Matt Langeler & Shane Herrema
Matt Langeler and Shane Herrema founded Integrity Tree Services in 1998 with a passion to do something different in the tree industry.
In high school, Matt and Shane both worked for Shane’s father’s business, Doug Herrema Tree Service. They gained the necessary knowledge and mechanical skills on how to operate a tree company.
Several years later, Matt attended Rhema Bible Training Center’s 2-year school in Tulsa, Oklahoma while Shane continued to work for his father.
By 1997, Shane concluded through prayer he was to cease working for his father and start his own tree service. Read Shane’s backstory here.
Shane’s prayer and desire was to have a business partner he could trust with anything. There were several men interested in the partnership opportunity but, knowing this was a serious decision, none of those men were the right fit for what Shane was looking for. He knew that whomever he chose meant that he would be knitting his life to theirs so he’d better fully and wholeheartedly trust that person. Through much prayer, Shane and his wife, Paige, were in agreement and had peace from the Lord to ask Matt Langeler to partner with them in the business. Matt and Shane grew up together since they were young boys and Shane knew he could trust Matt completely. Matt was and continues to be a trusted, lifelong friend of Shane’s.
Matt returned to Rhema for his second and final year in the fall of 1997, and agreed to partner with Shane beginning in the spring of 1998 following his graduation from Bible school. Read Matt’s backstory here.
While Matt was away at school, Shane and he worked on details of setting up their company throughout the fall and winter. They agreed on the business name, Integrity Tree Services, and soon after Matt returned to Michigan from Rhema Bible Training Center, it finally happened. Integrity Tree Services was born in the spring of 1998.
They chose to operate with a purpose and stand for something that represented the Biblical principles they deeply believe in. Out of those principles came the Seven Corporate Shared Values they agreed to operate and be guided by. Those values are Safety, Integrity, Initiative, Quality, Professionalism, Respect, and Cohesive Teamwork.
Within days of signing the business paperwork, a storm now known as “The Wind Storm of 1998” swept across the Tri-Cities of West Michigan. Wind gusts were clocked at more than 120 mph and trees were toppled like toothpicks. This devastation from the storm launched Integrity Tree Services full throttle into business. Several insurance companies saw their work and asked Shane and Matt to take care of all their tree service needs. Even though the storm provided instant work, it was still a struggle to get Integrity Tree Services off the ground.
“Starting a company from scratch is no easy task. We started the company with barely anything. Matt and I worked our tails off and sacrificed family time to get our business off the ground,” said Shane.
At the end of their first year in business together, the company made little profit. However, even though initial startup investments from each of them varied, they ended up evening out by year’s end.
By the end of their second year, the company still didn’t show a profit. This proved to be a serious test of Shane and Matt’s resolve.
Shane recalls talking with his wife, Paige, and remembering they had peace on the direction of starting their own business and asking Matt to partner with them so they stood firm in their decision and trusted the Lord.
The first decade of their business and partnership was filled with intense work and little return. They continued to capitalize their growth through profits from the company. It was a road that most people would have given up on, yet their determination and trust in God pushed them through those tough years.
However, from then on, their reputation grew and they were able to take on larger projects. This afforded them to pay down on equipment thus freeing up profit to reinvest into growth and new opportunities.
They focused greatly on hard work and building a strong reputation in the marketplace. Once their reputation for excellence and professionalism grew, the demand for the company grew with it.
At almost 20 years since it’s inception, Integrity Tree Services is now a thriving enterprise rooted in values and in multiple states with very strong client relationships. It is a company known for excellence, professionalism, and the ability to complete projects upholding tight specs and deadlines.
Integrity Tree Services is the company to call when the task is critical and/or difficult. Operations continue to grow in multiple states all while upholding the corporate culture and values, which make them not your “average tree service”.
All departments, teams, and crews are committed to upholding their Seven Corporate Shared Values, which are Safety, Integrity, Initiative, Quality, Professionalism, Respect and Cohesive Teamwork.
Integrity Tree Services has become a rare company that stands out among its peers. Matt and Shane recognize it’s the Lord that continues to bless the company and what they put their hands to.
Matt and Shane both agree they are motivated to go to work for different reasons than they were in the beginning. Then it was about receiving a paycheck to pay the bills. Now it is more rewarding for them to see their team members develop and grow into mature people of integrity with the business opportunities that are set before them.
Their passion is to mentor people, which, in turn, have become very rewarding and their driving force of motivation.
“It’s important to both Shane and me to see our team members not only excel in the field but also at home. Our desire is to help our team win at life and thrive, not just survive,” said Matt.
Matt and Shane continue to come to work each day driven by the passion to mentor people and help them advance in all aspects of life. They love to see opportunities for improvement and success throughout the organization.