Tag Archives: diversity

Important Conversations

Important Conversations

By Gary Means, CAPP

THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF CONVERSATIONS lately about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. If you didn’t get a chance to catch the Fireside Chat On Industry Inclusion back on August 20, 2020, I would encourage you to do so (click here).

I was joined by a fantastic panel:

  • Richard Easley, CAPP, president of E-Squared Engineering.
  • Keith Hutchings, director, municipal parking, City of Detroit.
  • Kim Jackson, CAPP, director, transportation and parking services, Princeton University.
  • Tiffany Smith, director, Parking Authority of River City, Ky.

I opened up the conversation with this statement: “As a result of the protests and news coverage in response to the very recent and preventable deaths of several Black Amer­icans, I did a little soul searching, listened to podcasts, read posts and articles, watched videos on YouTube and Facebook, and most importantly, had one-on-one conver­sations with several of my Black friends and associates. My eyes have been opened to a problem. I’ve learned a lot and while I’d love to change the world, I thought maybe focus­ing on my circles would be best.”

In this column, I want to expand a little more on my reasoning for asking IPMI if we could have an open conver­sation about inclusion. You see, until recently I understood very little about the challenges of the Black community in America and of our friends and colleagues in the parking and mobility industry. It took a horrible news story to really get my attention and for me to start digging deeper as I mentioned above. I now, more than ever, realize that things aren’t the way we think they are when we only look within our own circles, or when we look through our own lenses.

That is why I wanted to start this conversation. I’m sure I’m not the only white guy who hadn’t heard the term “driv­ing while Black.” Or if I had heard it, I must have ignored it. This phrase is just one of many things I’ve learned in my recent journey. The most important thing I’ve done is reach out to friends like the people on the panel listed above and asked difficult questions. I’ve specifically looked up Black acquaintances such as previous employees and leaders in my community. All have stories and all reinforce the fact that there is a deep-rooted issue in our society that needs to change.

A New Focus

So with the support of the leadership at IPMI, we will continue focusing on the topic of inclusion in the following ways:

  • Implementing this new column on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Encouraging and establishing training sessions and courses.
  • Encouraging more open conversations that help us learn more about the needs of all of our members.

After our fireside chat, we were asked why did we not use the word “diversity” in the title or during our chat. Our answer centered around the idea that ”diversity” has been used a lot and folks might already have a preconceived idea about what it means—and that focusing on diversity alone might even water down the current issues of our day. We felt focusing on “inclusion” would be more powerful. Simply put, diversity re­fers to the traits and characteristics that make people unique while inclusion refers to the behaviors and social norms that ensure people feel welcome. The most powerful part of our fireside chat was hearing the experiences and stories of our esteemed panel. I hope it has encouraged or this column will encourage more courageous conversations within your organization.

Breaking it Down

To start off the first of many columns on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), I thought I might make an attempt to help break down some of the ideas and definitions of DEI.

Diversity vs. Inclusion: In simple terms, diversity is the mix and inclusion is getting the mix to work well together.1 Verna Myers says “Diversity is being asked to the party. In­clusion is being asked to dance.” In a recent blog post, Meg Bolger writes: If we aren’t clear on the words and ideas, (of DEI) how will we be clear on the solutions? Meg also included these definitions:

  • Diversity is the presence of difference within a given setting. Diversity is about a collective or a group and can only exist in relationship to others. A candidate is not diverse—they’re a unique, individual unit. They may bring diversity to your team or your hiring pool, but they themselves are not diverse.
  • Inclusion is about folks with different identities feeling and/or being valued, leveraged, and welcomed within a given setting (e.g., your team, workplace, or industry). You can have a diverse team of talent, but that doesn’t mean every­one feels welcome or are valued, is given opportunities to grow, or gets career support from a mentor.
  • Equity is an approach that ensures everyone access to the same opportunities. Equity recognizes that advantages and barriers exist, and that, as a result, we all don’t all start from the same place. Equity is a process that begins by acknowl­edging that unequal starting place and makes a commit­ment to correct and address the imbalance.

I hope this first edition of our new diversity, equity, and inclusion column gives you some insight on what future col­umns may hold. If you have any ideas or questions please feel free to reach out to me at gmeans@lexpark.org. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

GARY MEANS, CAPP, is executive director of the Lexington& Fayette County, Ky., Parking Authority and chair-elect of IPMI’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at gmeans@lexpark.org.

Read the article here.

Frontline Fundamentals: Working Toward Equity: Discussing Diversity, Inclusion, and Microaggression, Presented by Kim Jackson, CAPP.

Free to IPMI members, pre-registration required.


Non-members may attend for a $35 registration fee.  Click the register link above to attend as a non-member.  Need help logging in?

Contact us at professionaldevelopment@parking-mobility.org.


Working Toward Equity: Discussing Diversity, Inclusion, and Microaggression

 Kim Jackson, CAPP.

This session will examine systemic racism that is embedded as normal practice within any organization. It involves policies, practices, structures, and norms that can result in inequitable outcomes for people of color. The session will look at diversity, inclusion, and microaggression’s impact on organizations.

Kim E. Jackson, CAPP, Director, Transportation & Parking Services, Princeton University

Kim Jackson, CAPP, provides leadership, expertise and management for university transportation and parking operations, services, facilities, and programs. In 2008 she was hired as the first Director, Transportation & Parking Services for Princeton University. Kim previously worked at IPMI as the Executive Director. Prior to IPI, Kim was Director of Parking & Transportation at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she was responsible for the university’s parking and transportation programs, and management of daily operations of a multi-faceted program for five New Brunswick campuses and contracted bus services. Kim is a class of 2000 CAPP graduate.

Free IPMI Members-Only Webinar: A Fireside Chat on Industry Inclusion

August 20, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET 

Join IPMI Chair-Elect Gary Means, CAPP and our distinguished panel of speakers for a candid and authentic conversation about inclusion in the parking, transportation, and mobility industry.

The panel will share their expertise and personal experiences as professionals and leaders in our community. They will tackle topics such as equity and systemic racism and how we can foster improvement in our industry. Feel free to share your questions and comments in advance with us – send us an email at fernandez@parking-mobility.org.


Kim E. Jackson, CAPP, Director, Transportation & Parking Services, Princeton University

Kim Jackson, CAPP, provides leadership, expertise and management for university transportation and parking operations, services, facilities, and programs. In 2008 she was hired as the first Director, Transportation & Parking Services for Princeton University. Kim previously worked at IPMI as the Executive Director. Prior to IPI, Kim was Director of Parking & Transportation at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she was responsible for the university’s parking and transportation programs, and management of daily operations of a multi-faceted program for five New Brunswick campuses and contracted bus services. Kim is a class of 2000 CAPP graduate.




Tiffany Smith bio pixTiffany Smith, Director of Parking Authority of River City, Louisville Metro Government

Tiffany Smith, MBA, is Director of the Parking Authority of River City (PARC) in Louisville, Ky. She has worked for PARC for 24 years. She attributes her success as a leader to her exceptional staff, her focus on employee engagement, and her commitment to superior customer service. Her department was recently awarded IPMI’s APO designation. She is a member of various boards and organizations and she loves parking, people, and living with a purpose.





Richard B. Easley, CAPP, President, E-Squared Engineering

Richard B. Easley is the President of E-Squared Engineering.  A 22-year-old small minority business transportation consulting firm conducting work in 34 US states and 22 countries worldwide.  This includes work in the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Commercial Vehicle Operations, Electronic Payment Systems, Transit Systems, Parking, Toll Systems, Traveler Info, Intermodal Freight and Training arenas.  Mr. Easley is the past Co-Chair of the International Parking Mobility Institute’s “Intelligent Transportation Systems – Parking Task Force”, the past Chair of the IPMI Technology Committee, served on the IPMI Advisory Council and currently serves on the IPMI Mobility Task Force. Richard accepted the National Society of Professional Engineers Board appointed Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Advisory Committee position.  Richard has over 32 years of experience in the


Keith Hutchings, Director, City of Detroit

Keith is a municipal leader focused on solving the challenges of Smart City parking, transportation and data management. His approach focuses on long-term solutions that create mutual benefits for all parties.

Using data and private market forces, his efforts ensure effective shared solutions serving all community segments. Through a series of progressive assignments within the City of Detroit, he understands the fundamentals of operations and the strategies of implementing change at a governmental level.



Gary Means, CAPP Executive Director, Lexington & Fayette County Parking Authority

Gary is a Certified Administrator of Public Parking (CAPP) with a BA in Broadcasting from Eastern Kentucky University. Gary is a member of the International Parking & Mobility Institute Board of Directors and Chair-Elect on their Executive Committee. Locally, Gary serves on several boards/committees including Lexington Area MPO Bike Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Town Branch Park Partners, and Downtown Lexington Partnership. In 2000, he received Downtown Lexington Corporation’s “Outstanding Individual” Award. Gary has worked in the parking industry for over 25 years in both the public and private sectors. Gary and his wife Melissa have two children and three grandchildren.

October 21: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Webinar (Free to Members Only)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Webinar

Free to Members, Pre-registration required.

Register button

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are three distinct ingredients that some feel are missing from the American Pie. They are equally imperative to changing the trajectory of today’s workplace. Systemic racism has not only found its place on our streets, social media, and politics, but in our business.

Failure to properly address DEI in the workforce will inevitably affect employee morale, efficiency, and productivity. How do we create an environment that is receptive to DEI? Verna Myers, vice president of inclusion strategy at Netflix, once said “Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” Only through a comprehensive understanding of DEI and new ways of doing business and viewing employees, especially those within minority groups, will companies begin to create change.

This session is intended to show how open dialogue can be productive and break down barriers and myths to educate some on the why behind the movement; and t look at the root of the issues and learn to better and more openly listen to our fellow employees.

Tiffany Smith bio pixTiffany Smith is the Director of the Parking Authority of River City in Louisville, Ky.  She has worked for PARC for 25 years.  She leads a diverse staff of 32 employees with a focus on employee engagement and a commitment to superior customer service.  Her operations include 15 garages, three surface lots and 4,800 on-street spaces.  Her department recently earned IPMI’s Accreditation Parking Organization with Distinction certification.  She is a member of various boards and organizations and in her free time, enjoys playing tennis.  She loves parking, people, and living with a purpose.




Mike Tudor, CAPP, is the Assistant Director of the Parking Authority of River City (PARC), Inc. in Louisville, Ky.,where he has worked since 1997 within key off-street and on-street operational, management, and leadership roles.  He currently serves as President of the Midsouth Transportation and Parking Association (MSTPA) with a previous role of Secretary since 2015. He serves on the IPMI State and Regional Association Committee. He holds an undergraduate degree from Cincinnati Christian University (CCU).  He spent the early part of his career in all aspects of parking with the private sector to include management of private lots, garages, and valet services.  He earned his CAPP certification in 2019. Mike has a passion for God, family, outdoor activities, and supporting inclusion in the parking industry.

Submit your questions and thoughts for the discussion to Kim Fernandez at fernandez@parking-mobility.org.

Music to Our Ears

By Shawn Conrad, CAE

I had a friend who sold machinery. He traveled long distances across North America and Europe, and I once asked him how he passed all that time behind the wheel. He told me he survived on rock-n-roll–I’m about to date myself—he traveled with a suitcase full of CDs, with a particular emphasis on ‘80s hair bands. He was a walking, jiving, music librarian with an impressive memory of song lyrics; I used to give him life scenarios and he could always find a relevant song.

I also love to listen to music and consider my musical tastes eclectic, crossing decades and genres. It never ceases to amaze me that regardless of the mood I am in or the life trials and tribulations I’m experiencing, I almost always hear a song that hits home.

This proved true while listening to a mix of music in June, while world-wide protests were erupting. I, like a lot of people, was seeking ways to be part of a solution and bring about change. I heard “Change the Whole Thing,” from country music artist Maggie Rose:

The world wasn’t broken in a day,
And it doesn’t have to stay this way forever.
You don’t have to change the whole thing,
You just have to leave it a little better.

It was a nice reminder that our communities have big challenges ahead, and we’ll need lasting solutions. But we can all take small steps that chisel away at those big problems to make things a little better.

My machinery salesman friend thought he struck gold when Spotify and Pandora came around. I guess we all did, but his road traveled sure was a lot lighter.

Shawn Conrad, CAE, is IPMI’s CEO.

What’s the Answer, Part II

Diversity Management blogBy David Feehan

As I thought about my previous blog, I realized that there is much I wanted to say but did not. I raised the issue of diversity in the parking industry and even looked to our leadership at IPMI to ask if we were doing enough.

But having just concluded a town meeting sponsored by Leadership Montgomery, the leadership program where I live, I realized that my life journey has a bearing on how I view the issue of race, and I wanted to share some experiences with those of you in our profession.

I am a native of Minneapolis. I grew up in a racially mixed community in that city’s Northside, and became acquainted with discrimination at an early age. My best friend, who was African American, thought we should look for jobs in a neighboring business district. But when I proposed a day of cold calling on businesses, he told me he had tried that and been told by several proprietors, “we don’t hire n***rs here.” He told me without a letter of introduction from the Urban League, there was no way that he would endure that kind of humiliation again.

When we started college, I found a job at a major downtown financial firm. When I told my supervisor I had a friend who needed a job and was a college student, my supervisor told me that if my friend was Black, he could apply for a position as a janitor or on the loading dock. This company did not hire Black people in sales or management.

These were only a few of the examples of overt racism I witnessed as the years went by. Redlining was common in housing; discrimination in employment was frequent and almost expected. Black business owners were few and generally limited to barber shops, beauty salons, and bars.

Today, I am 75 years old. I have been married to a beautiful African American woman for 32 years. We have two biracial sons and four multiracial grandchildren. But the recent incidents involving murders of Black people, sometimes by police officers, leaves me searching for answers.

The parking industry has made great strides since I joined IPMI’s predecessor back in the 1990s. The board has become more diverse, and I know CEO Shawn Conrad has worked tirelessly to encourage a more diverse industry at all levels. But perhaps the incidents of the last few days have made us aware that the job is not finished. We have the talent and the courage as a vital industry to look once again at what we do and seek new ways to welcome people of color into our field. Perhaps a partnership with HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities) is worth exploring. I proposed that when I was president of the International Downtown Association, but it never came to fruition. Let’s put heads together and see what more we can do.

David Feehan is president of Civitas Consultants, LLC.


What’s the Answer?

Whats the answer blog postBy David Feehan

These have been particularly sad and disheartening days for me. I am a native of Minneapolis, Minn., a city that has always prided itself on being enlightened when it comes to race. I owned a house just off Lake Street, where the burning and looking occurred. My nephew knew George Floyd from the club where he worked. In the 1970s, I directed a Model City program in this neighborhood that sought to encourage better communication among a very diverse group of residents. I thought my hometown was working hard to improve communities and race relations. Then George Floyd was murdered, and cities around the world exploded.

What can parking professionals, city officials, and other concerned citizens take away from the ongoing protests? We would be well advised to listen to what the protesters are saying.

Any examination of police policies, practices, and training is a must. Obviously, some cities have made greater progress in this area than others. Apparently, Minneapolis has not been a leader in this regard. But most parking facilities use either private security officers or municipal police. How prepared are we for incidents like some of the recent tragic killings in the Twin Cities and elsewhere? Most of these incidents have included an automobile.

The parking industry has made strides in hiring and promoting people of color. IPMI has worked to increase diversity, but even IPMI’s board and staff are not as representative of the employee base of most our members as they could be.

I am part of an online public policy discussion forum. I noted as we have discussed the George Floyd incident and subsequent protests that only one of our forum members is a person of color, and he is Hispanic. I questioned how many members of our group have personal friends who are African American, with whom they could have a heart-to-heart conversation concerning race relations. I’m sure most of us have Black colleagues with whom we work, but have we ever invited them to our homes? The answer to our current dilemma begins with understanding, and my guess that understanding that leads to positive change is in short supply these days.

I have a great fear that our downtowns and community business districts (all of which depend on parking) are in great jeopardy because of the COVID crisis. We don’t need to see boarded-up buildings or burned shells as we work to recover. I don’t have all the answers, but I know recovery has to begin with communication and understanding. Let’s get started.

David Feehan is president of Civitas Consultants, LLC.

The Business of Parking: Learning to C.O.P.E. with Culture

Why do so many organizations and leaders get culture so horribly wrong?

By Julius E. Rhodes, SPHR

IN BUSINESS TODAY AND IN SOCIETY IN GENERAL, we are bombarded with the notion of culture. In our organizations it is widely believed that if you don’t get culture right, nothing else matters. We also hear that culture eats strategy for lunch.

Being from Illinois, I vividly remember what Univer­sity of Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber said after he was fired. He concluded that he focused too much on wins and losses and not enough on culture. Now head men’s basketball coach at Kansas State Univer­sity, he has built a program in which culture is the hallmark of his efforts, and the re­sults are paying off in a grand manner.

With all of this em­phasis on culture, I only have one question: Why do so many organizations and leaders get culture so horribly wrong? Here’s my take:
Confusing Climate and Culture

First, I contend that many organizations confuse cli­mate with culture. Think of an iceberg. There is much more to the iceberg beneath the surface of the water than there is above the water. Climate is what’s above the water level and is easily seen. However, we all know the saying “all that glitters isn’t gold.”

As it relates to culture, the vast majority of the work that needs to be done is beneath the surface. Foolishly, many people and organizations believe that if an issue isn’t being discussed, it doesn’t exist. Noth­ing could be further from the truth.

I strongly believe that if issues are not being dis­cussed or have been driven underground, that sup­pression will eventually lead to an explosion. If we did the hard work of bringing those issues to the surface, the situation could be handled in a much more effec­tive manner.

This is where learning to C.O.P.E. with culture comes into play. When this acronym is properly implement­ed, it can support a well-functioning, welcoming, and inclusive culture where our organizational stakeholders feel valued and supported for their efforts.

C: We must strive to improve com­munication and civility among all stakeholders. When we do this, it provides the springboard for in­creased contributions on the part of all stakeholders.

O: We need to be open to opportunities that will allow ourselves and others to get better. This will take commitment and cour­age; culture isn’t a popularity contest, but its establishment is critical to our success.

P: This represents the need for stakeholders to un­derstand the process and to actively practice and participate in sharing as a tool to increase organiza­tion dynamics.

E: This means we have to effectively engage every­one and execute with excellence. No single part of the organization is more important than the other, and we have to meet people where they are and bring them along to where we need them to be.

Culture is critical to our continued development and creates conditions for personal and professional growth.

Read the article here.

JULIUS E. RHODES, SPHR, is founder and principal of the mpr group and author of BRAND: YOU Personal Branding for Success in Life and Business. He can be reached at jrhodes@mprgroup.info or 773.548.8037.