Mairtin Mersch, Business Analyst
T2’s Parking Perspectives series draws from the experiences of T2ers that have previously worked in parking departments at universities, municipalities, and operators, including many who are former T2 customers. From this experience comes a level of expertise that understands parking and mobility from a holistic perspective, helping us provide better service and solutions to our customers.
I started my career in parking in 2013 working in enforcement at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), which is a university on the south side of Chicago. About two years into the job they asked me to help out with T2 Flex, which I didn’t really know anything about other than writing tickets on the handheld. So I went and tried to help out with Flex.
They wanted me to write a query, which I had no idea how to do, but I stumbled my way through it using the Flex Online Help tool. They were really impressed with that for some reason, so slowly I was involved more and more using Flex up in the office, and not just writing tickets in the field.
From there, I would not have made it where I am today without the T2 Community – which includes the online Customer Community site, the training opportunities and events T2 provides, and the many T2 staff and customers that are always willing to lend a hand. In my journey through parking and the T2 Community, I experienced a three-phase learning curve that I think applies to any new T2 customer.
Observing, Learning, and Asking Questions
In 2017 I started using the T2 Hub, which was eventually replaced by the T2 Customer Community site, where I could look for answers to my questions on my own instead of always opening a support case. Then in 2018 I really started getting into the Community. I actually made the T2 Community leaderboard, which was a nice accomplishment for me, just by asking several questions and answering some questions other people had that I knew the answers to.
Things really started ramping up for me when I was promoted to our System Administrator internally at IIT for our Flex, BOSS, and Iris systems. I attended official T2 training in the summer of 2017, where I learned a lot about being a Flex Administrator.
I also attended official training down in Indianapolis for Crystal Reports, where I learned a whole bunch about the actual database structure of Flex and the different ways you can create reports more efficiently to get the information you need out of Flex. The Crystal Reports training was really helpful for our department, because I was able to make reports, using what I learned from the training, and actually get valuable information out of the database.
Testing, Implementing, and Finding Success
This is something that kind of goes unsaid a lot of times, but the T2 Community is a great place to gather information on what other people at other operations are doing with their best practices and what they recommend. I was able to take knowledge that I directly learned from the T2 Community and implement virtual permits campus-wide to replace our outdated hangtags.
I also learned about standardizing decal designs and decal borders on the T2 Community. We went towards a color-coded model, where it was a lot easier for the enforcement officer to see, depending on the color of the permit, if it was an annual, fall, or spring permit. That was a big success because we weren’t using LPR at the time, so all our enforcement was still on foot. You wouldn’t have to walk all the way up to a vehicle to read the permit type – you could just see it from a distance based on the color.
Collaborating and Giving Back
In 2018 I attended my first T2 Connect conference in Orlando, and was asked to give a presentation on Permit Renewals. Permit renewals are really tricky in Flex – you have to set it up pretty much perfectly to get it to run well, and it just takes a lot of time and double-checking everything. But that’s not how I did it the first time, and I failed miserably. So at Connect, I really wanted to share my experience of failure so that I could not only express the importance of learning from our mistakes, but also try to deter people from failing by emphasizing the need for preparation and double-checking everything in Flex before you actually hit run.
After Connect in 2018, I continued answering questions and submitting ideas on the T2 Community. Because once you’ve learned and gained some more knowledge on T2 solutions, you can start answering other people’s questions. You can say, “Hey, I know that one, let me answer that for you.” Or you can say, “This is how we do it at our outfit, and maybe that will help you figure out what you want to do.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic started hitting everyone in March 2020, our university closed its doors and went remote. I was able to lead the efforts to organize and execute permit refunds for the whole university – students, faculty, and staff. That was a big undertaking, but I was able to lean on the T2 Community again, because everyone was kind of scrambling to find solutions at the same time. I feel like the Community really pulled through and helped people get organized and figure out the best way to do massive amounts of permit refunds.
Unfortunately, I was furloughed from IIT in June 2020. But the next month I started as a Business Analyst for T2, and I love working for T2. Everyone is just really open to helping each other – nobody hoards their knowledge. So I’m able to, little by little, start giving back to some of my coworkers who now come to me with questions.
That’s in the same vein as the Customer Community, which is just a whole bunch of people trying to help each other out, share their experiences, and share their best practices with the other folks that are using T2 solutions.
As a Business Analyst on the Implementation team, Mairtin helps new customers and existing customers that add new functionality implement their solutions and get everything working with their T2 Flex software. Mairtin joined T2 in 2020 after spending 7 years as a T2 customer at Illinois Institute of Technology, where he served as System Administrator after starting in an enforcement role.