If their impressive home wasn’t overlooking Lloyd Harbor, you might mistake Kevin and Janet Lang’s driveway for a luxury car showroom. The Langs currently own six BMWs that were all purchased from Competition BMW.
“It’s fun when everyone is home and we line them up,” Kevin says.
It took him a minute to inventory his mini-fleet: The newest addition is a 2017 540, plus a 2017 340i, 2016 740i, 428i, X3 and 2015 X1.
What makes their BMW story even more extraordinary is that they have purchased a total of 22 cars, all from Competition BMW.
“We’ve bought every single vehicle from [sales advisor]Doug Monette” he explains.
Their first purchase from Competition BMW was a 325xi in 2001.
“We didn’t know anyone at the dealership until we met Doug,” Kevin says. “He was terrific. We bought a car in literally 20 minutes, mainly because Janet wanted to go home and watch a program on TV. We still laugh about that.”
“Over the years we came to rely on Doug,” he continues. “It got to the point that there was no discussion on price. I completely trust him.”
Kevin admits there was a 23rd BMW in their past, a 1996 740i, purchased from another dealer.
“I took it in for service and when I picked it up I found a large fingerprint on the door left by the mechanic,” he recalls. “I’m meticulous about my cars, so I went back to show him and he asked me, with an attitude, if the mark bothered me.”
“I never bought another car from that dealer,” he says. “From that one fingerprint, they lost 22 purchases.”
More than two decades later, that story still sticks in Lang’s mind.
“Even though there’s a dealership closer [to my home], we’ll travel farther to Competition BMW,” Kevin says. “It’s all about customer service. There are three people at Competition who keep us coming back: Doug Monette, Helga Carroll and Rudy Alanis.”
Lang calls the trio his “go-to folks.”
“I travel quite a bit, and when I’m out of town and there’s an issue with a car, my family knows not to call me, they call Competition,” he says. “It really works out well.”
“Rudy Alanis, our service advisor, is the best. He’s so attentive. Nothing is ever a problem, he always takes care of everything,” he adds. “I can’t tell you how much we appreciate that.”
Kevin also has high praise for Helga Carroll, Competition BMW’s Finance Manager.
“Helga does more than just her job, she isn’t pushy and is very knowledgeable about cars,” he says.
A recent purchase his son made on Helga’s recommendation exemplifies why he keeps coming back to Competition BMW.
“Helga sold some rims and low-profile tires to my son,” Kevin explains. “She knew details, like the rate of flats, about the tire bolt pattern and sensor type, and thought about this purchase all the way through to his next car. She said, ‘Wouldn’t these look great on this car, and oh by the way, these will fit on the next car you buy, too.’”
“Helga is not just closing a sale to add to the bottom line, she’s also making the client happy,” he adds. “That’s a big difference. Did she try and sell me something I didn’t need? The answer is, no, she never has.
“In fact, I don’t think there ever was a bad deal on any car I’ve purchased from Competition BMW,” he continues.
BMWs aren’t the only thing the Langs have in common. The entire family, including their son and daughter, are “foodies.” But they aren’t gourmands, they’re food engineers.
“It’s all in the family, and food is our story,” Kevin says.
He holds a doctorate, and Janet, a master’s degree, in food engineering. Their children also have advanced degrees in food, and are involved in innovative research.
Kevin personally holds 78 patents relating mostly to food products and pharmaceutical products.
“Over the years, we’ve created a lot of different products. One example is for a global fast-food chain. We made the bread what it is today, by reducing the sodium, and improving the nutrition and taste.”
Kevin’s uncle holds patents for many food products, including cult favorites like Pop Rocks, Stove Top Stuffing, and Sanka Coffee.
Growing up in that exciting atmosphere got Kevin interested in pursuing a career in the food business, and he began working for General Foods in 1980.
In 1982, General Foods acquired Entenmann’s, whose headquarters were located in Bay Shore at the time. Originally from New Jersey, Kevin moved to Long Island when he was named their vice president of research and operations.
One of his most well-known patents is for the original formulation of a product called Snow Twist. The name wasn’t popular with consumers, so they changed it to Crystal Light. The rest, as they say, is history.
Jell-O Pudding Pops and Jell-O Fruit & Cream Bars are other popular products patented by Kevin.
As food scientists, the Langs are among a small but influential group literally impacting every person on the planet with their life-changing product patents.
Kevin’s huge success with food product patents led him to study, and then improve, many products from the pharmaceutical industry, which at the time was a wide-open frontier for food engineering.
“I wanted to approach the pharma industry differently,” he says. “At the time, over-the-counter drugs like antacids and nutritional supplements had a bad taste. I believed that if it tastes terrible, or if a pill is too big to swallow, people aren’t going to take it.”
Thanks to Kevin, if you use reduced (petite) size vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter chocolate products, they are not only nutritional and easier to swallow, they also taste good.
His innovative contributions to the food and pharmaceutical industries have left an indelible mark on each of us, especially when we enjoy a delicious fast-food sandwich with a Crystal Light chaser!