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ASU Parking and Transit director, office supervisor claim top honors at conference

portraits of two ASU staff members

Parking and Transit Services customer service office supervisor Cathy Harrison (left) and director Melinda Alonzo.

June 14, 2016

ASU Parking and Transit Services (PTS) garnered international recognition when two of its employees received awards at the International Parking Institute (IPI) annual conference in May.

PTS director Melinda Alonzo received the institution’s highest honor, the James M. Hunnicutt, CAPP, Parking Professional of the Year award. PTS customer service office supervisor Cathy Harrison was awarded Parking Supervisor of the Year.

“I am extremely proud of Melinda and Cathy for this much-deserved recognition,” said Nichol Luoma, associate vice president of University Business Services. “Their contributions to ASU go beyond their expertise in the parking industry and exemplify the type of quality customer service that has become the hallmark of this university.”

Alonzo took leadership at PTS in 2011. Within a year, she incorporated Service Blueprinting into the PTS customer service culture. Soon after she created the Benefactor Program, which donates a portion of the annual parking revenue to a university program or student-run organization. In the past two years, she has overseen the installation of modern, integrated parking access and payment systems at all campus parking garages and several parking lots.

Alonzo manages about 25,000 parking spaces and an alternative mode program made up of intercampus shuttles, car-sharing, bicycle infrastructure and resources and partnerships with public bus and light rail providers. Bicycling at ASU now boasts three card-access bicycle parking facilities, four bike valet stations, and 25 percent more bike racks on campus than there were three years ago.

“Melinda's responsibility of managing a comprehensive parking and transportation system at the largest public research university in the country is complex and challenging,” said Angela Creedon, associate vice president for ASU Community and Municipal Relations. “She does it expertly with a bright, contagious smile and an enthusiastic and positive attitude that leaves a lasting impression on the many visitors, students and staff she interacts with on a daily basis.”

Her participation on several parking and university committees includes serving as National Association of College Auxiliary Services West board secretary (2015), ASU U-Club vice president (2015-2016) and on the T2 advisory board (2009-present). She is a founding member and past president of the Southwest Parking and Transportation Association and instituted a tri-university summit in 2011, an annual conference of the three Arizona universities’ parking departments. With more than 19 years of parking industry experience, Alonzo began her career in the private sector with Ace Parking Management’s downtown Phoenix operations before joining ASU in 1999.

As a 20-year veteran of PTS, Harrison has shown dedication to assisting Sun Devils with their parking and transportation needs longer than any other current PTS employee. She has worked in each PTS unit at ASU and was promoted to her current post as customer service office supervisor in 2005.

“I like giving options and solutions to a frustrated customer and then see that frustration change to relief,” said Harrison when asked to describe her favorite part of the positon. “It’s like I wrap up the answers with a nice bow and send them on their way.”

“Cathy demonstrates a team player mind-set and has an unwavering commitment to exceeding customer expectations,” said PTS commuter options manager Judi Nelson. “She is consistently present for her employees and thanks them to show her appreciation at every opportunity.”

IPI is the world’s largest association of professionals in parking. IPI works to advance the parking industry through research and data collection, advocacy and outreach.

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