On June 23, 2016, TAMKO Building Products, Inc. held a retirement party to honor Tom King, who spent 43 years working at TAMKO. The retirement party was held at the Corporate Offices in Joplin, Missouri.
King’s tenure at TAMKO was longer than any current employee, with the exception of Chairman of the Board Ethelmae Craig Humphreys. During King’s career at TAMKO, he managed three TAMKO plants, served as Vice President of Manufacturing for nearly a decade, and served another decade as Senior Vice President of Best Practices, during which he was responsible for determining the best practices at each location and standardizing those practices throughout the company.
King was at the wheel for some of the company’s most notable periods of expansion, such as the additions of the Columbus, Kansas and Ennis, Texas plants, the installation of the four-wide laminator at the Frederick, Maryland plant and the strategic implementation of the company’s anti-tampering and automation projects.
“Tom King has been one of the most influential manufacturing minds in TAMKO’s history,” said TAMKO President and CEO David Humphreys. “His expertise and wisdom will be missed.”
When reminiscing about his time with TAMKO, King recalls a time when his career was almost cut short by a minor oversight. While working as an engineer at the High Street plant, King was responsible for expanding the plant’s parking lot. He developed a plan and got a local contractor to make room for the expansion by removing trees and an old log cabin from the property. Jay Humphreys, then TAMKO’s President and CEO, returned from lunch one day and made the contractor stop his work.
“Jay found me and asked, ‘What are you doing?!?’” King said. “I told him about the project and he said, ‘Well, that’s all well and good, but that’s not our property.’ I got out a magnifying glass and looked at the property map and sure enough, we were demolishing one of the neighbors’ property.”
More than 40 years later, King can’t help but laugh at the situation. In fact, it’s become one of his favorite memories about his time with TAMKO. The property was actually owned by a woman who lived in Kansas City, explained King. Jay Humphreys went to meet with her to explain the situation and made a deal to buy the land.
“In the end, he told me, ‘I probably need to thank you, Tom – I got that land for a good price,’” King said.