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Point of View

Moonshine, My ID, Knowledge as King and Consultants

John Van Horn

The local law enforcement folks in North Carolina arrested 71 people on various charges, including drinking moonshine, at a country music concert in Roanoke Rapids. The arrests were minor, but the mason jars were in abundance at the Hank Williams concert, at least in the parking lot.
If you thought that the creation of illegal liquor went out of style with Prohibition, you are obviously wrong. The stills are still working in the hills of North Carolina and at other select locations in the South. And why does anyone care? Taxes, of course. It’s not the police that go after the moonlight distillers of that fabled clear liquid; it’s the alcohol law enforcement agents.
But just think, if there were no parking lots, there would be no place to hold tailgate parties, and no place for the local constabulary to come around and bust fun-loving concert-goers. We provide the venue; our customers provide the rest.
***
I recently flew from Tampa to Baltimore. I stopped off at the Charlotte, NC, airport on business, but didn’t have to leave the secure side of the airport. When I arrived at BWI, I rented a car. I use Budget’s Fast Track, meaning I simply go to the car, get in and drive out. When I got to the gate, I reached for my ID to show the attendant, and sure enough, it wasn’t there. I pulled out of line, searched every square inch of clothing, baggage, nothing.
I went back in, and with my internationally known charm was able to rent the car with a photo ID from Costco. But now what – I had a much bigger problem. I was driving up to Newark, NJ, seeing folks along the way, and then had to GET ON AN AIRPLANE with no ID.
I called American Airlines and they told me to take all the ID I had and hope for the best However, then I remembered that a few years ago my bank or someone needed me to fax a copy of my driver’s license and passport. I had scanned them and they were in my PC.
So, I printed out a copy of each. Went up to the folks at the security checkpoint just like I knew what I was doing. I had a dilemma. There were two people there. One looked as if he had an IQ of about room temperature; the other, a woman, looked pretty sharp. I took the woman. She looked at the stuff I had, looked at me, thought about it for about 10 seconds, and then let me through.
I guess the fact I wasn’t a 70-year-old grandmother, a 6-month-old baby or a nun ensured that I didn’t fit the profile.
Oh, yes – I went the next day to the DMV for a replacement. I was amazed. All the rumors about the horrors of the place are over the top. I went in, without an appointment. It’s fully automated – at least as far as organizing the waiting lines are concerned. I was given a number. When it came up on a display, I went to a counter. The person took care of me in about three minutes. Total time, in and out, 20 minutes.
Somebody has done something right.
***
Jim Meany and John Morgan were my hosts at Metric. Their digs are a bit hard to find, but when I got there, we spent a wonderful hour or so talking about parking.
Jim is certain that “knowledge is king” in our industry. Being able to collect data and then understand them enables parking pros in every part of the industry to do their jobs better and make more money. We talked about how things such as understanding what spaces were being used more than others or which spaces had been paid were virtually impossible just a few years ago. But with the onset of smaller and smaller computers, and the wi-fi communications networks, satellite technology and the like, we can have data at our fingertips.
Our discussion rounded to understanding the data. That, we agreed, was the problem. The industry can supply the data, tons of it. In many cases, the data can be easy to read and understand. However, turning it into knowledge is another matter. That takes folks who know how to interpret the data.
***
I also stopped off in Morristown, NJ, to see the folks at Parkeon. They have added Nancy Rieti as new head of marketing staff in the US. She is sharp, thoughtful and impressive. My guess is we are going to see some movement out of the company in the coming year. She’s new, but she’ll be completely up-to-speed soon.

Article Abstract from November, 2006




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