmoil the pandemic caused, and we were hopeful that the effects of COVID-19 would have lessened so attendees would feel comfortable gathering again.  We certainly did not have a crystal ball to help us look into the future and know what conditions would be at the end of this year, but conversations with the IPMI Board of Directors and other leaders gave us some comfort that delaying the event was in the best interest of our attendees.

So now we find ourselves just a month away from Tampa and the response for this event has been overwhelmingly positive. We went into planning this meeting expecting about one-third of our typical attendance and I am very happy to report we have reached this milestone; we look forward to greeting everyone and helping them get the most out of this jam-packed event. It’s also been eye-opening to hear from so many that they’re joining us but need to wait to register until new budgets are in place. While we downsized things a little this year,  those attending are going to find all the things they love about this year’s event from past shows: lots of exhibitors, a plethora of education offerings, and plenty of networking opportunities–and lots of fun.

For those who are not able to attend this year, we understand. It’s actually been very humbling to hear from colleagues who are not able to attend in 2021 but wanted us to know they will be there in spirit and are making plans to join us in New Orleans in 2022.  What comes to mind when I and others on staff chat with these members is a 1980s advertisement for a hotel chain voiced by Tom Bodett, who coined the phrase, “We’ll leave the light on for you.” That’s how we feel about the close-knit IPMI parking & mobility community: We are here for you, regardless of your circumstances or your travel plans. Stay well.

Shawn Conrad, CAE, is IPMI’s CEO.

Tips for Tampa

By Tina Altman

Getting my feet wet again by going to a recent site visit in Tampa ahead of the 2021 IPMI Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo felt so good! Time to dust off the suitcase and get back to some type of normalcy. The airport and flight had a sea of covered faces and were uneventful, thank goodness.

I stayed away from the limos and stuck with the less expense ride option to the hotel. Pick up was quick and easy, I had to put my luggage in the car but I’m no diva so it’s all good. The vehicle was an older, clean Honda Pilot and as much as I love all eras of music, the ‘70s vibe playing with a static background had me trying to reach up to adjust the tuning. Finally, at what I thought was my destination, I grabbed my luggage and thanked the driver, walked into the Marriott to check in, and learned I was dropped at the wrong one! Luckily, the right hotel—the JW Marriott—is right across the street, so no biggie. Clearly, Uber drivers are unaware of the new Marriott location.

Here are some more Tampa tips for your visit:

  • The airport is less than 20 minutes from our hotel. Tampa International Airport ground transportation information can be found here.
  • The JW Marriott is still fairly new. If you get to the Marriott with the water fountain in front, be sure to tell your driver you are going to the new JW Marriott, not the Marriott Water Street. They are adjacent to each other.
  • Tampa weather in December is usually in the high 80s/low 60s  but nights can be cooler. Remember how chilly conference centers can be? Dress in layers and choose comfort over stylish shoes—your feet are just getting back into the swing of things too!
  • Our space for the Conference is stacked from the second to the fourth floors, with escalators & elevators very nearby for ease.
  • There are plenty of options for food. In the main lobby of the hotel is a Market Place for coffee and lite fare and you’ll also find a bar, a restaurant for breakfast, and a walk-up window for sandwiches right outside. You can also take the skybridge to the Marriott Water Street to dine in. More info on dining at the Marriott can be found here.
  • The sixth floor of our hotel has a spa and gym along with a bar/restaurant with an outside open area.
  • There are a few Starbucks within walking distance.
  • The TECO Streetcar runs right through the area and is free! Check out the map of stops here.
  • There is lots to see and do in Tampa, with plenty of museums and an aquarium right up the street.
  • Be sure to book your hotel room right away! These rooms will sell out fast!

We can’t wait to see you this fall.

Tina Altman is IPMI’s manager, member and event services.

Tampa, Here We Come!

By Rita Pagan, DES

After a year of virtual meetings, I am so excited to be welcoming our members back to an in-person meeting this fall at the 2021 IPMI Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo in Tampa, Florida— with clear safety protocols in place.

As we navigate this continuously changing time and adjust accordingly as new information becomes available, IPMI is committed to continuing to innovate and think of ways to deliver engaging events for our community.

So, from the sunny beaches of Tampa, we’ll see you soon!!  Waves, elbow bumps, or hugs- whatever you are comfortable with. We can’t wait to see you!

Rita Pagan, DES, is IPMI’s director of events and exhibits.

Wrapping Up – and Taking Next Steps!


The past few months and weeks have been difficult—no matter what part of the industry or world you live in.

As we look toward a brighter future, coming together with our IPMI community through the 2020 IPMI Virtual Parking & Mobility  Conference & Expo reinforced everything we know about our members and friends. You were, as always, insightful, collaborative, generous, innovative, thoughtful, and inspiring. From on-demand to live education, and two amazing general sessions, we felt your courage and learned from your expertise. In the networking chats and the Expo, we explored every topic under the sun and collected so many resources. It would be easy to sit back having enjoyed the experience and move on.

Please don’t! Remember you have access to this valuable platform for an entire year. Some suggestions to stay engaged:

  • Keep learning, keep reading, and keep collaborating here and on all our platforms.
  • Go back and watch the sessions you didn’t have time for or the ones you want to revisit, including valuable resources and videos in the IPMI Now Resource Center (under Partners Pavilion 2 in the Expo Hall).
  • Connect with the experts you met in the Expo and keep them close in your network.
  • Collect all those CAPP points from the event—let us know if we can help in that pursuit!

If you weren’t able to attend, stay tuned for more information on how you can take part in the platform.

Thanks so much to our Board, volunteers, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and participants for taking this digital leap with us. Stay sharp, stay connected, and stay well.

Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, is IPMI’s vice president of program development.


Mid-South Transportation and Parking Association (MSTPA): Annual Conference and Tradeshow 2021

Mid-South Transportation and Parking Association


September 13-15, 2021

Westin Chattanooga Hotel, Chattanooga, TN

MSTPA continues to work tirelessly to support our members and provide opportunities for education, professional development, and networking. Due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting limitations on in-person gatherings, we have made the decision to postpone our scheduled conference to September 13-15, 2021 in Chattanooga, TN. 

We can’t wait to get together with everyone again and provide our members, and industry professionals throughout the region, with an exciting program. The MSTPA board will continue to move forward with planning efforts to bring you a successful in-person conference in 2021.

In the meantime, please follow us on LinkedIn for the latest updates on upcoming programs and initiatives. You can also check out our new blog and news page for informative and timely content from parking, transportation, and mobility professionals throughout the region and beyond.

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me

A shield protects buildings from data theft.By Melonie Curry, MBA

I recently saw a news alert that Google purchased Fitbit. I already felt like they are tracking my every move and conversation (and they are), and I refused to provide them any additional data. So I turned off my Fitbit. Victory! I took control of my privacy. I gave up my Fitbit but what about my smartphone, connected car, and smart TV?

Certain technologies have become a daily necessity. Therefore, we ignore or can bear the loss of privacy. When introducing new technology, it’s vital to know how it meets a vital need. Identify your target segment, understand how the technology fulfills their need, and then you can tailor your messaging to establish trust. Trust will lead to adoption.

Who needs this technology? What are the common characteristics of our target customer? What will motivate them to adopt this technology? What data do you have that will help answer these questions? We must be very careful when using data to target current customers. They should not feel like Big Brother is watching their every move. Our communications should remain general. More personal marketing communications should require the user to opt-in and their use be limited.

Credit card numbers, phone numbers, license plate numbers, vehicle registration addresses and daily routines–parking providers have access to tons of private information. Its our charge to respect our customer’s privacy, handle the data securely, and use the data to improve their experience and while respecting their privacy.

Melonie Curry, MBA, is a staff analyst with ParkHouston, City of Houston. She will be presenting on this topic at the 2020 IPMI Conference & Expo, May 31 – June 3, in San Antonio, Texas. For information and to register, click here.