Bill Lerner, president of iPark, runs a huge parking business with headquarters in New York City. The company started in 1960 with a single 25-car lot, and is now managing almost 150 facilities. With demand for parking in urban centres at an all-time high, Lerner discusses the position of iPark as a long-standing and innovative industry leader.
In conversation with The Atlantic’s associate editor Bourree Lam, Bill Lerner describes a surge in vehicle ownership following World War II, with the return to America of vehicle-savvy GIs keen to invest in private vehicles and in turn, convenient parking. His father noted this trend and capitalized on the growing needs of daily automobile commuters in New York City, developing a chain of 12 parking facilities and a recognized brand devoted to customer service, reliability and convenience. While some competitors developed incredibly intricate solutions (‘hotels for autos’) doomed for failure, the Lerner family business grew from strong values and a sustainable pace.
Building on his father’s success, Lerner adopted the role of President and CEO in 1997 and has since guided the company through a period of expansion and innovation. In order to compete in an increasingly heated NYC industry marked by population growth, loss of space to residential development and peaking demand for private transport facilities, the iPark moniker was adopted (the business was formerly branded as “Imperial Parking Systems”) in parallel to the design and implementation of a user-friendly, streamlined online booking framework. Further to a shift in marketing strategies and capital investments, in an interview with Leaders Lerner attributes careful investment in staff as a cornerstone of operations, achieving low turnover and customer confidence.
With the advent of affordable electric vehicles, iPark has pivoted to meet new demand by partnering with Tesla Motors, Inc. and CarCharging, and having already installed charging stations at a number of iPark garages with plans to expand the offering to all iPark facilities. Speaking on topic with CNBC, Lerner imagines “a day when you can’t find a place to gas up in Manhattan” and demonstrates the need for the parking industry to adapt long-term, sustainable business models.
Over the past 20 years, Bill Lerner has maintained the role of successful entrepreneur, dedicated philanthropist and family man. Beyond leading iPark to become NYC’s largest privately-owned parking company and applying company resources to the benefit of the community, Bill has notably established a charitable organisation–Billy4Kids and has been recognised and awarded for his humanitarian efforts by St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children and the Annual Edeyo Gives Hope Gala. News on Lerner’s accomplishments, innovations, charitable endeavours and further entrepreneurship continues to be featured across platforms such as CNBC, Radio America, The Atlantic, 33 Voices and Leaders Magazine among others.
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