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TAMKO: Economic impact is $4B over 25 years

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A fourth-quarter 2018 self-funded economic study is predicting a bright future for Joplin-based TAMKO Building Products Inc. It comes as the roofing company has battled criticism of its products.

TAMKO Building Products is expected to generate $4 billion in economic activity over the next 25 years, according to a report compiled by a University of Missouri professor and his business partner.

Joe Haslag, an MU economics professor, and co-author John Holtmann analyzed the Missouri and Joplin area economies for the last 15 years and projected a generation in the future.

“We’re basically looking for something that looks like gross domestic product,” Haslag said.

Additionally, the study authors applied a negative factor: They didn’t assume the nearly 75-year-old company would make it to 100 years. When removing the business from the economic output analysis, the authors mapped out two 25-year trend lines and took the difference of the lines for their projection.

“We probably do things a bit differently than other economic impact guys,” said Haslag, who with Holtmann also is co-founder of Missouri Economic Consulting LLC.

The report estimates $3.2 billion would benefit the Joplin area alone.

“Based on our calculations, over a generation, TAMKO is responsible for adding more than $10 million in revenues to Newton and Jasper counties and adding over $100 million to state of Missouri general revenues,” Haslag said in a news release.

While the outlook on paper is strong for the shingle and roofing accessories company, TAMKO has dealt with obstacles recently over the life of their shingles and packaging contract terms.

Legal battles
In September 2018, TAMKO was involved in a Florida lawsuit over its Heritage 30 shingles and the contract terms for the product.

Two homeowners, Douglas Bohn and Stephen Dye, filed a putative class-action lawsuit against TAMKO after both noticed cracked shingles and loose asphalt granules a few years after they were installed. The shingles purchased came with a 30-year limited warranty.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of TAMKO on Nov. 2, saying their packaging conveyed a valid offer of contract terms, and unwrapping and retaining the shingles was an objectively reasonable mean of accepting that offer. The appeals court ruled since the roofers who installed the tiles were acting on behalf of the homeowners, the terms of the contract packaging were valid.

“TAMKO produces millions of shingles every year and, like shingles sold by every other manufacturer, not all of them are perfect,” TAMKO spokeswoman Kim Eckerman said via email. “But at least in TAMKO’s case, that is a very small fraction of the shingles we sell.”

In another case, TAMKO filed a suit against one of its suppliers for contamination of a shingle component.

TAMKO sought $75,000 for losses due to an alleged contamination of 69,000 units of shingles by Oklahoma based-McCabe Industrial Minerals Inc., causing injury to the shingles and rendered them unsuitable for sale, according to the complaint filed by TAMKO in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri on May 7, 2018.

The complaint goes on to say over a four-day period in May, McCabe Industrial allegedly delivered to TAMKO’s Weir, Kansas, facility contaminated coal slag, which was incorporated into the shingles. Coal slag is a byproduct of the coal burning process used to manufacture shingles.

When raw coal was flushed through the coal slag storage pits, it became contaminated for shingle manufacturing, according to court documents.

McCabe receives its coal from two power plants, KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Co. in Sibley and Empire Electric Co. in Ashbury.

In March 2016, the lawsuit claims, the Empire Electric Ashbury plant shut down for about a month and a half, during which time the contamination occurred.

Both TAMKO and McCabe agreed to a joint stipulation for dismissal, which was filed Dec. 21, 2018.

Responding to other legal action taken against the company, Eckerman said via email in one lawsuit, a roof was damaged by power washing. She also said another case with four plaintiffs was dismissed without a trial “because it was clear they had no merit.”

Local impact
The commercial and residential roofing and building materials company is slated to hit 75 years in operation on Sept. 5.

The roofing company will pay approximately $113 million in state tax revenue and $11 million in local tax revenue this year, said David Humphreys, president and CEO of TAMKO, via email.

“I think most of us who live in Joplin know TAMKO has a large impact on the Joplin economy itself but didn’t realize how large it was until we read the study,” said Troy Bolander, Joplin’s planning and community development manager. “We’re very fortunate to have TAMKO headquarters located here.”

TAMKO employs nearly 600 in the Joplin area at its four manufacturing plants, its engineering division and headquarters, Humphreys said via email.

According to the economic impact report, TAMKO has added 200 jobs since 2010.

“The 200 new, high-paying jobs created since 2010 include various roles such as Six Sigma leadership, production, engineering, accounting, logistics, sales, high-level manufacturing and information technology jobs,” Humphreys said via email.

The average salary of its employees is $65,000, according to the report. Humphreys said the company has had 4.35 percent average annual employment growth since its inception.

“Probably one of the biggest things not mentioned, nowadays it’s commonplace for larger companies to ask for local tax abatements or other financial incentives from local communities,” Bolander said. “TAMKO has never made that request or received any public assistance from the city of Joplin. Through both good and bad market conditions, they’ve created their own success without asking for or receiving any public assistance.

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