TAMKO Celebrates 70th Anniversary in the Building Products Industry

This year TAMKO celebrates the major accomplishment of 70 years of success in the building products industry.

The TAMKO story is one of American entrepreneurialism, resilience and the belief that there is always room for improvement. In 1944, a 69-year-old E.L. Craig sold his share of a Kansas City shingle plant and moved to Joplin, Mo., to start another roofing business. On Sept. 5, 1944, Craig renamed the new business TAMKO in honor of the five states he expected his sales territory to consist of: Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Seventy years later, Craig would be pleased. What started as one small shingle plant is now the largest privately-owned roofing manufacturer in the United States. TAMKO’s original five-state territory has grown to national distribution with 12 manufacturing facilities and 13 warehouses located across the U.S.

“This is a very important milestone for us personally and for the entire TAMKO family,” says TAMKO President and CEO David Humphreys, grandson of the company’s founder. “This year we celebrate our ability to survive, grow and be profitable year after year when dozens of other roofing companies have not.”

Over the years, TAMKO has survived and thrived in the midst of economic ups and downs. Part of TAMKO adapting to changes in the building products industry was expanding its product offering to include new forms of roofing (fiberglass and metal) and other types of building materials (composite decking, railing and cements and coatings). In 1994, the company officially changed its name to TAMKO Roofing Products Inc., and in 2006, the company changed its name once more to TAMKO Building Products Inc.

In the midst of such success, what makes TAMKO so unique is how the company has maintained its focus on quality and a small-town, family-owned business culture during decades of expansion. “I know my father would be proud of what this company has become,” says TAMKO Chairman Ethelmae Humphreys, daughter of TAMKO founder. “Our success has been possible because of the contributions of individual members of the TAMKO team over the years, as well as our customers who have been loyal throughout the years. Without them, this anniversary would not be possible.”

As part of its anniversary celebration, TAMKO is producing a colorful coffee-table book detailing its history, in conjunction with author Jeff Rodengen and publisher Write Stuff Enterprises. The book will be released later this summer and feature interviews with executives, employees, retirees, industry suppliers, TAMKO customers, historians and major competitors. It will also feature hundreds of historic photos of TAMKO employees, the Craig and Humphreys families, TAMKO construction, old documents, machinery, events and products, including some from the 1800s. The book will be available for purchase by the public after its release.

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