Ron Childress assumes roles of AWP executive chairman and operating partner at Kohlberg & Company LLC
North Canton, Ohio – October 1, 2021 – Area Wide Protective (“AWP”), North America’s leading traffic control specialist, announced the appointment of Rob Sehnert to president and CEO effective October 1.
Sehnert’s appointment comes as a planned succession as Ron Childress, AWP’s current chairman and CEO, maintains the role of AWP executive chairman and assumes an additional role as operating partner at Kohlberg & Company LLC (“Kohlberg”), AWP’s private equity owner.
Sehnert to drive AWP’s profitable growth
As president and CEO, Sehnert will be responsible for driving organizational strategy and performance as AWP expands its capabilities as a full-service traffic management provider.
As AWP’s current chief integration officer, Sehnert was responsible for the company’s acquisition, integration and organizational structure strategies. Before joining AWP, he served as vice president of the freight services group at Wabtec Corporation, a global rail technology provider for the freight rail and passenger transit industries. He held senior-level and executive roles at the company over a 14-year career.
Sehnert is also a United States Naval Academy graduate and served as a Naval Special Operations Officer for ten years.
“AWP is experiencing unprecedented growth through recent acquisitions and organic sales opportunities – supported by our safety culture and high-quality of service and support,” Sehnert said. “I am confident our scale, geographic reach and team of 7,200 employees will enable even greater growth as we offer field-based services to support new infrastructure investments throughout the U.S. and Canada.”
Childress to focus on transformational growth initiatives
As chairman and CEO, Childress built out AWP’s strong executive leadership team and led them to create AWP’s long-term strategy that resulted in the recent acquisitions of two top traffic control service providers: Statewide Safety Systems in Irvine, California, and Trafficade Service Companies in Phoenix, Arizona. The combination establishes AWP as North America’s leading coast-to-coast provider of traffic control services and equipment.
Going forward as executive chairman, Childress will serve in an advisory role for future transformational initiatives.
“With these acquisitions completed, now is the ideal time to transition the role of CEO,” said Childress. “Rob is uniquely qualified following a successful career in private industry and the U.S. military. I have been impressed with his ability to gain our leadership team’s trust, respect and alignment. AWP and our customers will benefit from his extensive experience, proven instincts and disciplined approach to the fast-evolving traffic control industry. I look forward to working closely with him to further establish AWP as the #1 choice for traffic safety services.”
As a Kohlberg operating partner, Childress will be responsible for investment thesis development, company diligence and oversight of the private equity firm’s portfolio companies in the infrastructure services sector, including AWP.
“Ron’s unique blend of experience positions him to offer valuable insights that align with Kohlberg’s business strategy while advocating for the investment needs of our infrastructure services companies,” Benjamin J. Mao, Kohlberg Partner, said.
About Area Wide Protective
Founded in 1981, Area Wide Protective, Inc. (AWP) has grown into North America’s leading provider of professional traffic management and protection services. The company’s capabilities include work zone flagging, design and engineering for transportation management plans, equipment sales, rental and 24/7 support. AWP employs 6,550 team members across 27 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. To learn more, visit www.awptrafficsafety.com.
About Kohlberg & Company, LLC
Kohlberg & Company, LLC (“Kohlberg”) is a leading private equity firm headquartered in Mount Kisco, New York. Since its inception in 1987, Kohlberg has organized nine private equity funds, through which it has raised over $12 billion of committed equity capital. Over its 35-year history, Kohlberg has completed 87 platform investments and approximately 200 add-on acquisitions, with an aggregate transaction value of nearly $30 billion. For more information, please visit www.kohlberg.com.