David Teed has been a turnaround CEO and private equity investor in underperforming businesses for 25 years.
As the CEO of CampusParc, the corporate entity that oversees The Ohio State University’s parking, it’s just a continuation of what he’s always done.
“In my former career, I was a private equity investor — somebody who invests in assets, and then sets up operating environments and management cultures that are going to create value for those assets,” he says.
At OSU over the past three years, Teed set up a new entity and built a management team and operating culture in order to create value with OSU’s 16 garages and 196 surface lots.
“CampusParc’s mission is to operate an efficient parking system, and part of that has to do with us bringing up-to-date knowhow and technology to parking,” he says.
A lot of that is data-centric, which is an area of strength for CampusParc’s parent company, Queensland Investment Corp.
One of the key components to business is managing relationships, and this is especially important in CampusParc’s case.
Teed says not only is the company a strategic partner with OSU, it also must think carefully about the customer experience for all of the different constituencies across campus, whether you’re a doctor, nurse, patient, faculty member, student, parent or somebody coming to a football game, because parking is the first and last experience.
“If we’re going to be here for 50 years, our relationship with the university is paramount,” he says. “We are operating their asset for them. We are, in a way, the beginning and the end of all of their constituency.”
It also must manage its contracted employees from LAZ Parking Midwest — who interact with the public. These 200 to 400 employees wear CampusParc’s brand.
“Our culture needs to be their culture. Our IT systems are their IT systems. Our accounting systems are their accounting systems,” Teed says.
At the same time, parking is a politically charged issue that can create controversy, which is another component CampusParc must manage.
OSU operates on a hunting license system where, for example, A class permits have a higher right to a space than B permits. That’s why it’s very important that CampusParc supports its recommendations to the university for how spaces are used and permitted with hard data.
“Many people may not realize that we don’t actually set parking policy. The university sets policy, under the concession agreement. That’s their role,” he says. “We don’t change policy; they do.”
Data as an asset
Data has value for improved customer service opportunities and efficiencies, and shouldn’t be taken lightly by business organizations.
This asset is just as important to CampusParc as garages, surface lots and parking meters because it makes recommendations to OSU about how best to optimize the system.
By introducing more technology to its operations, such as license plate recognition technology, it’s able to collect data on the 1.5 million visitors who come to campus each year.