As WARE prepares to turn 70 this year, the company is celebrating more than just seven decades in the boiler business; it’s celebrating the enduring culture it has maintained since its first day in business. A culture that goes a lot deeper than its products and services; a culture that’s guided by more than just the balance sheet.
Back to the Beginning
The history of Ivan Ware and Son Inc. (dba WARE) is a story of hard work, dedication, and skill. It’s also a lesson in doing the right thing. The company is known for the degree of professionalism, proactivity, and dedication it brings to every interaction. That all comes from a set of core beliefs on which the company is based. Beliefs it’s held since Ivan Ware started repairing boilers back in 1952.
When the first opened his doors as Ware - Clark, Ivan Ware prided himself on treating people fairly and going the extra mile for every customer, every time. As a man of faith, he took great pride in doing everything he could to help his fellow man. From those simple, earnest, honest values has sprung an entire company culture that celebrates its attitude toward others as much as its own success.
“We aren’t in the service business,” said Ritchie Ware, current co-owner. “We’re in the servants business. Everyone here loves to take care of people. It’s just who we are. We hire people who share our values and try to live them every day.”
It’s not just talk, either. Every employee at WARE knows about the “Daily Seven.” They’re part creed, part mantra, and the heart of everything WARE does. They’re actually a pretty good guide to life, as well.
- Safety First and Always — Your safety, and the safety of our customers, is our highest priority.
- Be Responsive — Our motor has to match our customer’s demands. Don’t make people wait.
- Be Helpful — We all get better when we help each other out.
- Do it Right the First Time — Deliver a quality product the first time around, when it’s expected.
- Communicate — We need you to be an active and effective communicator to make things work.
- Own It — Be a person who takes responsibility and gets things done.
- Figure It Out — Take the initiative to fix it and show the grit to stay with it.
WARE has rented, installed, and maintained a lot of boilers over the years. As an emergency service company, they’ve also repaired a lot of boilers, sold a lot of parts, and performed countless equipment inspections. But the thing they’re most proud of building and maintaining is their attitude toward business and the beliefs behind it.
The Business Grows
Way back in 1952, the culture wasn’t as clearly defined or as widely celebrated as it is today. However, it was still the foundation for everything Ivan Ware did. Of course, it didn’t take long for people to recognize that he was a man of character and integrity, and soon his business began to grow. When the next generation took over the family business, Ivan Ware’s children, Richard Ware and Norma “Kit” Moore, moved the company from its original location on Lyndhurst to a new facility on Miller’s Lane. As the company’s success and reputation expanded further, another move to yet another facility on Produce Road was needed, which is now the current home of WARE’s boiler rental maintenance facility, and the WARE Valve Shop.
As the third generation begins to make its mark, the company’s growth has necessitated adding other locations as well. The corporate headquarters, located around the corner, houses 15,000 square feet of office space and 40,000 square feet of warehouse space to supply parts to customers in person and online. In fact, WARE’s growing e-commerce business currently offers more than 40,000 parts at its www.BoilerWAREhouse.com website. The facility also houses the service and sales departments and the corporate back office.
But it’s WARE’s third facility, built four years ago, that truly speaks to its commitment to growth and success. A few blocks away, you’ll find WARE Boiler University, known more colloquially as Boiler U. Started in 1993, Boiler U is an extension of WARE’s commitment to the boiler industry that goes beyond equipment, parts, and service. This is where the company provides the most valuable resource of all: knowledge.
Boiler U is a 12,000-square-foot training facility designed to improve the understanding of all things steam-related. It’s where current boiler operators, engineers, maintenance personnel, salespersons, and service techs obtain the skills necessary to do their jobs safely, efficiently, and effectively. It’s also the place where the next generation of WARE’s boiler technicians will gain hands-on experience and instruction to help them do their jobs as the company looks toward a future of growth.
With three full-time instructors, Boiler U houses a complete, fully functional boiler lab with four live-fired boiler systems modified for learning purposes that allow a fascinating look at their inner workings. Boiler U also features a 65-seat, stadium-style lecture hall; a 32-person classroom for breakout sessions; and an 85-seat cafeteria.
A Steam Center for Everyone
WARE’s slogan is “All Ways Steam.” The company brings that to life in the equipment its sells and services, through its customer relationships, and in the knowledge its staff provides. But, that’s just part of its presence in the world of steam. WARE also generates a continuous stream of content for anyone and everyone inside and outside the boiler industry as part of its commitment to becoming the world’s No. 1 online steam resource.
With 600-plus videos, more than 30,000 subscribers, and 8 million views, WARE’s regularly updated YouTube channel has something for everyone. A biweekly show, known as the Boiling Point, provides insights to boiler professionals. Content tends to be more technical in nature and can range from deep dives on valves to the newest boiler technology to explorations of each component and its role in the overall boiler system. For the technically minded and professionally interested, WARE also offers a Weekly Boiler Tip video from a Boiler University Instructor.
For non-professionals, WARE still comes through with engaging content. The weekly Steam Culture series offers an entertaining look at the things steam can do and the many ways it impacts our lives. Content includes everything from a discussion on the boiler room of the Titanic to different ways to cook with steam. WARE’s website is also a treasure trove of industry information with a wide selection of white papers, case studies, and a series of weekly tips for industry professionals.
But, perhaps the most unexpected expression of WARE’s culture comes in the form of “The Journey,” one of the world’s only steam-themed children’s books. “The Journey” is a warmly illustrated expression of the values WARE holds dear, written by Brent Falcone, vice president, WARE, husband of Kelly Ware Falcone. Told through the young eyes of WARE’s second generation, Richard Ware and Norma “Kit” Moore, the book begins with the children waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. When they can’t sleep, Ivan Ware invites them for a fireside conversation about humanity, kindness, and integrity. While it may seem like a sweet story, it actually ends up offering an inspiring perspective on life and the value of humanity, love, kindness, and service.
Into the Future
Today, the company continues to grow under the leadership of the family’s third generation, co-owners Ritchie Ware, Daniel Ware, and Brent Falcone. Under their guidance, WARE has expanded its operations to cover much of the Midwest and south, including Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Texas. The rental division continues to expand nationally and is recognized as a leader in the industry with one of the largest rental boiler fleets. The company currently has offices in Louisville, Kentucky; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and a newly constructed rental facility on 10 acres in Dennison, Texas, located just north of Dallas.
Since its humble beginnings as an HVAC contractor, WARE has spent decades helping people live better lives. The steam its boilers produce today provides comfort in cold weather, delivers the work that moves industry forward, and brings power and possibility to worksites across the globe. In fact, 80% of everything we own, touch, and interact with is touched by steam in some way. From the clothes we wear to the cars we drive to the electricity that powers our homes, steam literally covers every aspect of our lives. And, as always, WARE is proud to provide it. More than proud, in fact. Humbled.
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