YOUNGSTOWN -- Rick Ware's favorite pastime is tinkering, and he has been able to turn what is a hobby for some people into a livelihood for himself.
As the owner of TruComfort, a heating and air-conditioning business, Ware can tinker by repairing and installing furnaces and air conditioners for his residential, commercial and light industrial customers all day, every day.
After his graduation from Springfield Local High School in 1974, Ware began working in the sheet-metal trade at Reliable Sources of Metal on Mahoning Avenue.
Encouragement: He attributes his career choice to his two supervisors at RSM.
"Bill Kessler and Ed Blazek were my mentors. In addition to sheet-metal work, they encouraged me to go to night school and take courses in furnace repair, industrial motor control and electrical," Ware said.
It took Ware three years to complete his training. With the new skills added to his r & eacute;sum & eacute;, he took a job with Aerotech, a local heating and air-conditioning contractor.
He stayed with Aerotech for about six years, then went on to work for some other contractors.
In 1998, he and his wife, Valerie, started TruComfort. They bought the old Youngstown Forge building and took over the customer base of Comfort Master, a Boardman heating and air-conditioning company that was going out of business.
Depending on the time of year, Ware has three or four people working with him.
"We are proud to be a union pipe-fitter organization," he said.
The company is an independent Lennox and Armstrong dealer.
"My company is only a few years old, but I have decades of experience," he said.
Enjoyment: Ware enjoys diagnosing problems.
"I like to take a piece of electrical equipment that doesn't work, look at the electrical diagram and figure out what's wrong," he said.
TruComfort has contracts with several retail chain stores.
"There's nothing like taking on a 50-ton roof unit, troubleshooting the problem and fixing it," he said.
As a child, Ware tried his parents' patience.
"I drove my parents crazy. I was always taking things apart and putting them back together. I just love fixing things. There is nothing I'd rather do," he said.