717 Parking: A Company That’s Passionate About Parking
By John Van Horn
“It’s all about passion. Passion for a company, passion for our customers, passion for our employees, and passion for parking,” said Jason Accardi, CEO, and his identical twin brother John Accardi, COO, of 717 Parking Enterprises, in talking with Parking Today about their family, their company, and their life.
“I’m proud that we are unique. My brother and I founded this company 21 years ago. Today, it is still privately held,” explains Jason.
“We offer an old-fashioned touch, and our customers feel it. My brother and I have put our heart and souls into this company. We are growing in 17 states, with over 3,000 employees, and in more than 500 locations.
“It’s not just about parking cars, but how you interact with a particular customer -- hotel guests, hospital patients, people who park in our garages and on our lots. Each customer has different and unique needs, and we train our employees to cater to each individual and these needs,” states John.
The Accardi brothers are intimately involved in the company’s day-to-day activities nationwide, exercising hands-on management techniques. Jason said the company is growing organically. It is organized; it looks inward for its wisdom.
“Our senior management has a long history with us. Some have been here five years, most for more, and many for 20 years. Our father, John Sr., has been an integral part of our growth and success as an organization, serving as Senior Vice President.”
717 Parking is growing, and in the present economy, Jason and John talked about growth without acquisition.
“The people who run this company are service-oriented parking people. We live parking, we love parking. It’s not part of a multi-faceted publicly traded corporation.
“When you deal with 717 Parking and its employees, you get a warm, family feeling. When you want to talk to the owners, you can just pick up the phone.”
Jason and John also own and operate two sister companies, Hospital Parking Management and Bay-to-Bay Transportation Services. The former provides an array of parking services for businesses in the healthcare industry, while the latter performs transportation services.
“We’re not just another service provider,” John said. “We own and operate our facilities, and we provide staff and consultation services to our clients. Over the past 20 years, we’ve learned a lot through firsthand experience.
“We have become a one-stop shop in the parking industry. We are structured, balanced and mature, yet still we continue to grow and learn.”
When 717 needed a Sr. Vice President of Operations, they reached out – internally and promoted within the company. Jeff Kilcoyne came to 717 Parking over 20 years ago as a valet attendant working his way up and has been with the company ever since. Currently, Jeffrey is responsible for nationwide operations and overseeing our team of area and regional managers. His ability to quickly understand an operation and put in place what is necessary to ensure guaranteed success has made Jeffrey a valuable asset to our company.
“I believe the most important reason people come to 717 Parking, and more importantly stay, is that our company is people orientated. I am proud to have been with this company for so long. There is not only evidence of being rewarded for my hard work and dedication but, most importantly, a feeling of reward and success when dealing with satisfied clients and customers,” stated Jeff Kilcoyne.
“When a client encounters an issue, they call us, and we go to the facility,” Jason said. “We’ll do a complete analysis and give them the information they need to make knowledgeable decisions about the business, including which equipment and services would best fit their facility. We are available to our customers 24/7.”
Train, Train, Train
The Accardis and their team developed extensive training programs designed to ensure that employees’ service and performance are top-notch.
“The proprietary programs are called Seven One Seven Hospitality Informational Training (717-HIT) and Hospital Parking Management Information Training (HPM-IT). “We implement them because they work,” John said.
One of their main points is continual learning. Rather than training people for one day and throwing them onto the front line, the programs focus on continuous updates and long-term development.
The programs, which ensure all guidelines are adhered to, also emphasize daily involvement from the management team. “Constant interaction and efficient communication between each level of employees are essential to a business’ success,” Jason said.
According to the Accardis and their team, the programs solved what was once one of the company’s most pressing issues -- finding qualified staff.
“One of our biggest challenges was finding energetic people who were willing to do everything necessary to take 717 Parking and its divisions to the next level,” John said. “Through a mixture of on-site and classroom training, our employees become dedicated to our company’s mission and aware of what it takes to make well-informed decisions.”
To assess employees, the company sets up goals and objectives at the beginning of each year, quarter and month. Jason Accardi said these goals provide both the management team and staff with challenges that test their abilities and commitment to the job at hand.
If employees at the company exceed expectations, they are quickly promoted. “Loyalty means a lot to us,” Jason said. “We are loyal to our customers, and we are loyal to our employees. If someone is working hard and providing excellent service to our clients, we recognize that and reward them.”
Loyalty also is shown to the company’s vendors, which the Accardis actively seek.
“By aligning ourselves with strong vendors and being actively involved in national associations, we have the opportunity to stay abreast of current parking management trends,” John said. “We can monitor the competition to make sure we are one step ahead. We aim to have the latest technology.”
As owners of one of the largest privately held parking companies in the United States, Jason and John Accardi are members of several organizations, including the National Parking Association, where Jason sits on its Board of Directors; the International Parking Institute, Florida Parking Association; and the National Valet Parking Association.
“By staying up with trends in the parking and service industries, we not only arrive at first-class solutions, we implement them,” Jason said. As a result, 717 Parking is passionately focused 100% on the parking business, bringing a level of expertise to each of their clients in all facets of the service industry.
“This knowledge allows our clients to depend on 717 Parking and its divisions to solve challenges, make suggestions to improve operations, and look for ways to decrease costs of operation,” John said.
Both brothers agree that, “The future of our company is very promising.” Jason stated, “Our current clients are very supportive, and they continually refer us to other companies and businesses. We are truly fortunate for their long-lasting loyalty and referrals.”
John Van Horn is the founder, publisher and editor of Parking Today. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article Abstract from October, 2011