Building on family tradition
Alex Martin Chaves ’86
CEO, Parking Company of America
Alex Martin Chaves learned to walk in a parking lot. He learned to count money in one, too. And soon enough, he gained paving, construction, business management, real estate and a host of other expertise. But above all, Alex learned the value of family. “I worked very closely with my parents,” Alex says. “I get emotional about it. Basically, I grew up with them in the business.”
That business, Parking Company of America, began with the acquisition of a single parking lot in Albuquerque, New Mexico nearly fifty years ago. Alex – the eldest of three children – and his siblings would join their parents for a Sunday ritual. “We’d go to Mass,” Alex says, “and then go clean parking lots.”
Alex was the first in his family to graduate college. That’s even though he was already so focused on business that he didn’t plan on attending college until a St. John Bosco High School guidance counselor suggested LMU.
Since then, Alex succeeded his father, Alex Chaves Sr., as the CEO of Parking Company of America – which now either owns or manages more than 300 properties and has more than 1,250 employees nationwide – and is an LMU Trustee. Alex is also the longtime president of the newly renamed LMU Latino Alumni Association, a group that provides scholarships, mentorship and a kinship to LMU students. “Because we’re family,” Alex says, “we see LMU as family.”