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 Alex Helfen, Training Specialist.
Where did you grow up?
Sandwich, MA – home of the famous Sandwich Police! (Give it a Google image search and have yourself a giggle.)
What drew you to working in training and support?
I usually joke about how my last name translates to “help” in German, so I must have been born into it, but that is not far from the truth. I grew up with parents who were teachers; mom was an elementary school teacher and dad was a high school teacher and part-time college professor. I must have been bitten by the teaching bug at some point via my parents. I intended to become a middle or high school math teacher back in 2010 but that did not pan out.
How did you end up in the parking industry?
My colleague Derek Ellis (also at T2) helped open the door for me. I had a knack for technical troubleshooting and a desire to empower others with knowledge and tools to help them feel more confident with technology, so Derek invited me to apply for a support role at T2 Systems. Before joining T2 I considered the parking industry an “undercover” industry – I did not really see the industry or think about its existence until I started working in it. Now I notice it everywhere!
What do you do as a Training Specialist for T2?
Broadly, two things: training content and training facilitation.
I create and maintain the training content in T2U for the Flex product line. I also help develop the schedule of training webinars for T2 customers, assist in T2 ReConnect session agendas, and help put together the Connect schedule of events. I assist customers and T2 employees when they are preparing their presentation materials as well. I develop and facilitate training sessions for T2 customers and T2 employees in remote or on-site classrooms. Though I enjoy the content creation piece, I feel more fulfillment when collaborating with customers on their learning journeys.
I also support from a training perspective in supplemental areas. Lately I have enjoyed hopping in to T2 Community and assisting with questions to help when the question is less about a break-fix and more about learning how to use a certain feature or sharing information about existing features that may not be well known. The T2 Feature Focus Group was created in T2 Community expressly for that purpose.
What’s something that you think people don’t know about parking that you find interesting?
I am pleasantly surprised to see how much effort parking organizations put into teaching good behaviors to their customers. Sometimes the parking office does not want to cite someone – they want to teach the parker what happened, what they should have done, and give a warning before holding them accountable for the behavior. There are some organizations that allow for quite a bit of leniency and bend over backwards to not give a ticket (in my opinion). For all the technology and data involved in parking, I see that it is more focused on the human elements than anything else.
What do you enjoy about working at T2?
Even though we are spread out all over North America, T2 employees make a significant effort to connect with one another in different ways. I think we strive to remind each other that there is a person on the other side of that email/direct message/phone call and that improves the culture significantly.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
In high school I participated in theater, and I had a role in Noises Off as Frederick Dallas/Philip Brent. This character spends a portion of the performance running around with his pants down, and I may have been one of the few students in my high school’s history to run around with his pants down with permission from the school. Also, the cast, crew, and director built the entire set (two sides of a two-floor facade that had to be able to spin around to show both sides) on our own. I had a blast helping construct it, but we are lucky it supported us since I am certain it was not up to code.