TAMKO’s Investment in Technology



Since its founding in 1944, TAMKO Building Products, Inc. has continually invested in technology. Technological advances like factory automation and enterprise resource planning have allowed the company to remain efficient and profitable, while reducing variation and maintaining a focus on quality.

TAMKO consistently invests in new technology to improve its operations. Some ways TAMKO has invested in technology include:

  • Shingles that were once moved by hand from the end of the production line to pallets for shipping are now moved by robotic arms.
  • TAMKO invested in state-of-the-art equipment from Germany when it launched its Awaplan™ product, and allocated a considerable amount of time, effort and money researching the formula to perfect the product.
  • TAMKO converted its shingles from organic to fiberglass mat-based when the fiberglass market started to grow.
  • TAMKO added on-line laminating equipment to its manufacturing lines when laminated shingles were introduced to streamline the process.
  • TAMKO’s sales staff was among the first in the industry to use laptop computers in the field for reporting and estimating.
  • TAMKO converted old papermaking mills to make roofing felt for shingle production and converted a composite pallet plant to a state-of-the-art composite decking operation.

TAMKO Building Products Supports Military Heroes

TAMKO Building Products, Inc. has always been a big supporter of our military heroes. The company employs many military veterans and also supports a variety of military organizations.

4-State Heroes 

TAMKO has sponsored the 4-State Heroes program, which honors men and women in the Joplin-area on television for their service and bravery in the armed forces.

Hero Flights

TAMKO has donated its corporate pilots, planes and fuel for Hero Flights since 2008. Hero Flights is a program administered by the Veterans Airlift Command to provide air transportation for injured veterans and their families.

TAMKO’s corporate pilots flew their first flight in May of 2008 when they transported Matthew Miles home from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Matthew who lost his left leg to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2007.  In July 2013, TAMKO’s corporate pilots flew Eric Lund, who lost both arms in Afghanistan in 2012, from San Antonio, Texas to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland to meet with an arm transplant team.

These private flights seek to provide comfort to injured veterans and help them avoid the hassles and challenges they face in commercial airports and on commercial flights.

100,000 Jobs Mission

TAMKO Joined 100,000 Jobs Mission in 2012. The organization formed in 2011 to create 100,000 jobs for military veterans by 2020. The organization quickly met its goal; by December of 2013, 131 member companies had hired a total of 117,439 veterans.


The Evolution of Roofing Manufacturers

A hundred years ago, there were many businesses that provided roofing materials to local markets. While a town may have had a sawmill supplying lumber to the community, there were many small providers of roofing products, such as local slate quarries and lumber mills, that manufactured wooden shingles.

Similar to what happened in the sawmill industry, the era of small local roofing manufacturers eventually ended. By the early 1980s, only 70 roofing plants still remained. Through good management, governance, stewardship, and people, TAMKO Building Products endured the various industry changes that have occurred over the years and caused so many businesses to shut down. Since TAMKO’s founding more than 70 years ago, the company has not only survived these numerous changes, but was also able to thrive. Today, TAMKO is one of the largest asphalt roofing manufacturers in the U.S.

While market share is affected by consolidations, pricing and products, it’s mostly impacted by technology. So many plants closed their doors by the 1980s because they failed to transition to fiberglass. Additionally, the move from off-line laminated shingles in the mid-1970s and to on-line laminators in the late 1980s resulted in even more consolidations. The manufacturers who did not invest in the new technology found themselves out of business.

TAMKO’s leadership has had the foresight and good fortune of making each of those transitions at just the right time as the industry changed. Each transition seems obvious in hindsight, but was groundbreaking at the time.

“So the price doesn’t move the dial very much one way or the other on market share,” said David Humphreys, TAMKO’s President and CEO. “New products can make a difference there. But the other dynamic in this industry has been the technology change.”




TAMKO Donated $100,000 to the Red Cross Following the Baxter Springs, Kansas Tornado in 2014

Image Source: Roger Nomer/Joplin Globe    TAMKO President and CEO David Humphreys presents a check to the Ozark Chapter of the American Red Cross to help with tornado relief efforts.
Image Source: Roger Nomer/Joplin Globe
TAMKO President and CEO David Humphreys presents a check to the Ozark Chapter of the American Red Cross to help with tornado relief efforts.

TAMKO Building Products donated $100,000 to the Ozark Chapter of the American Red Cross to help with tornado relief efforts in Baxter Springs, Kansas and Quapaw, Oklahoma. Tornadoes hit Baxter Springs and Quapaw just after 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. TAMKO President and CEO David Humphreys presented the $100,000 check to Debi Meeds, CEO of the Southern Missouri Region of the Red Cross, on May 2, 2014.

“This is an incredible gift,” Meeds told the Joplin Globe. “Because of the support from community partners like TAMKO, we are able to help these families on their road to disaster recovery.”

TAMKO, which was founded in Joplin, Missouri in 1944, has been a big part of the community for more than 70 years. Today, the company has several manufacturing facilities in the Joplin-area, as well as its headquarters. Joplin is only minutes from the Baxter Springs community. TAMKO is one of the largest privately-owned manufacturers of residential and commercial roofing products in the country.

TAMKO also provided a sizeable donation to the American Red Cross following the Joplin tornado of 2011 to help with relief efforts and to encourage others to make donations as well. During the Joplin tornado, the Baxter Springs and Quapaw communities stepped up to help the Joplin community, and Humphreys said he believed Joplin should do the same to help them.

“Baxter Springs and Quapaw supported the Joplin community after the 2011 tornado,” Humphreys said. “We feel that the Joplin community should be equally supportive in their time of need.”  As with the Joplin tornado, Humphreys said he hoped TAMKO’s donation would inspire others to also make donations to help tornado victims.

At the time of the donation, Meeds said that Red Cross relief efforts would focus on immediate basic needs, including food, shelter and clothing. The Red Cross’ focus would be on making sure families have a safe place to stay and the basic needs like food and shelter.


Students Gain Real-World Experience from TAMKO Internship

Despite having earned a college degree from an accredited college or university, many graduates lack the basic skills and real-world experience employers look for. According to a recent report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, students are ill-prepared for the job market and are particularly lacking in problem solving, decision making and the ability to prioritize tasks. The report showed the gap between what students thought they knew and what employers found to be true about students coming out of college to be especially large in the areas of innovation and creativity.

One way to help students prepare for the working world is through internships. In fact, a 2013 study from the Association of American Colleges and Universities found most employers support activities that engage students in active work, including internships. TAMKO Building Products, Inc., a leading independent manufacturer of residential and low slope roofing products, composite decking and railing, waterproofing and cements and coatings, helped students fuel innovation and gain real-world experience by hiring them as interns.

This summer, 10 college students worked as interns at TAMKO in the Joplin, Missouri-area where the company is headquartered. The interns had the chance to work in engineering, accounting, production and research and development. As interns, these students gained experience working in a fast-paced environment and actively communicating and collaborating with TAMKO team members. Along with helping students gain experience, TAMKO benefited from their fresh perspective and ideas.

The internships also enabled students to see how the knowledge they’ve gained from their school work compares to working in a fast-paced, real-world work environment.

Landon Taylor, a 20-year-old mechanical engineering student at the University of Arkansas, was one of the interns and spent the summer creating mechanical systems using design software. Taylor said the internship helped him enhance his technical and problem solving skills, and the experience he acquired will give him an advantage among his peers in the classroom and when applying for jobs.


History in the Making

America is full of history and it is important for us to remember where we came from and how we achieved the success we have today.  It is always a shame when people are ignorant about their history.  For TAMKO Building Products, that’s not the case.  There is a rich history behind the company, the family that owns it and the many other families which have been a part of the company.

TAMKO was originally started in 1944 in an old streetcar barn in Joplin, Missouri.  It was the dream of E.L. Craig to create a company with the philosophy of “work hard, do your best, be fair and honest, and believe in those around you.”  Since the company started in 1944, it has lived up to those principles and continued to prosper and grow.  The company’s name, TAMKO, comes from the first letters of the original states which the company did business in: Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.

The company entered a new phase of growth in the 1960s when Jay Humphreys, E.L. Craig’s son-in-law, took the reins of the company. TAMKO became an industry leader in roofing products and has continued to be at the cutting edge for providing new roofing products as technology has advanced.  One of the ways in which the company has stayed at the forefront and maintained success is through vertical integration.  TAMKO owns and operates its own raw materials plants allowing the company to achieve produce its own raw materials instead of relying on other companies.

After E.L. Craig began the business in 1944, he continued to work till 1954 when his health prevented him from continuing.  At this point his daughter, Ethelmae, took over and ran it through the 50s until 1960 when her husband, Jay Humphreys, took over.  He led TAMKO to great success with his entrepreneurial vision for growth.  After he passed in 1993, his son, David Craig Humphrey’s, took over the company and helped continue its growth and production capabilities by adding additional products.

TAMKO isn’t just about one family though, either.   There are more than 50 families which have had two or three generations working at the same TAMKO plants.  The Carder family is one of those families.  Mike Carder is a second generation employee. His father, Odes Carder, was a longtime plant manager, vice president and employee shareholder. Mike’s brother, George, also worked for TAMKO for several years, and Mike’s son, Kyle, currently works for the company.  For many families like the Carders, TAMKO is a family business for them as much as it is for the Humphreys.  TAMKO is without a doubt a great example of an American business with a rich history.


TAMKO Joins an Organization Committed to Hiring 100,000 Jobs for Veterans

What kind of qualities do you think veterans may possess when they are ready to go back to the workforce? At the forefront, you would have to consider leadership skills. In addition to that, there’s working in a team, mathematical skills, pride in achieving a mission, the work ethic to ensure that a job is done right, and the ability to work with other team members to support a project. Veterans are highly useful for any employer, which is why TAMKO Building Products joined the 100,000 Jobs Mission in 2013.

The 100,000 Jobs Mission’s mission sounds exactly like you would think of when determining the non-profit’s goal. It’s to find 100,000 jobs for America’s finest. Normally, the non-profit organization only allows companies of 10,000 employees or more to join, but because TAMKO Building Products has had a rich history of hiring military veterans in the past, the organization was more than willing to welcome the building materials company to join its ranks. As of 2013, the organization has helped 77,612 veterans get hired.

The ability for veterans to succeed in TAMKO cannot be understated. Many of them work in the company’s management. Robert Keeling, TAMKO’s Senior Director of Procurement and Logistics, served in the Navy as a submarine officer and also as an on-shore instructor. His time in the Navy helped him develop the leadership skills, work ethic, and frame of mind to be a highly respected executive at TAMKO.

In addition, TAMKO’s Engineering & Construction Manager John Sweeny served in the U.S. Army for five years, including 16 months as a Brigade Battle Captain leading a group of soldiers in Iraq. And Senior Manufacturing Director Mike Shifferd led two deployments of soldiers on overseas missions during his time in the Army.

TAMKO Building Products is proud to be a member of this organization and encourages other businesses and organizations to consider hiring a veteran. They not only bring skills learned during their time in service; they bring with them integrity and leadership skills needed in a wide variety of positions in any organization.