Icon Parking Chairman & CEO John Smith Named National Parking Association “Innovator of the Year”

September 20, 2023


Icon Parking Chairman & CEO John Smith Named National Parking Association “Innovator of the Year”




NEW YORK—-John D. Smith, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Icon Parking, has been presented with the prestigious Innovator of the Year award by the National Parking Association (NPA) at their annual convention this week in New Orleans. The NPA’s Innovator of the Year award is presented to a parking industry leader who has demonstrated significant industry or organization success; advanced innovative ideas, products, or practices; or has demonstrated exemplary leadership in and positively contributed to the industry.

NPA President & CEO, Christine Banning, IOM, CAE, said, “John is an exemplar of a great leader and innovator. His dedication to the industry and his innovative approach to technology, customer service and safety demonstrated a way to serve, scale, and sustain dynamic parking services during and beyond the pandemic.”

“My team’s commitment, collaboration, and entrepreneurial spirit have played a vital role in my success,” said Icon Parking Chairman and CEO John Smith. “Furthermore, I am genuinely humbled to be among the accomplished individuals who have come before me and received this award.”

The NPA recognized Mr. Smith’s application of his knowledge and experience in growing companies and brands and his extensive leadership background, which he leveraged to transform a 76-year-old traditional parking operation into a digitally enabled consumer-centric brand elevating the customer experience.

Smith joined Icon as CEO just before the pandemic, following successful executive roles in retail, hospitality, gaming, and restaurants. He had the challenge of starting this transformation as a worldwide health emergency hit. And as he has done many times, Smith combined his business expertise, an understanding of the customer and the marketplace, and a respect for his team members with his own determination to transform Icon Parking.

Smith worked with his Icon colleagues to leverage digital technology during the pandemic to go from 99%+ paper tickets to 99+% digital transactions under Icon’s ParkSafe program, protecting both his team and Icon’s customers. The result was safe interactions at the height of the pandemic which have endured post-pandemic due to the removal of significant friction from the customer journey, while creating major efficiencies for Icon – a win-win.

The results of Smith’s innovative approach to the parking industry, his personal leadership style, and business expertise are exemplified by Icon’s TrustPilot scores of 4.5 out of 5 across the garage portfolio, ranking Icon as a leader in customer satisfaction in the US parking industry.

Smith helped his team create new parking products that never existed in the New York City or U.S. parking industry and remain unique to Icon through leveraging digital technology and analytics, such as monthly subscriptions and instant consumption. Icon’s digital initiatives now drive digital demand directly to consumers, who can easily book parking, resulting in Icon generating significant digital traffic.

Under Smith’s leadership, Icon implemented dynamic pricing and mix optimization algorithms and introduced new performance metrics to normalize and measure results.

In addition to reshaping the way Icon does business, Smith in April led a management buyout, making Icon the nation’s largest minority-owned parking management and transportation services provider. He has positioned Icon to scale nationally to service the unmet needs of corporate, educational institutions, event and sports venues, professional sports leagues and government entities who have committed to spend billions with minority suppliers but are not able to partner with vendors of scale with a national footprint. This has provided a roadmap for owners and entrepreneurs, particularly minorities, to leverage private direct investments to acquire and build businesses of scale to close the wealth gap in America.

About Icon Parking

Founded in 1947, Icon is the largest minority-owned parking management and mobility services provider in the New York City metro and one of the largest in the nation with almost 200 locations. Icon leverages its digital and advanced analytics platform to provide parking operations, management, and related services to clients through extraordinarily engaged team members across Commercial Office Buildings and Real Estate, Food and Beverage, Municipalities, Sports and Entertainment, Retail, and Healthcare, resulting in exceptional customer, resident, and tenant experiences. Icon’s mission is to simplify city life, one customer at a time by connecting them to where they live, work, and play; and believes, “Parking is just the start!” For more information, please go to www.iconparking.com.


Michael Aburas