From addict to owner:
Brent Langschwager earns ‘success story’ award from small business center
By Robert Stevens
SPRING CITY— Langschwager Construction was recognized as the Sanpete County Utah Small Business Development Center (SBDC) “Success Story of the Year” despite being faced with extraordinary challenges getting there.
Brent and Shelly Langschwager, both 42, of Spring City are the co-owners of Langschwager Construction. The couple and their business was recognized on Friday, Feb. 22 at the Capitol Building by legislators, members of the Utah Senate and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox—a former schoolmate—for their hard work and dedication towards achieving success in the face of hardship.
It might be fair to say they have had to work harder to achieve that success than some others. Brent—an addict in long-term recovery—says he spent decades of his life hooked on drugs and alcohol, and he is incredibly grateful for the new lease on life that has come from getting sober, marrying Shelly and working hard to achieve his goals.
Brent says on the drive up to the Capitol to receive the SBDC award, he realized just how incredible the life transformation has been for him.
“It’s amazing and I am so thankful to have this life and my wife and some amazing kids,” he says. “There have been so many people who have put their trust in me, believed me and gave me opportunities. I went from being on the run from the police to being presented this award from the Lt. Gov. I am so thankful for everyone who has been supportive along the way, and for being able to work in this valley after having such a history.”
Shelly says Brent has maintained a drive and the determination to be a successful business owner, not a former drug addict, and together they have been able to tackle every challenge they have faced.
“To go from being an addict like that to being a successful business owner in less than two years is huge,” says Shelly, who is not just Brent’s wife and business partner, but his biggest cheerleader. “He has custody of his kids. We have a happy marriage and a thriving business and a relationship with God. He’s completely gone from one extreme to the other.”
Knowing he wanted to start his own construction business after getting sober, Brent began working through the steps to get there.
He went to the SBDC office located at Snow College looking for some guidance achieving his goals. The SBDC program provides training, tools and access to consultants to help small business owners to succeed in starting and growing their businesses. There he met Christine Hanks and Tim Chamberlain, who helped him solve the problems that were slowing down his journey.
“They offer amazing programs that people aren’t even aware of, so that was huge,” Brent says. ”I had been a drug addict my whole life and I didn’t have the slightest clue how to start something like a legitimate business from scratch, but I wanted it so badly I walked in there and sat down and just started asking questions, and before long the ball was rolling. They were so knowledgeable and so helpful.”
But Brent also had another key person on his side—his wife, Shelly. Because being on Adult Probation and Parole was stalling his ability to get a business license, Shelly got the license under her name so they could move forward without delay. Having known each other since kindergarten, the husband and wife team worked together towards building the new business.
As they worked tirelessly towards their goals, doors began opening for them.
During his time attending the SBDC, Brent was given the opportunity to introduce an innovative product to the county as a service of Langschwager Construction. Brent and Shelly say the product, Vipeq Thermal Corkshield, is an incredibly effective stucco alternative that insulates, doesn’t crack and acts as both a fire retardant and a sound barrier. They saw the value of the offer and jumped on it.
The SBDC reimbursed the couple for half the cost of training to apply the product in their construction business, as well half of any other business-related training expenses or licensing.
“The business has just really taken off,” Shelly says. “We are applying it in houses all across the state of Utah now.”
St. George homeowner Burke Jackson says, “It looks great and I am excited to reap the benefits of an amazing product applied by such great people who stand by their word. You don’t find that in a company much now days.”
With their construction business booming and more and more customers calling all the time, Brent and Shelly are not having difficulty staying busy, but they have their sights set on a bigger picture.
A successful business is not the only goal that Brent has in his life, Shelly told the Messenger. Eventually, he hopes to be successful enough to open an addiction treatment center that will help people struggling with drugs and alcohol who can’t afford the costly expense of attending rehab.
“This business is just the tip of the iceberg for Brent,” Shelly says. “One of his biggest goals is being able to make enough money to create a place in Sanpete where addicts can walk in off the street and not have to worry about paying out thousands and thousands of dollars for treatment.”
With the struggle of addiction being something he can relate to so closely, Brent hopes his success as an entrepreneur can be parlayed into a way to help those who are struggling.
“I think that in this day and age, with the problem we are having in the community and the families in it, the days of being quiet and doing nothing about this stuff needs to be over,” he said.