TW Zero: Welding & more

Zero is a positive number

By Gary Bégin
NCW Media Managing Editor
CASHMERE -- Cashmere does have hidden artistry and artists to go with. In this case his name is Tom Zero, but he's not invisible or uncounted. Mr. Zero is an anomaly in a world of chaos. Next time you see "hand made" think of Tom and how he bends and shapes and welds and embellishes his metal handrails in his little piece of America, aka, North Central Washington.
Cashmere is where Tom hangs his hat with his baby "Baby," a not too hard to miss mouth-full-of-teeth doberman that keeps boogeymen at bay and acts as Tom's faithful companion.
He spent a total of 10 years in the Washington Army National Guard, which included stints with the "regular" Army. "I would volunteer to go on active duty during training exercises all over the world," said the 1982 Eastmont High attendee. "It was a lot of fun. I got to go all kinds of places," said the affable Zero.
He fondly remembers the trips he made to Korea and the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California while he was a soldier, eventually leaving as a sergeant in 1993.
The 54-year-old originally hails from Oregon's west coast "where it rained 10 months of the year" Zero states. After moving to the right side of the state and leaving school, he landed a job with Barn's Welding in Waterville and later spent 13 years welding ammonia refrigeration systems piping in the many massive fruit cold storage warehouses dotting the the valleys of Chelan County.
He knew his days of working for others were numbered when his most recent boss said they were coming to the end of the job of would have to lay workers off.
That's when he started TW Zero, welding, general contracting (yes he's state licensed), and general handyman services. Although he can do carpentry and plumbing, his dream jobs of the future would be "high end custom handrails, especially for homeowners and hotels."
That's the type of work Zero feels that his artistic bent can come alive. Like the handrail work he dead for Leavenworth's Post Hotel, a job of which he's most proud of.
He is currently doing welding the new Lighthouse Christina Ministry in Wenatchee. He also counts Stemilt, Town Ford and Schroeder Dentistry among his many clients, although some were done before he became independent.
Zero drives a green hummer and is often seen with a matching green equipment trailer carrying his welding tanks and tools. He likes to tell prospective customers that his rig is a self-contained welding shop that he can drive nearly anywhere for any job, large or small.
Another reason Tom loves handrails? "People can look at them and say they are beautiful. All that welding I did in those giant warehouses was covered by insulation and will never be seen again.
"I love a good compliment from people who really know what they're looking at and can appreciate my work," he said.
Tom started his company last April and admits it is a tough row to hoe when it comes to getting news business. "I am so new and don't have the money to advertise so I'm counting on word of mouth to really get my business started," Zero said.
One thing Tom has done to spread the word was to join the Wenatchee Network Group that meets every Wednesday at noon at the Eagles Club in Wenatchee. He credits that group with already giving him a half dozen referrals since he joined last month.
"I've got enough work for the next two weeks at least, Zero said happily.
To reach Zero, handrail artist or all-around handyman, call him: 509-393-9681. He's also certified in welding and mechanical for steel, aluminum and stainless steel.

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