Obituary: Fred Lang, 89, founder of Edina-based Analysts International

  • Article by: MIKE HUGHLETT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 24, 2014 - 9:23 AM

Fred Lang’s career goal was to create and run his own company, and he succeeded in a major way with Edina-based Analysts International Corp.

The tech consulting company, whose heyday was in the late 1990s, churned out over $600 million in annual sales at its peak, and provided programmers and technicians to corporate clients across the country. Lang, of Minnetonka Beach, died June 14 of renal failure at age 89.

Lang retired in 2002, 36 years after founding Analysts International in his garage. “Once he got Analysts started, this was exactly what he wanted to do,” said his son, Fred Lang II.

Fred Lang grew up in Minneapolis, the son of a civil engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. Lang went to the U himself, graduating with degrees in electrical engineering and business administration.

But he didn’t complete his studies until he finished wartime service in the Air Force, his son said. Lang served three years during World War II, and then commanded a radar station during the Korean War.

“After he got out of the war, he knew he wanted to be in business, he just didn’t know what kind,” Fred Lang II said.

His first job was selling magnetic tape for 3M. Lang then went to work for Univac, building computer systems for the U.S. Navy and air traffic control systems for the Federal Aviation Administration. In 1966, his brainchild arrived: a tech consulting firm that leased out systems analysts and project managers.

In the early years after Analysts International was founded, the company had a contract working on the Apollo 11 program, which put the first humans on the moon. But Analysts International would make its name providing tech services to businesses.

By 1996, Analysts International was the third-largest among four dominant U.S. software services companies. It had 3,900 employees, and a list of 800 corporate clients that included such heavyweights as IBM, 3M and Cargill. Business particularly boomed during the run-up to Y2K, when demand for IT services soared.

But beginning in the 2000s, Analysts’ business tailed off. Its revenues had shrunk to just over $100 million in recent years, and in 2013 it was purchased by American CyberSystems.

Lang had many interests besides business, including world travel, building model ships and downhill skiing. He was a regional champion skier on the U.S. ski team in the 1950s.

Most of all, he was a voracious reader, his son said. “He would go through eight to 10 books a week.” Nonfiction was his passion. “When he died, he had the Steve Jobs (biography) on his desk.”

Lang was preceded in death by his wife, Katherine, and sister Betty Jean Meiching. He is survived by his son and his daughter Katie Norman, along with four grandchildren. Services have been held.

 

Mike Hughlett • 612-673-7003

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