Head of User Experience – UK Parking, Conduent Transportation
Like most people working in parking I fell into the parking industry. I started working as a Civil Enforcement Officer as a stop gap job around 13 years ago. I was new to parking; I did not even drive so I had no expectations of the role or perception of the parking sector. It did not take me long to fall in love with the role, I enjoyed meeting new people, assisting the public and working outdoors. I continued working in an on-street environment for 8 years, having worked as a Radio Controller and a Civil Enforcement Supervisor.
I worked within various roles within the parking sector, and having gained leadership and management skills during that time I was then able to move onto management roles within both the on-street and off-street divisions. This led to successful completing roles as Operations Manager, Contract Lead and Contract Manager for local authority, NHS, and retail sites. The skills I developed whilst within these roles have allowed me to take my career into contract mobilisation, business development and to become the Head of Parking Services.
The versatility of the industry means there is no shortage of opportunities, whether you want to work in operations, technology, local authority, business development or management, there are opportunities for all skill sets. Becoming a member of the British Parking Association has allowed me to further broaden my experience and knowledge. As a Member of the Council of Representatives, Professional Development and Standards, Public Affairs and Communications and Technology Innovations and Research boards; I work alongside fellow professionals to create and share best practice and lead the way for the future of the parking industry.
If someone had told my 19-year-old self as a Civil Enforcement Officer that one day I would become the President of the British Parking Association, I would not have believed them. What started as a stop gap job has led to an amazing career, so don’t underestimate the rewarding opportunities a career in parking can give you.
Parking Consultant, Project Centre, part of Marston Holdings
My career in parking started in November 2014, when I took my first job in the UK, as a Civil Enforcement Officer. I came to the UK as a graduate from Romania and knew I needed to start from somewhere. I was very proud to do this job. I’ve never looked at it as everyone looks at a traffic warden role. I saw an opportunity to change the mentality of any motorist I met. I worked hard and learnt as much as possible and after only three months I was asked to train new CEOs on the street. There were a lot of people who joined the company that were in between jobs; some of them were overqualified, some were fresh on the job market. I learnt how to recruit CEOs who would bring more value to the sector and which sets of skills were more useful.
I started shadowing supervisors and within a year I become one myself. I proved that you can become a young supervisor if this is the career you want and I opened the door for many more. I was lucky to join a company where the management kept the opportunities of progression transparent and promoted hard working individuals with a positive attitude and good set of skills and work ethics.
It was an entry level job, but it became a career that I wanted to follow. Six years later I became an Enforcement Manager and now I am a Parking Consultant. I can proudly say that I have coached, trained and managed so many different types of employees that it makes me feel lucky to have had the opportunity to develop a set of skills that will stay with me forever.
All I can say to anyone who would like to consider a career in parking, is be determined and perseverant. It’s a rewarding sector where you have the continuous support of the BPA and of so many experienced colleagues who are willing to share their knowledge and help, guide and mentor you to become your best version.
Solutions Manager – Road Traffic, Bristow & Sutor
I was more interested in football than studying and ended up leaving school at 16 with little to show for it. Luckily, I was offered a position as a Parking Attendant with Peterborough City Council, looking after 14 carparks; making sure they looked good, emptying bins, meet and greet, issuing tickets and some machine maintenance. After about 6 months I became a Civil Enforcement Officer. Being a CEO gave me the skills I needed to support and guide my team and improve services for the motorist. It paved the way for me to progress within the sector.
It wasn’t until about six years later, when I was 24, that I was given my big break. I was offered the position of Car Parks Operations Manager by Mick Dolan. He was like a mentor to me, and I couldn’t have got where I am today without him. Mick told me ‘This is your service, learn what you want to learn’. I used that to help Peterborough become the first council to introduce a CCTV Camera Car and Body Worn Cameras. I then took over as Parking Manager when Mick retired.
But I had my head turned by the private parking sector and moved to the role of Senior Contract Manager with Indigo. I was looking after multiple retail sites, three NHS trusts, and managing over 50 staff. The private parking sector has a completely different mentality from local authorities. It’s much faster paced and focused on meeting client needs. There’s also a lot more to it than just managing parking!
After a couple of years, I was looking for a new challenge. I missed the local authority work and had a good knowledge of debt recovery so decided to join Bristow & Sutor as their Solutions Manager – Road Traffic. The role consists of mostly sales with some client management, and I’m looking after approx. 140 local authorities.
Last year I become a mentor with the BPA to help give back to others looking to build a career in the sector and offer the guidance that I had when I was just a CEO.
Head of Enforcement, ParkingEye
I started out as an Appeals Assessor in June 2013 before being quickly promoted to Claims Handler. During this part of my career, I spent most of my time learning new skills and understanding how the business operated, whilst completing an unprecedented amount of unpaid overtime for somebody in my position. I quickly became an authority on compliance and the law surrounding Parking Charges.
After just 10 months and still only 20 years old, I was appointed to Claims Handler Team Leader and the following year ParkingEye recorded its highest hearings success rate. I was also heavily involved in the preparation of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and County Court hearings for ParkingEye v Beavis, which changed over 100 years of contract law and became a landmark victory for our industry.
In 2016, I was honoured to be presented with the British Parking Association’s Ernest Davies Award for the Advancement of Parking Knowledge. The article I wrote was entitled “Raising Standards in the Post-Beavis Era” which emphasised how private parking companies should do their utmost to go the extra mile on compliance and professionalism, citing some of ParkingEye’s own practices.
Since then, I have both led and contributed to several transformation projects, including the redesign of our Parking Charge Notice, for which I redrafted the wording and managed a team of peers for design and testing. In the meantime, I played a vital role in the Communication Team, where we set up an intranet blog and I interviewed our new Managing Director for the first post. I also managed the integration of several new suppliers and negotiated the commercial contracts.
At its core, my ParkingEye story has been based upon hard work and support from those I have been fortunate to work with. I have worked for great mentors and built successful teams capable of implementing a shared vision for business growth. Last year was our best yet.
I was also a finalist at the British Parking Awards 2020 for Young Parking Professional of the Year. As I move into the role of Head of Enforcement, I reflect on it all after seven whirlwind years and think of how many talented people I have seen in parking, and how much we can still achieve.
Senior Account Manager, Marston Holdings
My aim has always been to go into a company and work my way up. I first started my Marston journey back in 2007 aged just 15 when I completed my work experience with them. I then returned in 2011 having completed my studies at college and having applied for the position of Client Services Assistant.
During my time in Client Services I built strong relationships with all of our client database, and in particular, with our London Borough Parking clients. I had asked our Client Services Manager at the time if I could shadow the Account Managers on their client visits. Parking clients will review performance, innovation and complaints during any of visit from one of our Account Managers, and from the experience I gained through shadowing I knew I wanted to become an Account Manager one day, and I made it clear that I wanted to progress and that this would be my goal.
During this time, the clients I visited were all impressed with my knowledge of the legislation, the system, and by my suggestions on how to combat persistent evaders – especially since I was so young – I was only 21 at the time of my first parking client meeting.
A vacancy opened up for a Trainee Account Manager role. I jumped at the chance of applying, and upon being successful I started my training which last for 18 months. During this period I built my own account management experience and independent relationships with clients. Following my training, I was then promoted to a Client Account Manager in 2013, complete with my own client base.
A few years on, with a lot more experience under my belt I was extremely grateful to Marston and the client testimonials I had received, as I was nominated for Young parking professional of the year award in 2018. It was great to know so many people believed in me and that the hard work definitely had paid off as I won the award. I couldn’t have been more happy and grateful to reach this achievement and recognition in the industry. After receiving such an accolade, my focus moved to becoming a Senior Account Manager, a role to which I was promoted to in March 2019. My responsibilities have increased and changed as I now look after larger, mainly London based clients, and I also support other teams such as the Bid team in helping to retain our clients at contract renewal.
I have been given many opportunities to progress within the company and continue to see ways of enhancing my career within Marston Holdings and the parking industry.
Training and Development Manager, UK Parking Control
I joined UK Parking Control Ltd back in August 2013, straight out of university. My intention was to remain at UKPC temporarily whilst I decided which direction I wanted to take my career in, however it soon became apparent that the vast amount of development and progression opportunities on offer at UKPC would change my mind. I started my career within their Appeals department and in 2014, I transitioned into the Customer Service Team, eventually becoming the Customer Services Team Leader in 2015. UKPC funded my external leadership and management training to help me in this role and even contributed to my driving lessons to aid my newly developed duties.
In April 2016, I joined the Human Resources department, after expressing an interest in joining their team after being impressed by my onboarding process. UKPC funded my CIPD qualification to ensure I had all the skills and capabilities to be successful within the HR team. In June 2019, I moved into my current role of Training and Development Manager to focus on UKPC’s commitment to the current and future development of all our employees’ skills, expertise and ability as well as the career aspirations of individual employees.
I have now worked in the parking sector for almost 8 years, and I have no intention to leave. The parking sector has a limitless amount of opportunities and I would highly recommend a career in parking!