Founded in 1944, TAMKO Building Products, Inc. has provided building products for the professional for more than 70 years. The company, which started out as a small shingle manufacturer in a streetcar barn in Joplin, Missouri, has grown into one of the largest privately-owned manufacturers of building products in the United States. Today, TAMKO has manufacturing plants and offices located across the country, with a product line that has expanded to include commercial and residential roofing products, composite decking and railings, waterproofing, and cements and coatings. Read on to learn about TAMKO’s leadership, which has made the company what it is today.

E.L. Craig founded TAMKO in 1944 in an old streetcar barn on High Street in Joplin, Missouri. The company began production with a single shingle line. When it was founded, TAMKO employed 35 people but was already planning to employ up to 75 people. By 1946, the company started to expand when E.L. purchased Joe Jones Refinery to produce asphalt for the High Street plant.  That location quickly expanded into a felt mill to produce the other major raw material used in shingles at the time.

E.L.’s wife, Mary Ethel Craig, is responsible for naming the company TAMKO. The name came from the first letters of the five states the couple anticipated as the company’s sales territory— Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. In 1954, Mary Ethel assumed the leadership of TAMKO due to E.L’s health. The couple’s daughter, Ethelmae, led TAMKO’s operations in the 1950s and continues today as the company’s chairman.

In 1960, Ethelmae’s husband, Jay Humphreys, became president of TAMKO and led the company for the next 33 years. Under his leadership, TAMKO added manufacturing plants in Phillipsburg, Kansas; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Knoxville, Tennessee; Frederick, Maryland; and Dallas, Texas, as well as expanding its product line.

After Jay’s death in 1993, David Humphreys, Jay and Ethelmae’s oldest son, was named President and CEO of TAMKO. Under David’s leadership, TAMKO continues to grow at a rapid pace and expand its production capabilities for additional products.

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TAMKO Building Products, a Joplin-based privately-owned manufacturer of roofing and building products, recently sponsored the American Red Cross “Everyday Heroes” luncheon, which honored people in the Joplin, Missouri community who went above and beyond to make the community a better place. This year’s award recipients were all inspirational. They ranged from a group of former foster kids who provide care packages for children entering foster care, to a group of police officers who replaced a 5-year-old’s bicycle after it was destroyed by a suspect fleeing police.

In total, five awards were distributed to Joplin’s Everyday Heroes. As the keynote speaker, TAMKO Executive Vice President Tim Whelan recognized these individuals for their selfless and heroic behavior.

“One of the traits I think heroes hold that sets them apart, and that challenges and inspires us, is selflessness,” Whelan said. “Heroes are selfless. They focus on others and not on themselves. These stories inspire us.”

This year’s Everyday Heroes included:

  • Mason Hymer, Mackenzie Hymer, Abbey Goebel, and Mati Goebel, former foster kids who created Bundles of Hope, a nonprofit that has collected and distributed 1,500 new-home kits to kids entering the foster care system. The kits include blankets, stuffed animals, pajamas, toiletries, and other items to help them and their foster parents. The bundles also include a note of encouragement to help kids adjust and feel more comfortable.
  • Jim Whitney, a Joplin High School coach, who accepted the award on behalf of his students, who wanted to remain anonymous. His students founded an organization called “Doulos” in 2008, which provides students with basic needs, such as clothing, coats, and shoes.
  • Becky Graves, who created the Baby and Infant Loss Support Group and the 5K “Kiss Me Goodnight” Twilight Run to support families who suffered the loss of a baby.
  • A team of Joplin Police Department officers who replaced a bicycle for a 5-year-old boy whose bike, a Christmas gift the previous day, was destroyed when it was run over by a fleeing suspect.
  • Joplin Police Department detectives Adam and Amy New, who rescued two sisters, ages 3 and 5, from a pond near their home on December 22.