Sterling Partners Completes Sale of Traffic Control Leader, Statewide Safety Systems

August 2, 2021

Successful Exit is a Proof Point of New Investment Strategy

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sterling Partners (“Sterling”), a diversified investment management platform with a large private equity focus, announced today the sale of portfolio company Statewide Safety Systems (“Statewide”) to Area Wide Protective (“AWP”), a Kohlberg & Company portfolio company. Statewide is a leading provider of traffic control products and services with a strong footprint west of the Mississippi and works with customers in four primary sectors: utilities and telecommunications, government, commercial building contractors, and highway contractors. It was purchased by Sterling in 2018 as Traffic Solutions Corporation and was one of Sterling’s earliest acquisitions as part of its new deal-by-deal investment strategy.

“Sterling’s investment in Statewide is one of the best representations of our strengths and strategy – investing in sectors of expertise, partnering with exceptional management teams, and executing on internal initiatives to accelerate growth,” said Steven Taslitz, Co-Founder and Chairman at Sterling Partners.

Together Sterling and Statewide successfully completed two acquisitions, expanded geographically, enhanced service offerings, and increased scale. The firm also made significant investments in human capital, information technology, financial reporting, safety, and brand consolidation. Statewide has grown to 30 branches across California, Hawaii, Nevada, Texas, Colorado, and Washington.

“With their deep understanding of the industrial services sector and clear vision for growth, Sterling has been a terrific partner,” said Don Nicholas, CEO of Statewide. “Their support, significant capital investment, and strategic direction drove meaningful growth and solidified Statewide’s market leadership. It’s been a privilege to work with them.”

AWP’s acquisition of and partnership with Statewide marks a time of transformational growth for the organization. The combined company – AWP and Statewide – will serve thousands of customers daily, with more than 130 facilities across 27 states and eastern Canada. Together, AWP and Statewide will have the scale, resources, and coast-to-coast reach to deliver superior traffic control and safety services to existing Statewide customers such as AT&T, CenturyLink, Caltrans, and The Texas Department of Transportation.

“We believe that this strategic fit with AWP and Trafficade will provide tremendous opportunity to the Statewide team, from employees to customers to the communities they serve,” said Michael Drai, Chairman of the Board at Statewide. “This new phase of growth is very exciting, and we’re thrilled to see Statewide embark on its new chapter.”

Stifel served as Sterling’s exclusive financial advisor and assisted in initiating, structuring, and negotiating the transaction on its behalf. McGuire Woods served as the legal counsel. Steven Taslitz and Michael Brown led the deal at Sterling along with Chairman Michael Drai.

About Sterling Partners: Sterling Partners (“Sterling”) is a diversified investment management platform founded in 1983 and based in Chicago. The firm started with four young entrepreneurs, who went on to build one of Chicago’s most prominent private equity firms. Today, the firm has expanded beyond its strong private equity practice into several other investment strategies. Complementing its institutional fund practice, Sterling invests in a wide variety of companies in various stages of growth – from early-stage, high-growth businesses to mature, profitable companies – on a deal-by-deal basis. These investments cross several industries, and the firm makes control, non-control, and preferred equity investments. Sterling adds value to its portfolio companies and the founders with whom it partners with its entrepreneurial roots, deep domain expertise, focus on transformational growth, and access to world-class executive talent. For more information, please visit

About Statewide Safety Systems: Since 1987, Statewide Safety Systems has specialized in the design, manufacture, and installation of active and passive traffic control systems that advise motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians of roadway hazards including interchanges, intersections, and the location of highway-rail grade crossings. Customers include state and local government agencies, civil and highway contractors, utilities, airports, military bases, railroads, schools, universities, and commercial and residential contractors. To learn more, visit

About Area Wide Protective: Founded in 1993, Area Wide Protective, Inc. (AWP) has grown into North America’s leading provider of professional traffic management and protection services. The company’s capabilities range from flagging for work zones to design and engineering for transportation management plans. AWP’s more than 117 locations provide daily operations that span 21 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. To learn more, visit