Walker Headlights: Dan Kupferman, CAPP
Dan Kupferman is a Principal and Director of Car Park Management Systems. His parking operations and equipment experience include work with several commercial parking operators, including procuring and installing some of the earliest pay-on-foot and pay-in-lane technologies in New England. Dan’s responsibilities at Walker include researching, analyzing, and recommending solutions to parking problems involving technologies such as parking access and revenue control systems (PARCS), parking guidance systems (PGS), parking meters, enforcement, license plate recognition (LPR), sensors, handheld units, mobile applications and permitting systems. He has presented and published on these topics nationally. Dan is serving his second term the International Parking Institute’s Board of Directors and is a Certified Administrator of Public Parking (CAPP).
Q: You graduated from Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) and are a Certified Administrator of Public Parking through the International Parking Institute and UVA. Can you tell us about your college experiences?
A: I attended college in “semester spurts” over several years in several cities. I had a bit of wanderlust, and started college with no career goals. My first parking job was in Boston, and when I saw what a big business it was, I knew I needed a business degree. I attended ENC at night, while working. I recommend IPI’s CAPP program to anyone who’s serious about their parking career. CAPP not only provides a well-rounded and comprehensive parking curriculum, it also provides excellent networking opportunities. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and studying with some of the best, brightest (and funniest) parking professionals.
Q: How did your path lead to Walker?
A: I was working in a restaurant in San Francisco when a few guys came in, grabbed the cash from the register and ran. Several of us were marathoners, so we took up chase and easily caught up with them. The police arrived quickly and we got the cash back without incident. I was so excited by the pursuit and capture that I joined the police department. I soon found police work to be very different than that day at the restaurant. Police are rarely there when the crime occurs, and some bad guys actually fight back! It was a short career. I moved to Boston and was managing a hospital’s security department when the contract parking operator was fired for stealing. We took the parking department in-house and I became the parking manager. After a few years I became a commercial parking operator, where I was introduced to Walker as the designer of a new garage that I would operate. Walker (Art Stadig in particular) made quite an impression on me. I said to myself “When I grow up, I want to be just like him”. After 16 years in operations, I moved to technology sales, selling multi-space meters. Four years later, I had become very active in the parking industry, and with significant operations and technology experience, I reached out to Walker. I’m sure glad I did!
Q: What is the most exciting and unique project you’ve worked on while here at Walker?
A: Working on a project with the United States federal government. Security was very tight – it may have been parking, but it felt like spy games. We typically take a lot pictures, but cameras were forbidden. I had to request photos (to be taken by others). I’d love to tell you how I helped save the world (or at least some of its parking problems), but it’s top secret.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
A: I may have been joking about saving the world, but we’re in the service industry. I started my parking career at a hospital. Parking may not be brain surgery, but surgeons, doctors, nurses, their support staff, and their patients all need a place to park. We provide a needed service to all people, in all industries.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about working for Walker?
A: I enjoy solving problems. When I sold multi-space meters, they were my only solution. Now I’ve got a really big toolbox. I like being able to choose from all technological solutions. Furthermore; there are so many experts here at Walker, if I don’t have the answer I can ask one of my colleagues.
Q: What do you find most challenging about working in parking operations and technology?
A: Technology is ever-changing. There’s so much to learn…every day.
Q: What do you see in the future of parking technology?
A: Cell phones. We have mobile apps for finding, reserving and purchasing parking, and even for accessing parking gates. Car manufacturers are trying to put all this in their dashboards (connected cars). I think people are more attached to their phones, and may prefer inserting their cell phone into the dashboard. We’ll see.
Q: What trends do you see in the parking industry?
A: The big technology trends are automated parking guidance systems (APGS) and wayfinding. We do a lot of APGS studies and procurements, and there are more and more APGS vendors coming to the U.S. I mentioned mobile apps earlier – apps are key to APGS and wayfinding. Motorists want to know their best parking option before they get there.
Q: In your downtime, what might we find you doing?
A: Going to the movies with my wife. Every Friday night and sometimes on Saturdays. After the Oscar nominations are announced, we see as many nominated films as possible, and often need to take road trips. One time we saw 5 movies in three states in two days. In the summer I’ll be at the beach, or looking for my golf ball, or walking/biking a trail.
Q: Tell us about your family?
A: My wife and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary June 9th. No kids by choice (awkward silence). We love our nephews and nieces, and we know we’re missing the unique and deep joys of parenthood, but how do you think we find the time (and money) to go to all those movies?
Q: What do you love about living in Boston?
A: We now live south of Boston, on Cape Cod. Boston is a great city (go Red Sox!), but I like the quieter lifestyle and natural beauty of the Cape.
Q: Can you give us the Phonetic spelling of how you pronounce “car”?
A: That’s wicked funny.
Thank you, Dan!
If you’d like to get in touch with Dan, you can reach him here.