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Duluth contracting company celebrates 100 years

Jamar Company president Mike McParlan holds up a sheet of yellow paper that he called "banana paper" during the 100-year celebration held at the Jamar Company in West Duluth on Tuesday. He said that when he first started with the company he didn't like it. "I didn't have the courage to change it," McParlan said. "Now, it's much too important to our company to change." He said the yellow stationary is used for proposals and cover letters and distinguishes his company from its competitors. (Photo by Naomi...1 / 2
The Jamar Company 100-year celebration was held in the company's shop in West Duluth. (Naomi Yaeger photo)2 / 2

The Jamar Company celebrated 100 years since its founder Walker Jamar Sr. started the company. To celebrate, Jamar held a ribbon cutting event Tuesday morning at its company headquarters in West Duluth.

The company's president Mike McParlan credited Jamar's employees with the company's success. "If you want to find out what it takes to last a century, talk to our people. They're the ones who've made us who we are today -- built to last."

Jamar employs more than 500 people. With headquarters in Duluth, Minn., the company has locations in Green Bay, Wis., and Escanaba, Mich. Over the past 100 years, Jamar has evolved from its original focus as a pipe-covering firm to offering a number of specialty contractor trades and services for industrial and commercial customers.

"We are custodians of a rich, fun culture that has been around for the past 100 years, and we feel a responsibility to continue that as we go forward," McParlan said.

The event included a mayoral proclamation by Duluth Mayor Don Ness, a Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony led by Chamber President David Ross, and speeches from McParlan and company vice president Craig Fellman.

For the event, Jamar created a time capsule, to be opened in 25 years. The contents include a number of items, such as a list of current employees, video and photos of its centennial kickoff celebration in January, employee stories, and other items that speak to Jamar's history and culture over the last 100 years. The company will be adding to its contents throughout the year and sealing the capsule on December 31.

At the event, Ross made a special announcement regarding the annual Duluth Chamber dinner coming up in October. APi Group president Lee Anderson will be the featured speaker. APi Group is the parent company of Jamar.

"We are so delighted that Lee Anderson will be our keynote speaker," said Ross. "It will be a great opportunity for us to hear from this very strong dynamic leader."

To honor Jamar's contributions to the community, Enger Tower in Duluth was lit orange on Tuesday evening.