Barricades and Signs Ltd. is a traffic control company specializing in temporary, permanent and roadside safety products, systems and services.
A teen is texting and driving. Completely distracted, they don’t realize they’ve entered a construction zone. The car ploughs into the back of a heavy equipment truck, one that has a crew working right in front of it. Nobody dies. This is a true story. Typically, stories like this have a much sadder ending, but no one was even harmed because the truck was attached to a crash attenuator supplied by Barricades and Signs Ltd. The attenuator crumpled and absorbed the force of the impact. The truck wasn’t pushed forward into the crew and the teen stepped out of the car, shaken but unharmed. Roadside safety, and more specifically, crash attenuation systems, are just some of the ways Barricades and Signs Ltd. keeps Albertans safer on the roads.
Barricades and Signs Ltd. launched in 2004 as a family business. The company grew quickly and consistently, reaching milestones such as becoming a signal distributor for North America Traffic in 2008, opening offices in Calgary and Vancouver between 2014 and 2019, growing through three of Alberta’s recessions (and continuing to grow during the pandemic), and becoming the first 3M certified manufacturer awarded in over 10 years when they were certified in 2012. During 2016 Jan van Bruggen became the CEO and later, in 2019, acquired the company from his family partners. van Bruggen has continued to grow the brand in a strategic partnership with Powell Contracting Ltd., another Canadian family business.
“We are committed to providing traffic safety solutions and the best value for our clients while respecting and supporting our vendors and staff,” says van Bruggen of his company that has grown to provide traffic safety equipment, variable message board trailers, barricades, delineation, PPE, flagging, roadways transitions, crash cushions, regulatory signage, custom signage and more.
“Our work zones are safer for people and the environment because our equipment (apart from the delivery trucks) are solar powered, don’t consume fuel or create noise. There are no motors running. We also have wireless connectivity to our equipment, adding another layer of safety for everyone on the site,” van Bruggen says.
Barricades and Signs Ltd. uses reflective sheeting that is engineered to provide the highest level of refraction for optimal viewing in all light conditions. Also, temporary traffic signals that, when equipped with siren detection, can automatically stop traffic in construction zones to let an ambulance pass through quickly. These signals keep flaggers out of harms way and are controllable from a safe distance. The company is a contributor to many construction safety manufacturers’ R&D processes, helping to create and inspire the tech behind the products that keep us all safer on the roads.
To create, grow, and contribute to the industry, van Bruggen focuses on one thing: positive relationships with people.
“Our team of people is above and beyond the best group of people to work with, and that is not an accident,” he shares. “Everyone that works with us is committed to growing the business and taking care of our customers. We recognize that it starts with our people, and their earning trust and respect. With a reputation for being trustworthy, clients and vendors come to us for solutions.
He continues, “Without a doubt, seeing our people in the business growing and succeeding is the best part of my day. I enjoy the business side of it, but the biggest thing is seeing people come into the company and helping them become the best version of themselves. Construction is a seasonal industry, but we invest in our people by keeping the business open year-round instead of closing down during the winter. With our team and with our clients, we take it seriously that we can be trusted to deliver.”
In the communities Barricades and Signs Ltd. operates in, the company supports numerous causes and minor sports teams.
“Community is a huge piece of what we do,” explains van Bruggen. “For example, there is a community initiative called thingsthatareopen.com. My good friends at Lift Interactive started it. Barricades and Signs Ltd. was one of the first to back it financially and provided digital message boards and traditional signage around Edmonton and Calgary, communicating businesses that are open and helping both business owners and consumers get through the pandemic.”
He couldn’t be happier to be leading an exceptional team, some of which have been employed by the company for more than 15 years, and to be helping the safety and signage industry innovate. He knows none of this would be possible without the support and patience of his wife Sarah, the vision of his brother Gerrit, and the wisdom and guidance of his parents.
“Barricades and Signs Ltd. continues to evolve, and our team grows along with us,” van Bruggen concludes.” With four locations in place we will continue to develop across Western Canada, deepening our product offerings and providing more innovative solutions. Despite the fact that my father and brother are no longer shareholders, we continue to operate with all the respect and values of a family business.”
Safety isn’t just confined to a sign or a flashing light. Road safety includes technology, trust, responsibility, and a cohesive team with a relentless drive for excellence. Barricades and Signs Ltd. embodies all this – and more. Learn more at getbarricades.com.