A CFO with a People-First Focus
By Leo Herrera
At LAZ Parking, Nathan Owen is tasked with looking after the financial wellbeing of a nationwide family. The key is putting the needs of people before the company’s bottom line.
When you think of parking lots and valets, what comes to mind? For some, perhaps, a boring or tedious experience. For Nathan Owen, CFO of LAZ Parking, parking can represent a number of important moments. Valets might be one’s first human interaction in a foreign land, upon arriving at a hotel or resort. Or they could be wingmen creating a stress-free dining experience at a five-star restaurant. Valets can even provide assistance at the hospital during emergencies.
For Owen and the rest of LAZ Parking, the second largest parking company in the US, their parking operations—and more importantly, the people who run them—represent a large and loyal family.
“We really see the organization chart as being inverted, based on servant leadership,” Owen says. “Our executives are here to support our managers, our managers support the front-line staff, and the staff serve and support our clients and guests in the field. Other companies tend to look at it the other way around; they look at the bottom line. We start with the people.” This is just a taste of what Owen and the rest of the company refer to as “The LAZ Way.”
Few people embody The LAZ Way quite as well as Owen. He jests that he has quite the loyalty streak, but it’s true—he’s only ever worked for two employers, married his high school sweetheart (they’ve been together for twenty-seven years), and he still supports his childhood soccer team, the Wolverhampton Wanderers. Throughout the years before he joined LAZ Parking, Owen received many offers to join other companies, but nothing proved worth his attention until he got the offer from LAZ and looked into the type of company it is.
Read the full story here