TAMKO Celebrates 75 Years in the Roofing Industry

TAMKO Building Products LLC is celebrating 75 years in business with a historic anniversary and employee events, including a picnic at its Downtown Operations facility in Joplin, Missouri. 

On September 5, 1944, TAMKO was officially born when founders E.L. and Mary Ethel Craig named their new roofing company “TAMKO” as an acronym of the first letters of the states they believed would be their sales territory — Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. 

Over the next 75 years, TAMKO grew from one small location in an old streetcar barn in southwest Missouri to one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of roofing with more than 20 facilities across the United States, a host of building products and nationwide distribution. The company expanded into a variety of building products, including new styles of 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.”

According to the company, the TAMKO story is one of perseverance, entrepreneurialism and the American dream. Founder E.L. Craig was a self-made man who started working at age 12 and went on to start a series of successful businesses. He was 69 years old when he started his final business venture — a small roofing manufacturer in Joplin, Missouri that his wife named TAMKO. 

Craig was a deeply-principled man and TAMKO continues to be guided by those same core values, under the leadership of the third generation of its founding family. TAMKO is privately owned and operated and has a commitment to “stay in business for the long-haul” as late TAMKO President J.P. Humphreys often said.

According to the company, J.P. was the one who introduced TAMKO to the principles of Continuous Improvement and the work of famed statistician Dr. W. Edwards Deming in 1981, a defining moment for the company, driving much of TAMKO’s progress since then in vertical integration, product development and manufacturing processes. 

TAMKO Chairman Ethelmae Humphreys, 92, daughter of the company’s founders and a TAMKO employee for more than 70 years, graciously led the company in a variety of leadership positions, acting as a steadying influence during times of transition. J.P. and Ethelmae’s eldest son, David Craig Humphreys, has led the company as President and CEO since 1994, expanding both the company’s geographic and product footprint since then.

“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.” 

“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 www.TAMKO.com.

Why Do I Need a Marketing Plan?

As marketing professionals who have worked in the roofing industry for more years than we like to admit, we are very aware of the challenge that contractors have in developing and implementing successful marketing programs. With the flurry of lead generation companies popping up seemingly every day, and the SEO companies who promise first page of Google results, how can you decide what to spend money on and how do you know what will work? 

It’s very tempting to fall victim to “spray and pray” marketing, where you throw some money to a bunch of different things, spray some marketing ads or mailers out there and pray that it works and the phone rings. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Success comes from having a plan in place that supports your business goals and provides consistent activities and messaging. 

We know that marketing for roofing contractors can be confusing, frustrating and elusive. Most roofing contractors are craftsmen and women who have started businesses by understanding and excelling at roofing, waterproofing and building envelope technology. They are not marketing professionals, so it is hard to change gears and figure out how to sell or promote their services while also running operations, estimating, sales and the business overall. A good marketing plan helps drive marketing without having to worry all the time.

Taking the time up front to strategize and plan on how to market your business successfully enables you to move on to other challenges of the day, week or month. A good plan can be the template for what needs to happen daily, weekly and monthly to keep marketing on task. It also eliminates daily questions or sales calls for additional marketing initiatives. By creating and sticking to a yearly plan, you are simplifying the day-to-day decisions that can stymie progress.

Fewer approvals and more action reduce the stress put on decision makers and puts the action into the hands of the marketing professionals. Whether it is a person in the office, an agency or a marketing coordinator implementing the marketing plan, by being prepared ahead of time you will reduce the stress of making reactive decisions or, worse, doing nothing due to lack of time and/or planning.

A good marketing plan will also save you money. Without a plan it is easy to say yes to that advertising salesperson from the local media or free coupon website; or that great new advertising concept for ad words or events that is purchased mid-year without planning or research. It can cost the company in lost time, low productivity and extra expense when you do not budget in advance. When you formulate a plan and establish a budget, you can still move money around if necessary, but there is a set allocation to work within.

Timing is important. Look at starting your yearly marketing plan in the fall if possible. It should be a planned exercise to review the past year and look at the upcoming year. Reviewing statistics, campaigns and lead/close ratio is important before starting on the tactical plans for advertising, PR and direct marketing. By organizing budgeting meetings or even off-site working retreats with your leadership team (ideally comprised of leadership from sales, operations, accounting and marketing), you can take the time to review past performance while setting new goals that reflect growth. By being conscious of past performance, you will set the stage for developing strong marketing programs for the next year.

Establish Your Goals

In fact, you should not even start looking at a marketing plan until you have your goals set. What are the company’s plans for growth next year? Will there be new services or products? Will there be any changes in overall company mission? Marketing supports the goals of the company and supports the sales team in attaining the revenue and profitability goals that make a company successful. If you do not have strong goals and plans, then marketing will most likely flounder.

Regarding sales, it is critical that marketing works hand-in-hand with sales. The marketing plan needs to reflect the goals of the sales team so that the marketing activities are nurturing and delivering the right types of leads for sales success. If the goal is to grow metal roofing but marketing is delivering asphalt shingle leads that are not upgradable, both teams will fail. 

By understanding the types of customers the sales team is looking for and the products and services they will be selling, a marketing plan can be created that will result in success for all departments as well as for the company.

By creating a marketing plan for your roofing business, you are taking the time to determine the ideal customer for your business and how you will attract, convert, close and delight that customer. A good marketing plan that is well thought out will address every stage of the sales and marketing process and detail how you will retain the attention of past customers while also gaining ongoing referrals.

So, let’s get back to that original question: how will you know where you should be spending your marketing dollars? Well, it depends. That’s the reason developing your marketing plan is so important. During the process you will have identified your goals and ideal customers. If your business goal is to focus on commercial roof restorations, then you want to invest dollars where your customers can be reached. You might consider joining your local chapter of a building owner or facility manager’s group, or implement an advertising program on LinkedIn that targets specific job titles in your area. 

On the other hand, if your business goal is to focus on residential roof replacements, you might consider a digital advertising program that is geofenced to target neighborhoods with homes that are 20 years or older and will soon need a new roof. The strategies that you use to reach your customers really depend on what you have determined in your marketing plan.

Your marketing plan serves as a guide for your business. It spells out your company’s positioning statement, the markets you will serve, your yearly goals, your brand promise, the tasks and timelines as well as the tools and technology needed to achieve your goals. It will also help you determine budget and resources needed to implement the tasks, campaigns and initiatives detailed in the plan. 

About the authors: Heidi J. Ellsworth and Karen L. Edwards specialize in the roofing industry, helping contractors, manufacturers and associations achieve their marketing, branding and sales goals. They have authored two books: “Sales and Marketing for Roofing Contractors” and “Building a Marketing Plan for Roofing Contractors.” Both are available in the NRCA Bookstore and on Amazon. 

FlashCo Manufacturing Inc. Hires Green as Territory Sales Manager

FlashCo Manufacturing Inc. has hired Matt Green as territory sales manager for their Southeast Region. Matt brings to FlashCo over nine years of experience in sales and business development in the roofing industry. Matt will be responsible for managing the growth and expansion of the Southeast market for FlashCo.

Matt joins FlashCo with experience in all areas of the roofing industry having worked for a roofing contractor, a roofing materials manufacturer and with a roofing supplies distributor. Matt brings hands-on experience in roofing as well as experience in sales, territory management and relationship building. Most recently, Matt was territory sales representative for Dealer’s Choice Distribution, a division of Beacon Roofing Supply, in Atlanta. Matt earned a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness from the University of Georgia.

“We are excited to have Matt on board in our Southeast Region,” says Bill Bartell, FlashCo director of sales. “Matt has a background in all aspects of the business working for a manufacturer, distributor and a roofing contractor. His skill set and experience will be an asset as we continue to expand the FlashCo brand in this market.”

“I’m really excited to be part of the FlashCo team,” says Matt. “This is an opportunity to spread the FlashCo products throughout the region, especially the single-ply line. Having worked in all aspects of the business, I know how FlashCo can add value and deliver on the brand promise of speed for both the distributors and roofing contractors.”

All in the Family

Chris King

Chris King

As I attended the 2017 International Roofing Expo with the team at Roofing, I thought back to my first roofing trade show. I had covered plumbing and HVAC for six years, but I had just joined a roofing publication and was looking to make a good first impression. Just a few minutes into my time on the trade show floor, I found myself talking with a group that included an NRCA executive officer, a regional sales director for a national distributor, and a marketing manager with a major manufacturer. After I introduced myself, they asked if I had any experience covering roofing, and I was forced to admit that I was new to the industry.

They could not have been more helpful. They all welcomed me warmly, asked about my previous experience, and told me how they entered the field. They all gave me their business cards and told me to feel free to call them any time if I had any questions.

As the conversation began to break up, the distributor shook my hand. “Welcome to the roofing industry,” he said. “You see, people enter the roofing industry, but they never leave it. There’s something about it that keeps people hanging around. It’s like a family. You might see someone with a different color shirt at a different booth at the next trade show. People might move around, but they almost never leave the roofing industry—and when they do, they usually come back.”

The roofing industry is amazingly close-knit, and it has been an honor to be a small part of it for the past 12 years. It has been inspiring to share stories about people, companies, products and services that have improved the lives of families and building owners. It has been a pleasure to document the improvements in an industry that continues to raise the bar on professionalism and safety.

It’s rare in the business world to encounter genuine feel-good stories, but they are easy to find in the roofing industry. How about products that are better for the environment, provide a better value to the building owner, and a bigger profit margin for the installing contractor—a true win-win. In this issue, we share the story of a manufacturer and contractors who teamed up to help people in need and profile a contractor who makes philanthropic work the cornerstone of his company’s mission.

When I was in college, I had no idea about the world of business-to-business publishing. I thought journalists just covered politics or sports. At that time, I never dreamed I’d cover the construction industry for 18 years, and that I’d hope to cover it for many more. As the reputations of politicians and athletes have declined over the last couple of decades, the reputation of roofing contractors has been elevated, one roof at a time. There is something so elemental, so important in the concept of the roof—what is the goal of working, after all, but to “put a roof over your head.”

I know what an excellent job my predecessor, Christina Koch, has done here because I watched her do it. I’ll do my best to live up to her expectations. After all, she’s still in the family as editor in chief of retrofit. Like me, she’ll just be wearing a different color shirt.

Life Choices

I have a younger brother who makes choices I don’t always understand. I’m quite a bit older than he is, so I like to share my experiences in the hopes of guiding him toward more productive options. Meanwhile, I wondered why my parents weren’t doing more to steer their youngest child and, in a moment of exasperation, I asked them. My mom responded that she and my dad believe we need to figure our lives out on our own. If we ask for help, they are willing to give it but they don’t want to micromanage our lives and decisions.

I started thinking about what she said in relation to my own life choices. I remember when I decided to double major in English and history in college, my dad asked: “What are you going to do with that? Teach?” I said: “No. I’m going to write.” I knew, based on the look on his face, he was certain I’d never find gainful employment but he never said another word about it—not even on graduation day when I didn’t have a job or a place to live.

It was the roofing industry that gave me my first opportunity. After applying for a job I found online, I moved from my home state of Iowa to the Chicago suburbs to begin writing for Professional Roofing magazine in late 2000. Writing about roofing wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I dreamt of my career but, here I am, almost 17 years later and couldn’t be more grateful to this industry for all it has given me.

Unfortunately, at this point in my career, I’m faced with another life choice. Those of you who have worked directly with me probably have noticed I rarely return phone calls or emails the same week, much less the same day! During the past five years, I’ve not only edited Roofing but also have been editing retrofit, a nationally circulated trade publication that focuses on the renovation of existing commercial, industrial and institutional buildings. Within the past year, both magazines have grown so much (a fantastic problem) that I’ve been having trouble keeping up.

To make matters worse, I never have time to think through new ideas or accomplish the aspirations on my list that I know would make the magazines better. I suddenly realized I was doing a disservice to these magazines and to you, the readers. (Not to mention, having recently gotten married, I’m trying to establish a better work-life balance than I had while I was building my career.)

Therefore, this is my last issue as editor in chief of Roofing. I’m thrilled my successor is Christopher K. King, a well-known writer in this industry who previously served as editor of Roofing Contractor magazine and has been writing articles for Roofing since 2015. (Read his “Special Report”, page 58, about how a community came together at the prompting of a roofing contractor to help a deserving couple restore their home.) I know Chris will do an excellent job taking Roofing to the next level and giving it the undivided attention it deserves.

Again, I’m so thankful for the opportunities the roofing industry has given me. Consequently, I’ve decided to dedicate my final issue to the wonderful people and initiatives that make this industry so special. Enjoy!

International Roofing Expo Is Seeking Presentation Proposals

The 2018 International Roofing Expo [IRE] is seeking researchers, educators, consultants, technical experts and industry leaders to share their knowledge and business expertise as presenters for the educational conference program.
 
Taking place Feb. 6-8, 2018, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, the educational program conference presents trends in the roofing industry designed to help attendees increase their bottom line and expand their technical knowledge. 
 
Seeking expert speakers with proven presentation skills and in-depth knowledge, sessions are 90 minutes in length and should contain information that can be immediately implemented in the workplace.  
 
“We are looking for presentations across a variety of roofing topics to fill the three-day program,” says Brandi McElhaney, senior conference manager. “We encourage industry experts to submit a proposal that offers material on relevant topics and issues facing roofing professionals today.”
 
Topic submissions should focus on applications-oriented, real world, problem-solving topics and be free of promotional materials to sell a product or service. 
 
The multi-track educational program includes technical and workplace safety classes, as well as business-related sessions including leadership/management, green building, legal/HR, money matters, sales/service and general business.  
 
The primary audience of the educational conference program includes commercial and residential roofing contractors, architects, designers, consultants, building owners, facility managers, manufacturers, suppliers, owners, CEOs, general managers, sales professionals, estimators, superintendents and foremen. 
 
“The IRE is an opportunity for experts from the roofing industry to share their knowledge of roofing industry trends with fellow roofing professionals,” says Reid Ribble, CEO of NRCA, the show’s official sponsor. “NRCA members and other roofing industry experts are urged to take advantage of this opportunity and submit their proposals as soon as possible.”
 
The deadline for submitting Call for Presentations proposals is April 3, 2017. Session proposals should be submitted via the automated submission form. Questions should be directed to Brandi McElhaney, senior conference manager, at Brandi.McElhaney@informa.com or (972) 536-6392.
 

Reid Ribble Succeeds Bill Good as NRCA CEO

Former NRCA member and chairman of the board, Reid Ribble, is serving as NRCA CEO.

Former NRCA member and chairman of the board, Reid Ribble, is serving as NRCA CEO.

Bill Good retired from NRCA Dec. 31, 2016, after 28 years as the organization’s CEO and 41 years of service. Former NRCA member and chairman of the board Reid Ribble officially succeeded Good as CEO Jan. 3.

A roofing contractor by trade, Ribble joined Kaukauna, Wis.-based The Ribble Group Inc., a family business, in 1975 and became company president in 1980. Ribble served as NRCA chairman of the board from 2005-06 and NRCA’s senior vice chairman from 2004-05. He also was president of The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress’ Board of Trustees from 2008-10. Ribble also has served as a member or chairman of several NRCA committees.

In 2010, Ribble was elected to the U.S. Congress serving Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District and was re-elected twice. Ribble earned the reputation of being honest and able to work with representatives from both sides of the aisle.

“I am looking forward to service and representing those who set the standard for professionalism in the roofing industry and working with NRCA’s staff on initiatives that will help add even more to that value,” Ribble says.

Good will remain with NRCA in a part-time capacity during a five month transition period. He officially will retire May 31.

National Roofing Contractors Association CEO Releases 2016 Elections Statement

William Good, CEO, National Roofing Contractors Association, has released a statement about the 2016 elections.

We are pleased a majority of candidates supported by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and ROOFPAC, our political action committee, prevailed in the 2016 elections. We congratulate President-elect Donald Trump and all winning candidates on their victories and look forward to working with the incoming Trump administration and new and returning lawmakers to advance NRCA’s policy agenda. This includes pro-growth tax policies, relief from some regulations, legislation that addresses the workforce needs of our industry, and replacement of the Affordable Care Act with market-based reforms to our health care system.

ROOFPAC, the voice of the roofing industry in Washington, D.C., actively supported pro-growth candidates in the elections. ROOFPAC invested more than $340,000 in support of 67 candidates during the 2015-16 election cycle and achieved a winning percentage of nearly 90 percent of candidates supported.

NRCA and ROOFPAC will continue to support members of Congress and other candidates who support government policies that enable roofing industry entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses.

NRCA Releases 2015-16 Market Survey

NRCA has released its 2015-16 market survey, providing information about overall sales-volume trends in the roofing industry, roofing experiences, material usage and regional breakdowns. It is an important tool to measure the scope of the U.S. roofing industry, and the data provides a glimpse into which roof systems are trending in the low- and steep-slope roofing markets.

This year’s survey reports sales volumes for 2015 and 2016 projections averaged between $8 million and almost $9 million, respectively, and revealed a near-steady ratio of low- to steep-slope sales of 74 percent to 26 percent.

For low-slope roofs, TPO remains the market leader with a 40 percent share of the new construction market and 30 percent of the reroofing market for 2015. Asphalt shingles continue to dominate the steep-slope roofing market with a 47 percent market share for new construction and a 59 percent share for reroofing.

Polyisocyanurate insulation continues to lead its sector of the market with 80 percent of new construction and 73 percent of reroofing work. In addition, roof cover board installation for 2015 was reported as 22 percent in new construction, 42 percent in reroofing tear-offs and 36 percent in re-cover projects.

NRCA’s market survey enables roofing contractors to compare their material usage with contractors in other regions and provides manufacturers and distributors with data to analyze, which can affect future business decisions.

NRCA members may download a free electronic copy of the 2016 survey.

How to Deal With Winter Downtime

You worked hard all summer and made a lot of money. But now summer is over and winter is quickly approaching. With winter comes downtime.

When you’re young, temporary lay-offs can be fun: Parties, travel, music and sporting events make layoffs easier to handle. When you’re older, with bills to pay and mouths to feed, layoffs can be very worrisome. There are a few basic steps you can take to help deal with temporary layoffs.

If you’ve been laid off, you should file for unemployment insurance as soon as possible. The sooner you file, the sooner you can be deemed eligible and the sooner you can start receiving funds. The unemployment agency will verify with your employer the reason for you losing your job.

If you are not happy in the roofing industry you might be interested in retraining, not only to learn new job skills but also to keep your mind sharp. Consider the following:

  • Take some community college courses. Community colleges are relatively inexpensive and offer a wide variety of courses to improve work skills while earning valuable college credits that may lead to a possible degree.
  • Visit your local unemployment office. It will have lists of apprenticeship and training opportunities that can lead to a more secure position.
  • Select courses at a location vocational/technical school. These schools offer a wide variety of hands-on training at reasonable costs.
  • Purchase books or software to use on your own. There are many free and reasonably priced online training and education classes available.

See “Training Resources” below for some additional ideas.

If you love roofing and want to remain in the trade, there are steps you can take to keep your head above water—financially speaking.

John M. Grohol, Psy.D., writes in “7 Ways to Cope with a Layoff” that you need to take a realistic look at your finances and budget. Do not put this off longer than a week after you are laid off. Although we may not enjoy dealing with our finances, failure to do so could result in a far worse situation down the road (which always arrives sooner than you think). Dr. Grohol suggests: “Be creative in analyzing your budget for places to cut.” Most of us assume we need things like digital television and unlimited mobile calling plans. But most of us don’t. He adds, “Now’s the time to put aside your wants temporarily and focus exclusively on your and your family’s needs.”

Your savings, rainy-day fund and even your 401(k) may offer you some temporary financial relief. Borrowing from your 401(k), for instance, is usually less expensive than adding to your credit-card debt because you are paying back the loan with interest to yourself (not a credit card company). However, borrowing from your 401(k) and other retirement accounts is usually recommended only as a last resort.

Take care of your insurance. We often don’t think about insurance until we’re faced with a layoff and find out just how expensive insurance really is. Your employer will likely offer you COBRA, which allows you to continue your employer’s health benefits with one catch: You now have to pay what your employer was paying for your benefits. Be prepared for sticker shock. Most people are amazed that a family of four’s health insurance on COBRA might be as high as $1,000 or even $1,500 a month; for a single person or couple, it can be anywhere from $500 to $800 per month. When paying bills is already going to be a challenge, COBRA might be out of reach.

Shop around. With the Affordable Care Act, there are a lot more health-insurance plans available at a wide range of costs. You may find other health insurance coverage for your family that is less expensive and won’t cut your benefits in any significant way. Weigh the costs with what you can afford. For example, you may have to pay a higher deductible for inpatient hospital stays to achieve a lower monthly premium.

If you want or need to keep working, hit the classifieds. Nearly all classified sections now are online, so searching through them is far easier than it was 10 years ago. Although it might seem like nobody is hiring (and in the construction profession, that may very well be true), you should keep an eye out anyway. Jobs sometimes become available as people retire or a company’s focus changes. Extend your search somewhat outside your trade, as well, just to see what else might be available. Check out your “dream job”, too. Some people use a layoff as an opening for a new opportunity.

Use the unemployment resources available to you, whether through your ex-employer or through your local government. Libraries, too, often offer a great set of employment and career resources (such as résumé writing services). Don’t be afraid to network. Make your situation known, build connections and, soon, unemployment will be a thing of the past!

Training Resources

The following are examples of free or low-cost training opportunities you may want to consider when you are laid off:
Free
College courses from American Standard University
Solar training in New Jersey from Information & Technology Management
Your state may offer free training, like New York

Low Cost
Penn Foster Career School

More Ideas
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration provides information and services to assist workers who have been or will be laid off.

Search for apprenticeships and youth education/training programs, like one in New York.

Interested in the safety profession? Check out Free-Training.com/osha/soshamenu.htm and Free-Training.com.