Driving Toward a Better Future
It’s a sunny day in the South Side Flats, busy with construction and the steady flow of traffic, Driving down E. Carson Street, Floyd Edwards Jr., the founder of Supreme Traffic Control, slows to a stop beside an employee named Frannie. Decked out in a reflective safety vest and orange hardhat, Frannie has been directing cars down the bustling thoroughfare. Edwards hands her a sandwich from a stash in his truck: the boss on lunch duty.
Edwards doesn’t just provide sandwiches; he’s in the business of second chances, new beginnings. He knows how important, and rare, both are. Edwards is a born entrepreneur—as a kid, he sold candy and CDs—but as a young man, he fell in with the wrong crowd. Eventually, he served jail time. But working as a traffic flagger after his incarceration, Edwards realized he could imagine a new life—and not just for himself.
The experience proved to him that hope begins with what you can see: If you’re surrounded by poverty, imagining better opportunities can be difficult. With investment and continued entrepreneurial support from Bridgeway Capital, he launched Supreme Traffic Control to create change and provide jobs to Pittsburghers who might struggle to find employment because they lacked experience or education or, like Edwards, had criminal records.
Bridgeway’s Director of Entrepreneurial Lending, Shawn Thomas, worked with Edwards for months to develop his idea into a business plan that was ready for capital. Now, that business has more than 27 full-time employees and almost 50 part-time or seasonal workers, all earning livable wages. Offering on-site traffic control, work zone safety, and traffic flagger training, Supreme Traffic Control is also a valuable resource for Pittsburgh’s ongoing growth and development.
Like Edwards, Bridgeway Capital understands that investing in a place means investing in its people. Investing in minority-owned local businesses like Supreme Traffic Control is not just about dollars and cents: It’s about meaningful employment, more vibrant communities, and renewed hope.