JOPLIN, Mo. – December 22, 2014 – Several people are familiar with how TAMKO Building Products got its start, but Jeff Rodengen believes the world deserves to know. As a History Channel historian, Rodengen has undertaken the task of writing the history of TAMKO celebration of its 70th anniversary this year.
Rodengen covers nearly a century’s worth of information, which has taken a great deal of investigating to prepare. He began with an intense series interviews with over 60 retired and current employees, ranging from new hires to company leadership. Each of these stories can be found in the book. Rodengen informs his readers that the TAMKO story is one centered on families, and not just the founding family.
“It will be a comprehensive history that starts before the founding of this company by E.L. Craig in 1944,” Rodengen said. “It will look at the family behind this company, the growth, the innovation and adaptation of the company, and the continuity of the culture that has put TAMKO in the top tier in its industry.”
One of the many employees who were interviewed was George Hosp Jr., whose father spent 41 years and grandfather spent 20 years happily employed by TAMKO. George himself has worked for 36 years at TAMKO, holding various positions in producing roofing and building products.
“If I can live three more years, we will have worked a combined 100 years at TAMKO,” Hosp said. “It’s a family business for a lot of folks.”
By the age of 61, Hosp has worked in many fields, including warehousing, sales and customer service. His current position is in the quality improvement department, where his primary task is to “managing intentional culture change” within the company.
“Culture change” will play a large role in the production of the book. In 1981, J.P. “Jay” Humphreys, president of TAMKO, was learned about the concepts of W. Edwards Deming’s “total quality” management. Deming helped to completely change the means in which industrial production was undertaken in Japan after World War II. His major belief was that improving quality had the power to reduce expenses while simultaneously increasing productivity and market share.
Humphreys found Deming’s concept of “continual process improvement” insightful, choosing to implement it throughout TAMKO. The Deming methodology remains as the foundation of all of TAMKO’s improvement efforts to this day.
Rodengen, who is no stranger to the history of business having written 149 books about industry and technology, said successful companies typically maintain certain similar qualities He said his research indicates that TAMKO has succeeded, in part, because of its concern for customer relations and its respect for its employees. He believes that the company has prospered because its primary focus has not been influenced by “blind ambition and greed. The companies that make a lot of money quick don’t make it.”
THE TAMKO ANNIVERSARY BOOK will be coming out in approximately six months. It will be a full color, hard cover book done in traditional coffee table style. There will also be an electronic version produced for iPads. Images found within the book will include photos, documents, and other historical items that have made an impact on TAMKO’s history. If you are a Joplin-area resident, you can help by providing stories about TAMKO and its employees, as well as items related to the company. These include photos, newspaper articles, documents, ads, telegrams, letters, signs and marketing materials for use in the book.
TAMKO® Building Products, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest independent manufacturers of residential and commercial roofing products (including Heritage® Asphalt Shingles and MetalWorks® Steel Shingles), decking and railing products, waterproofing, cements, and coatings. Since 1944, TAMKO’s success is the direct result of teamwork and enduring relationships with customers, suppliers and employees. Privately owned, TAMKO is committed to producing top-quality products with excellent product support. For more information about TAMKO, visit our Web site at www.tamko.com.