Rock Around the Clock

When it comes to working long hours amid a loud and raucous music festival crowd, Oklahoma’s At Your Service has the right stuff.
Rock Around the Clock

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THE TEAM

At Your Service Restroom Rentals in Owasso, Okla., provides portable restrooms, restroom trailers, temporary fencing, power washing and 55-gallon drum trash services in northeastern Oklahoma. Owners Stacey and Tammy Hillis have a staff of 16 – three office workers, seven technicians, one mechanic/operations manager and five high school students for the summer. Daughters, Skyler, 17, and Addison, 14, also are very involved, working both in the office and in the field. "They've done everything right along with us," Tammy Hillis says. "It's a family business and they're part of it."

The family and nine employees worked at Rocklahoma. Because a lot of alcohol is served at this event, team members must be able to avoid the temptation to drink and remain even-tempered when confronted by patrons who may be over-served. The event also requires skilled drivers who can maneuver large vehicles through distracted crowds.

COMPANY HISTORY

In 2004, after working for a national trash hauling company for 15 years, Stacey Hillis decided it was time to make a change. "We were just ready to try something on our own and saw a huge need, especially in the special event arena," Tammy Hillis says. Through hard work, dedication and Stacey's selling skills, they scaled up quickly, buying 100 portable restrooms in their first three months and adding restroom trailers in their second year.

Today they're up to 1,700 restrooms and five trailers, either built in-house or purchased from Wells Cargo, UltraLav and Rich Specialty Trailers. They have a 60-mile service territory and about 25 percent of their work is for special events.

The Hillises believe their most important asset is their employees and do a lot to instill team spirit. They hold weekly breakfast meetings – part information, part inspiration – and staff are encouraged to speak up. "If anyone has positives or negatives, that's when you lay it on the table. That way we can put a spark out before it becomes a fire," Hillis says.

MAKING CONNECTIONS

Seven years ago the company was asked to place a bid for Rocklahoma. They won the bid and did such a good job the event has been theirs ever since. "Our bottom line is, we know what we're supposed to do so this piece of the pie you don't need to worry about," Hillis says.

THE MAIN EVENT

Each year over the Memorial Day weekend, a sleepy 400-acre site near Pryor, Okla., hosts what's billed as "the biggest, loudest rock and roll party in America." This year the 30,000 daily attendees of Rocklahoma were treated to the sights and sounds of 40 bands with colorful names like Chickenfoot, Megadeth, Hellyeah, EchoFuzz and Puddle of Mudd. All-night parties followed all-day performances.

The venue has four stages, three campgrounds, a general store and shower facilities. A Thursday night pre-show kicks off the event, which ends Sunday night, leaving Monday for recovery and travel.

BY THE NUMBERS

At Your Service provided portable restrooms for attendees, restroom trailers for artists and VIPs, RV pumping for the campers, and – for those who brought all the comforts of home – swimming pool filling services. They placed 180 light gray, event-only PolyPortables Inc. Integras and Satellite Industries Tufways, 15 ADA-compliant units (PolyPortables Inc. Senators and Satellite Industries Freedoms) and 15 hand-wash stations (PolyPortables Inc. Tag Alongs and Satellite Industries Waves) in 30 locations, including campgrounds, performance sites, food courts and VIP pads. One restroom trailer was placed in the VIP vendor area, another in the Marlborough client hospitality center.

The team worked everyday from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., taking meal breaks together to recharge and share a few laughs. Although the Hillis family returned home each night, they put employees up in a hotel for four days so they could avoid making the 50-mile trip to Owasso each night and again the next morning.

LET'S ROLL

Campgrounds opened the Sunday before the event, so the company started bringing units in 10 days before. They used custom-built hauling trailers of various lengths that carried 20, 16 and 10 units each. By Saturday all units were in place, prepped and locked. Starting Tuesday, they were gradually unlocked over a three-day period.

Despite their exhaustion, the team cleaned, pumped and removed nearly everything on Monday. Not because event organizers required it but to avoid making the long trip back to get them. "That's just how we operate," Hillis says. "If you leave it behind, you get busy, and then it's out of sight, out of mind."

KEEPIN' IT CLEAN

All units were cleaned two and sometimes three times a day. Tammy Hillis was the master coordinator and dispatcher for the event, planning service routes each day, plotting maps and taking RV pumping and swimming pool orders from an on-site ticket booth. Each morning the drivers, wearing shorts and company shirts, were handed marching orders and filed out two to a truck to clean units and pump RVs. Stacey Hillis and his daughters helped with crowd control, kept the units stocked with bathroom tissue, and filled numerous swimming pools – everything from kiddie pools to 1,200-gallon models. Cellphone service was unreliable so they rented walkie-talkies.

Service vehicles included two Kenworth T-300s (2003 and 2011) and a 2009 Hino 268, each with a 1,000-gallon waste/500-gallon freshwater steel tank. They also used a 2012 Ford F-550 with a 750-gallon waste/350-gallon freshwater steel tank and a 2005 GMC 1-ton with a 350-gallon waste steel tank and a 100-gallon water tank for servicing small areas. All were built by Crescent Tank Mfg. with Masport pumps. Two flatbeds and several service vehicles carried 800-gallon and 250-gallon water totes. Their water source was an on-site fire hydrant.

Golf carts accompanied service vehicles to help block out banks of restrooms, as one of the biggest demands of the event was accessing units while patrons were around. Company personnel are expected to work quickly. "But we don't just pump and go," Hillis says. "We're thorough. We take all the cans out, pump and scrub the tanks and floors and start the toilet paper rolls every time." Units are kept fresh and smelling clean with products from Chempace Corp., Walex Products and J & J Chemical Co.

THE RIGHT STUFF

Tammy Hillis reports that this was their smoothest Rocklahoma ever. "Every year we learn something and every year we get better," she says.

"It's one of those events you dread but you look forward to because of the challenge. You truly, by the last day, see what you're made of. It pushes you to your max but a lot of joy comes out of it. You laugh through the sweat."



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