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Women's history Month

Veteran director has passion for parking

by Megan Fink
Public Relations
One of the biggest challenges of a growing university and hospital are keeping up with the demand for parking. Good thing Parking Management director Melinda Anderson enjoys problem solving and responding to change, because these skills are needed to constantly improve the campus’ dynamic parking system.
When Parking Management became its own office after having separated from the Department of Public Safety in 1977, Anderson seized the opportunity to lead the new office. In the late 1970s, Anderson oversaw a department that managed almost 3,000 parking spaces, one garage and one public parking facility. Now, the department is responsible for a 9,500 parking-space system, seven garages and five public parking locations.
As an auxiliary service, the parking system receives no state appropriations and depends entirely on user fees to operate, maintain, repair and grow the system.

Along with augmented construction to accommodate 11,000 employees, 2,500 students and an increase in patients and visitors, Anderson’s staff also has grown. She started with only one other person in her department, but now leads a team of 50 working in multiple areas: patient and visitor parking; employee and student registration and assignment; departmental and guest services; parking enforcement; parking system maintenance; and accounting. The patient and visitor unit currently handles about 850,000 transactions each year, said Anderson.
Debby Humbert, Parking Management, right, discusses a solution to a parking need with Melinda Anderson.

“It’s not just about parking cars and making change,” said Anderson. “Vehicular and pedestrian access to campus is critical to the success of the university’s mission, and parking management is integrally involved in campus planning activities and daily operations. Parking is a multi-faceted business, which involves all business functions needed to make a large university medical center parking system run smoothly.”
A typical day for Anderson includes collaborating with staff and customers via e-mail, telephone or face-to-face to find solutions to new and challenging parking requirements. “I have an open-door policy,” said Anderson. “I try to make myself easily available to my employees, so not to be a roadblock but enable them to get their jobs done.”
Anderson describes her leadership style as unautocratic in that she supplies her competent staff with the necessary tools and guidance they need and sets them free to fulfill their responsibilities. “I expect the best from them and am rarely disappointed with my employees,” said Anderson. “It’s great fun to work with them, particularly my leadership team.”
Other MUSC leaders influenced Anderson and helped shape her into the director she is today.
Anderson said her growth and development as a manager and leader began with Col. Robert Clark, who was the director of Engineering when she first made the transition into Parking Management. She also expressed appreciation for the training provided and examples of leadership and accomplishment displayed by Ellison Kelly and George Dawson, Engineering and Facilities; Betsy Waters, Alumni Affairs; recently retired Associate Provost for Education and Student Life Valerie West; John Runyon, director, Business Services; Stewart Mixon, chief operating officer; and Lisa Montgomery, Finance and Support Services.
Anderson particularly values her association with the International Parking Institute (IPI). Anderson received her certificate as a certified administrator of public parking from IPI in 1994 and served two terms as chair of the board; one of only four women who have served in that capacity since the organization’s founding in 1962.
“I have been fortunate to have been offered work for which I am suited, that challenges and engages me, and continually expands my horizons with new opportunities,” Anderson said. “I care about the work my staff and I do for MUSC, and believe it’s important and that we make a difference.”


Friday, March 27, 2009

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