Herald times baby photo

Proud of Protectors (NJ Turnpike Cleanup, baby in the mountains)

Team AWP, September 3, 2020

Going Above and Beyond on the Front Line

Area Wide Protectors are special people. Unfortunately, many people find it easy to overlook these frontline workers generally known as “flaggers.”

When you understand their commitment and contribution, though, you realize the term “frontline worker” hardly covers all they do. We’d like to share just a few examples of how our Protectors go above and beyond their job descriptions, working to ensure everyone’s safety, every day – sometimes in surprising ways.

Turnpike Traffic Safety Heroes

Earlier this summer, as he returned from a job site on a stormy night, one of our Protectors had to stop because a tree was blocking the right lane of the NJ Turnpike.

The average person – after a long day’s work in crummy weather conditions – might respond negatively. Not our Protector – instead, he responded, “Luckily, I had an arrow board with me!”

He quickly deployed the board to warn drivers of the danger, then called 911 to report the downed tree. Then, he donned his vest and hardhat, and grabbed his night wand to be more visible as he directed drivers away from the downed tree.

“About that time, my TMA driver and his partner rolled up to help,” he explained. “Shortly after the TMA got in position, the NJ Turnpike Authority arrived and asked what was going on.”

After explaining what he’d found and how he’d set up the arrow board, the NJ Turnpike Authority foreman happily accepted the AWP team members’ help to protect the area so the Turnpike crew could complete the clean-up in a safe manner.

Not the typical day at the office, especially after an already long day at the office.

Very Special Delivery Coming Through the Work Zone!

When the Sheriff calls to say, “Get the ambulance through the work zone now, there’s a baby on the way!” you do it. Even if the work zone is an active construction zone on a winding, mountainous road?

Well, yes. That’s what happened one day in June in Northern Colorado, and the AWP Traffic Control Specialist who had been on the job just three weeks responded with efficient, professional cool. (We bet even the emergency room physician was sweating a little bit.)

The Manager in Colorado, explained:

“The AWP employee who was driving the pilot car got a call saying the County Sheriff had asked for assistance to get this couple through the work zone. The work zone is high in the mountains and can be very difficult to navigate without assistance, especially in an emergency. “The employee immediately contacted everyone in the work zone to stop all traffic and work, then went to the end of the zone and waited for the couple. Once they arrived, he helped them navigate the work zone safely.” This story has a very happy ending: Mom and Dad made it through the work zone, but not quite to the hospital, before Baby arrived. (And everyone is fine.) Even though our employee didn’t get a mention in the news story, we recognize his tremendous work under what had to be a wee bit of extra pressure.

New Challenges Every Day

Of course, things like that don’t happen every day. But every day presents new challenges in keeping others safe, and almost every day presents new opportunities to help others in ways that don’t really fit the job description.


“I want to reach out to you and let you know how appreciative we are for what you do for us to keep our crews safe. I also greatly appreciate the flexibility AWP has shown with our changing working conditions due to COVID-19 and our ever-changing day-to-day operations with weather and car-pole accidents, etc. Your work has not gone unnoticed.” – Energy client, April 2020

In less than a month’s time, we have heard from customers, drivers, utility and contracting partners, and others about Protectors who have helped change tires, direct lost cyclists, provide emergency first aid to someone who fell ill, spot and alert authorities about a missing person with Alzheimer’s, and more.

It’s impossible to detail how to respond in situations like these in the employee manual, but our Protectors always seem to get the job done. We are so proud of them. Next time you’re in a work or construction zone, we hope you’ll notice the work they’re doing, because they do it to protect us all.

“We do this job to help protect the lives of others.” – AWP Protector

Want to work hard in a rewarding, challenging job, helping people every day? Find out where AWP is hiring.



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