La Salle alumnus focused on improving community relations through local government 

March 12, 2024

As the executive director of the Philadelphia Parking Authority, Rich Lazer, ’07, is working to strengthen the relationship between the agency and its communities.

Rich Lazer, ’07

Rich Lazer, ’07, has dedicated his career to supporting the Philadelphia community.  

He is currently the executive director of the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) and previously served as the deputy major of labor for the City of Philadelphia. Working in constituent services is a passion for Lazer.  

“You’re always that first line where people come,” the Philadelphia native, who enjoys strengthening neighborhood and government relations, explained. 

Lazer attended La Salle majoring in political science and minoring in history. He chose the University for its tight-knit campus size, accessible faculty, and Catholic faith. He also knew that former Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, ’80, was a La Salle graduate, and Lazer was interested in also getting involved in local government.  

While a student, Lazer interned for Kenney when he was part of Philadelphia City Council. This real-world experience alongside the engaging courses at La Salle helped Lazer prepare for a career in public service. 

“My time at La Salle was awesome, it was a great experience for me,” he said.  

He would be part of Kenney’s mayoral campaign and later work as deputy mayor of labor, a new position that advocated for improving labor and employee relations, labor laws for all workers, and workforce diversity. 

“It was a new office that was created so it was cool to be a part of that,” he said.  

As Kenney’s time as mayor would wind down in 2023, Lazer began looking for his next challenge. He saw the executive director of the PPA position become available and felt like it was another way he could work with the people of Philadelphia.  

“I was intrigued by the PPA, and it has such wide-reaching authority,” he said. 

Now in the position a little over a year, Lazer has worked to improve the relationship between the organization and its communities. While many know the PPA for issuing parking tickets (or reruns of the reality series Parking Wars on A&E), Lazer wanted to focus on making the organization more accessible and educating the public on its mission.  

This includes being more available to the community and its needs, focusing on public safety and neighborhood initiatives, and providing off street operations including garages and mixed-use facilities. In the future, the PPA will work on installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the city, utilizing recent grant funding.  

“We want to look at things differently and make our services easy and accessible,” he said. 

For current La Salle students looking to work in politics and public service, Lazer recommends getting involved outside of the classroom through volunteer and internship work. He also suggests getting to know the professors as they can be a great resource to finding opportunities to build your resume.  

“Nothing teaches you more than experience,” Lazer said. “I loved doing it, it made a real difference for me.”  

—Meg Ryan