Making Our House a Home: The Witherell’s Facilities Team
Residents and visitors to the Witherell say our clean, perfectly maintained, beautiful campus makes everyone feel at home. But, managing a facility where 200+ short and long-term residents live, plus a 20-acre campus, is no small task. Lucky for all, the Witherell has two pros at the helm. Together, they and their staff manage daily operations at the Witherell and they run it like a well-oiled machine!
Michel Baptiste oversees housekeeping and laundry operations, and Larry Vanterpool, as director of facilities, oversees all support services departments, including Facilities, Dietary Service, Housekeeping, and Laundry, as well as Security and Safety, Water Management and Project Management.
Recently, we had the opportunity to catch up with both to get a behind the scenes look at what goes into making the Witherell a healthy, happy place to be.
Q: What do you and your team do at the Witherell?
Michel: I oversee a team of 26 who handle daily housekeeping and laundry. Every day we ensure that the common areas, bathrooms, and resident rooms are sparkling clean. We also do all of the general and personal laundry for our residents. Per day that totals 2,150 pounds of general laundry and 700 pounds of personal laundry!
Larry: Overall, our support services division is 60 members strong! As far as our typical day, there is nothing typical except our commitment to the residents we support. The needs of our residents always dictate when and how we perform our functions. If anyone is looking for a boring day to perform boring functions, our Support Service Division is not that place! We may plan our day, as everyone should, but our residents’ care and safety will always take priority.
Q: How does your work make life better at the Witherell?
Michel: Our residents are always very appreciative and complimentary to our staff. We know that what we do makes their home here comfortable. Everyone in our department is respectful of our residents, and we do our work with heart and good spirit!
Larry: I like to think that my team’s results have a positive impact on the comfort, recovery, safety, and satisfaction of our residents.
Q: What makes the Witherell a special place to work?
Michel: I’ve worked at the Witherell for 32 years now, and I believe it’s always good to help others. It’s rewarding to know that you are helping people who need your support. The Witherell is one of the best places to work. Here, everyone treats each other like family—the staff, the residents, everyone.
Larry: It has been a privilege to be part of the Witherell team for two years and counting. I love working with the aging population, especially talking to them about their experiences and wisdom. The Witherell is, and continues to be, a pillar of the community with a fantastic track record and outcomes. Being allowed to be part of that makes this job special.
Q: What would you want our residents’ family members to know about the Witherell?
Michel: I’d want them to know that their loved ones are in good hands. We go above and beyond every day to make everyone’s life here comfortable.
Larry: We do go above and beyond. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when we had to completely restrict visitors, I wanted to find alternatives so that families could still maintain contact with their loved ones. I’m proud to have come up with the idea to use office containers for safe visitation outside our facility. They are now known as the Witherell’s “Visitation Pods.” In addition to that, we also increased our technology investment so that we can stay in touch through Skype and Face Time. When we see a need, we respond quickly to meet it. Everyone who has a family member here should know that we treat them as we would our own family.