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Panel Perspective - Newbies of Parking

July, 2022

Mathew Magno

I am still new to the parking industry, but a few weeks ago, I had an amazing opportunity to speak on a panel at the 2022 Parking Industry Expo in good ol’ Reno, Nevada. 


It’s not in me to flaunt, but I sat alongside many of the brightest and newer brains of this parking industry, on a panel called the “Newbies of Parking.” When I told my friends and family, they joked and thought it was definitely not flattering to be part of the “Newbies” in the industry, but I looked at it differently. I took pride in that I am part of a newer generation of parking. Perhaps, a generation that is taking some of the old school methodologies and making them a bit sexier? 


We had the amazing Brandy Stanley, from the City of Las Vegas, moderating and asking questions that would pose the new school concepts vs. the old school methodologies. As I sat on stage, nervously trying to answer questions like, “What technologies in the industry are going to be obsolete?” and “What does your company have in place for an exit strategy?” I peered out into the audience and noticed something interesting. 


Now, as someone that is very perceptive, I like to gauge the audience, see what they like, and play off of that. But seeing that the room was mixed with so much diversity from age, sex, gender, race, I noticed that at some point, the audience was still very divided. Many (younger generation) were agreeing with what we were saying; at other times, many (older generation) shook their heads with disagreement when hearing our answers. 


Again, I am about four years into this industry, so I like to think that I am friends with the older and newer generations of parking. To be frankly honest, I even thought about that while I was on stage. 


It was at this point that I realized I should speak from my heart. I just did not want to mold my answers based on the audience’s liking. So, I did. I talked about being one of the leaders that is pushing a monotonous industry to be more efficient. I talked about how I honestly believe that it’s about cohesiveness to solve these huge problems in the parking world and it’s not about dividing this industry into old vs. new. Let’s take a little bit and learn from the old methodologies and merge that with some newer concepts or technologies. All generations of parking need to work well together. 


It’s not about saying that everything made by these “legacy” parking companies is old and outdated, or that every new technology coming out will solve all problems. In order to have great change and to be pioneers of parking, we have to know exactly the problems we are tackling and why certain solutions work differently for certain customers. Like, why gate barrier arms are still important and worth having in some places or why data for parking is extremely important for a lot of operations. 


Technology is changing at a rapid speed, so fast that it is hard to keep up at times. With better battery lengths, more accuracy, and more data, change is definitely coming. As the “New School of Parking,” we need to learn from the older generations of parking and all that they have done for this industry. 


I mean, they are the ones that know about it the most and shaped it into what it is today. But it is also our responsibility to educate all generations about the “new” and help spread adoption of these technologies to be more equitable across all demographics. We simply cannot shove our new products down people’s throats and say “this will solve all your problems.”


Change is difficult. We get it. One of the biggest challenges of change is that a lot of people are not ready for it or are unwilling to do it. I know that the parking industry is changing and changing quickly. I’ve seen it myself, from technology and policies to even the process of parking. Is the old school ready to educate the new school and is the new school ready to learn from the old timers so we can start innovating and solving parking? 


That is the bigger question to me. Let’s bridge this gap and see what the Old School and New School can really do together. 


Mathew Magno is the CEO and Co-founder of Japa, Inc. Mathewmagno@japa.one 



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