GALENA, Kan. — TAMKO Building Products is proud to announce the recent retirements of longtime leaders and Continuous Improvement advocates Tim Whelan and Mike Carder in celebration of the anniversary of NBC’s historic and iconic White Paper television special, “If Japan Can, Why Can’t We?” The television special, which aired on June 24, 1980, captured the attention of longtime TAMKO President J.P. Humphreys and served as TAMKO’s official introduction to W. Edwards Deming and his Total Quality Management principles that inspired a decades-long, on-going commitment to Continuous Improvement at TAMKO.
Carder was among the first employees recruited by Humphreys to spearhead the effort in the early 1980s, an effort that became a lifelong passion throughout Carder’s more than 40-year TAMKO career. Whelan led the effort to build the next phase of Continuous Improvement at TAMKO by championing the implementation of Six Sigma methodology at TAMKO. The strategies identified in Deming’s methodology have become the standard for TAMKO’s culture of Continuous Improvement and a focus on quality that continues today, manifested now in TAMKO’s extensive Six Sigma program.
Carder was a second-generation TAMKO employee, whose father, Odes, was a longtime TAMKO plant manager and manufacturing executive. He spent summers working at the manufacturing plants, before finally joining TAMKO in 1980 as a personnel trainee and earning successive promotions working as a personnel manager for TAMKO’s Joplin, Mo. trucking fleet and Joplin’s High Street and Rangeline manufacturing facilities; training associate; corporate director of training; senior training associate; and his position at retirement as talent development manager. He was one of TAMKO’s first employees commissioned with learning the Deming methodology and eventually developed a training program for company-wide implementation and even traveled to meet members of the Deming family. Carder retired in March 2021 with more than 40 years at TAMKO. His son, Kyle, continues at TAMKO today as a third-generation employee working with TAMKO’s sales team.
“Mike’s retirement reflects a generational transition for the Carder family, for TAMKO, and for the Humphreys family,” said TAMKO Chairman and CEO David Humphreys. “We became good friends during our summer handloading shingles and rolls at TAMKO’s High Street dock. That kind of shared experience lifting tons of bundles daily not only tested our physical limitations but also built a solid work ethic and camaraderie. I will miss Mike’s always positive outlook on life, his wisdom, and the role he played for many at TAMKO as a patient listener, confidante, and friend.”
Whelan began his career at TAMKO in February 1992 as assistant general counsel, earning successive promotions over the years and eventually taking on his final role of executive vice president in 2002. He was essential to taking TAMKO’s focus on Continuous Improvement to the next level with the introduction of Six Sigma, a robust program dedicated to driving out variation. Whelan retired with nearly 29 years at the company but continues to serve TAMKO as a member of its Board of Directors.
“Tim’s roles as a leader, innovator, and wise counselor have led to transformational results across all TAMKO with his outstanding leadership of multiple cross-functional areas of the company over the years,” said Humphreys. “His leadership and championing of new programs like Six Sigma, the Innovation team, Engineering & Construction, and his reinforcement and development of TAMKO’s culture have enabled TAMKO to make significant breakthroughs that have enhanced and sustained the company’s success.”
Executive Leadership Succession
Whelan is succeeded by Rob Keeling, vice president of operations and supply chain. His responsibilities include executive leadership for multiple departments at TAMKO, including Six Sigma.
Keeling joined TAMKO in 2002 as a Six Sigma black belt, and has earned several promotions including general manager at a TAMKO manufacturing facility; Six Sigma leadership positions including master black belt, and senior master black belt; as well as various senior leadership positions for procurement, logistics, and supply chain, and manufacturing support.
“Rob’s focus on process improvement, automation and team development over the past 18 years have led to tremendous improvements for TAMKO,” said Humphreys. “We’re looking forward to the added value his expertise will continue to bring to TAMKO.”