JOPLIN, Mo. — More than seven decades ago, E.L. Craig began working at the age of 12 and went on to start a series of businesses. In 1944, he started his final business venture – a small roofing manufacturer named TAMKO.

Over the next 75 years, TAMKO Building Products grew from one small location to one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of roofing and building products, and as of this month, officially celebrated 75 years in business.

The TAMKO name is an acronym Craig’s wife, Mary Ethel, came up with for the company. Each letter represents the states that the Craigs thought would be their sales territory — Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Today, the company has more than 20 facilities across the U.S., providing products like asphalt shingles, steel shingles, roofing underlayments, waterproofing products and cements and coatings.

“We will continue to adapt the world to ourselves — as change is inevitable — but how we adapt; how we evolve; who we hire to join our team: all of these will determine our future,” said David Humphreys, TAMKO president and CEO at an anniversary gathering. “Things will change; we will make strategic choices; and, as we celebrate 75 years, we will be focused on positioning TAMKO for even faster growth and greater success.”

As part of its celebration, TAMKO held employee events, including a picnic at its Joplin Downtown Operations facility. The city is where TAMKO originally began when Craig founded the business at the age of 69. TAMKO continues to remain privately owned and operated and has a commitment to “stay in business for the long haul” as late TAMKO President J.P. Humphreys was known to say.

TAMKO Chairman Ethelmae Humphreys, 92, daughter of the company’s founders and a TAMKO employee for 70 years, led the company in a variety of leadership positions.

“Over time, we’ve seen great business growth and we’ve built upon our character without sacrificing who we are,” Ethelmae said. “It’s special for me to think about TAMKO – a company initiated by my father, named by my mother and run by my husband and children. J.P. and Ethelmae’s eldest son, David Humphreys, has led the company as president and CEO since 1994.

“However, we never would’ve made it without our people,” she continued. “For 75 years, TAMKO expected hard work, honesty and integrity from its employees, and just as my father did from day one, our employees have demonstrated a work ethic and level of dedication that no one ever had to ask for.”

For more information, visit