Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Campus and Parking Services director pulls into a spot at college district

Nicole Conklin
Nicole Conklin, the district’s new Campus and Parking Services (CAPS) director, describes herself as a “parking nerd,” having dealt with the many issues involved in parking since she was 16 years old.

Her mother, an administrative assistant in the Parking Services office at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y., told her about a part-time job writing parking tickets on campus and the then-high school sophomore jumped at the chance. She went on to receive her bachelor’s and a master’s degree in geography with an emphasis in urban planning from the university in upstate New York.

Conklin now oversees the department at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District that provides parking enforcement and services including safety escorts, room unlocks/locks, and lost-and-found at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

The CAPS office was created in 2013, when the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District separated law enforcement functions from parking enforcement and customer services in its Public Safety Department. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department now has a sheriff’s sergeant and deputies assigned to the college district.

As the CAPS director, Conklin said her primary job is to ensure that students and employees are safe and that visitors feel welcome to attend college events.

“I also want to get a message out that CAPS employees are here to help in a variety of ways.  I have watched them go out of their way to help people and I realize what a fantastic team they are,” she said.

Before she was hired by the college district, Conklin worked as the assistant director of long-term planning at Binghamton University. Prior to that, she worked from 2005 to 2007 as a planner for the city of Binghamton.

During her time at the university, Conklin oversaw a transportation and parking study that resulted in improved safety and reliability of access and parking on the campus of more than 15,000 students. She also participated in projects that included the design of roadways and campus infrastructure.

Sue Rearic, vice chancellor for business services, said the district is fortunate to have a person with Conklin’s knowledge and experience heading CAPS.

“Her experience includes a strong understanding of parking regulations and enforcement, the ability to develop long-term solutions for parking issues, problem-solving, and customer service,” Rearic said.

Before moving here, Conklin’s only previous visit to California was in 2007 as a competitor in the Soo Bahk Do National (Karate) Championships in San Diego. The Mission Valley resident is a first-degree black belt and won titles in the mid-‘90s for sparring and overall forms in the national championships, which are held annually in cities across the nation.

A martial artist since the age of 12, Conklin continued competing until her mid-20s. These days, her karate is strictly for fun and fitness.