Springtime Art and Music Event Helps Atlanta PROs Tune Up for the Season

Facing threatening weather and traffic congestion, the folks at Pit Stop Sanitation Services kick off the busy season with a successful service at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival

Springtime Art and Music Event Helps Atlanta PROs Tune Up for the Season

Brett Roques, the new owner of Pit Stop Sanitation Services, is shown with the Isuzu truck and restrooms from Satellite Industries as well as the hand-wash stations from T.S.F. Company.

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THE TEAM

For the 11th consecutive year, the team from Pit Stop Sanitation Services supplied portable restrooms for Atlanta’s oldest fine arts festival. With the supervision of event team leader Jay Strauss, six Pit Stop crew members provided services throughout the three-day festival while another three workers helped transport and set up. Event coordinator Rosalind Ross collaborated with Strauss to make adjustments as needed.

But planning came long before that, says Brett Roques, who recently purchased Pit Stop from Jeff and Terri Wigley. Roques was the company’s general manager at the time of the festival. In preparation for the event, he walked through Piedmont Park, a 187-acre urban park in Atlanta, with the festival organizer and other contracted suppliers weeks before the event.

“The groups we work with are great — suppliers for power, the tent company and others. We do the walk-through together to identify potential issues and are able to work out a resolution together,” Roques says, noting phone numbers are also exchanged.

Information gained during the walk-through, along with notes from previous years, provided details that made servicing the restrooms easier this year.

COMPANY HISTORY

It was another big Atlanta event that launched Pit Stop. Jeff Wigley had worked a decade for IBM when he recognized an entrepreneurial opportunity — the Summer Olympics was coming to Atlanta in 1996. He knew there would be demand for portable restrooms. In 1995, he and his wife, Terri, who had also worked for IBM, started small with 30 restrooms and a truck.

Today, Pit Stop has a dozen Isuzu cab-over trucks, an abundance of Satellite Industries Taurus portable restrooms, PolyPortables ADA-compliant units, T.S.F. Company hand-wash stations and holding tanks. The restroom trailer fleet is comprised mostly of Ameri-Can Engineering trailers, but also includes Comforts of Home Services, JAG Mobile Solutions, Satellite Industries and NuConcepts. The staff of 17, including five administrators, covers both sectors of the business — service routes and special events. Each sector is guided by a team leader.

Among Pit Stop’s specialty portable restrooms are 13 units that were hand-painted by local artists and organizations. The units — which include Georgia Flowers, Mona Lisa and The Jungle — are signed by the artists, who earn commissions when the units are rented. The painted units are popular at a wide variety of events, from bar mitzvahs and corporate parties to veterans’ reunions and, of course, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival.

THE MAIN EVENT

The Atlanta Dogwood Festival dates back to 1936, when local businessman Walter Rich wanted to make Atlanta internationally known for its blooming dogwood trees in April. The weeklong event featured pageants, parades and carnivals along with music by the Metropolitan Opera, Philadelphia Symphony and local college choruses. The festival grew through the years and added popular musical acts beginning in the 1980s.

The art, music and food festival celebrated its 81st anniversary this year with bands on two stages, a fun run, children’s activities, an international village, fireworks, an artist market and a multitude of food vendors. Despite the threat of inclement weather, an estimated 200,000 people attended.

BY THE NUMBERS

Pit Stop set up banks of restrooms and hand-wash stations throughout the park, totaling 130 units.

“We also had our painted restrooms out there,” Roques notes. “They used them as an accent to each of the banks. A typical bank had 12 to 20 restrooms with one painted restroom on the corner.”

New this year — with the help of a radio sponsor — the high bidder of a fundraising auction won access to the painted British Phone Booth unit for personal use and for invited friends. 

Another popular offering was the Ameri-Can Enterprises restroom trailer in the VIP area. An attendant was on duty to assist patrons and ensure cleanliness.

“A lot of people said that it was the nicest restroom they’d been in,” Roques says.

LET’S ROLL

Stormy weather added additional work to this year’s festival. With tornado watches and hail predicted, Pit Stop crew members delivered and set up the entire festival in one day. The delivery was made with a convoy of truck and locally built trailer tandems, transporting 20 units per load. 

After the storm passed, the Pit Stop team returned to the park to put units back in place and clean others that had been flooded. Because Pit Stop incorporates flexibility into its plans, the team dealt with the situation with ease.

Based on past experience, the Pit Stop crew altered how they serviced the restrooms. In the past, units were pumped, cleaned and restocked at 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday — the same time vendors were resupplying their areas.

“The roads were congested, and we were working against each other,” Roques says. “This year, we got there late at night when they were shutting down the festival (for the day). It seemed to work out well.”

He adds that the Satellite-built, short wheelbase Isuzu trucks they used with 1,150-gallon aluminum tanks and equipped with Leeson pressure washers maneuvered easily through the park’s streets for servicing. The restrooms were lined up along the streets, so they were accessible.

The six technicians also paired up to have two trucks and two people servicing each bank of restrooms on Friday and Saturday night. They pumped, pressure-washed and stocked paper in every unit. To keep them fresh, J-Spray XT fragrance enhancer (J&J Chemical Co.) was added to each unit. During the event’s open hours, an attendant drove a stocked golf cart and regularly checked each bank of restrooms throughout the park to ensure the restrooms had paper and were trash-free.

When the festival concluded, the Pit Stop crew pumped the restrooms and hauled them back to the shop to be thoroughly cleaned. Everything was wrapped up by the end of the day Monday.

WRAPPING IT UP

After the Atlanta Dogwood Festival ended, Roques and Terri Wigley met with the festival’s coordinator for a debriefing.

“We tell them anything we might suggest, such as if they need more or less units or if delivery or pick up was challenging. We ask if we could have done anything better for them,” Roques says. Having those conversations has helped the Pit Stop team understand the festival and how to meet customer expectations.

“The challenge is that we are working with a bigger team. Each person has to be clear on what his or her job responsibilities are. It’s really focused on the team, which includes route service technicians from the other sector of the company,” Roques says. “The festival confirms we have the right processes, equipment and personnel to successfully serve our customers.”

This first big event of the year helps hone the Pit Stop crew for a successful event season, he concludes.



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