All six founders of Parking Company of America
This photo was taken in 1969 at Disneyland with all six founders of Parking Company of America present.

In 1963 six native-New Mexican brothers, the sons of Petra and Nicodemus F. Chavez Jr., founded Parking Company of America. Mr. Chavez was an apple farmer from Pajarito, New Mexico, a small river community on the banks of the Rio Grande south of Albuquerque. An entrepreneur himself, he became determined that his sons should go into a more reliable and lucrative business than farming, for all it took was a single bad year or a single hail storm to destroy an entire year’s work.

One day the elder Chavez noticed a classified ad in the Albuquerque Journal for a downtown parking lot that the city was looking to rent out. The lot occupied the current site of the Albuquerque Public Library on Copper between 5th and 6th Streets. Mr. Chavez showed the ad to his second youngest son who quickly secured the lease, and within days he was in business parking cars. Soon after, the brothers got together and secured the lease to the second Albuquerque lot.

At that point they decided to enshrine their grand vision into the company’s logo, bordering it with the outline of the United States and adorning it in patriotic red, white, and blue. With only two small lots in Albuquerque they daringly named their fledgling business “Parking Company of America.” Many members of the family attribute the company’s phenomenal success to this aggressive and lofty vision. Logo and vision both endure to this day.

From the founding in 1963 to the early 1970s, Parking Company of America was the fastest growing parking company in the world. And by 1975 Parking Company of America had already begun to fulfill the vision of its founders. By then it had a substantial parking operation in each of twenty-five major cities. By the 1980s it had become – in its own right – one of the largest parking companies in the country. Crucial to this growth was the decision by the brothers to fan out across the country and each to establish his own proprietorship in his own region. This became a permanent strategy which extended to the family’s next generation and remains in effect to this day.

Business development in the early days focused on efficiency, and nothing brought more efficiency than the mechanical parking meter. The brothers invented it, and it became the standard of the industry. It was a flat, rectangular vault with numbered money slots on the front face, each of which corresponded to a numbered parking space. The rear of the meter could be opened by the attendant where payments could be viewed and confirmed at regular intervals throughout the day. The meter became a powerful asset, and after it was patented it could easily be duplicated on any lot anywhere in the country. It was so effective in fact that it became the defining characteristic of the franchise system that the Chavez brothers later implemented.

Daniel Chavez, nephew of the founders, after being exposed to the excitement of the parking business as a young child, was destined to adopt the vision. In the summer of 1985, at the age of 15, Daniel flew to Los Angeles to work for his uncle, one of the founders. This trip turned out to be an intensive course in the parking business, since the Los Angeles operation was as large and complex as any. From then on Daniel knew he would soon carry on his family’s tradition.

After graduating from the University of New Mexico, Daniel acquired the Albuquerque branch of Parking Company of America in the year 2000 and has owned and operated it as its own independent business ever since. He is now in the process of expanding the Albuquerque operation. Since 2000 he has secured various new leases on existing lots and purchased other lots downtown.

Today Daniel has developed a newer, more refined system for Parking Company of America – Albuquerque, LLC. He has made payment systems even more user-friendly and convenient than ever. And he has established the most efficient and user-friendly online system in the world for customers to acquire and manage their monthly permits. He has, in so doing, enabled Parking Company of America – Albuquerque, LLC to continue the great tradition of providing convenient parking spaces, first-class service, and fair prices – right here in the company’s mother city.