What is it about Colonial Parking that has driven the firm to innovate and be a leader in their industry?
Innovation has always been at the heart of Colonial Parking since its founding in 1953 by two students at The George Washington University. Beginning with one lot and competing against several well-established parking companies in the District, Tad Lindner and Serge Gambal knew they needed to approach parking differently in order to grow and succeed. From the beginning, Colonial’s approach has been one of entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation, while accepting and managing risks. Over the last 65 years, Colonial has maintained an innovative spirit to become a leader in evolving local markets, like Southwest and Southeast, to develop game changing products, like the monthly account and online reservations, and to launch one-of-a-kind services, like the region’s only local 24/7 Remote Management Center.
Colonial is committed to the D.C. market and no other. We believe that to be successful in our dynamic industry, we must be CLOSE: to our employees, customers, and clients, and to quickly evolving markets, politics, and regulations. We provide immediate access to our people. Our executives are available day or night and, along with our talented managers and field personnel, are just minutes away from our clients to provide unparalleled responsiveness.
What is the future of Colonial Parking?
Colonial Parking’s future will rely on staying ahead of rapidly changing customers, tenants, landlords and parking environments. Drivers today want to park how, where, and when they want. Fulfilling these demands means that we increasingly interact with customers in the online markets and through social media. As the workplace itself rapidly evolves in response to changing workstyles, we are witnessing a rise in telecommuting and explosive growth of ride shares, bicycles, and scooters. In response, Colonial must continue to position itself, and our parking operations, as a critical element of the region’s transportation network. We see the emphasis that our landlords and clients place on building amenities, so in addition to providing our signature level of customer service, we are growing Colonial Plus, our amenity-based customer loyalty program. Technology is the common thread, as Colonial continues to be an industry leader in the adoption of technology best practices.
When and how did Colonial Parking begin their journey with CREW DC? How has CREW DC demonstrated growth to you?
Recognizing the important role that parking plays in the Commercial Real Estate Industry, a client and active member of CREW DC contacted Colonial in 2016 to sponsor the Chapter. After learning about CREW’s vision, mission, and deep roots in the community, we immediately agreed to support the Chapter at the highest level of sponsorship. Sponsorship has provided us with industry-wide corporate recognition and opportunities to network with key influencers and decision makers, to establish relationships with industry peers, to participate in a variety of learning opportunities, and to develop our team members.
Tell us about your values.
Colonial’s sole objective is to take the hassle out of parking for customers and clients in the Washington Metropolitan Area. We are focused on having our customers find great service and convenience. Our clients find professionals skilled in planning, controlling, and operating parking and maximizing their value; our employees find a fair and enjoyable place to learn and work; our community finds an invested partner; and, our shareholders find motivated stewards of their assets. We aim to transform the way people park by bringing hospitality to the customer parking experience; delivering the promise of technology; building trust, responsiveness, and transparency in our client relationships; and, attracting, developing, and retaining the best talent.
At the heart of Colonial’s mission is our people. We focus on the contribution each employee can make in providing our services and we seek to furnish individual employees with not only the means, but the methods to own their careers, actively promoting empowerment at every level. These strategies are critical to ensuring high-levels of customer and client service, while also encouraging our staff to build their careers with us.
How does CREW DC support your company values?
Colonial’s values are clearly aligned with those of CREW DC in that we both:
Describe how Colonial Parking incorporates CREW DC into their business model?
- Constantly seek to improve, innovate, and create value;
- Strive to offer impeccable quality and service;
- Contribute to the communities from which we draw; and,
- Provide a fair and enjoyable learning environment focused on professional development that embraces gender equality, diversity and inclusion across all levels of the organization.
Colonial is committed to a diverse workplace for all its employees, especially regarding gender diversity and advancement. This year Colonial launched the IDEA Forum to promote gender diversity in the workplace. IDEA stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equality and Awareness, and the Forum is intended to promote how diversity benefits everyone, and that by focusing on diversity we will gain both financial and intrinsic value.
What does CREW DC mean to you? What have you seen in the development of your team when engaging with other members?
CREW DC means the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships, build networks, and forge new connections; gain access to key people, resources, and information; participate in personal and professional development; and, engage in leadership opportunities. By interacting with other members, our team has developed greater confidence, better leadership skills, industry knowledge, and meaningful friendships, not to mention business opportunities and career advancement.
What surprises you most about CREW DC?
The size of the chapter and, as such, the valuable networking opportunities available. In addition, the number of high-quality programs the chapter executes, including the multi-faceted golf program to help women gain their confidence in the sport, is very impressive.
What are you looking forward to next?
Being the very best at what we do for parkers and clients every day!