Tag Archives: talents

Weathering the Storm

Weathering the Storm

Simply put, life on Earth exists because of the presence of water. However, water is also a force of nature that can have incredible destructive capabilities. For that reason alone, it’s important for us as parking managers to understand how our operations affect our water resources, actively take steps to protect water quality and availability, and work to mitigate the damage water can inflict. That means paying attention to stormwater management.

Natural Ecosystems
In natural ecosystems, rain falls onto woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, or forests and percolates through soil and plant material to charge underwater aquifers or flow into streams and rivers. By percolating through the natural, organic materials, water is slowly absorbed and purified.

Through this process, the water’s speed and flow is tempered, and it is gradually reabsorbed into the earth. The soil itself holds the water, which reduces flooding and erosion. The amount of water that soaks into the soil is determined by the amount of organic material.

Urban Environments
In urban settings, the process that happens in natural ecosystems is interrupted. Permeable soil is covered by impermeable concrete and asphalt. Rain that falls on these hard surfaces quickly runs off the surface, carrying with it any oils or pollutants to streams and rivers. Depending on the chemical, pollutants can have deadly short- and long-term consequences for the natural environment and humans.

Because stormwater runoff moves quickly and with some force, it causes extensive erosion. Artificially channeling water increases erosion because it increases both the speed and volume of runoff. Erosion itself is a problem as it destroys natural habitats in streams and rivers.

There are other costs as well. Erosion can undermine the structural integrity of roads, parking lots, and buildings. For the parking industry, water can have large economic effects on an organization as the water can very quickly wash away the adhesive and waterproofing properties of asphalt and get into the pavement structure, allowing it to dry out, crack, and ravel. Erosion not only increases the amount of sediments carried by stormwater runoff, but sediment running off asphalt surfaces also has large amounts of petroleum products, corrosive chemicals, and fine metals. This affects plants and animals living in our streams and rivers.

Sediment also affects the surrounding water ecosystem in several ways by absorbing heat, blocking sunlight, and polluting the water. Sediments absorb heat, so a sediment-laden river will have a higher temperature than a clear river. Warmer waters hold less oxygen, which means fewer animals are able to survive.

Sediments in the water column block sunlight. Less light means less photosynthesis by algae and aquatic plants living on the streambed. This not only reduces the amount of oxygen in the water column, but also reduces the amount of food available to support the herbivores at the base of the food chain. This, in turn, means less food is available to their predators, such as fish, birds, and mammals.

Sediments sink to the floor of streams and rivers. This eliminates homes for aquatic invertebrates, an important food source for predatory fish. The sediments also smother algae and smaller aquatic plants.

Protecting the Water Supply
As discussed, impermeable concrete and asphalt alter the natural flow and quality of water in urban environments. Fortunately, there are steps that we in the parking industry can take to protect our water supply and our parking assets.

To begin with, we can address water quality issues by simply keeping our parking lots clean and asphalt assets well-maintained. Regularly sweeping our parking lots to remove trash and debris improves the quality of any stormwater running off the pavement. Promptly treating and cleaning fluids, such as oils and coolants, that leak from vehicles also reduces water pollution.

Parking lots and roads that are well-maintained at regular intervals can last for many years; maintenance offers significant cost savings as it is more cost efficient to maintain the asphalt than it is to build and rebuild. With a strong, durable surface, water will naturally flow off the surface as designed. However, damage to an asphalt surface will allow water to seep through, deteriorate the sub-structure, and compromise its ability to sustain the pressure of traffic loads. When the foundation beneath the asphalt is damaged, the surface is more susceptible to potholes, alligator cracking, and further water erosion.

In parking lot and roadway designs, we can funnel polluted stormwater into sewer systems so runoff is treated by the municipal water treatment plant. While this may be a convenient solution, it may not always be the most feasible one, especially if there is a large body of water such as a river or lake nearby. In several coastal states where sewers drain directly into the ocean, there are significant rules and regulations regarding stormwater management that mandate onsite mitigation and treatment of runoff.

Several landscaping and surface treatments can be used to reduce stormwater runoff, including incorporating the use of bioswales and permeable surfaces. Bioswales, such as rain gardens, are landscaping treatments used to slow, collect, infiltrate, filter, and store stormwater until it is reabsorbed into the ground. These drainage areas are often filled with native, water-loving plants that can tolerate being under water for short periods of time, but they can also simply be filled with rock.

In flatter areas, permeable surfaces, such as areas covered with pavers or permeable concrete, can be a good solution for stormwater. They allow water to penetrate below the surface and percolate through the soil below to recharge natural aquifers. However, permeable surfaces are susceptible to erosion as the speed of the water flow still plays a big role in runoff. Depending upon your water flow needs or landscaping plan design, you can slow down water and erosion damage by having it crash into larger rocks that are in the drainage channel where the water flows. The water expends some of its energy on the rocks instead of the surface treatment in the channel. If you slow down the water, it has less force, and with less force, there is less erosion and sediment.

While organizations can invest in alternative transportation programs and advances in technology that reduce parking demand, asphalt facilities to accommodate vehicle parking and travel will always exist. However, the need to address the political, environmental, and economic conditions created by stormwater will also continue to exist as the natural progression of the planet’s weather patterns continue. As parking operators, land developers, and planners, it is our obligation to ensure that we are aware of all of the options that exist to be able to understand what is at stake and appropriately allocate our limited resources and make the hard decisions for the future.

Irma Henderson, CAPP, is director of transportation services at the University of California Riverside. She can be reached at irma.henderson@ucr.edu.

Jennifer Tougas, CAPP, PhD, is director of parking and transportation services at Western Kentucky University. She can be reached at jennifer.tougas@wku.edu.


365 Days Big Green

365 Days Big Green

by Megan Leinart, LEED AP BD+C

Another year has come and gone, and what a year it was. In the parking industry, we have continued to see the public and private sectors embrace the latest and greatest sustainability initiatives and technologies. A new partnership between the IPI and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has brought these ideas even more to the mainstream, broadening the reach into an even greater audience. Further, a growing number of parking industry leaders continue to work to promote and advance the value of integrating sustainable parking planning, design, construction, management, and technology.

It’s been an exciting year on the parking front, and we continue to see groundbreaking success stories. Here, we present just a few of these stories and the effects they have had. They will also help to provide a blueprint for what continues to be possible in this constantly evolving part of our industry.

Stanford University Energy System Innovation
Stanford University continues to be a leader in innovation and progress, particularly through the implementation of cutting-edge sustainability initiatives. One such initiative is the Stanford Energy System Innovation (SESI), which has transformed how energy is delivered to the campus to heat and cool its buildings. By using electricity purchased from renewable sources, the university will reduce its carbon emissions by 68 percent.

Stanford’s Parking & Transportation Services, a division of Sustainability & Energy Management, is contributing to SESI with two cutting-edge projects: electrification of the Marguerite bus yard and fleet and solar panel installation on the Stock Farm Garage.

Stanford’s Marguerite shuttle program has been expanding its use of electric buses on campus since 2014. The successful performance of the program’s initial 13 buses has led the university to acquire an additional 10. The university converted a portion of its existing bus yard to serve as the charging and storage facility for all 23 electric buses. This project was the first of a phased approach to convert the entire bus yard and adjacent parking lot into an electric charging facility for an eventual all-electric Marguerite bus fleet. This project also facilitated the installation of electric vehicle chargers in the adjacent Stock Farm Garage, doubling the charging capacity of that facility.

In addition, the university has installed solar panels on large rooftops across Stanford’s campus, including the Stock Farm Garage. While challenging, the payoff for this project will help the university meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions, supporting the electric bus fleet, and shading vehicles parked on the roof.

It’s Always Sunny in Arizona!
Arizona State University (ASU) is taking solar to the next level. The university has integrated three major solar panel installations that help not only power the university but significantly reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions as well.

The solar installation generates a total wattage of more than 24.1 megawatts (MWdc) at 89 locations across all four campuses and the ASU Research Park. These installations, located in parking lots and on garage rooftops, also provide valuable shade to more than 5,900 parking spaces and 828 stadium seats—that’s a benefit that is always appreciated in the overpowering heat of the Southwest.

During 2015 at the Carson Student Athletic Center, the solar power plants located on ASU’s Tempe Campus facilities generated approximately 26,568 megawatt hours (MWh)—equivalent to 14 percent of the electricity used at Tempe Campus facilities. Concurrently that year, on ASU’s West Campus, the Sparky 10 MW installation generated approximately 8,595 MWh in 2015; this amount of energy is equivalent to 71 percent of the total amount of electricity used at ASU’s West Campus facilities.

The integration of the solar panels at ASU’s campuses showcases the significant effect solar power can have on meeting the energy needs on a campus, reducing the associated costs, as well as fossil fuel consumption and emissions. However, this program is also a testament to the important role parking can play in complementing this valuable energy source, providing wide open spaces for large installations while helping provide shade for vehicles and people.

Cincinnati Zoo Becomes First Demonstrator Site
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden has been named the first Green Parking Lot Demonstrator site under a new USGBC program aimed at recognizing surface lots that exhibit exceptional sustainable design. This is part of a nearly decade-long effort at the zoo to implement a number of progressive initiatives through sustainability.

Upon arrival at the zoo, guests are greeted with a sea of sleek solar panel canopy that keeps vehicles cool and reduces the heat-island effect. In addition, the solar panels generate 1,700 MWh of electricity, equivalent to 20 percent of their usage, and eliminate 1,775 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which is equivalent to the reduction of approximately 3 million vehicle miles travelled annually.

Another groundbreaking feature of the Cincinnati Zoo parking lot is the significance of the landscaping features. Two large rain gardens, native plantings, and large shade trees provide natural beauty and alleviate stormwater issues. An underground cistern retains and slowly dissipates stormwater, relieving pressure on an aging wastewater infrastructure.

Patrons can use one of seven electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, including one DC fast charger, and bikers can dismount at the appropriately themed snake-shaped bicycle rack or take advantage of the Cincinnati Red bike sharing kiosk. For visitors looking to avoid traffic but who are not up for biking, the Cincinnati Metro Transit Agency drops off right inside the parking lot. Finally, the zoo’s vehicle fleet consists of emissions-free electric golf carts while trucks and the mini-rail are powered with recycled biodiesel.

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is at the cutting edge of a groundbreaking new program to recognize the many sustainable design opportunities available for parking lots and will serve as a model for similar projects in the future. Leading the way, Director of Facilities and Sustainability Mark Fisher engaged his staff, the city, public utilities, and property owners to find innovative solutions to their most pressing environmental problems and creatively implement them to meet their biggest needs, while educating the community.

Medical Group Embraces Lightwells
How do you create an inviting patient experience in a subterranean parking structure while reducing energy benefits? The Camino Medical Group faced this question when the parking structure for its Mountain View campus involved a subterranean level. The answer? Lightwells.

Lighting is not only an important consideration in the functional design of a parking garage but also a critical factor in the user experience. Dark, cramped structures feel unsafe and do not attract patrons; open, well-lit structures with good ventilation feel safe and secure and invite users.

Achieving natural light and air in structured parking often requires provisions such as lightwells. Lightwells or air shafts are unroofed external spaces provided within the volume of a large building to allow light and air to reach what would otherwise be a dark and less-ventilated area.

In a below-grade parking structure, lightwells can sometimes be achieved by surrounding the structure with permanent shoring walls or by sloping back the soil around the structure. In addition to providing user experience and functional benefits, lightwells have both economic and environmental benefits of reducing overall energy demands, as was the case for the Camino Medical Group Parking Structure, which utilized landscaped lightwells in addition to extra high ceilings and brighter-than-average lighting to make patients feel safe and secure.

Emory University Upgrades Its Lighting
Always one to make its mark as an innovator in the medical world, Emory University isn’t limiting innovation to medical procedures alone. The university recently mandated a cutting-edge lighting fixture to illuminate its underground garage, which services the new state-of-the-art campus hospital expansion project.

The university’s lighting consultant created the ECO Mantis™ lighting fixture, which features linear remote phosphor LEDs specifically designed to support the parking industry. The remote phosphor LED features near zero light output depreciation over time. By locating the heat sensitive phosphor away from the heat-generating LED chips, the phosphor maintains near 100 percent output over the life of the fixture.

The garage will provide much-needed parking in an active campus and is expected to be open to the public by year’s end.

San Francisco Building Upgrades Ventilation
Located in San Francisco’s financial district, 475 Sansome Street is a 21-story, Class A office building with an underground parking facility requiring mechanical ventilation 15 hours a day Monday through Friday. To reduce energy costs, the facility operator recently installed a “variable flow” demand-control ventilation system, which fluctuates garage exhaust and supply fan motor speeds based on carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations in the garage.
Prior to the control system installation, the garage’s ventilation motors consumed nearly 60,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) each year at a cost of more than $8,800. The installation of a variable flow demand-control ventilation system significantly reduced total energy consumption and costs.

Post-installation data showed that the new ventilation control system reduced the garage fan motors’ kWh consumption by more than 57,500 per year—a 96.5 percent savings. Peak kWh demand was reduced by 14.73 percent, also a 96.5 percent savings. The project’s net present value of $84,000 is nearly four times greater than the cost of the variable flow control system installation.

Megan Leinart, LEED AP BD+C, is national director of corporate development for Propark. She can be reached at megan.leinart@propark.com.

TPP 2016-12 365 Days Big Green

In Pursuit of APO


In Pursuit of APO

By Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C

Would you like to benchmark your organization? Streamline your operations? Evaluate In Pursuit of APOyour training program? Motivate your leadership? Pursue accreditation and you will be well on your way to achieving all of the above.

Accredited Parking Organization (APO) is a designation for parking organizations that have achieved a comprehensive standard of excellence. It recognizes best practices in responsible parking management and operations, customer service, professional development, safety, and security. The APO program is complex, addressing 14 major categories with well-defined and attainable measures in each.

The APO Manual: More than a Checklist
Whether you are on the path to accreditation or are interested in evaluating best practices for your organization, the APO Manual for Applicants is a significant industry milestone. It is the first and only industry accreditation available to the parking industry and specifically outlines best practices that advance the parking profession, one organization at a time. The manual addresses the fundamentals of the program, including a concise summary of eligible organizations, definitions, and summary of criteria that also addresses required items. The document details how an organization can prepare effectively and the appropriate role of the APO site reviewer. It pairs with the information contained in the APO Matrix, offering additional guidance and the intent of each category under Content Area I: Policy, Planning, Operations, and Administration; and Content Area II: Site-Visit Field Assessment.

Taking the Next Step
How do you know if you are ready to apply for the APO Program? When you submit your application, your organization will have one year to submit your comprehensive package of documentation. There is no precise formula for a program this thorough, but here are a few checklist items to get you started:

  • Make the APO Manual for Applicants required reading for your key staff, and complete an internal self-­assessment utilizing the APO Matrix.
  • Based on your self-assessment, outline how you can meet and document the 25 required measures, as well as 80 percent of the remaining criteria.
  • Assign champions from your key staff as accountable for individual sections of the matrix.
    Consider the additional criteria for Accreditation with Distinction.
  • Cultivate the support not only of your top leadership but also your key team members and meet regularly as a team.
  • Download and review the list of IPI-approved APO Site Reviewers and begin the selection process.
  • Target your Premier Site(s); include up to three with your complete submission package.
    Complete the online application, and contact me with any and all questions.

IPI recommends a three- to six-month timeline to start the process, collect documentation, and retain an IPI-approved Site Reviewer to perform a review and site assessment for selected Premier Site(s).

Recognition for the class of APOs will take place at the 2017 IPI Conference & Expo in New Orleans, La.; IPI will accept full documentation packages for recognition at the show through March 1, 2017.

Check out the APO Spotlights at parking.org/apo to learn how APOs applied the criteria and process within their organizations. Stay tuned to the Parking Matters® Blog (parking.org/blog), and watch for new posts from our APOs as they offer more insights into the program in this ongoing series.

If you plan to pursue APO in time for recognition at the 2017 IPI Conference & Expo in New Orleans, it’s time to start planning—reach out to me directly, and we will get started on the journey together!

TPP-2017-11 In Pursuit of APO

Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C, is IPI’s vice president of program development. She
can be reached at yoka@parking.org.

Strength and Harmony 

Strength and Harmony 

Understanding specific personal strengths and talents to successfully work with all kinds of people.

By Diane C. Confer, CAPP, CPA

How many different assessments have we all taken to find out who we are, how we lead, Strength and Harmony PDF Article  how we learn, and how we handle situations? I can think of several. Myers-Briggs tells me I am an extrovert who uses my senses to take in information, my feelings when making decisions, and likes a planned and organized approach to life called judging. The Management Team Role Indicator says I prefer to be a coach and a sculptor. The Leadership Effectiveness & Adaptability Description scores me as an S2, which says my leadership style is high on supportive behavior and high on task behavior. Last but not least, the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument ranks my conflict-handling mode as accommodating.

Needless to say, there are countless assessments that can be taken to tell us who we are. It seems the only thing missing is submitting a DNA swab to find out our ancestry! Personally, I’m just waiting on a Groupon for that one. With all these assessments it seems impossible to remember what you are! Are you an ISTJ, S2, or just R2D2? It all can be just too much.

There is one more to add to the mix that is different than the others you know—different because it’s easier to remember, easier to understand, and easier to apply. It’s the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment, which identifies your natural talents that can grow into strengths. The assessment is powerful because it also gives you the tools to understand the talents and strengths of others, which allows us as leaders to better understand work situations and ensure the right people are in the room to solve the challenges we face every day. Some talents naturally collide—strategic and analytical, for example—but knowing that before the team is assembled makes it easier to anticipate issues.

StrengthsFinder was created by Gallup, Inc. based on the findings of the late Donald O. Clifton (known as the father of strengths psychology). The goal is to support people and groups in understanding and applying their individual and collective talents to improve their relationships and increase their creativity, productivity, and overall happiness.

There is a key clarification: talents and strengths are not interchangeable. A strength is the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance in a specific activity. Talents are naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied. Talents, knowledge, and skills—along with the time spent (investment) practicing, developing your skills, and building your knowledge base—combine to create your strengths.


Gallup identified 34 talent themes and placed them in four categories:

Team members who have a dominant strength in the executing domain are those to whom you turn time and again to implement solutions. These are the people who will work tirelessly to get something done. People who are strong in the executing domain have an ability to take an idea and transform it into reality within the organization they lead. Talent themes include achiever, arranger, belief, consistency, deliberative, discipline, focus, responsibility, and restorative.

People who are innately good at influencing are always selling the team’s ideas inside and outside the organization. When you need someone to take charge, speak up, and make sure your group is heard, look to someone with the strength to influence. Talent themes include activator, command, communication, competition, maximizer, self-assurance, significance, and woo (winning others over).

Relationship Building
Relationship builders are the glue that holds a team together. Strengths associated with bringing people together—whether by keeping distractions at bay or keeping the collective energy high—transform a group of individuals into a team capable of carrying out complex projects and goals. Talent themes include adaptability, connectedness, developer, empathy, harmony, include, individualization, positivity, and relator.

Strategic Thinking
Strategic thinkers are able to keep people focused on what they could be and are constantly pulling a team and its members into the future. They continually absorb and analyze information and help the team make better decisions. Talent themes include analytical, context, futuristic, ideation, input, intellection, learner, and strategic.
The easiest way to understand talent application is with an example. And since we all have personal relationships, let’s see if we can relate this this one.

The Exercise Bike
A husband and wife purchase an exercise bike that comes in a box and must be assembled. The husband has activator as one of his top five talents. The activator talent is best described as “impatient for action; they are willing to start without knowing all the information or details—they just know they must get started to make things happen.” Activator is not as high on the wife’s talent profile, but her top talents of discipline (highly organized) and strategic (understand the big picture) in conjunction with his activator talent often make mini-projects a lot fun for them.

When the box arrives the husband rips the box open (not opening it by the seams, mind you—he just rips the top and down the edges in any random way so right off the bat, the wife who loves order starts hyperventilating) and lays all the parts out on the floor. Because the bike is for the wife, she has the task of putting it together. Meanwhile the husband sits in the chair and provides commentary.

Because she is organized (that’s the talent of discipline, which is in her top 10) she first gets out the instruction manual and begins to follow the instructions as they are presented. Mr. Backseat Driver over on the couch says things like, “I’d put the seat on first.” But you see, that’s not what the instructions said to do first. Then the husband says, “See that piece fits into that piece over there and slides into the slot.” Meanwhile the wife is trying to keep her focus (and sanity) and follow the instructions!

The husband is a mechanic who spent years assembling and tearing down equipment and was paid by how fast he could do it. So he is hard wired (i.e. it’s his strength) to just jump in and start assembling—he doesn’t even know if there were instructions in the box. But the wife is most comfortable laying out a plan and following it.

Now, you may relate to either the wife or the husband but understand, both approaches are correct. That is what is key about talents. Talents allow us to work in the way that makes us most comfortable—not the other person working on the project. The husband is comfortable just winging it so he can get started; the wife is more comfortable laying out a plan first. The goal is to find a comfortable place where these two talents can coexist.

At Work
The same type of situations can occur at work. What happens when you work with someone who has a natural talent that collides with yours? What if your project has someone who’s a planner and you’re an activator? How do you keep your sanity?
Even if you don’t know your talents, you know who you like working with and who you don’t, right? The key is understanding that it’s not about you—I know, shocker! The other person is not trying to make your life miserable. He or she is working the way that comes naturally. Keeping that in mind, it becomes easier to shift focus on the end goal and have each person contribute in the way that works best for him or her. This is not easy and not for the impatient but developing this skill is what will take you from a contributor or manager to a leader. So next time someone approaches something differently than the way you would, tell yourself that this is your leadership moment. Focus on the end goal and provide the space where each can contribute in the way that comes naturally to them.

My Case Study
My top five talents are harmony, relator, achiever, includer, and positivity. My boss has arranger as one of her top talents. When I create a PowerPoint presentation, I often pass it through her to make sure she agrees with the order of the presentation. It comes naturally to her and, because it’s included in one of her top talents, gives her adrenaline. I, on the other hand, am a people person. Four of my top five talents fall under the category of relationship building. If you want to talk to a group and get everyone on board, I’m your person.

That’s how it works. There are no right or wrong talents. Just because a talent is not in your top five doesn’t mean you don’t have it. It just means it doesn’t come naturally for you. It will be harder, take more time, and zap your energy for you to complete the task. It doesn’t mean you can’t balance the checkbook; it just means some people love to do it and some procrastinate until the bank calls. You know who you are.

Do you want to find out your top talents? Visit gallupstrengthscenter.com for more information or to take the assessment and start matching the talents of your team.
StrengthsFinder is a great tool to leadership. The key is not trying to change people—for example putting the people person in a room by themselves doing data entry. But rather our task as leaders is to fit the right talent fit for the task needed. Don Clifton’s results from his life-long study was that successful companies don’t just tolerate differences in people; they capitalize on them. How you are capitalizing on the talents of your team will be fundamental to the outcome.

TPP-2017-11 Strength and Harmony

DIANE C. CONFER, CAPP, CPA is director of campus services and parking and transportation at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She can be reached at dconfer@mdanderson.org.