By Kylie Dennis
Mississippi State University parking services employee Tim Simmons is well on his way to accomplishing the seemingly impossible — he aims to bring a positive light to parking tickets.
Originally from Eupora, Simmons followed job opportunities and family ties to Starkville, where he accepted his current position as an MSU parking service officer in 2007. Only a month ago, Simmons secured an additional job as he and his fiancée welcomed the arrival of a baby girl.
Jeffrey Guess, manager of Parking and Transit Services, said Simmons’ good character and strong work ethic have proven instrumental in the success of parking services at MSU.
“He’s very enjoyable to be around. Anything you ask him to do, he’s very willing,” Guess said.
Since the beginning of their employment together, Guess said Simmons has not only been a tremendous asset to the department, but also a continued source of support in his own early career.
“I just recently became the manager of parking. Before that, I was the event coordinator, and he would do set up for me. He would stay late to make sure everything was done,” Guess said. “He was kind of like my right-hand person.”
While some remain convinced otherwise, Simmons said the torment of students is, in fact, not in his job description. Rather, Simmons said opportunities to interact with and assist commuters on campus are the highlight of his working day.
“We are willing to work with anybody as long as they’re friendly. Just be honest,” he said. “We don’t mind cutting breaks at all. It’s all about the attitude.”
Simmons, who admits issuing and receiving parking tickets is not always a pleasant affair, said he holds true to this belief and approaches each situation with optimism and genuine concern for others.
“I can understand why they’re frustrated,” he said. “I just try to keep a smile on my face.”
Of course, while Simmons said his job contains more serious moments, monitoring commuters on MSU’s campus has not been without its share of oddities, including the time he witnessed a student emerge from the trunk of a car.
“They were trying to get to class, and I guess they ran out of room in the car,” he said. “I couldn’t help but laugh.”
Parking services assistant Angela Robinson said while Simmons’s commitment to his job has proved beneficial to the department’s efficiency, his sense of humor has also created a lighter and friendlier atmosphere among his co-workers.
“You don’t have a boring day with Tim,” she said. “Every time he comes past our computers, he’ll turn our computer screens off or he’ll tape our phones just to make our day a little bit brighter.”
All jokes aside, both Simmons and his coworkers said they remain optimistic in regards to his future growth at the university, though that might mean one less smiling face patrolling MSU’s campus.
“If parking allows me to move up here, I’m willing,” Simmons said.
In the meantime, while students should continue to observe campus parking regulations to the best of their abilities, Simmons said accidents will happen. After all, even he has a parking ticket to his name.