TAMKO’s Jay Humphreys: A Natural Salesman

Jay Humphreys, former President of TAMKO Building Products, Inc., led the company for 33 years. Before assuming leadership of TAMKO, Jay worked as a salesman for National Cash Register, selling accounting machines.

First, Jay worked for the company in Wichita, Kansas, then in Jefferson City, Missouri. Though he was doing well for himself there, he transferred to Joplin, Missouri when he met his wife Ethelmae. In doing so, he gave up the sizeable commission he earned for selling to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Jefferson City.

Jay then went on to become TAMKO’s President after the passing of TAMKO’s founder and Ethelmae’s father, E.L. Craig. While Jay didn’t have experience in the roofing business, his skill and expertise as a salesman helped him succeed in this new role.

Jay’s sales experience was immediately reflected in how TAMKO’s sales staff operated. Once he became President, Jay gave TAMKO’s salesmen the authority to decide product prices on the spot to close a sale. He also organized the company’s sales regions into territories and hired experienced sales managers from other roofing manufacturers. He moved all sales jobs from commission-based to salaried positions.

“He was a good salesman but more of a marketer than a salesman,” said Leland Brown, TAMKO’s former Executive Vice President and a longtime friend of Jay. “Strategic planning and marketing. That was his area of incomparable strength. The planning of where we wanted to go and how we were going to get there, that was Jay.”