Don Fickert, UMB Parking Director
The parking industry has lost a ‘pioneer’ in our chosen field. Donald Fickert, retired from the U.S. Air Force as Master Sergeant after 21 years of dedicated service and as Director of Parking at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (25+ years).
Don was appointed Director of Parking in 1982. He maintained his new duties in the same fashion in which he performed in his military posts. After 25+ years, he decided that it was time to move on and enjoy his wife and family in a more relaxing environment. During his service to his country, his wife and children were given the amazing opportunity of traveling from coast to coast as well as foreign countries. Throughout this time he made sure that his family was able to experience the locals wherever they lived. Trips, family picnics, horseback riding, etc., were just a few of the experiences of Don’s children. Each of his four children knew at his core he loved them and protected them. The 57 years of his marriage with his wife, Bette, were the best years of his life, although there were many challenges along the way.
Under Don’s tutelage, the Parking Office began its impressionable growth. The next 25+ years produced newly constructed schools, fiscal growth in expansion of the campus; job opportunities, research facilities; student housing; construction of parking facilities; academic opportunities; interdisciplinary campus programs etc. As each facet of this growth came to fruition, the campus’ Parking Office was faced with the responsibility for assuring parking to all faculty, staff, students, patients, and guests.
This was a tremendous task but under Don’s leadership, PTS rose to the occasion. His knowledge of his chosen field was instrumental in forging ahead to lay the groundwork for a stable and role model organization. Along the way, Don completed the International Parking Institute CAPP Program and was one of the original founding members of the Middle Atlantic Parking Association. Additionally, in 1994, Don was the first to implement a complicated system (PARCS) with the ability for contract parkers to switch from one garage to another during the same day. More importantly, his contributions to parking operations, nationally, has earned him the admiration and respect of his peers and those who have supported him throughout the years.
Don refused to back down from a challenge and he did not associate himself with the word “can’t.” One philosophical phrase of Don’s was “I don’t care who did it, just fix it.” There are many accolades one could produce to define this gentleman; however, I think it best to end with a final good-bye and thank you for being our friend.
By Mary Ann Hicks and Pat Maloney,
University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Article Abstract from April, 2014