UpClose With Ace Parking’s Keith Jones
Keith Jones wears a lot of hats: managing principal at Ace Parking, chairman of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, third-generation civic leader, even “mystery shopper"–or maybe “mystery parker”--at Ace’s properties to make sure everything is as it should be.
Keith’s grandfather, Evan Jones, founded Ace Parking in a small San Diego office in 1950 to take advantage of post-war auto growth. Nearly 65 years later, Keith (who’s headed the company since 2004) presides over the country’s largest privately owned parking company. Ace is in 28 markets, owning or managing more than 250,000 parking stalls. About a third are in Southern California.
As a lifelong San Diegan, the Downtown renaissance has been phenomenal to witness, Keith tells us. As the area reinvents itself as a live/work/play neighborhood, however, that means that attitudes toward parking need to change. There’s a misconception that there isn’t enough parking Downtown, he says. Actually there is, and it’s reasonably priced, but as the area becomes more densely populated, it might not always be possible to park right at one’s destination; it will be a few blocks away, just as in other major urban cores.
Keith’s active in the community--Father Joe’s Villages, Gen Next, San Diego Rotary 33, Herb Klein Leadership Roundtable--and sometimes that even involves parking. Earlier this year, he helped organize San Diego’s Parking Day, in which ordinary parking spaces were given over to fun temporary uses (pictured). Keith attended NYU and earned a BA in philosophy, with a minor in business. But being a member of the Jones family, he says, his education in parking management began early in life at the kitchen table. Keith and his wife Megan live in La Jolla. He tells us he likes to see his favorite bands in concert, including the Rolling Stones 50 times.