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Employee Spotlights: Walter Tate, Henry Vian, and Derek House

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Meet three of our hardworking operations employees: Walter Tate, Henry Vian, and Derek House.

Walter TateWalter Tate
Assistant Facility Manager in Riverside, MO
Employee since March 2021

Walter started as a driver and recently became an assistant facility manager. He is married and has two daughters, a five-year-old and a twenty-seven-year-old. His family also includes a Husky and a Jack Russell Terrier. His favorite thing about his job is his coworkers, how fun they are to be around, and how well they all work together. 

What motivates you to work hard?

“Family — that’s my motivation.”

What’s something your coworkers might be surprised to learn about you?

“I brew wine, and I brew vodka and whiskey.”

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

“Just spending time with family. I’m a big family person.”

What is your favorite sports team?

“The Tennessee Titans. I’ve followed them ever since they were the Houston Oilers.”

What’s the coolest place you’ve ever been?

“Paris. I went to Paris for a week and I went to London for a week, but I love Paris.”

What’s someplace you’ve never been but would like to go?

“Japan. I haven’t made it there yet, so definitely want to go there.”

What are some of your favorite things to cook?

“I try and smoke everything. Smoked salmon, smoked cheese I’ve tried. Probably my wife’s favorite would be smoked deviled eggs I did, with a smoked bacon mac and cheese.”

What’s your favorite family tradition?

“We go to the Renaissance Festival every year. My wife and I actually got married at the Renaissance Festival. We dressed up and did the whole shindig.”

Henry VianHenry Vian
Assistant Facility Manager in Brecksville, OH
Employee since 2014

Henry was hired as a driver and earned a Class B CDL before becoming a warehouse lead and then an assistant facility manager in September of 2020. He and his wife will celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary next month. He has a twenty-four-year-old daughter, a nineteen-year-old daughter who just graduated from high school, a fifteen-year-old son, a six-year-old granddaughter, and two cats.

What do you like about your job?

“I like the customer interaction. I love the atmosphere and it seems like everybody’s really great to work with. Not just here in Brecksville, but over the years that I’ve gotten to talk to several locations, I’ve found there are just a lot of great employees at Advanced Turf. And it’s just really nice to work for someone like that.”

What motivates you to work hard?

“It doesn’t take much — I am a huge go-getter. I still make a few deliveries in the truck when needed. I actually went to Columbus earlier this year to help cover them when they needed somebody to drive. And then I’m usually in the warehouse or in the office helping customers. As soon as I start seeing some orders coming in, all I want to do is start doing that. And otherwise, I like to see the warehouse organized and get some other stuff like that done.”

What’s something your coworkers might be surprised to learn about you?

“In high school, I ran hurdles on the track team and was pretty good. I was a wide receiver and defensive back on the high school football team, and I also played baseball. I used to bowl, and I came super close to having a 300 game several times. I would average in the 195 to 200 range. Another thing is that I do a lot of cooking.”

What are some of your favorite things to cook?

“Lasagna is something that I like to cook, but I haven’t done it in a while. My kids love my French toast — that’s one of their favorites. And then usually pork chops on the grill, burgers, that kind of stuff.”

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

“I enjoy golfing. Two of my kids have been on the high school golf team, so the three of us like to go out quite a bit to go do some golfing.”

What are your favorite sports teams?

“I grew up a huge Chicago Bears fan because I loved Walter Payton. I still root for the Bears and then living around Cleveland, I like the Cleveland Browns. I love the Cincinnati Reds, and I’m a huge Ohio State Buckeye fan.”

What’s the coolest place you’ve ever been?

“I would say St. Thomas because I went scuba diving there for the first time in my life. It was really an experience to go down twenty-five, thirty feet in crystal-clear water and swim with the fish and the coral reef. So that’s probably the best place I’ve ever been, and I would definitely do that again.”

What’s someplace you’ve never been but would like to go?

“I’ve always wanted to go see the pyramids in Egypt, but haven’t been there yet. And I’ve always wanted to go to Rome, just to see the Colosseum and some of that kind of stuff. I like history, so those would be some places.”

Derek HouseDerek House
Warehouse Associate in Florence, KY
Employee since November 2020

Derek’s role involves a little bit of everything, which is a highlight of the job for him. He enjoys the variety of his work and earlier this year, was even part of the busiest salt season the location had ever seen. Derek has two sons, one who’s fifteen years old and the other who just turned four.

What motivates you to work hard?

“Mostly, my grandfather — he was always a workhorse. He would work so much that if he was to be trapped by a winter storm, he would be trapped in town at work as opposed to being trapped at home. I’ve always watched him. If he didn’t go to work, something was drastically wrong. He ironically was also a forklift driver in a warehouse.”

What’s something you’ve learned since joining ATS?

“I used to do landscaping, and the only thing that I was ever aware of was that you plant, you water, and you might add some fertilizer. I didn’t realize there were so many different dynamics with the different measurements of nitrogen and such. Learning that there was actually way more to maintaining your yard and flowerbeds is intriguing.”

What’s something your coworkers might be surprised to learn about you?

“I started to make music, and I do a lot of photo editing and custom pictures for people. When I’m home, I’m facedown into the making pictures and music. It just really grabbed ahold of me here as of late, probably around October, and I pretty much just taught myself with no classes — learning how to layer music, no music composition, anything like that. It’s just all been by ear and trial-and-error. I used to play guitar and I used to play in bands, but now it’s mostly been electronic.”

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

“I like frisbee golfing, any time with family that I can spend.”

What are your favorite sports teams?

“I don’t like to admit it, but I am a Bengals fan. I grew up watching the Reds, grew up watching the Bengals. As far as college, though, I was raised a Louisville fan. My dad was a diehard Cardinals fan since Denny Crum was the head coach.”

What’s the coolest place you’ve ever been?

“Oddly, the coolest place I’ve been to was for work. When Hurricane Dorian was coming through, I actually went down to Orlando. We were sent down there just in case for storm work. But the hurricane took a different direction, so I spent a week in a five-star resort waiting to do work and never did. It happened to be my birthday that week, so I canceled my birthday plans. And then come to find out, I ended up spending a week in the Caribe Royale in Orlando at a resort. We were expecting to do work, but I pretty much just spent a week doing nothing except sitting by a pool.”

What’s someplace you’ve never been but would like to go?

“Out West — the Vegas area or LA, stuff like that. I want to see some of the bigger cities, some of the places that you hear about you and see about and all that, but never actually get a chance to go. I don’t think I’ve ever been west of the Mississippi, so I really want to explore and go to all kinds of different places.”

What’s your favorite family tradition?

“In the month of July, there were five or six birthdays within the family. Three of them were on the same day, and the other two were in the same week. So we would plan one big blowout weekend of cookouts, frisbee, cornhole, music, and we would all get together. It’d be fifteen, twenty people all gathered around. And that would be our little mini family reunion before we had our big reunion in September where we would have between one and two hundred people.”

What’s the best practical joke you’ve ever pulled?

“We took a rubber snake and put it on my grandpa’s driver’s seat, but we put a fishing line to the driver’s door. So when he pulled that door open, of course, it looked like a snake literally lunged out for his waist. I never in my life saw him jump, but he high-stepped better than an Olympic hurdler. He took right off backward. And when he hit the ground and rolled over, there were about four of us that were on the ground in tears. That was one of the first times I had seen my grandmother actually laugh, full-on belly-laugh, at him. It was at a family reunion too, so there were quite a few witnesses.”