John Lyon '91


After John Lyon ‘91 graduated from Radford University with a business management degree, he answered an employment advertisement by Central Parking System, a national parking company. That one application led to an unexpected decades-long career.

“The parking business is an industry that is not known to many people.  It is an industry that provides the opportunity to experience many areas of business.  It allows you to wear many hats and expose yourself to several disciplines.  I happened upon this industry just by applying through an advertisement many years ago.  I have not left since,” says Lyon.

Lyon served as Central Parking System’s assistant manager at Union Station in Washington, D.C. He was quickly promoted during his first year to project and training manager.

Not long after this, one of the largest parking companies in the northeast, Square Industries, recruited Lyon to run their parking operations in Boston, Massachusetts.  “This also included overseeing the valet operations for the famous Parker House Hotel and an entire block of commercial and retail properties,” says Lyon.  After just 18 months, Lyon was promoted to Vice President and in charge of the company’s most important areas in New York and New Jersey.  “I was responsible for more than 1,500 employees and $100 million in revenues -- at the age of 27,” says Lyon.    

Today, Lyon is the president and owner of three companies -- Mid-Atlantic Parking Services Inc. (MAPS Parking), Park First and MAPS Maintenance. “Owning my own company has always been my goal.  I have had the opportunity to work for the world’s largest parking company, strong national parking companies and locally owned companies.  I have now been able to take the best practices of each, along with what I think will be successful, and bring it all to fruition,” says Lyon.

MAPS Parking and Park First are professional transportation management and consulting companies.  The companies manage, lease and own parking facilities.  MAPS Parking contracts east of the Mississippi. Park First contracts west of the Mississippi.  MAPS Maintenance provides maintenance for parking garages and parking lots.  These companies have a diverse group of clients including local and national property owners, property management companies, government, institutional firms and hotels.  Lyon says his companies “understand the market and client needs.  We have the experience, professionalism and flexibility to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations.”

Lyon is involved with all areas of his businesses.  “I can be found flagging cars at a special event, meeting with clients, and providing their parking needs,” he says. Lyon is thankful for the opportunities he had as a young business graduate to learn the basics of the business. Now he wants to help others reach their career goals. “I enjoy working with my employees in training and development to see them progress in my companies,” says Lyon.