The Charlie Hoffman Foundation and Scott Jones

The Charlie Hoffman Foundation and Scott JonesScott Jones took the torch from his father, Evan Jones, the founder of Ace Parking many years ago, but never forgot the lessons his father taught him.  These lessons are the same ones used as a driving force for progress in Ace Parking.  The traditional San Diegan concept of “neighbor helping neighbor” has played a large role in fostering the incredible sense of corporate responsibility that is at the heart of Ace Parking’s operations.

The Charley Hoffman Foundation

Charley Hoffman, a PGA tour Pro and his lovely wife Stacy, started the foundation in 2009 to raise money and increase awareness for children’s organizations.  The children’s organizations that they focus on are those that seek to give children a positive environment and good role models who help them achieve a better future through education, sports, and good healthy living.

The foundation has provided services for the Hoffman’s’ adopted hometowns of San Diego and Las Vegas where they have raised over a million dollars for charity.  Similarly, to the San Diegan principle mentioned earlier, the Hoffman’s decided to base their charity on the idea of “think local first.”

Ace Parking’s Involvement

Under the leadership of Scott Jones, Ace Parking’s Owner and Chairman, the company decided to help the community yet again.  They became involved with the Charley Hoffman foundation and dedicated time and resources to getting the ball rolling.

From an early age, he learned the concept of Karma and reciprocity and he decided that giving back to the community was essential for the success of his business and personal life.  When he was approached by the charity organization, he felt a connection to their mission and felt that it was the company’s corporate responsibility to provide opportunities and support for all of San Diego’s young people.  They are, in his mind, the future of San Diego and indeed, his company.

Scott Jones Encourages Social Responsibility

Scott Jones Encourages Social ResponsibilityHistory

Evan Jones founded Ace Parking in 1950 on the traditional San Diegoan principle of “neighbor helping neighbor.”  When he founded the company all those years ago from a booth in a parking lot, to the time that he retired, he never let that idea go.  He made all efforts to instill this value and the company motto of “every thank you earned” into his son and successor, Scott Jones.

For over 60 years, Ace Parking has passed down from its founder, Evan Jones, to his son Scott, and now his grandson Keith Jones.  Through thick and thin, Ace Parking has made every effort to be actively involved in the community and has collaborated with over 50 community and charity organizations.

Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility is a dying practice in most multi-million dollar companies whose sole concern is the bottom line.  Ace Parking has stood out as a beacon in the dark with their exemplary performance in this aspect

Scott Jones has made efforts to give back to the communities in which Ace Parking operates.  He believes that dedication to the environment, the company’s customers and even their employees is essential for continued corporate success and longevity.

Scott Jones’ Stance

Scott Jones has been approached by the media on several occasions and has always made sure to emphasize the efforts being taken to cultivate goodwill and progress for the communities in which the company operates.  He has encouraged the company to offer support wherever and whenever possible.

He remarked to the press on one occasion that Ace Parking’s goal [was] to diversify the support we offer, and we certainly do not want to overlook anyone. Really though, it is more a matter of trying to do what we believe is the ‘right thing,’ which is why we support so many programs. There are just so many good ones out there.”

 

The Legacy of Scott Jones

The Legacy of Scott JonesWhen it comes to parking in San Diego, everyone is trying to keep up with the Joneses.  Since it was first founded in 1950 by Evan Jones, Ace Parking has spread its influence across the city and now controls 75 percent of all paid parking lots.  The Jones family name has become a legacy in San Diego and continues to help shape the landscape of the downtown area.

When Scott Jones took the helm of Ace Parking in 1971, he made a tremendous effort to distinguish himself from his father and prove that he was more than competent to take the lead.  After twenty two years, Scott Jones has not only expanded the company, but has taken it even further than his father ever thought possible.  Ace Parking now services properties in Los Angeles, Orange County, Arizona, and Oregon.  Scott is responsible for landing high profile clients such as Orange Country’s Irvine Co., Portland International Airport, Tucson Airport, the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, the Hyatt Regency at the Aventine in La Jolla, and Horton Plaza which is still his biggest client to this day.  His latest prize, Town & Country Hotel in Mission Valley, marks the first contract for paid parking in Mission Valley.

Although his father has paved the way for his success, Scott still maintains his individuality and struggles to delegate responsibilities to make time for his family.  However, his struggle to achieve personal and business success is far from over since Ace Parking faces some stiff competition and heightened regulations to reduce air pollution.

Scott plans to embrace these regulations before they become even stricter and address his competition through commitment to customer service.  “What I’ve learned from seeing this city go through all the bank problems and real estate problems is that the one thing, the only thing, I can control is our level of service,” he says.  Scott maintains a constant vigilance of his clients and takes a very hands-on approach with the company.  This attention to service is the lasting legacy passed on from his father.

Ace Parking Supports the Law

scott jones san diego donationAce Parking has a long standing reputation for excellence, green initiatives and supporting the communities where they conduct business.  In September of 2012, Ace Parking stood in the spotlight for its generosity towards and support of the San Diego Police Department.

The Donation

In a special joint press conference, on September 17th, the San Diego Chief of Police, along with a Partner at Ace Parking made a special announcement.  Ace Parking had just made a substantial donation of $15,000 to the Police Department in order to purchase special police bicycles.

The bicycles purchased with this generous donation were designed to be lightweight and fast.  Above all, the bicycles were designed for easy maneuverability for use in crowds at large events.  They were also equipped with police equipment and technology to make the officers who keep the city safe, more effective.

The Rationale

Ace Parking’s CIO, Jon Gjerset, emphasized the importance of being green and that the environmentally friendly bicycles could help the police force to keep San Diego safe for everyone.  The company claimed that the donation was made in an effort to improve the city and make it more conducive to conducting business.

Sustainability and community development have always been at the core of Ace Parking’s business model.  This donation, along with other efforts, is geared towards strengthening the business and community.

Goals and Business Practices

 The hope for a safer San Diego for locals, business-people, and tourists is one of Ace Parking’s reasons for charity and community development.  The company prides itself in its ability to provide excellent service, a safe environment, and an eco-friendly setting.  They are currently the most environmentally aware, green company in the United States.  The company never stops looking for new and innovative ways to improve their product and minimize their negative impact on the environment.

Keeping Up with the Parking Joneses

San Diego Convention Center

San Diego Convention Center

When it comes to parking in San Diego, everyone is trying to keep up with the Joneses.

The company that was founded by Evan Jones, Ace Parking, is now run by Evan’s son Scott. Scott is in charge of a venture that brings in more than $80 million a year in revenue from more than 75% of the paid parking lots in San Diego.

Jones is not just another name in San Diego. Much like such iconic names as Luce, Fletcher and Hahns, Jones is a name that is instantly recognizable to anyone from San Diego. Albert, father to Evan and grandfather to Scott, had a hand in building the California Theatre downtown as a real estate developer in San Diego. Evan followed in these footsteps by being influential in shaping the political and structural landscape of San Diego’s downtown area.

The vice president of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, Ron Oliver, remarks, “The Joneses’ fingerprints are all over this town.” Evan Jones helped to found the group in order to help develop San Diego.

When Scott graduated from Stanford University in 1971, taking on a 9-to-5 job and following in his father’s footsteps was the last thing from his mind. He was more concerned with scoring tickets to see the Grateful Dead in concert as well as worrying about the Vietnam War. On top of being generally uninterested in taking on the responsibility, Scott was laid back and soft spoken, making a public position a little nerve racking.

Determined not to let anyone down, Scott says, “It was really important to me when I got out of college that I wasn’t copping out or getting a free ride by just stepping into my father’s company.”

Scott, however, was not destined to avoid working in the family business. Not long after graduating, Scott was lured into entering into the family business thanks to a new account his father had acquired outside of San Diego. Scott’s interest in sports, “and only because of my interest in sports”, was the reason why he took a position with the company and helped to set up the parking ground crews for the upcoming football season at the newly acquired Texas Stadium.

In retrospect, Scott says, “I loved it. I loved organizing it all, putting the team together.”

Now, twenty-two years have passed and Scott Jones has taken the helm as chairman and CEO at Ace Parking. It was about five years ago that he took on the CEO title for one of the biggest private employers and most entrenched monopolies in all of San Diego. This was also due in part to the fact that his father was unable to run the company with increasing difficulties arising from Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

It is important to Scott that the world knows that is a different man than his father, Evan Jones. Those who look at the two might have trouble making this distinction since they both have pale blue-grey eyes, Swept back brown hair that is thinning and the cheeks of a teddy bear that any grandmother would be itching to pinch.

Another major shared attribute between father and son is the sense of civic duty. Scott has helped to found as involved in quite a few business groups, like: the Downtown San Diego Partnership, the Downtown Transportation Management Association and the San Diego Zoo Building and Grounds Committee.

Scott has also taken Ace Parking much further than Evan might have imagined possible. Whereas his father may have desired to keep everything close to San Diego, the Texas Stadium deal being the exception, Scott is willing to expand as quickly as possible. Under Scott, the company has expanded into Los Angeles county, Orange county, Oregon and Arizona. There are quite a few high-profile clients Scott has secured as well, like: Orange County’s Irvine Co., the Tucson Airport, Portland International Airport, the Hyatt Regency at the Aventine in La Jolla, and the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre.

Recently, Scott signed the Town & Country Hotel in Mission Valley, making it the first hotel in Mission Valley to contract a pay-for-parking service. On the tally of San Diego hotels on the Ace Parking roster, this makes number 16. However, this pales in comparison to February 10th, 1984 when Scott was entrusted with handling the parking for the 2,300-space garage for Horton Plaza.

Thinking back, Scott says, “As years went by, the issue became bigger and bigger and bigger to me: Am I here because my father paved the road or because I’m talented and capable of making good decisions? The day I got the Horton Plaza contract, I felt I made it, like a curtain opening. I knew I was my own capable, successful person.”

As a single father, Scott struggled to make it work and to maintain his individuality. He even delegated to his father on occasion since Evan has been declared by Scott as a ‘classic workaholic’.

In regards to his personal life, Scott says, “I want to have a life that’s not strapped to a desk. I’d rather leave money on the table and have extra time for myself.”

Among the ways in which Scott maintains his own life is to enjoy his love of rock ‘n’ roll. This includes seeing concerts like Steve Miller, Neil Young, Tina Turner and Keith Richards in recent years. As a huge fan of the Rolling Stones, he even named two of his children after two of the band members: Brian and Keith. In addition, Scott has been a surfer even before he graduated from Point Loma High School and still surfs today.

Scott has no intentions of having his two boys follow into the family business and will not put any pressure on them to do so, saying, ““I want to handle it the way my father did, with more of a carrot than a stick approach and just create an environment that if they want to come in they can.”

Brian, Scott’s oldest son is still trying to decide which college to attend. This may seem like a foregone conclusion with such a family dynasty at Stanford. Looking at the family history, anyone can see that Brian’s father and grandfather attended Stanford. Additionally, his maternal grandfather, Malin Burnham, attended Stanford and his great grandmother was a member of the first graduating class of Stanford.

With all of the success for Scott and Ace Parking, it is far from over. Five Star Parking, based in Los Angeles, came to San Diego 10 months ago and has since taken over nine locations (six of these used to be Ace lots). Paul Chacon, the leader bringing Five Star Parking to San Diego, is a former real estate broker, and a parking powerhouse. He says, “there’s a parking war going on.”

“The days where one company dominates the parking world in San Diego are over,” Chacon says. “The kind of dominance Evan built is unheard of in a city this size. Monopolies can’t last.”

There is intense competition on the horizon for Ace Parking with parking prices dropping, thanks to the economy, and more downtown lots remaining less than full. In addition to Five Star, Ace Parking has to compete now with: a franchise of Parking Co. of America; Star Parking, a subsidiary of Starboard Development; Seattle-based Diamond Parking Service; Houston-based Allright Parking; and Ampco, a subsidiary of the public company American Building Maintenance.

Part of the reason for the decrease in the number of cars using downtown lots is due to the ecological push being made in modern society. As fewer San Diegans are driving, to reduce pollution, there is simply not a need for a lot of parking spaces.

In response, Scott is looking to alternative parking opportunities, like satellite parking lots on bus routes and near freeway ramps. This is in addition to corporate-mandated ridesharing.

Scott realizes the limitations this implies since he is, “in the automobile business and will be hurt by these things, and I realize a lot of businesses are against such rules,” Scott says. “But, if we don’t take action now, eventually, we’ll have stricter regulation.”

To combat the problem with increased competition as well as the clean air regulations, Scott is focusing on people. He is putting more focus on his clients and the 2,000 employees that work for Ace Parking.

To wit, he says, “What I’ve learned from seeing this city go through all the bank problems and real estate problems is that the one thing, the only thing, I can control is our level of service.”

Part of the vigilance that Scott brings to the business is to hold weekly meetings with the landlords in charge of the buildings and spaces that utilize Ace.

When asked to comment on Scott, the general manager of San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium (the premier account for Ace), Bill Wilson says, “He’s a quality fanatic. I’ve stood on the ramps at big Charger games with both Evan and Scott and watched them work the radios. They’re both very hands-on.”

There is no time off when it comes to the parking industry for Scott as exemplified in a recent golf game with Wilson. When Wilson mentioned a traffic flow problem at a recent football game, Scott dropped his club immediately and rushed to the clubhouse to fix the problem and restore quality.

The legacy that Scott received from his father appears to be the attention to clients.

Since early last year, Evan Jones has been a resident at Casa Palmera in Del Mar. Scott took Wilson with him to visit the now 74 year old Evan. When asked about the meeting, Wilson said, ““It was so heartwarming to see them hug and see the great love that’s there.”

As a tribute to the man so beloved by San Diegans, a recommendation is being made to the City Council by Councilman Ron Roberts to name the San Diego Concourse parking structure after Evan Jones. Scott is helping Roberts to get the historical data as puts together his proposal. Scott is happy to help honor the man whose shoes he has been asked to fill. Wilson remarks that the two are quite different but similar in many ways.

While it is true that Evan Jones will always enjoy Benny Goodman over Keith Richards as well as a traditional wood and Persian rug office over a black-leather and chrome office, the important similarities remain. Scott will always be similar to Evan in making sure every client feels like a king.