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.


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