There is one particular photograph hanging in the chamber office that I am most fond of. The large framed black and white photo is of Clarence Van Lingen standing in front of his tow truck. The photo is from 1948. Clarence opened an auto body business in Torrance after serving his country as he did not want to return to the occupation of farming.
Now, celebrating their 70th year of doing business in Torrance, the Van Lingen Group is a three generation family owned and operated business. As I sat down with Rob and Sean Van Lingen, the one characteristic trait that is evident is their passion. Rob and Sean are so proud to carry on the family business started by Grandfather Clarence and continued by their father Robert.
“As brothers working together we see each other a lot, but we all have different offices. Sean handles the operational side of the business, I oversee the administrative side, and although our dad is retired he gets the final vote,” chuckled Rob.
The Van Lingen Group has grown to be California’s most trusted name in towing and recovery. “We set out long ago to be the leader in swift, efficient, one-call-and-done towing service for businesses and municipalities alike. Today, we have multiple locations, a computerized dispatching system, sophisticated equipment and an experienced staff,” commented Sean.
Rob, Sean and Marc Rivas (operations manager) escorted me through their facility to the yard where I immediately saw a large rescue truck. This piece of equipment is called a rotator and this particular one is the first of its kind to arrive in California. This 50/60 ton rotator is engineered to undertake the toughest challenges with available configurations to meet California’s regulations. It features roll-up aluminum doors for swifter access to equipment, strategically placed LED lighting for improved visibility and specialty storage solutions to ensure every tool has its place.
After viewing the Rotator, we discussed the biggest challenges of doing business today in California. Rob answered quickly and very methodically: fuel costs, insurance and ever changing regulations. “It is often difficult for a small business to absorb all of these costs,” commented Rob. He continued, “we are passionate about what we do and that has spanned over 70 years. Many of our employees have been with us for 40 years and the average length is 10 – 12 years.”
The Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce congratulates the Van Lingen Group for celebrating their 70th year as a family owned and operated business in the City of Torrance.