Provision facilities team keeps lots cleared, lights on, patients seen


The following story is a republication of a profile in most recent edition of the Proton Post, Provision’s quarterly newsletter.

Rowdy Helton and Chris Hatcher never know what the day will bring—or the night for that matter.

When you’re the building maintenance supervisor and the property manager for a four-building complex that includes a particle accelerator, complex medical equipment, physicians’ offices, labs, offices and lots of patients, you’re on everybody’s speed-dial a court a serious to-do list.

“We are on call 24/7, seven days a week,” Helton says. “I’ve left Dollywood to come here to answer an alarm. You can’t do this job and leave it here.”

Between the two, Helton and Hatcher are responsible for complete building and property maintenance, and Provision workers and patients alike are accustomed to their presence—climbing ladders to peer above ceiling tiles, moving people to and from offices, fixing broken thermostats, re-keying doors and, well, just fill in the blank, they say.

“We come in rain, shine, sleet or snow,” Helton says. “We’ve changed flat tires and jumped cars.”

“We try to be the ‘Hey you!’ guys,” Hatcher says. “No matter what it is, if it’s something we can do we do it.”

Both were among the early employees of Provision—back when the proton therapy center was still a gleam in Terry Douglass’s eye and the site an empty hillside. Helton came in 2009 and Hatcher two years later as the residential construction business where they had made their livelihoods suffered from the recession.

“I went from mud and dirt to healthcare,” Helton says.

At first, working at Provision involved a lot of mud and dirt too, and both men saw their jobs evolve as the Provision Center for Proton Therapy rose up out of the ground and begin serving patients.

“When I first started I mowed grass,” Hatcher says. These days he monitors the building’s systems, keeping tabs on security, fire prevention and heating and cooling equipment; responding to alarms and making adjustments, either remotely or in-person.

The two have responded to countless fire alarms, most of them false—except for the one that wasn’t. Last spring, an emergency project kept them on campus more than 40 hours straight.

In spite of the demands, you could hardly find two employees more enthusiastic about their jobs.

“I never dread getting up and going to work,” Hatcher says.

“To be involved with it is a blessing,” Helton adds. “I love the people, I love the employees.”

“I’m just glad every morning…” Hatcher says, “to be a part of this,” Helton finishes his sentence.