T2 has some of the brightest minds in the parking industry, and each employee brings a unique set of talents and experiences to the table. We thought you might like to learn more about these talented individuals. In our Employee Spotlight series, you’ll get to know one employee each month. This month we talked to to Joseph Houff, Manager, Product Support – Flex.
Where did you grow up?
All over Minnesota but mostly Saint Paul, one of the Twin Cities. Minnesota is notable as being the home of the world famous children’s game, “Duck, Duck, Grey Duck”. This shouldn’t be confused with “Duck, Duck, Goose”, which is the same exact game but incorrectly calls the Grey Duck a Goose. Honestly, people – it’s a Grey Duck. We all know it is.
What drew you to working in customer support?
I was an Implementation Consultant when I started at T2. I really enjoyed that role because of the exposure to customer operations, meeting new people in person, and delivering on commitments. However, I’m often drawn to areas that need “work” or “improvement” and, to be candid, Customer Support really did at the time. So I made a switch from the Project side of the house to Support. I felt that my positive attitude and outlook was what was necessary to grow the Flex Support team into what it is today: “the best support team in the world.” At least that’s what my 8-year-old son keeps telling me.
How did you end up in the parking industry?
In a time long ago in an industry far, far away from parking I was hit with the eternal question that many have stumbled upon: “What industry would be fun, energizing, loaded with high tech gadgets, and filled with non-stop action and amazing people?” Needless to say, life answered back and said, “Become an International Spy or go into parking!”
Kidding aside, I actually discovered T2 because of a close friend whom always spoke highly about the entire parking industry and the people within it. From there I was hit with a terrible “Parking” bug that I was unable to shake. Regardless of how much Emergen-C or Airborne I was drinking I simply couldn’t stop thinking and learning about the parking industry and T2. From there the challenge was proving I belonged in the parking industry – regardless of what my resume said at the time.
What do you do as the Manager, Flex Product Support for T2?
Honestly, I struggled for almost 9 years trying to explain what I do. Generally, when I do I just say, “Yes, it’s sort of like Valet parking.” In reality, it changes on a daily basis, which keeps me very engaged and excited for what new challenges lie around the corner. My primary focuses are recognizing trends, implementing new processes, coaching the team, training both internally and externally, overall process improvement with our internal systems, helping with challenging cases, and escalations. The Manager role is really unique because it changes daily based on what T2 and our customers need from me at any given time – so overall, I think of it as less of a role and more that I’m just a mystical shapeshifter!
What's something that you think people don't know about parking that you find interesting?
Our customers’ operational side is hands down one of the most interesting aspects of the parking industry. Talking to friends and family over the years, I’ve often gotten the response, “Well isn’t that easy? It’s just parking a car.” But that’s the thing – it’s not just parking a car. Every single customer is unique, and each have their own recipe for how they maintain their day-to-day parking procedures for their parking operations. The level of complexity of our customers’ operations would challenge even the most seasoned Dungeons & Dragons DM. (If you don’t understand the reference, just know I’m a nerd and I’m saying it’s all rather complex.) Because of the uniqueness of each customer Support can be a challenging aspect of the job, since it’s very seldom that something is cut and dry. However, that’s the exciting part – there is never a dull moment. Our customers challenge us to continually learn and evolve to fit their needs and their complexities. I learn something new about “how easy” parking is every single day!
What do you enjoy about working at T2?
It’s going to be very difficult to really dilute it down into a short paragraph because there are too many things I truly enjoy about working at T2. That being said, there is one thing that stands out the most: the people I have the pleasure of working with on a daily basis, both external and internal. I’ve found that the parking industry is packed with fun, smart, and passionate people that continue to fill my days with fantastic interactions. This provides me with the “fuel” to strive to do the best I can.
What's something most people don't know about you?
Anyone that has ever attended one of my Connect presentations would know I am really an open book. However, one thing that may be unknown by many is prior to working at T2 I suffered rather terribly with a crippling dose of stage fright – I learned this during my presentations in college. Shortly after being hired at T2 I was informed in a “trial by fire” kind of way that I would be presenting several classes for my first User Group (Connect). I told myself I would be fine, but I was worried because of my experiences with presentations that maybe I was unable to do it.
During that first Connect, not only was I able to present all of my sessions and somehow manage not to faint, but for some reason I loved every moment of it. I found that I was able to control my fear if I injected humor into my sessions. Humor in my sessions has since become sort of a staple for me ever since. It gives energy to the sessions and allows me to keep the participants engaged by having fun while learning. Over the years, participants said my humor makes the sessions memorable for them. At this point I can’t even count how many virtual demos and onsite training sessions I’ve done – each one being an absolute blast to be a part of (thanks largely to our customer base). As cheesy as it may sound, working at T2 helped me battle and conquer stage fright, which at the time I thought I was unable to defeat on my own.