Shane grew up in Hudsonville, Michigan where he began working with trees for his father’s business, Doug Herrema Tree Service. Watching his dad’s company operate taught him many lessons that afforded him to have success later in life with Integrity Tree Services. Some of these lessons he recognized were worth repeating.
I can’t remember a time that I haven’t worked with trees,” said Shane.
He recalls beginning to climb at the age of 13 and, by the age of 16, stepping into a foreman role of running a summer crew.
For the following 2 years, Shane developed into leading the most difficult jobs which would include riding a crane ball to take down large, dangerous trees over properties and through tough obstacles.
I owe a lot of my current success to my father and those early life experiences he gave me,” Shane confidently said.
During those times, Shane learned hard work, how to overcome fears, and how to deal with difficult challenges with an underlying fundamental of a “never give up” attitude.
In high school, Shane played football, wrestled, rode dirt bikes, fished, and hunted. However, in his Junior year, he quit school sports to enable him the opportunity to work full-time in the summer. The reality he learned was his job was more of a challenge than the school sports he was playing.
By his senior year, Shane decided he wanted to get his pilot’s licence. His desire was to fly jets in the military. He accomplished this task within the 40 minimum hours of flight time at which time his instructor signed off on his private pilot’s license. He continued to fly and build hours in order to get a leg up on his future competition in the military.
Little did Shane know that he would never make it into the military to fly jets due to a back injury at the end of his senior year. He was in a gymnastics class for high school practicing a difficult routine, when he lost his awareness and landed directly on his head. This caused a disk to slip in his lower back. Even though his doctors said he would never be able to do hard work again, the Lord healed his back and he continued to climb trees and do things most people thought were crazy.
Even though this was a difficult year for Shane, it came with one of the best memories he holds dear…falling in love with his wife, Paige.
Upon graduation from high school, Shane decided not to enter the military but rather continue his focus on the tree industry and stay in West Michigan. He attended Grand Valley State University for his core curriculum then transferred to Michigan State University to centralize his studies around Horticulture, Biology and Entomology.
Shane was funding his own education and didn’t want to pay for courses that didn’t apply toward his future career. Therefore, he decided to audit the classes he wanted to gain knowledge from and chose not to receive a degree in a major course of study. Additionally, he knew his father’s business did not require a degree so Shane didn’t see a need in having one since he planned to take over the business some day.
“I married the love of my life just before my 21st birthday which fell on our honeymoon. Looking back, even though we were so young, I feel like we were far ahead of our peers. Primarily, because we were both working and stable,” said Shane.
The following three years proved to be a difficult time for Shane and his family. His parents divorced which left Shane running his father’s business for him. Because of this, Shane approached his father to buy into his business and help it grow. His father’s response came as a surprise to Shane because his father liked the business’s size right where it was. He wasn’t interested in growing it into a larger, more profitable company.
Shane and Paige had a tough choice to make. Can they stay content where they’re at or should they take their passion for growing a business and start their own? They prayed and both received the same answer from the Lord, which was to start their own tree service.
Shane knew he needed to grow his company to a size that would be sustainable and be able to withstand the small operation challenges he witnessed with a one-man operation his father was challenged by. Therefore, he began the process of looking for a business partner.
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, Paige and I asked the Lord to help us make the right decision. She and I felt peace to ask Matt Langeler to partner with us in starting our own tree service,” said Shane.
Integrity Tree Services started with Shane, Matt, two young men, one set of residential equipment, and a lot of long hours. Shane commented he felt like a terrible husband and dad at that time because he worked 6 days a week from sun up to sun down. He even recalls having their second baby and only being off work for a couple of days at most then went right back to 6 days a week working long hours.
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.
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.