If You Can't Do, Teach
November, 2004If you can't do, teach. That line is bandied about from time to time. I was raised by a teacher and, frankly, find that line insulting. My mother was a professional, and there are hundreds of kids who are what they are today because of the direction she gave them
Ah, you say, but consulting is different from teaching. (In case you hadn't noticed, this is our Consulting issue.) Some blowhard comes in, collects a big fee, runs off a specification on a word processor, and then leaves me holding the bag.
Often, you say, they recommend not what fits my needs, but something that a slick salesman has sold them. They seem to think that one size fits all and never listen to what I need. They could probably phone in the results of their consulting.
I'm sure the above scenario has happened, and probably more than once. However, if this happens to you, I think it's your problem, not theirs.
There are incompetent members of every profession. Your job is to weed them out.
Forget the name of the company or the thickness of their proposal. Talk to your friends in the industry. Find some people who have used a consulting firm in the past, and then check it out. It's often worth more than a phone call.
Go see the results of the consultant's work. Take a tour of the garage or check out the revenue control system or speak to the people who were trained. If your work has to do with setting up procedures or redesigning lighting or wayfinding, go see what has been done and talk to the people using the results of the consult.
Then make your decision. No one can help you with your consultant more than someone who has used their services.
I spent a week at the British Parking Association Parkex show in the UK in September. It was in Manchester, the UK's third largest city. Manchester is in a bit of a revival. It is a "rust belt" city in Northern England and shows the wear of 200 years of industrial activity.
The BPA, however, took the place by storm. Hiring a professional company to run the show, they concentrated on their training and information sessions. They filled the GMEX center, a converted Victorian train station, with booths from all over the UK, and a few from Europe, too. Check out the pics and story elsewhere in this issue of PT.
An email from the past hit my hard drive the other day. An old friend from Apcoa surfaced. John Clancy, who ran the company's service and maintenance department, as well as designing much of its revenue control lanes and writing much of its specifications during the '70s and '80s, dropped me a cute letter (see Letters to the Editor). He also sent a couple of pictures. John told me that he wasn't sure why Apcoa had used that pix of him in a company newsletter, but he didn't like it. He sent in two; they are nearby. Can you can figure out which one is John?
PT is on the road. We will be or have been in attendance at a number of regional parking events, including the N.Y. State Parking Association, the Middle Atlantic Parking Association/Virginias meetings, the Carolina/Georgia joint event, and the California Parking Association. If you see one of us at your group, come up and say hi.
We normally don't have an issue in December, but we are adding a new issue this year. The December issue will be expanded to include about 3,000 new subscribers in the college/university arena. They are chiefs of police and security personnel in those institutions that have not only safety and security responsibilities, but also parking responsibilities.
See you next month.