After three decades of service at the University of Utah, we bid adieu to a man who has successfully managed one of the toughest jobs on campus—creating parking and commuting solutions for the 60,000 people that travel to the university each day.
Executive Director of Commuter Services Alma Allred hangs up his hard hat after 30 years, during which an enormous amount of growth and progress has transpired. A “Utah Man” and alumnus as well, Allred’s tenure at the university rivals that of anyone.
In 1989, Allred accepted an invitation to lead the university’s Parking Services department, which operated on a paper-based system and issued handwritten tickets. From those modest beginnings, Allred worked continuously to keep current with industry standards and technologies, ultimately growing the department to eight divisions and overseeing some of the most challenging projects the campus has undertaken.
Among such projects was preparing the university to host the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, which prompted the addition of TRAX lines through campus and a number of other updates. A complex endeavor on both fronts, to be sure, Allred was forward-thinking and worked collaboratively with the numerous entities involved, ending in a huge success for the university and the best-executed games in history.
Other big successes achieved under Allred’s leadership include automated pay lot systems with kiosks, the construction of several parking garages, the move to a web-based system for student parking permit purchases and a high-tech license plate recognition system to manage parking enforcement.
Creating ongoing value and benefit for the university’s populous was a hallmark of Allred’s career. He played a lead role in orchestrating the university’s long-term partnership with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), which provides students, staff and faculty rides on all UTA vehicles at no charge. Allred has also supported the suite of alternate mobility modes, as well as promoted sustainability within the transportation sphere.
Despite the challenges of his role, Allred executed his duties with exuberance and a smile on his face. He enjoyed bringing humor into the sometimes-contentious landscape, creating lighthearted campaigns to better engage with students. “Chuck Norris Rides the Bus,” was a favorite tagline from years ago. Allred also worked with students directly, supporting their academic pursuits. He agreed to pilot the “Fry Bus,” a student project whereby a shuttle was powered by fry grease instead of gasoline. Some may recall the scent of French fries that wafted throughout campus that semester.
“Alma is one of the least thanked people on campus, and he has one of the toughest jobs,” said a colleague in Auxiliary Services. “He rose above the difficulties of his role with apparent ease and a playful personality that will be missed.”
The Commuter Services team sends their thanks and best wishes, as do Allred’s peers and members of auxiliary leadership.
“On behalf of Auxiliary Services, we offer our sincere thanks to Alma for his service and contribution to the university,” said Gordon Wilson, associate vice president of Auxiliary Services. “We wish Alma and his family well as they move into this new chapter.”
A national search is now underway to identify a new director of Commuter Services with the intent of filling the position during the summer, allowing the new director to prepare for the approaching school year.