Podcast EP 11 Rewind: Lone Star State of Parking Confusion

“Harder Than It Looks: Parking Uncovered is our podcast that we use to facilitate connections and illuminate solutions to common problems within the parking and mobility industry.

We aim to do so by highlighting the voices of experts in the space, discussing trends and forward-looking technological innovations, and providing professional food for thought. All in an effort to help one another get better at what we know is harder than it looks…parking a car.

Today, we’re rewinding and recapping Episode 11: Bridging the Lone Star State of Confusion in Parking Operations with Walt Gray & Celeste Ching.

Everything is bigger in Texas – including the parking. In Episode 11, we discuss the difficulties of balancing limited parking resources and the emotional aspects of relocating employees for space optimization. The episode also touches on the complexities of parking management and people’s misconceptions about the industry. 

In part two, we talk with Celeste Ching, who joins us to talk about two things that are both harder than they look: starting a company and homeschooling 4 kids. 

Meet Our Guests:

Walt Gray

Walt Gray

Director of Parking and Ground Transportation at City of Houston

Walt was raised in Houston, Texas, and attended Southwestern University in Georgetown Texas. He worked for Tom Gray Management Company, a franchised automobile dealership company, for 8 years. He built an off-airport parking operation at IAH with an automotive repair shop, sold it 2 1/2 years later, and went to work for the company he sold it to, Allright Parking. Allright merged with Central Parking, and a couple of years later they won the contract to privatize parking at the Houston Airports.

Walt worked as the manager at Hobby Airport and was moved a year later to IAH and became the Airport General Manager for both. In 2012, Central Parking merged with Standard Parking, forming SP+, where he was a Regional Manager until 2016 when he moved to work for the City of Houston, where today Walt is the Director of Parking and Ground Transportation.

Celeste Ching

Celeste Ching

Founder and CEO of C Three Partners

Celeste is the proud founder and CEO of C Three Partners, a recruiting company that was established back in 2018. It all began with her first client, a promising SAAS parking start-up, and since then, C Three Partners has experienced tremendous growth. In 2023, Celeste took another leap of faith and founded C Three Staffing, a specialized firm dedicated to IT staffing. We are making a significant impact in this ever-evolving industry.

You Won’t Want to Miss These Clips:

Segment 1 with Walt Gray:

  • Houston Airports Passenger Records (00:02:13)
  • Walt Gray’s Journey into Parking (00:03:48)
  • Impact of 9/11 on Parking Operations (00:13:53)
  • Walt Gray’s Experience in Arabian Horse Business (00:17:05)
  • Technology in Parking Operations (00:21:21)
  • Automating Transaction Processing (00:21:36)
  • Customer Feedback and Lessons Learned (00:23:02)
  • Incorporating Advanced Technology (00:24:13)
  • Transition to Fully Automated Parking (00:25:20)
  • Security Measures and Homeland Security Regulations (00:29:06)
  • Scope of Parking Operations (00:30:40)
  • Limited Resources and Prioritization (00:37:22)
  • Fresh Eye Approach and Inspection (00:40:25)
  • Personal and Professional Challenges (00:41:16)
  • Moving Employees and Parking Equipment (00:44:28)
  • Complexity of Parking (00:46:27)
  • The Hardest Thing in Parking (00:48:21)

Segment 2 with Celeste Ching:

  • Transition to Professional Life (01:00:18)
  • The Startup Challenge (01:03:29)
  • Success Stories (01:04:15)
  • Understanding the Parking Industry (01:07:27)
  • Juggling Two Businesses (01:09:06)
  • Homeschooling and Parenting (01:11:09)
  • Teaching and Learning (01:12:49)
  • Parenting and Recognizing Strengths (01:14:36)
  • Recruiting and Coaching (01:19:13)
  • Pride in Leadership and Parenting (01:22:29)
  • Building and Training Teams (01:23:23)

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Courtney Cooper

Events + Community Manager

Courtney Cooper has over 7 years of experience in marketing, copywriting, and campaign management. She holds a B.S. in Marketing and Business Administration from Ball State University.