From acrobats to the Queen of England, the world has come to Moe Houssaini’s doorstep. And it all began nine years ago when he was hired by Imperial Parking of Vancouver.
Moe, then 18, became a part-time parking attendant because he needed a job with flexible hours so he could continue his post-secondary education. But even though he now has degrees in both psychology and political science, he has chosen to work full-time for Impark. “I’ve learned valuable people and managerial skills, and every day I’m exposed to something new,” he says.
Like most young people, Moe assumed that his employment would be a stopgap between school and a better career. “But after receiving two eight-hour training sessions, I was sent to a parking lot across from GM Place, and nothing could have prepared me for how fulfilling the job would be,” he says.
Like his more seasoned colleagues, Moe realized that dispensing tickets and giving directions should be like rolling out a red carpet to people who have come for a night on the town. “Right off the bat I loved assisting folk and making them feel good,” he says. “It struck me that they had spent a lot of money to have a good time, and I had the ability to really stoke their enthusiasm with a few helpful words and a smile.”
Moe also found the job to be physically comfortable. “I usually worked from 4pm until midnight, and we were provided with jackets, raincoats, umbrellas, walkie-talkies and anything else we required. Plus, security patrol and supervisors constantly came by to make sure everything was OK.” When he was not on the job, Moe could plan his off-duty activities with confidence because Impark determined his work schedule a full month in advance.
Within four months of being hired, Moe was checking tickets inside GM Place. Eight months later, he was promoted to site supervisor for the facility. “As well as helping patrons, I assisted hockey players, musicians, Cirque du Soleil performers, you name it,” he says. “I saw the Queen of England drop the puck at one Canucks game, and when dignitaries like President Clinton came to town to speak, it was tremendously exciting to participate in the behind-the-scenes security and preparation.”
Although Moe attended school during the day, he found himself eager to return to the action in the evenings. “Every shift was something different,” he explains. “One night I would preside over a rock concert, the next night it would be a cultural event, then maybe a monster truck rally after that, each with their own types of patrons and challenges.”
He went on to become site manager for the Edgewater Casino, a position he left later on when VANOC persuaded him to be a regional parking manager.
Moe’s managerial skills have put him in a good position to forge a career in various sectors, but after the 2010 Winter Games, he’s looking forward to his next Impark assignment. “It’s been nine years of helping people and seeing some incredible sights,” he says. “It would be hard to find another job so dynamic.”