Olympic-sized parking job for Atlanta firm

Atlanta-based Lanier Parking Solutions has an Olympic-sized job over the next few weeks: Managing parking for tens of thousands of guests a day at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
The job spans 25 parking venues, 40,000 spaces, and up to 50,000 cars a day.
That means about 3,000 employees had to be trained and needed to find ways to stay warm during long, outdoor shifts.
"There haven't been any gotchas' so far," said Lanier's President Tim Walsh, reached Monday in Vancouver, but "hand warmers and gloves" are popular with his on-site staff.
The Olympic contract with the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) Lanier says it's valued at $20 million is an indirect legacy of the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta.
Michael Robison, founder of Lanier Parking, drove such a hard bargain with the Atlanta Olympics, he didn't get official Games business, Walsh said.
Still, the negations led to a later business deal: Walsh, who managed parking for the Atlanta Olympics, joined Robison as a partner in Lanier after the Games.
Fast forward to 2010, and Lanier is on its second official Olympic Games parking contract. The first was the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
Walsh is in Vancouver overseeing the effort. He attended opening ceremonies with his family Friday, and said there will be 50 to 60 Lanier Parking employees from Atlanta at the Games through the Paralympics.
"One thing that is fun about doing these events is you get a esprit de corps," Walsh said. "Everyone is having a fun time."
Lanier, which doesn't own a single parking lot in Vancouver, partnered with Canadian parking company giant Impark to handle the Games.
Winning the parking contract for the Vancouver Games was like "the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval' from the Olympics," Robison said.
Sporting events have become a specialty for his company, he said. They've also handled parking for the Pan American Games in Winnipeg in 1999, the Superbowl in Atlanta in 2000, and the 2002 and 2004 PGA Championships.
Next up for Lanier? The company is pursuing the parking contract for the 2011 PGA Championship.
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