Malarkey Roofing of Portland, Ore., plants a factory in Oklahoma City News OK

Malarkey Roofing is setting up shop at the crossroads of Tornado Alley and Hail Trail.

The Portland, Ore. company is on schedule to open a shingle factory at 3400 S Council Road in June, 18 months and some $30 million of investment after acquiring a former can factory in December 2010.

A view of roofing materials warehoused at the new Malarkey Roofing Products plant, 3400 S Council Road.

Malarkey has been using the plant to distribute product made in Portland for months, as it retrofits the former Rexam Beverage/National Can site. The overhaul of the place, 22,000-square-foot expansion and heavy equipment are costing Malarkey 10 times the $3.3 million it paid for the 111,075-square-foot plant and 29 acres in two transactions.

It expects its return to come on the wind and to fall out of the sky — in dime-, nickel-, quarter- and dollar-size chunks of ice.

It’s family-owned Malarkey’s third factory, after founder Herbert Malarkey’s first venture in Portland in 1956 and a second plant opened in 2003 in South Gate, Calif. near Los Angeles.

The Portland factory distributes mainly across a swath of the country from there to Minneapolis. The Los Angeles factory distributes from there to west Texas. Malarkey’s Oklahoma City factory could soon outproduce and outdistribute them both in Oklahoma and surrounding states, said Jim Fagan, company president.

Malarkey saw silver linings in the dark clouds — and hail and wind damage — of Tornado Alley, he said, so decided to expand here.

“The primary reason is this particular market is probably one of the worst areas for damage to roofing products. We happen to make roofing products that we believe would be very successful in the marketplace because of our expertise in polymer mixing, hail damage, dealing with strong winds and so on. And it happens to be in a small area around Oklahoma City,” Fagan said.

Malarkey will employ 70 people by the end of the year as phase one of its plans here get fully under way, he said. The company is participating in the Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s Quality Jobs Program and could earn up to $1.9 million in benefits.

Workers have been busy installing the accumulator, coater, granule blender, press, cooler, looper, cutters, stacker, bundler, wrappers and pallet builders, limestone and sand solos, fume and dust controllers and collectors it takes to turn asphalt, limestone, sand and other materials into truckloads of shingles — some 2 million pounds of raw materials shipped in and a like amount of manufactured shingles shipped out, by both rail and truck, every day.

Malarkey Roofing Products has always been a family-oriented company and plans to continue that 56-year tradition in Oklahoma, said Gregory Malarkey, senior vice president.

“The company was founded by Herbert Malarkey, my grandfather. His son Michael is the chairman of the board. Michael has three boys working for the company, Scott, who is our chief engineer, who designed and built this plant; the second boy, Palmer, who is our engineer in our South Gate-Los Angeles plant; the other boy, James, who is a salesman in California; and I’ve got a son, James, who is working in our lab,” Gregory Malarkey said.

Fagan has two sons in the business, Jaron, working part-time in the main office as a college student, and Joshua, a salesman based in Lubbock, Texas. Richard Beals, vice president of sales, has a son, Ryan, in sales based in Albuquerque, N.M.

“I’m third generation in the family,” Gregory Malarkey said. “We’ve got the fourth-generation boys coming on up the line. We look at it as a family-based business, not just the Malarkey family but all the families we work with. We aim to have that same kind of thought process right here in Oklahoma.”

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