Green light

There’s an old joke that says there are two seasons in Ohio — winter and construction. The associates at Area Wide Protective (AWP) and their President and CEO Bill Fink work diligently to make sure both drivers and road workers stay safe during construction season.

Akron-based AWP is a traffic-services company that evolved from a $1.5 million enterprise Fink bought in 1993. In its previous form, AWP’s 35 associates provided contract security guard service to Akron-area institutions and businesses.

Responding to a request from utility company First Energy, Fink’s company began working to control traffic in construction zones. In 2004, Fink sold the security guard part of the business to focus exclusively on the niche market of temporary work zone traffic-control services.

Today, AWP has grown to more than 600 employees operating in 10 states. Sales revenue has more than tripled to a projected $24 million for 2005. And AWP’s client list reads like a who’s who of major public utility and highway construction companies.

Fink has built his company’s reputation by successfully managing major traffic-control projects in cities including Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. These projects have involved dangerous conditions, heavy traffic volume and stringent federal and state regulations.

AWP has been honored with letters of commendation from state authorities and clients, and the company’s associates have logged more than 8 million service hours since 1993, with only two minor at-fault accidents on its record.

Safety is the foundation of Fink’s company, and over the last few years, he has perfected a business model that brings a level of training and professionalism to traffic control that sets a universally recognized standard by which all competitors are measured.

Every associate at AWP must undergo a pre-employment drug screening, as well as a motor vehicle and criminal background check. Each new hire is given 40 hours of on-the-job training, as well as eight hours of classroom training.

The associate must pass a certification test from the American Traffic Safety Services Association before he or she is deemed road-worthy, and employees are trained to Department of Transportation standards for the states in which they will operate.

HOW TO REACH: Area Wide Protective, (330) 644-0655