Masters of Barricades is always on the job.
While many people are wrapping up their workday, Frank Barron is just getting started. As nighttime operations director for Masters of Barricades (MOB Traffic), he makes sure everybody has what they need and then begins planning load lists for the following day.
“It’s a little like being a conductor, orchestrating 90 to140 jobs for about a dozen certified traffic control technicians,” Barron said. “Everything has to be ready for them by 2 a.m., with setup times at 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 7 a.m., or even 9 a.m. if the construction site or road work is near a school zone.”
With the setup of each job pre-planned to meet the legal and regional HSE requirements outlined by different safety associations and government jurisdictions, there is no room for error. Contractors and utility crews may have already adjusted timetables to meet specific traffic control or pedestrian mitigation rules around school schedules, season, or special events. So once the plan and work orders are approved, everyone relies on having the right equipment delivered and set up on time.
“If you were new to the job, it might be unsettling to look out at an almost empty yard and wonder where you are going to find everything you need,” says Barron. “But after 16 years in traffic control, six years with MOB Traffic, I know the equipment we need will come in later after pickups. So if I need 130 cones and only have 100 in the yard, I’ll verify which pickups will be coming in and count it as outgoing inventory.”
Barron is always prepared to adjust load lists for damaged cones, drums, channelizers, barricades, and other signage. Despite the state’s efforts to discourage careless driving in construction zones — including double penalty citations whether or not workers are present — a surprising number of drivers hit traffic equipment for one reason or another. Unfortunately, only a few drivers report doing so because it can be counted as a moving violation.
“We do our best to be proactive, using the best and brightest equipment, setting tapers correctly, so drivers have time to react, and placing sandbags on everything to minimize any movement,” says Barron. “I’ve worked with other companies, and nobody does it better than MOB Traffic. We even have competitions among our drivers to see who set the best tapers for the day.”
While many technicians take pride in their work, Barron adds it’s about safety as much as service. From never turning their backs on traffic to ensuring every truck has a gate, MOB Traffic emphasizes safety in the workplace and on the job site. The company even provides in-house CPR training on occasion, which is especially important with the number of special events managed by MOB traffic.
“MOB Traffic emphasized safety from day one,” says Barron. “We have the best equipment, always provide the right equipment, and do the best setups. We want everything to look as good as possible and make sure it stays there.”
As the largest privately owned traffic control and barricade business in the region with a reputation for managing the largest special events in Las Vegas, it only makes sense MOB Traffic would manage one of the largest yards and maintain one of the largest local inventories. This includes specialty equipment such as light towers, message boards, water rails, and yellow crash cushions.
The equipment is readily available, with more than a dozen flatbed trucks ready to transport it from the yard to any job site or special event location as far south as Lake Havasu and as far north as Reno. To keep everything flowing 24-hours a day and seven days a week, MOB Traffic develops processes to streamline operations wherever and whenever possible.
“While everybody helps everybody, we also have a team dedicated to special events to accommodate event schedules,” explains Barron. “For my team, they come in at around 2 a.m., check the inventory pre-loaded by our shop guys, and are on the road in about 30 minutes. Depending on how many jobs we have, they might take 8 to 12 jobs with them for their shift.”
Barron says he has a general idea of which technicians will be assigned which trucks and to which sides of town they might be dispatched. However, he remains very flexible in managing operations. At a moment’s notice, he is ready to help a technician finish a setup on time, take over a shift, and answer customer calls from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. until the morning supervisor comes into work.
“No many traffic control companies will have a live person answer the phone 24-hours a day, but it’s very important to us at Masters Of Barricades,” said Barron. “It’s part of our promise to be responsive. Even internally, we practice open communication. Everybody on our team knows where everybody is, what they might need, and who is in the best location to help out.”
Responsibility, responsiveness, and integrity are a core part of the company's values. The company was founded in 2013 by four principals who all had more than 25 years of experience in traffic control, special events, and construction. Barron and several others were among the first to be recruited as the company grew because they were capable of delivering traffic control and pedestrian management 24-hours a day, every day. It’s the MOB Traffic way.