Putting the Family Business First
Ferlin Kang did not always know he wanted to go into the construction industry. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, he was exposed to the energy and opportunity that comes with living in a growing, evolving city. He knew he could pursue different paths in life, but he also knew how unique it was to have the opportunity to carry on his father’s business as a first-generation Canadian.
“My father had humble beginnings, immigrating from Asia. He had been in construction since the 1960s before starting Kang Construction Ltd. in 1982 in Calgary,” said Ferlin Kang. “When I was in my teen years, I started working with the company and thought there was no way I’d be doing this.”
But for him, the opportunity to carry on the family business was something he grew interested in, and soon began to enjoy.
“My father came here, established himself, started a business and became an entrepreneur. Being able to grow the business to this point is not something to take lightly,” he said. “I didn’t want that legacy to go away.”
And that legacy will remain intact. Ferlin Kang is now the vice president of the 60-employee Kang Construction, as his father, Alvin, gradually steps back.
Initially, Kang Construction began carving out a niche in the petroleum industry. Due to an industry need for excavation, Kang Construction purchased its first excavator in early 1988 – a Hitachi EX200LC. It was the first excavator of its kind to operate in Alberta.
“For us, the Hitachi brand loyalty reaches all the way back to our beginnings as a company when we first purchased our EX200,” said Ferlin Kang. “Hitachi’s always been known for manufacturing heavy equipment that is tried, tested and true. They’re very reputable and providing the right equipment for the right job is always very important to us.”
The EX200 was not the only “first” for this company. In December 2018, Kang Construction was also the first company in Alberta to purchase the ZX345USLC-6.
“Our fleet of Hitachi excavators ranges from a 470, which is our largest, to the 225, 160, 135, 85, all the way down to the minis. We also have a 350 that has a long-reach telescopic boom mounted to it for deep excavations, or we can change it to a 60-feet-long-reach boom,” said Ferlin Kang. “Just from our fleet, you can see the versatility that Hitachi equipment provides.”
Over the years Kang Construction has since grown drastically. Their growing fleet is a result of growing services.
“We started to go more into the earthwork side of things and away from the petroleum side toward the 2000s,” he said. “We got into more detail and mass excavations for commercial, retail and industrial projects.”
Soon, Kang Construction expanded to offer installation of water and sewer underground utilities to their projects. This is where the 345’s versatility really shined.
As it has grown, Kang Construction has tackled larger, high-profile jobs within the area. Recently, the company has been working at the Foothills Hospital Calgary Cancer Centre connector, providing earthworks, and water and sewer utilities to the project.
“The 345 worked out really well for this project in the sense that we have a new Tier 4 engine in there, which just gives minimal emissions,” said Ferlin Kang. “A new machine like the 345 is perfect when working near a sensitive hospital environment.”
Another advantage of the 345 is the power it brings to tight spaces as a reduced-tail-swing model.
“The fact that it’s a reduced-tail-swing and has power, that’s just an added bonus,” he said. “It’s perfect for our fleet.”
If Ferlin Kang had to choose one word that is most important to Kang Construction, it would be “productivity”. As technology advances and the needs of their clients become more stringent, he has to rely on equipment that can deliver.
Along with contributing to the bottom line, Hitachi excavators are a favorite among Kang Construction operators, too.
“We’ve always been aggressive, ever since our small beginnings. But I couldn’t have envisioned us being involved on the types of jobs we’re working today, 15 years ago,” he said. “We are excited to see the legacy continue for our company.”
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