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In 1983 at the age of 21, Lisa Renshaw, took over her first property, a failing parking garage just north of Amtrak’s Penn Station in Baltimore, Maryland. Choosing a name that mirrored her target market, Penn Parking Inc. was formed.
Unable to afford employees but needing an attendant the 19 hours a day that the trains were running, Lisa moved into the garage. With a carpet remnant for a bed and a kerosene heater for warmth, her life in the garage started.
For Lisa, parking, washing and waxing cars even in the bitter cold of winter was the easy part. The challenges came in chasing away the rats who wanted her bed, shoveling snow at 4:30 A.M. or facing down bad guys who held a gun to her head or knife to her throat. But, after three and a half years of unrelenting work, Penn Parking took over its second location. That new location allowed Lisa moved out of the 10 X 10 room that she called “home”.
Since its humble beginnings, Penn Parking has established a reputation as an innovator in the otherwise staid world of parking operations. Lisa’s efforts include many examples of taking a chance on marginal or failing facilities and transforming their declining revenues into stable streams of profit through careful oversight. Her management approach has earned the respect of the nation’s business community. Lisa has received considerable attention in the national and local media for the company’s creativity, innovative marketing strategies, and quality revenue control. Profiles have appeared in Reader’s Digest, Inc., Success, the Baltimore Sun, Warfield’s, the Washington Times and Good Housekeeping, to name only a few.
Penn Parking, Inc. is the nation’s only parking management firm founded and wholly owned by a woman.
Ten years after founding Penn Parking Inc., Lisa realized that in order to grow she had to form a core management team of like-minded people. In 1993 she recruited Mike Amoroso and Victoria Grove as VP’s of Operations and Administration. Both had an entrepreneurial streak that complemented her management style. This move has resulted in long-lasting partnership that has lasted 20 years.
Lisa’s passion to be the best parking operator is exemplified by her dedication and leadership toward Penn Parking on a daily basis. It is commonplace for Lisa to listen to and provide a sounding board to line employees and management for ideas to better the company.
Having “lived and breathed” parking for 30 years, Lisa is able to better understand employee and customer relations and never lose sight of what is important. Lisa’s hands-on approach enable her to set protocols for hiring, employee benefits, client relations, as well as customer satisfaction.
However, Lisa energies are best channeled in charting the direction of Penn Parking by implementing systems and setting goals that will lead the company in a steady controlled growth. It is Lisa’s utmost determination to maintain excellence in a field where many of her competitors settle for average performance.
With that goal in mind, Lisa’s strategic plan for Penn Parking is to avoid the temptation to branch out coast to coast or to set her sights on becoming the largest player in the industry.
Lisa is convinced that Penn Parking can best serve its clients by staying close to home and being the best regional company serving Maryland, DC, and Virginia.