Parked in the Right SpotPublished: March 2, 2009
Mark Rudometkin is happy to be at CSULB, and that’s probably an understatement.
“It worked out well to come back home and work for a university such as Long Beach State,” said the interim general manager/Parking and Transportation Services at the university. “I wake up every morning and pinch myself to see if it’s still real.”
His homecoming of sorts applies to him as well as his wife, Keri. A Cal State Fullerton grad, Rudometkin was born in Downey and grew up in Yorba Linda. His wife, who was born in Pasadena and grew up in Upland, is a CSULB grad. When working, she is a lower elementary school teacher, but is currently a stay-at-home mom with their 1- and 2-year-old sons, which her husband noted is the toughest job.
Rudometkin returned to the Southland after spending five years in Phoenix as director of parking and traffic support at Chase Field and the U.S. Airways Center, the major venues in downtown Phoenix. U.S. Airways Center is where the NBA’s Phoenix Suns play and Chase Field is home to Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks.
Prior to that, he spent 13 years at Disneyland, starting in 1990 while in college and working his way up to management in 1996. He played a major role in the development, the opening and operation of the Mickey and Friends parking structure at the Disneyland Resort, which at the time was the largest parking structure in North America with more than 10,100 spaces. He made a lateral move to security in 2001 and did that for two years before going to Phoenix.
Parking has always been something that Rudometkin has had an interest in.
“What always appealed to me was the fact that it was constant movement and every day it was different, everything about it was different,” he said. “It wasn’t a desk job, so to speak, and even as I got into management, I was in the area a lot overseeing a lot of projects, developing training projects and manuals. It was all about being in the operation and understanding the operation. For me, being as active as I am, it was just a good fit.”
Working for a major university attracted Rudometkin in great part because he had already been involved with major sporting venues and theme parks, so he looked at the next thing on a large-scale basis and a large university such as CSULB fit the bill.
“It is so unique from what I have done in the past,” he said. “What appealed to me is all the permitting and all the dynamics that go along in dealing with such a diverse group. You have students, faculty, staff, guests and we have a large number of special events, whether it be a 25-person event for a classroom or 5,000 that might attend a game at The Pyramid.
“This was just something I really wanted to be a part of and the challenge it presents,” he added. “It seems like parking is always an issue at a large campus; there never seems to be enough. And, if there is enough, there may be problems with the customer service, so the ability to come back with all of the knowledge I have gained and hopefully enhance that here to provide a better service for everyone involved is what really intrigued me.”
From talking with people during his relatively short time on campus, Rudometkin feels the perception is there may be a kind of “us versus them” mentality when it comes to parking, but he insists it’s not the case. Citations, he noted, are how parking lots are regulated.
“It would be just a free-for-all if we did not have a form of citations to monitor and regulate parking,” he said. “It’s all about service. We’re all here to help these students graduate and we play a small part in that. We’re here for the students, faculty and staff. We’re going to keep striving to provide the best service we can.”
Rudometkin likes to get out in the field himself, which in turn aids him in learning what everyone does. By having done that wherever he has been, it keeps him in touch with what staff members encounter on a day-to-day basis and he acknowledges the best way to learn that is to get in there and do it yourself.
“We have such a wonderful team here,” he said. “We have a lot of alums and a lot of people that have been working here a long time and they all take a great amount of pride in the university and the job they do.
“Every day I am learning a lot, but then something will come up and I realize I still have more to learn, but that’s what appealed to me,” he added. “The things that I have learned since I have been here have been wonderful and I just know it’s going to continue, not only from a selfish personal standpoint with the growth that I am getting, but hopefully my past experience and my leadership style. My goal is to help all of us, our team, grow.”