Roy Baring Was Pleased to Test New Portable Sanitation Products at the Valero Texas Open Tournament

A PGA golf event offered Tex-San Site Services the opportunity to prove above-par services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roy Baring Was Pleased to Test New Portable Sanitation Products at the Valero Texas Open Tournament

The Team

Based in Adkins, Texas, about 15 miles east of downtown San Antonio, Tex-San Site Services is owned by Roy and Krystal Baring. The company provides portable restrooms and other site services to clients in and around San Antonio and Austin. About two-thirds of the company’s 15 employees played a role in servicing the Valero Texas Open, a long-running Professional Golfers’ Association tournament held annually in spring. Along with the Barings, key employees included Raymond Gonzales, operations manager; Andrew McGrew, project manager; and service technicians Daniel Guzman Jr., Mike Hendricks, Carlos Velasco, Jesse Mata, Jose Sanchez, Hunter McBroom and Matthew Gonzales.

COMPANY HISTORY

The company was founded in 2014 and started out with 100 restrooms and two route drivers. Today Tex-San Site Services owns about 2,200 restrooms and performs about 6,000 services a week, with commercial clients generating about 60% of the revenue and residential construction contributing the balance. “Before COVID-19 hit, about 15% of our business volume came from special events,” he says. “But last year there were hardly any special events. The Valero Texas Open was our first big event of this year.”

TESTING NEW TECHNOLOGY

The PGA event gave Baring the opportunity to test two new kinds of technology on a trial basis: Sanitrax modular restroom units, each of which consist of three stalls with freshwater flush toilets, and the AirVote contactless consumer-feedback tool, which enables contractors to gather intel from customers, via their cellphones, about restroom conditions.

The Sanitrax modules, made by Sanitrax International, can be connected to form large banks of restrooms. The units vacuum-flush waste directly into manholes for sewer lines, if available, or into holding tanks. As such, they require much less water (up to 90% less, according to the company) than a standard portable restroom and can improve service efficiency, Baring says. That’s because at worst technicians are pumping out larger holding tanks rather than individual restroom tanks. 

Each unit weighs about 1,650 pounds and measures about 100 inches wide, 47 inches deep and 92 inches tall; the units collapse down to 57 inches in height for transport. A 53-foot trailer can carry 22 modules.

“This was the first time the PGA used the Sanitrax modules and everybody loved them,” Baring says. 

The subscription-based AirVote technology consists of a decal affixed to the inside of a restroom door. There are three QR codes on the decal — one that correlates with a smiling face, one with a neutral face and one with a sad face. It also poses a question: How clean is this restroom?

To answer that question, restroom users use their cellphone cameras to scan one of the three QR codes. A tap then sends the feedback to the contractor. There’s also a field where users can include a short comment about the condition of the restroom — point out that it’s dirty or out of toilet paper, for example.

“It was a little slow on the first day,” Baring reports. “But once the spectators figured it out, our email was dinging like crazy.”

Each decal’s QR code was linked to a specifically numbered restroom and a specific location, so Tex-San employees could tell which restrooms were getting bad grades (unit number two in location 10, for example).

“It helps us a lot on the service side,” he explains. “If you see a sad face on location two, unit number 10, because it’s low on paper, we can restock immediately. We didn’t get one radio call during the entire tournament from an event coordinator or a course official about a stocking issue.” 

EQUIPMENT MATTERS

Most of the company’s 2,200 restrooms are Tufway units from Satellite Industries, and Echo units, manufactured by J&J Portable Sanitation Products. The business also owns 40 ADA- compliant restrooms from PolyJohn; 200 hand-wash stations from PolyJohn and J&J; 100 sanitizer stations from PolyJohn; 100 250-gallon holding tanks from PolyJohn; and 10 holding tanks from Duroplas.

The company owns seven service trucks. Three are Ford F-350s that carry Best Enterprises slide-in units with 400-gallon waste/200-gallon freshwater stainless steel tanks and Conde pumps (Westmoor Ltd.). The rest of the fleet includes two Ford F-550s and two Chevrolet 5500s, all equipped with Best Enterprises stainless-steel tanks (600-gallon waste/300-gallon freshwater) and vacuum pumps from Masport or National Vacuum Equipment.

The company also owns an International truck equipped with a Progress Tank stainless-steel tank (650-gallon waste/500-gallon freshwater) and an NVE pump.

THE MAIN EVENT

Established in 1922, the Valero Texas Open is the third-oldest tournament on the PGA Tour, as well as the fifth-oldest professional golf tournament in North America. It’s been held in the same city longer than any other PGA tournament — San Antonio has hosted all 92 events. Attendance typically hovers around 5,000 people per day on weekdays and swells to roughly 20,000 a day on weekends.

Played on the TPC San Antonio golf course at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa, the charity event serves as a significant fundraiser for both local and statewide organizations. This year, the tournament raised a record $16 million; since its inception, the tournament has generated more than $187 million in charitable contributions.

“It’s a pretty big deal around here,” Baring says.

Due to pandemic restrictions, attendance at this year’s tournament was limited to 5,000 people per day, he says. 

BY THE NUMBERS

Tex-San was prepared to service the tournament for the first time last year, but then the pandemic hit, prompting officials to cancel it. This year’s tournament provided a good chance for the Tex-San team to ease into servicing the major event, due to the attendance limits.

“It let us get our feet wet for next year, which is the 100-year anniversary of the event,” Baring notes. “They’re expecting beaucoup people for that.”  

The company delivered 200 individual restrooms to the course, mostly Echo units; 10 ADA units; 38 sanitizer stations; and 25 hand-wash stations. To improve efficiency, Tex-San also used a 600-gallon water trailer to refill the service truck water tanks and the hand-wash stations.

“That way we weren’t using so much water from the service trucks to fill the sink stations and we were able to service restrooms faster as well,” he explains.

The restrooms were placed at 28 different locations throughout the course. To service them, the company used the Ford F-350s because they’re small enough to drive on the paved golf path that winds through the course. (They weren’t allowed to leave the path.)

Elsewhere, employees deployed the larger Chevrolet 5500s where space permitted and used the International truck to pump out two 2,000-gallon Duroplas holding tanks hooked up the Sanitrax units. There were eight Sanitrax modules in all, for a total of 24 stalls; the units were placed approximately in the middle of the course, amidst a cluster of food and beverage tents.

EARLY START

While the tournament begins on a Thursday and runs through the following Sunday, Tex-San starts setting up 10 days before the first professional golfers tee off. Employees dropped off restrooms at the back of the course, using a large trailer that holds 20 units. From there, the crew used smaller trailers that carry only three restrooms each to deliver units to the 28 different locations, Baring says.

The restrooms were needed far in advance to accommodate people who attend smaller Pro-Am tournaments held before the main tournament, as well as players who shoot practice rounds, he notes.

“We started at 3:30 a.m. every day, cleaning and restocking restrooms, resupplying hand-wash stations and sanitizers and pumping out the holding tanks connected to the Sanitrax units,” Baring says. “We used Google maps and business management software from Pro Software Solutions to set up three routes on the course for the three smaller trucks. We used the larger trucks near the main entrance.

“We had to be off the course by 6 a.m.,” he adds. “From there, our route drivers slide into their normal days. It wasn’t that bad because they usually start at 5 a.m. anyway.”

Baring and three other employees stayed on the course all day to handle whatever brush fires popped up. To get around quickly, they used golf carts fully stocked with supplies.

“We made numerous trips out there before the tournament to get familiar with the course and teach the drivers the do’s and don’ts for working at a fancy golf course,” he explains. “We don’t want a driver ending up driving on a fairway.”

The company started picking up restrooms and other equipment on Tuesday after the tournament; they couldn’t access the course on Monday because of a charity event.

“We pumped everything out on Tuesday morning,” he says. “Then the drivers went back to their normal routes for the rest of the week while a smaller crew loaded and transported everything back to our yard,” Baring says. “We finished on Friday.

“This event is a very big deal for the city and we’re very excited to be a part of it,” he adds. “We’re already planning for next year.”  



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