Features

Tony Stewart – ParkMobile

GC parks attention on data privacy

Driving around the block again and again looking for a place to park is often frustrating, stressful and time consuming.

It’d be so much easier if you could look at a map on your phone and see where the open spots were. ParkMobile has made this a reality. The mobile app shows users nearby open parking spaces and allows them to pay digitally instead of at a meter, so there’s no scrambling for quarters, either.

It’s available in 450 cities across the U.S. and will soon expand into other parts of the world. The Atlanta, Georgia-based company was recently acquired by EasyPark, a similar company with a presence in over 2,200 cities in Europe and Australia.

Tony Stewart, ParkMobile’s general counsel and chief legal and privacy officer, helped prepare for the acquisition and has since helped the two companies combine their policies. That’s included creating a privacy program like the one he made for ParkMobile, which includes annual training to keep employees abreast of regulations worldwide.

“We’re the leader in parking technology in the U.S., so by working with EasyPark, we can expand into a global organization,” he says. “Our goal is to be market leaders around the world.”

Privacy by design

Since ParkMobile was acquired, Stewart has been updating its policies to be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation while also strengthening EasyPark’s compliance with it.

He also ensures ParkMobile is compliant with the California Consumer Privacy Act and other state regulations, which he says are revised and updated frequently. With the help of outside counsel, he monitors new legislation and other regulatory developments and relays them to his colleagues in monthly meetings with each department, including with the product development team.

ParkMobile has implemented a “privacy by design” concept, Stewart says, which means “having our teams think about privacy from the onset of product development and design.”

While Stewart provides input on how to stay compliant, the product team has a member who has a deeper understanding of privacy and security than other members of the team. Stewart says heightened security protocols are becoming more important with the rise in hacking during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s concerning seeing how companies are victimized by third-party malicious actors,” he says. “Our users, and the municipalities we work with, trust us to protect their data, so we don’t want to leave ourselves open to any security risks.”

Managing the process

Stewart has also implemented a new contract management system, which helped prepare the company for acquisition as well. The system, rolled out in 2021, streamlines the contract process with standardized templates. Now, the sales team no longer needs to request and wait for contracts to be drawn up by the legal team, accessing them instead from a centralized database that allows for auto renewals.

“This has improved client management because it makes sure we’re aware of contracts that may require a manual process and ensures nothing slips through the cracks,” Stewart says. “And having pre-approved self-service templates creates more consistency and leaves less room for human error.”

He started looking for a new contract management system early in the COVID-19 pandemic so the sales team could work more autonomously.

“I like looking for solutions and ways to achieve business goals while also managing risk,” Stewart says. “It’s especially fulfilling working with other business units to come up with creative strategies.”

Computer nerd turned lawyer

Stewart had been an attorney at the Atlanta-based firm Hall Booth Smith, P.C., for seven years when ParkMobile cold called him looking for someone to develop its privacy program and had heard of his expertise.

Hall Booth Smith focuses on data privacy and security, intellectual property and general liability, and while there, Stewart learned a lot about cybersecurity.

“My colleagues there joked that I knew more about IT than the IT department,” he says. “I was a computer nerd in high school, so it’s something that’s always interested me.”

While Stewart was surprised by ParkMobile’s call, he was intrigued by the prospect of going in house. He’d been wanting to make that change because he was spending a lot of time working with large companies on GDPR compliance and knew he could be more involved in house.

“Data privacy and security is still a relatively new area of law, so it was attractive to be part of something as it develops and be able to influence it,” he says.

After learning more about ParkMobile and being drawn to its company culture, he accepted the role of chief privacy officer, which later evolved to include the roles of chief legal officer and general counsel.

“It’s a very collaborative environment here and it truly feels like we’re all on the same team,” Stewart says. “We take diversity and inclusion matters very seriously and make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable. I feel like I can be my true self here.”

Published on: May 31, 2022

regions:

categories:

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.

Testimonials

It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.
The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.
I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.
As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.

LATEST EDITION

Summer I 2022

READ NOW

GET VANGUARD IN YOUR INBOX.

  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.