William J. Lang Land Clearing was founded in 1972 when Bill Lang was able to obtain a contract with N.E. Isaacson Associates, Inc. to clear land for the Sugar Springs development in northern Gladwin County. Bill was able to purchase one machine and the agreement with N.E. Isaacson stated that he could have all the work as long he kept ahead of the rest of civil construction involved in the development. Bill kept ahead. The project took a little over two years and launched the fledgling business off to a good start.
After that the company concentrated on clearing farm land. The company worked throughout the state and by 1975 was able to purchase a second machine. Connections in the farming community helped the company land work for Clinton and Bay Counties as some of the farmers Bill worked for were on their county road commission boards. These customers reported to the boards on the quality and economy of the work that the company had performed for them. Both counties contracted work with Lang Land Clearing for a number of years.
In the late 70’s Lang Land Clearing began to subcontract work on State of Michigan projects. Over the next decade the company worked on many miles of M-131, I-69, and the Gladwin and West Branch Airports. The company also worked on numerous State funded projects in a number of Counties. This work necessitated purchasing more equipment and hiring more employees. Clearing farm land was still the major part of the company’s work load.
In the late 80’s the demand for farm land clearing began to decline. Bill heard that there was a lot of land clearing work being done in southeast Michigan for residential subdivisions and industrial facilities. He checked it out and the demand was there but it required different equipment. Previously the method of disposal was burning the trees and stumps but that was not practical or permitted in densely populated southeast Michigan. Work in that area required the purchase of large chippers and tub grinders to turn the material that was previously burned into mulch. The company was able to purchase the needed equipment and began contracting work in the area with good success.
In the early 90’s the recession reduced the demand for housing so the demand for land clearing dropped, which reduced the price for land clearing work. Bill could see that the most expensive component of the land clearing operation was getting rid of the stumps. Grinding the stumps with tub grinders required a lot of support equipment to split and dig out the stumps, clean them and put them in the grinder. The tub grinder was very high maintenance and therefore expensive to operate. If a productive, excavator mounted stump grinder capable of grinding the stumps in the ground could be developed it would reduce the cost of land clearing considerably and make land clearing profitable at the reduced market prices. Bill took the gamble and developed extremely productive, fairly low maintenance grinders.
The company continues to upgrade the grinders and maintains a fleet of high production land clearing equipment. The business has continued to prosper and now operates in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Bill Jr. joined the company in 1987 after graduating from high school and assumed the management of the land clearing company in the mid-90’s, which allowed Bill Sr. to concentrate on Lang Tool Co., which had been formed to produce stump grinders and other tools. Dan, Bill’s younger son, joined the company in 1992 and although his primary duties are with Lang Tool Co. he performs major repair work for the land clearing company. In 2015 Will Lang, Bill’s grandson joined the company. William Lang Land Clearing has been operating for 50 years and three generations now work in the company.
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