We interviewed Megan about the future of parking, technology, and what it’s like to run a business as a 20-something. Today we’re sharing our conversation with you.
ParkingExec (PE): Your father started Enterprise Parking 25 years ago. Did you always want to get involved in the family business?
Megan Kian (MK): Honestly, no! I have two siblings, an older sister and a younger brother. My brother was always interested in being involved, my sister became involved when she moved back to New York after living in Boston. I’m so glad that I have the opportunity though, it’s a really great thing to see how far my father has come and be able to build upon that.
PE: How have you seen the company change since you were a child?
MK: I have seen it change in a lot of ways. The company went from a one man operation to a well-oiled machine. We have a lot more infrastructure in place now that comes with growth. I think we’ve done a great job ensuring the business will continue to grow but also preserving what we’ve built.
PE: After graduating from NYU in 2012 with a nutrition degree, you took a certification program in culinary management. What made you decide to get involved with Enterprise Parking rather than continuing to pursue the food and restaurant industry?
MK: I think I felt a pull of responsibility and ownership towards the family business. I know how hard my father worked to build up a business that I felt it was my duty to continue what he built. Although I would love to eventually pursue a career in the food industry, for now I continue to primarily focus on running the business.
In my spare time, my passion is baking and I try to do that as much as possible. I’ll bake when I get home from work and take a quick picture of what I baked before I head out for work. I have an Instagram account for all my baking photos and a website that I try to update as much as possible. I hope to one day have my own bakery, but that is very far down the line.
Working in the family business has prepared me for whatever steps my career may take.
PE: What does an average day of work look like for you?
MK: There is really no “average” work day for me! It really just depends on what needs to get done. But typically I start my day by looking at our accounts online and responding to emails. Then the day can vary from there; either meetings, visiting garages when I can, coordinating with employees, accounts payable, and thinking of creative ways to improve what we currently have – we are looking for ways to be better.
PE: You’re in your 20s and running an entire parking company. Are there any challenges you’ve faced as someone so young taking on the top management position?
Absolutely! I’m always learning as I go, there was no manual or training when I started so you have to problem solve and come up with solutions on your own. My older sister, Vanessa, was a great source of information. She’s been working at the company for almost 10 years now, but she recently had a beautiful little girl so she has been taking some time away.
It can be difficult sometimes when there is resistance to listen to a 20-something, but thankfully we have a great team here and we all work well together. People respect what my father has done and give me the same respect in turn. I work extremely hard to make sure I am always informed and that the respect is well deserved.
PE: The parking industry tends to attract an older pool of talent. Why do you think that is? What can operators do to attract younger applicants, too?
MK: I’ve noticed that too! I think, at least from my perspective, the parking industry isn’t seen as “sexy.” It’s difficult to have a start-up environment in the parking industry, which is what I think younger applicants are looking for. What I love about Enterprise Parking is that it is family-owned so we are a very tight-knit group and there isn’t as much red tape compared to a larger company.
PE:What are your goals for the future of Enterprise Parking?
MK: I would love to take on more garages in New York’s outer boroughs. Manhattan and Brooklyn are tough right now, but I think there’s still room for improvement in Queens and The Bronx. I believe that we can take advantage of prudent planning and investing to realize future profit in those areas.
PE: As someone in the industry who grew up with the Internet and technology, how do you see it fitting into parking?
Technology has been a tremendous help in revenue control and revenue generation. I remember my father telling me how the daily tickets used to be hand-generated, which left a lot of room for theft. There is still that worry, but not nearly as much with the computer-generated tickets.
PE: Do you feel like there are still those who are resistant to the shift towards technology in the parking industry? How would you respond to them?
MK: Yes, definitely. I think we were one of them. The parking industry (to me at least) is a very old-fashioned industry. We’ve come a long way to make the process more seamless, but it is still very manual.
PE: Where do you see the parking industry in five years?
MK: I see it headed in the same direction that a lot of other industries are headed with a large focus on technology and automation. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to park. Especially in a city like Manhattan this can be quite a task.
PE: What piece of advice would you give someone just starting their career in the parking industry?
MK: Be open and willing to accept challenges. Build on your relationships. The parking industry, in Manhattan especially, is a tight-knit community and it’s always helpful to know others in the same industry.