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The Right Stuff

Wednesday was General Chuck Yeager’s 96th birthday. He is without a doubt the leader in courage when it comes to flight. Being the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound, he cleared the path for test pilots and astronauts that followed.

Tom Wolf coined the term “The Right Stuff” to describe what let the seven Mercury Astronauts to risk everything.

According to Wikipedia, Wolfe wrote that the book was inspired by the desire to find out why the astronauts accepted the danger of space flight. He recounts the enormous risks that test pilots were already taking, and the mental and physical characteristics—the titular “right stuff”—required for and reinforced by their jobs. Wolfe likens the astronauts to “single combat warriors” from an earlier era who received the honor and adoration of their people before going forth to fight on their behalf.

Yeager himself downplayed the theory of “the right stuff”, attributing his survival of potential catastrophes to simply knowing his airplane thoroughly, along with some good luck.

I will tell you one thing – if you ever visited the air and space museum and took a close look at the original Mercury capsule, you would begin to get a bit of a feel for what those heroes risked. The thing looked like it was put together in someone’s garage using spare parts.

Heroes in battle are said to act as they do as a reaction to the moment. Adrenaline charged, they just ‘do’ it, without a lot of thought to their personal safety. Test pilots and astronauts had plenty of time to consider their safety, their families, and their future. They looked at the fragile machines they flew and then decided to go anyway.

Do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.

General Chuck Yeager

When we take risks and fail. We can ‘pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.” The Chuck Yeagers of the world don’t have that luxury in the event of failure.

Happy Birthday Chuck, and all the best to you and the heroes you spawned. You truly have “The Right Stuff.”


h/t: Joe Sciulli and Clyde Wilson

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There Really Is a PIE in the Sky

When we started the Parking Industry Expo nearly two decades ago we didn’t at first realize that the acronym PIE would take on such a life of its own. The second year, we had a cover shot of a giant apple pie hovering over Chicago like an alien space craft (Thank you photoshop.)

NOTE: The Dates are for 1999 – PIE this year is March 11-14, 2019

Today, PIE has become a part of the parking lexicon. Tom Cramer over at Rydin Decal blogged the following:

I started at Rydin as a Print Production Planner. After 6 months, I was asked to attend a local trade show, called PIE! Visions of Peach, Dutch Apple and French Silk danced through my head.

As I translated the acronym in my head, the images of tasty desserts faded away, and my stomach rumbled in protest.

I attended a session aimed at colleges and universities. The presenter oversaw Parking and Transportation for a large university, including a hospital. After a short introduction, he went to a dry erase board and wrote down one word: politics. His message was that he had a lot of other departments to communicate with in order to get things done. I had already worked on plenty of parking related orders, including permits, warning stickers, tow signs and citation forms. But I never thought about the real-world applications of these products, or the policies they meant to support.

You can read all of his thoughts about PIE over at parknews.biz. Thanks Tom. Look me up at PIE and I’ll see what I can do about finding that pastry to help you celebrate.

To join Tom, me and 1000 others for a taste of PIE 2019 click here.


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An Invitation… Midwestern Parking Resource Forum

This is an event where agencies of all sizes can come together and discuss common problems and solutions. Moderated by Julie Dixon, the program mirrors similar extremely successful events that are hosted throughout the year in Northern and Southern California. The informal discussion provides the opportunity to share your experiences and resolve challenges facing your parking operations.

Whether you are a parking manager, enforcement officer, police official in charge of parking, a parking department manager, a meter technician or just someone who is involved with parking, this Forum is for you.

Come with your managers, your senior staff, or attend alone. Take an afternoon and bring your parking experience for this open discussion. It’s a great way to spend a Monday afternoon.

Vendors, you are welcome – but remember, there’s no sales pitch.  This is an opportunity to hear how your resources are experienced by the people who support and operate them.

As a Midwest Parking Forum inaugural offer, along with your registration for this free event, you will be provided a complimentary pass to visit the PIE Exhibit Floor for Tuesday and Wednesday.

For more information about the Parking Industry Expo, log on to pieshow.parkingtoday.com. To register click here.

When registering use the code below — Its easy and its FREE
Select Monday sessions and Exhibits Only options at registration.

Apply the code: PIE2019-DIXON-FORUM (at the REVIEW section) to take advantage of your complimentary registration. Having trouble or questions, call me at 310 625 5724. Want to handle it by email — send your full information and questions to jvh@parkingtoday.com. We will take care of everything.


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PIE 2019 – A Resource to help you Win the Smart Parking Smart City Challenge

You can be the leader in your community in the Smart Parking Smart City arena. The Parking Industry Expo 2019 will give you the tools to make that job easier. Sessions from the Midwest Parking Resource Forum which brings real life solutions to on and off street parking issues, to using algorithms to predict space availability, to the use of a data lake to increase revenue and service, to parking analytics and smart parking will educate and inform.

Plus there is an entire half day with one presentation after another featuring Mobility as a Service, a deep dive into Artificial Intelligence, ways to future proof your smart parking/city infrastructure by Verizon, and a keynote by the US Department of Transportation on just how the DOT manages transportation and parking security and how it is affecting the Smart Parking/Smart City environment.

Smart Parking is more than just a buzzword. It is a way you can raise the relevance of your parking operation in the Smart City environment. At least half the seminars at PIE 2019 are designed to give you a better insight into this complex world and show ways to navigate the mysteries surrounding both technology and management of the “Smart” parking and municipal world.

Check out PIE 2019 at pieshow.parkingtoday.com or click here to register. The Parking Industry Expo is March 11-14 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare adjacent to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

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Communications and Trust

Over on Parknews.biz there’s a great article on the differences we can expect in office culture in the next decade. There are five areas of concern, but I would like to focus on the two mentioned in the headline above.

The article said that communications skills would become problematic, primarily due to the way offices are designed. The socalled “open plan” where everyone sits in bull pen like cubicles and wear noise cancelling headphones to keep their sanity also means that staff members will have a tendency to text or email the person sitting next to them rather than simply tap a shoulder and ask a question.

That change from verbal to electronic communications is deadly, as it prevents the practice we get in normal verbal communications and we develop an entire generation of people who simply can’t talk to one another. Clarity is gone. And we become afraid of actually speaking to one another. Yikes.

Likewise the advent of AI and Machine Learning means that very little employees do will not be exposed to sunlight and the boss’s overview. Although that means that companies will be able to use data to increase productivity, it also means that the element of trust that develops between employee and employer will be at risk. Something to think about.

There are so many good things that come from the smart phone and technology, but we can also lose our ability to interact with those around us except through some high tech gizmo.

Just sayin…


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Who’s Emotional Button Pusher? PIE 2019

Is there someone in your work life who just knows how to goad you? Within in minutes of any given exchange, you find yourself perhaps frustrated or shut down?  In our leadership development world, we call these folks “Emotional Button Pushers”.    We may promise ourselves that the next exchange with this particular profile, it’s going to be different and yet inevitably we end up in the same place.  Sometimes in these situations, our emotions can get the better of us and we end up saying something we regret later.  In the Emotional Intelligence (EI) world, experts call those moments an “Emotional Highjack”.  Interestingly enough, our bodies physically warn us of those moments before we hit the point of no return: there’s a change of voice tone or volume, faces feel flushed, palms sweaty, etc., it’s literally our physical selves warning: Danger! Danger! Turn around before it’s too late!

 During my presentation at this year’s PIE Show and Exhibition on March 13th we’ll review different behavioral profiles and articulate to ourselves which ones push our personal emotional buttons and which ones swim easily in our same lane.  More importantly, we discuss ways to manage ourselves through any situation so we handle these emotional highjacks better and avoid agenda derailments like having to apologize for popping off!

Colleen Niese

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You Still Have to Pay for the Transit Part

San Diego is joining a long list of cities changing the way they are looking at parking requirements. Check out the article on parknews.biz.

I think cities need to be careful. First of all, removing parking requirements (two spaces per apartment, etc) is a fantastic idea. It drives up the cost of housing and limits the number of units built due to the increased cost of building parking. However requiring developers to limit parking is a step too far.

This is a decision that should be left to the developer, not city bureaucrats. If the city begins to require developers to limit spaces, or unbundle parking and the cost of the apartment, or require car sharing or bike sharing as a part of the development, it seems to me that some of the same factors that limit construction may come into play.

Banks look to a development as it relates to its long term success. If they feel that limiting parking or how it is paid will change the possibility of the projects success, they may be more picky as to the loans they fund, or perhaps will fund at a higher interest rate because of the risk involved.

The goal of the city is to reduce the number of vehicles in its sphere and become less auto centric. It wants higher density of people living per square mile and wants them to use public transportation, bikes, Uber, or walk. Fair enough. But it has to be prepared to supply that transportation in a fashion that is convenient and easy to use.

For high density compact central cities like New York, Boston, San Francisco, or downtown Chicago, DC, or yes even San Diego the concept may be workable. However placing such requirements on developments in remote areas like Kearney Mesa in San Diego, the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, or even outlying areas of New York or Boston without first having transportation in place seems a bit over the top.

A friend asked me how cities were going to pay for transit systems at cost upwards of a billion dollars a mile. Where is the money coming from? Its nice to say and plan for transit oriented development, but you still have to have the transit part.


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Lights! RFID! Enforcement!

Want to learn everything there is to know about RFID and get college credit too? How about giving a lighting manufacturer feedback on their products (and a free lunch)? Want to meet with your peers and discuss all aspects of on and off street revenue control, enforcement, and tech?  Its all piece of this year’s PIE.

Tres is leading two two-hour sessions covering all aspects of RFID equipment and installation. The course will include principles, installation, trouble shooting, and the tags themselves. After completing a short test at the end of the session, participants will receive 2 continuing education credits. The Morning class is Monday, March 11 at 8 am, the second on Monday at 1 PM.

Kenall Manufacturing is hosting a focus group regarding parking technology. They are looking for 10 participants who can provide insight and feedback on today’s parking garage technology benefits and challenges. This 2-hour session will be held over lunch on Tuesday, March 12th, from Noon – 2 pm.

Julie Dixon will be hosting the mid Western version of her wildly popular Parking Resource Forum. She has been holding the forums in Northern and Southern California for the past five years and is now looking forward to meeting parking pros in the Chicagoland area. Topic to be discussed include your challenges with technology, vendor management, maintenance, reconciliation, security, enforcement and resources. Great for networking, fun and free.  Monday March 11 at 1 pm.

Our goal this year is to provide something different for PIE attendees. Click HERE to get all the info. No more of the same old same old.


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Its Time to Play Offense

I was supposed to fly to Chicago on Tuesday for an interview with Yona Shtern, CEO of newly branded Arrive (Formerly parkwhiz). Yona, whose home is in Montreal was flying in from Canada. Both of us found that the cold snap in the windy city was too much for reasonable travel so we retrenched and did the interview on Zoom (sort of an upmarket Skype that works.)

Yona believes that the parking industry has been rather defensive over the past decade. We have been cowering from possible attacks from autonomous vehicles, MaaS, the uber/lyft phenomena, and generally have a less than positive outlook on the future.

He told me that its time for the industry to play offense. Rather than hunker down and follow a business as usual plan, we must make sure we are part of the solution. The goal must be to embrace the technology that will make parking safer, faster, easier, and more reliable for drivers.

Whether we like it or not, the driver of today is most often ‘connected’ through their smart phone and we need to work with the automobile companies to move that connection to the car itself so the driver can have a seamless experience from the time they awake in the morning til they are home at night. Most things we experience today are “connected” whether it has to do with banking, shopping, entertainment, health care, and yes, driving.

Yona sees parking as being at the center of ‘mobility’ and its time we as an industry realized that.   

To learn more of Yona’s ideas about the industry, read the March issue of Parking Today.


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Can you really meet 30 people in 90 minutes? Yep at PIE

Studies have shown that you ‘size someone up’ in anywhere from one to seven seconds. It may be unfortunate, but that’s how it goes. Think about it. When you see someone on the street, or in business, like it or not, you almost immediately create an image of them that you take forward in the relationship. It’s how we are wired.

So, if you are in a situation where you have only a very few minutes to get to know someone, to determine whether or not you want to continue the conversation, that first seven seconds is important. If, as in the case of speed networking at PIE, you have three minutes, the following 173 seconds is important, too.Shake their hand, listen to their name and repeat it back to them (its said that the most beautiful sound you hear is your own name), ask a question that can be answered in a sentence or two (Where are your from – company or city – what do you do – how can I help you – I have a problem, can you help me?

You will learn so much about a person by how they answer those questions and the questions they ask you. And yes, then you can decide if you want to take the conversation further. If you do – set a time to see them again – I’ll see you in the exhibit hall this afternoon – there’s a party tonight, I’m sure I’ll see you there  — So in so is speaking tomorrow at 9, will you be attending?

Or, if the chemistry just isn’t right – be polite, shake hands, and move on. That’s OK.

Speed Networking is designed for you two get a snapshot of a person and see if there is a reason to continue the conversation, not to sell a product or solve a major issue. That can come later.

Marcy and Astrid will help guide you through the process so you can meet 30 or more people in a short period of time. It really works, its fun, and who knows?

Want to learn more? Click here


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