By Mallory Doeckel
Eric Holamon is the assistant director of customer relations for Parking and Transportation.
In this role, he leads the team of helpful, friendly faces that make up Parking and Transportation Customer Service. He also works to increase the department’s quality of service through customer outreach and by creating programs that address the transportation needs of campus.
Holamon went to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in his hometown of Odessa. Originally he had planned to go to school in Manhattan, but the week he was supposed to move, he changed his mind and decided UTPB would be a better next step. He was too late in enrollment to attend orientation but that didn’t stop him from being an orientation leader in the following years.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business management, Holamon began his career in customer service at Hertz, which eventually brought him to Durango, Colorado. After some time there, he decided on a whim that he needed a change in location. So he moved to Houston and in 2010 was hired as the customer service manager for Parking and Transportation at the University of Houston.
After later roles at UH as the administration manager for Bauer College of Business and marketing and communications manager in Administration and Finance, Holamon eventually returned to Parking and Transportation to continue the customer service work that he had started.
Parking and Transportation is unique in that it interacts with all faculty, staff and students in one way or another. What does Holamon see as the biggest misconception about the department?
“Some people think we operate with blinders on or that we don’t care about their experience with parking, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.
In fact, speaking with the campus community and learning about their experiences is one of his favorite parts of the job.
“Whether it’s orientations, our Street Team during the first week of the semester, or other outreach events, I enjoy the times when we get to talk one-on-one with people and instantly gauge how our programs are working for them. I enjoy the direct feedback.”
Outside of work, his favorite things to do are travel and eat great food. He was able to do both on his trip to Marbella, Spain. He explained that Marbella has the picturesque beauty of Italy, including the rolling hills and olive trees, but is more calm and slow-paced. He and his partner were able to take Holamon’s parents on the trip, which was already an experience as it was his mom’s first time abroad. Together they all ate a delicious Christmas dinner on the Mediterranean Sea. These priceless memories made the trip to Marbella his favorite, which is saying a lot, as he has been to 10 countries just in the last seven years.
This time off is important since Holamon stays extremely busy while at work. Some of his current projects include expanding and modifying the COAST program to make it available to more people, reworking visitor parking options, and developing a parking guidance system that would provide lot count numbers and space availability information to permit holders. Holamon is also part of the group planning the fifth UH parking garage, which is expected to begin construction next year.
Of his many achievements, the thing he’s most proud of is his team’s successful launch of COAST, a program that incentivizes students, faculty and staff to use alternative forms of transportation, including carpooling and METRO. The program greatly exceeded expectations with almost 2,000 members and offsetting the need for over 1,200 parking spaces in the first year alone. Other universities have reached out to UH to learn about the program because Houston isn’t a mass-transit city, yet COAST has been hugely successful.
Projects like COAST improve the quality of Parking and Transportation on campus, and provide faculty, staff and students with ways to save money and take part in a more sustainable form of transportation. Holamon appreciates opportunities to make a positive impact on the campus community.
“The reason I left my old job and moved into higher education is because I like contributing to a greater good instead of a bottom-line profit,” he said, “Even though our work isn’t in the classroom, knowing that in some way you’re part of a greater system that’s educating future leaders of the world is truly rewarding.”