California Association Focuses On Lobbyists, Networking, Training
January, 2006PT met with board members of the California Public Parking Association at their annual convention in November in San Francisco. Those in the discussion are shown in the photo nearby. The quotes came fast and furious, and are not attributed to any individual. Editor
"Our goals include training, networking and legislation." Thus, the conversation with members of the CPPA board got off to a start. "We want to get people to feel better about what they do, and through training and networking, we can accomplish that."
"The success of our event is due to the high quality of the product we produce. Not only do we have a really viable trade show, we also have seminars and speakers that relate directly to the needs of our members."
"Networking is a main goal." Members of the CPPA often come into their jobs with little or no experience in parking. The association provides a network so newcomers can seek out people with similar problems and discuss solutions. "We provide a knowledge base for the membership."
"Often, CPPA members have issues in procurement. The trade show gives them an opportunity to see the different products on the market and generally to make choices." The trade shows such as the CPPA's are supported by manufacturers' local representatives, the very people who will be dealing with the purchasers. Rather than meeting the National Sales Manager or President at the trade show, the members talk to the people who will be following up at their offices.
"We interact with the state government. Our lobbyist is our largest expense." Since virtually all the members are either cities or universities, their activities are directly affected by state legislation. The CPPA helps mold legislation that makes sense to its membership.
"The CPPA is more than parking. We are part of the transportation infrastructure, and our discussions reach many of the problems faced by the membership. For instance, we have a seminar on bicycles. More and more transportation issues are affecting parking."
"We focus on communication. Our Web site (www.cppaparking.org) has been newly renovated. We think that it's important to make it easy for our members to communicate. We have a fancy in-house list server so a member can e-mail one, a group or the entire membership with questions."
California is a big state, and the association moves its annual meeting each year between the San Francisco Bay area in the north and Los Angeles/San Diego in the south.
"Our next project is to set up more smaller training programs around the state to make it convenient for members and their staffs to attend. Training, networking, legislation. That tells the story."