Founded in 1973, DESMAN is a top-tier national firm that specializes in parking consulting, design, planning and restoration. We have excelled as one of the leading planners and designers of functionally efficient, attractive and cost-effective parking solutions.
When structural engineers John Fujiwara and the late Giri Chhabra founded DESMAN in New York City in 1973, they used John’s apartment as a makeshift office. They worked grueling hours to build the business, relying on the skills they gained in their first jobs at T.Y. Lin International.
John and Giri studied as many parking garages as they could to learn what worked and what didn’t. At the time, parking garages looked nothing like the sleek, modern structures they are today. Utilitarian considerations took priority over aesthetics.
Using the intel they gathered, John and Giri specialized in structural engineering and design services for parking garages. Most structural engineers didn’t have a focus – they accepted any and all work. Thanks to their successful niche, John and Giri opened an office in New York City and expanded into parking garage restoration in the early 1980s.
Restoration proved to be another smart venture as the industry hadn’t fully taken off yet. The partners focused on restoring and maintaining existing parking structures. Rapid growth allowed them to purchase a competing firm in Chicago, where they opened their second office.
As the business evolved, so did parking garages. They became more complex than when John and Giri launched their careers. One of the industry’s most visible changes was to make parking structures blend in with their surroundings. DESMAN was at the forefront of this evolution with thoughtful, architecturally sensitive planning and design.
John and Giri’s vision also helped DESMAN lead the way in technology advancements that benefit parking garage owners, operators and users. These include vehicle-idling reduction technology, radio-frequency identification and mobile payment systems, electric and hybrid car-charging stations, heat-reducing roof gardens and energy-efficient heating, ventilation and cooling systems.
Today, DESMAN has nine offices and about 100 employees who specialize in parking design, planning and restoration. The company has completed over 5,000 parking projects in the United States and overseas.
John remains DESMAN’s chairman, while Steve Rebora is president. Steve became an intern at the company in 1985 when he was an architecture student at the University of Illinois, then joined DESMAN full time when he graduated the following year. Steve held positions of increasing responsibility, including draftsman, job captain and project manager before becoming president in 2005.
Today, three partner groups that include Anup Chhabra, DESMAN’s executive vice president and Giri’s son, and Tim Tracy, executive vice president, manage day-to-day operations.