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The Parking Professional: What is your current position at your organization? How long have you been there? How many spaces do you operate?
Gordon Dash: I've been Parking Administrator for the City of Raleigh, N.C. since June 2007. I operate about 12,000 on-and off-street spaces over three square miles.
TPP: What do you like most about your job?
GD: This is a very significant time of transition for the city as we are overhauling much of our parking program to meet the challenges of rapid growth and business development. We are currently in the process of implementing new pay stations through the downtown core. We are also preparing to bring back the on-street program "in-house" in June 2010 with a greater emphasis on customer response and service. It is exciting to be at the forefront of these major changes.
TPP: What is the most important issue you are facing in your current position?
GD: The proliferation of H/C permits in the downtown area and the negative impact this will have with on-street turnover, which is the primary purpose for installing pay stations. This will be a tough battle with no easy solution.
TPP: Everyone has a unique story about how they really got into parking.What's yours?
GD: I came out of a successful career in law enforcement (veteran of the RCMP in Canada). I was first hired as a consultant for campus security at the University of Victoria to draft their operational and administrative policies as well as to re-write the university's traffic and parking regulations. Shortly after completion of this project, the parking manager retired and I was fortunate to land the job, which I had for 11 years before relocating to Raleigh withmyAmerican wife and my daughter.
TPP: What advice would you have for someone just getting into or looking to get into the parking profession?
GD: If you are young, get all the training and experience you can, even from the ground level, and work your way up. Becoming a true parking professional means having a thorough knowledge of all levels of parking operations, both on-street and off-street. Some of the best parking managers I know personally have climbed the ropes of achievement to get there. Parking is a world-wide, multi-billion dollar industry, so the incentives are certainly there.
TPP: What is the worst/hardest job you ever had and why?
GD: Selling custom orthotic footwear to elderly women with truly ugly feet. (My first job!) The culprit? Those tight, pointy-toed shoes of the 20s. Now I see history repeating itself with the current line of ladies' shoes.
TPP: What is something about you that might surprise people?
GD: I was the driver for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip for one day during their royal visit to Victoria, British Columbia in 1984.
TPP: What is your favorite:movie, food, vacation spot(s), sports team(s), etc.?
GD: Movie - The Italian Job. Food - a truly great steak!Vacation spots - Walt Disney World and a Caribbean cruise. Sports team - the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes. I have to stay true to my roots as well!
TPP: Tell us something personal about you; family, interest, hobbies.
GD: Very happily married to my wife, Marci; one daughter, Stephanie (24 years). Active member in my church. I love movie trivia and doing home construction projects.