It was a little like a John le Carre novel – George Smiley meeting his old nemesis Karla after the end of the Cold War. As to who is who, I will leave it up to you to decide.
I met David Knight (Group General Manager Secure) recently in Brisbane to catch up after learning he was leaving Secure Parking, having started some 33 years ago. He was employed by Garth Matthews and expertly trained in all the dark arts of parking – with a flair for development and negotiations. He rose from a sales role to be Group General Manager and was instrumental in the Secure brand maintaining its pre-eminence in the Queensland market.
Brett and Garth Matthews former joint CEO’s (Secure founders) received their final payments from Park24 in late July and are now focussed on their private interests. A number of other senior managers have recently departed from Secure including Josh Thornley and Rohan Matthews. Replacing almost 100 years of parking experience will be a challenge. From Wilson, Peter Witts (General Manager NSW for over 12 years) recently left and the industry is seeing a changing of the guard from the two companies who have led the parking industry in Australia for over 30 years.
For David, the cultural change from a private company with very experienced and centralised management to a corporatized entity was the trigger to take a breather before his next venture.
David and I have gone head to head for over 25 years, never giving an inch to each other and always trying to gain the upper hand – but have been able to keep the business and personal lives separate. With both of us out of the operational businesses it was the perfect time to reflect on how the industry has changed and more importantly what it is likely to look like in the future.
Westpac Technology Trial
Westpac are in negotiations with BaseUp for the implementation of their cloud-based technology for Westpac staff parking.
The updated BaseUp system utilises a geo fenced area immediately adjacent to the entry or exit reader that allows a smart device to communicate to the reader to activate the gate, without a customer having to press a button on their app to open the gate. Essentially a hands-free operation. The geo fence around the gate prevents the signal from the app being detected from an adjacent gate – for example where an exit and entry gate are side by side. From a user experience, this is a significant improvement on what is being offered in the market at present.