Magazine

A Consulting Stream of Consciousness

As part of the Consultant’s Issue of Parking Today, we reached out
to industry consultants for their thoughts on consulting. Here is the result:

A consultant to me is person that will provide answers to technical questions. As a result, a consultant will need to have a broad knowledge of the area he is known to be good at. Not only on a specific topic, (that would be a PhD) but be an expert on a wide range of problems. So a consultant can be defined as someone knowledgeable in broad areas.
On the other hand, how can one become a consultant? A consultant will need to be able to learn and excel in any problems that he or she encounters. A consultant will have the unique quality of being able to analyze and then resolve problems. Therefore, with time a good consultant will become better and broader in his ability to assist his/her clients.…K. Nam Shiu, S.E., P.E.,Vice President, Walker Restoration Consultants

A parking consultant is one of the hardest jobs out there in one respect: everyone is a parking consultant. I only say that because everyone uses parking facilities and therefore everyone is an expert on what is a good or bad parking facility. As such, many clients have preconceived ideas of what makes a good parking facility – no matter how ill informed that idea may be. It’s our job as parking consultant to not only lead them to the water but also to convince them to drink.…Matt Feagans,
Walter P Moore

The largest issue we see going into a new consulting project with a client is difficulty rounding up all the information we need to effectively assess the parking situation to be studied. Our advice to clients is to get your parking operator or administrative staff to collect information a consultant requests prior to the site visit and forward all of it to the consultant. This saves the cost of having to pay for a consultant’s time on-site while the requested materials are being gathered. Furthermore, providing the consultant with all the materials beforehand will allow the consultant to provide an in-depth review of the project and effectively address the solutions to the problem at hand.…Lynne M. Schumal MPM, Principal, Advanced Parking Solutions LLC

When I took over as president of my predecessor firm with whom I worked a total of 46 years, I had a difficult time dealing with rejection when we didn’t get hired following a competitive presentation. The feeling of rejection hung on for at least a week. It was destroying me. I figured out a way to cope with the situation. From then on whenever we lost a project, I just said to myself. “They weren’t a very smart client. If they were smart they would have recognized us as the best Firm that was interviewed. I’m glad that they didn’t hire us. We don’t want to work for clients that aren’t smart”.
I urge beginning consultants to adopt this philosophy. It really worked for me.…Larry Donoghue, Larry Donoghue and
Associates

I became a parking consultant because I believe that a bad or even mediocre parking experience is NOT an option. A parking facility exists primarily so that people can park their cars. If the facility can’t provide the user with a good experience, then it has failed to accomplish its main purpose. It is our duty as parking consultants to provide owners with facilities that work right the first time around.…Laura I. Barbero-Buffa, Parking Consulting Services, WALTER P MOORE

A great part of consulting is developing new ways to gather, analyze and interpret data. You can shed new light on existing problems or conditions, so your clients get a better understanding of the “real” versus the “perceived”. This helps clients make better decisions and saves their money in the long run, and so their customers and constituencies all gain by it.…Joseph P. Sciulli, Vice President and Senior Operations Consultant, CHANCE Management Advisors, Inc.

It is said that a consultant just is someone who looks at your watch and tells you what time it is. But the consultant will also tell you how to maintain your watch, when to get a new on, how much new one is going to cost, and how to pay for it.…Chuck Cullen, Director of Parking Consulting Services, The
Consulting Engineers Group, Inc.

I have always enjoyed teaching, whether with coworkers or in a structured classroom setting. As a consultant I share my knowledge and expertise to a varied group of truly interested people; even with my exciting specialty of parking. In a sense I have become a full-time teacher with better pay. Although… I might enjoy the three months off each summer.
The reward for me is communicating successfully the characteristics of good parking design and witnessing the client’s appreciation as the project comes to life. We now have a believer who may be as passionate about parking as we are. Conversely, when this area of the design is neglected the overall project experience is affected in a negative way.
Why become a consultant? To share the passion!…Michael L. Johnson, Senior Associate, WALTER P MOORE.

Article Abstract from November, 2006




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