Author Archives: Daniel Perry

TSTC Hosting Area High School Students for Dual Credit Classes

(ABILENE) – West Texas students are getting a taste of college life when taking dual credit classes at Texas State Technical College.

This semester, the Aviation Maintenance program is hosting high school students from the Clyde and Hawley school districts, and the Abilene Independent School District is sending secondary students to the new Electrical Power and Controls program.

“It shows we are working to give them an educational option,” said Kim Porter, TSTC’s vice president for student recruitment.

Students travel four afternoons a week to TSTC for general classes in the Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology certificate programs.

“This gives the high school students the ability to sample and see an educational program and career field before they have even left high school,” said Josh Parker, a TSTC Aviation Maintenance instructor. “There is currently a labor shortage in the aircraft maintenance field, and all industry analysts are predicting the shortage to last many years to come. The job market for the graduates of our two-year program is booming, and with that boom, starting wages are going up as well.”

This is the third year TSTC’s Aviation Maintenance program has hosted high school students.

“I think it is beneficial for the students to work alongside the college students and do the rigorous work,” said Paula Kinslow, Clyde Consolidated ISD’s director of curriculum and special programs. “It’s not something that is unattainable. With the students going into a career field that is in high demand, we can help them get in and go forward.”

Clyde CISD also has students taking dual credit classes in TSTC’s Culinary Arts and Welding Technology programs in Abilene.

Kinslow said TSTC is a natural fit because of proximity and affordability.

“We are really proud of our kids and want to provide the most for them,” Kinslow said.

Less than 20 juniors and seniors from Abilene High School began a 12-week semester earlier this week in the Electrical Power and Controls program at TSTC’s new Industrial Technology Center. The students will travel to the campus five afternoons a week.

“The students can earn six semester credit hours that can be used for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Power and Controls at TSTC,” said Ketta Garduno, AISD’s director of career and technical education. “The DCOA (Development Corporation of Abilene) provided scholarship funds for eligible students who applied, and AISD, for this year, is covering the cost of transportation, books and supplies.”

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TSTC in Waco Student Restaurant to Open Sept. 19

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College’s Culinary Arts program opens its student-operated restaurant for the fall semester on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

The restaurant is at the Greta W. Watson Culinary Arts Center on Campus Drive. The restaurant is open to the public, who this semester may dine on student-planned menus with themes such as Cuba, Germany and Texas.

Meals are served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays from Sept. 19 to Nov. 30. The restaurant will be closed the week of Thanksgiving. The serving days and themes, which can be subject to change, are:

Sept. 19 and Sept. 21: Texas

Sept. 26 and Sept. 28: Ireland

Oct. 3 and Oct. 5: Germany

Oct. 10 and Oct. 12: Czechoslovakia

Oct. 17 and Oct. 19: Cuba

Oct. 24 and Oct. 26: Northern Italy

Oct. 31 and Nov. 2: Vietnam

Nov. 7 and Nov. 9: Chef’s Choice

Nov. 14 and Nov. 16: Chef’s Choice

Nov. 28 and Nov. 30: Live Action Buffet

Weekly menus will be posted on the Facebook page for the Greta W. Watson Culinary Arts Center at TSTC in Waco.

To make reservations, call 254-867-4868. Visitors must arrive at least 15 minutes before their seating time. Reservations are not accepted on restaurant serving days.

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TSTC Fathers Proud of Sons’ Achievements

(WACO) – Three recent Texas State Technical College graduates gave their fathers plenty of reasons to smile.

Bailey Bowers, 20, and Jason Z. Mallory, 20, received Associate of Applied Science degrees in Electrical Power and Controls and Nate Hutchison, 18, received the Associate of Applied Science degree in Robotics Technology at TSTC’s Summer 2018 Commencement in mid-August.

And, they all started full-time jobs in late August.

Their last names are recognizable on campus.

Bowers is the son of Michael Bowers, TSTC’s vice president of student learning, Hutchison is the son of TSTC Provost Adam Hutchison, and Mallory is the son of Jason Mallory, director of internal audits.

The younger Bowers grew up in Clifton and graduated in 2016 from Meridian High School. He originally wanted to continue pole vaulting in college, but saw what his relatives were doing in their careers and wanted to follow suit.

The younger Bowers continued a family tradition of majoring in Electrical Power and Controls at TSTC. He counts his father, older brother and cousins as TSTC alumni.

“It’s the diversity of the job opportunities,” the older Bowers said. “It’s not a niche-type field. A degree in Electrical Power and Controls opens up opportunities.”

Bowers awarded his son his degree at the graduation ceremony.

“It was a wonderful moment,” he said. “I was happy for him and for his achievement. I could see the joy in his face going across the stage.”

The younger Bowers works in computer research and equipment for projects at Oncor in Sherman.

“I am greatly enjoying my job,” he said. “Most of my time has been taken up becoming familiar with the individuals I will be working with and the service area I will be working within. With the others in the office having an average tenure with the company of 27 years, I plan on working hard to learn as much as I can to be able to take on a leadership role in four to five years.”

The journey for Hutchison’s son to become a TSTC graduate at 18 began with a toy.

“Nate has always had an engineering mind; growing up, his room was a minefield of Lego creations,” the provost said. “One day we were watching the show ‘How It’s Made’ together and I thought he might be interested in that intersection of computer programming, engineering, electronics and robotics.”

The Hutchisons visited TSTC’s Robotics Technology program, and the younger Hutchison was interested.

“Because he started with dual credit, he was usually younger than other students in the cohort, but they treated him like everyone else in the program,” the provost said.

The younger Hutchison did an internship, which has now turned into a full-time job, as a software technician at Fallas Automation in Waco.

“I use everything I learned at TSTC on my job, and though I’m still learning every day on the job, I was very well prepared for work,” the younger Hutchison said.

Mallory brought his son, who graduated in 2016 from Rosebud-Lott High School, to visit TSTC during his senior year. Mallory said TSTC gave his son the opportunity to see what he was capable of.

“This place taught him the way he learns and gave him confidence,” said Mallory.

After his first year at TSTC, the younger Mallory got an internship at Commercial Metals Co. Construction Services in Seguin and was offered a full-time job by last Christmas contingent on graduation.

“On a daily basis, I troubleshoot electrical motors throughout the mill, check wiring connections and grease motor bearings,” the younger Mallory said. “All this helps keep the mill running.”

The younger Mallory said he was glad to start work with no college debt.

“TSTC did exactly for me what I was told it would do,” he said.

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TSTC Students Get Scholarships from Area Arts Organization

(WACO) – Three Texas State Technical College Visual Communication Technology majors have each received a $500 scholarship from a Waco arts society.

Ana Alvarez, 31, of Waco,; Destin Franklin, 20, of Grand Prairie and Samantha Westbrook, 35, of Axtell received the scholarships from the Central Texas Watercolor Society, an organization advocating watercolor as an art medium.

Stacie Buterbaugh, an instructor in the Visual Communication Technology program, said the students stood out among their classmates.

“It was their dedication in the classroom,” she said. “These students are always prepared and go the extra mile. Outside the classroom, they are very involved.”

The students said they are grateful for their scholarships.

Alvarez has done screen printing on her own for the last decade. She wanted to attend TSTC to learn the design aspects of visual communication and has enjoyed learning the advertising and marketing side of the field.

“I am ready to get back in the workforce,” said Alvarez, who is also a Visual Communication Technology tutor at TSTC’s Student Success Center.

Franklin has done graphic design since ninth grade. He said a family friend recommended TSTC to him.

“I was challenged a lot,” he said. “I came in thinking I knew a lot. I came in with a little chip on my shoulder, but it got knocked off.”

Franklin’s goal after graduation in December is to earn a marketing degree, open a graphic design business and travel.

Westbrook transferred to TSTC after attending another two-year institution because she felt her job prospects would be better in her major.

Westbrook said she was thankful for the scholarship and for the program’s hands-on work that instructors grade using workplace standards.

“It pushes me,” she said.

For more information on the Central Texas Watercolor Society, go to

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TSTC Receives Certification for Toyota T-TEN Program

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College’s certificate program in Automotive Technology – Toyota Technician Training and Education Network, or T-TEN, specialization received nationwide certification at a ceremony Thursday afternoon.

With the designation, TSTC is one of four two-year institutions in Texas offering the curriculum, along with more than 30 two-year colleges nationwide. T-TEN is a consortium of Lexus and Toyota dealerships and two-year colleges developing students with industry-backed training to work in more than 1,500 dealerships nationwide as factory-certified technicians.

Internships are a key component of TSTC’s certificate program. Students perform three during the five-semester program. These opportunities are good for students to use in building resumes, said Warren Hastings, an instructor in TSTC’s Automotive Technology program.

“The student has to secure the internship, put in the application and interview at a dealership,” Hastings said. “The goal is to set them up for their entire career.”

TSTC’s program can accept up to 27 students. Hastings said advances in technology and computers for vehicles tend to stir students’ interests along with a passion for cars and trucks.

Students who graduate from the program are eligible to work at Toyota and Lexus dealerships. Once employed, workers get specialized training on new makes and models, especially as technology develops.

Jody Trice, an instructor in TSTC’s Automotive Technology program, said faculty will next work on recruitment efforts at dealerships and high schools to build the certificate program’s participants.

Graduates are needed to fill automotive technician jobs as workers retire.

The Toyota T-TEN program began in 1986 and is in partnership with the Automotive Service Excellence Education Foundation.

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TSTC Automotive Technology Program Poised to Fill Area Positions

(SWEETWATER) – Ivan Covarrubias, 19, of Perryton became interested in automotive repair by working on cars with his uncle.

Covarrubias, a certificate student in the Automotive Technology program at Texas State Technical College, has a goal of returning to Ochiltree County after graduation to help others get back to driving.

“Once I’m done, I hope to work at O’Reilly Auto Parts in my hometown and then work at Chevrolet,” he said.

TSTC offers the Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology and two certificates. TSTC in Sweetwater is the only one among the four West Texas campuses to offer the technical program.

Mike Myers, a TSTC Automotive Technology instructor, said some students typically have part-time jobs in the automotive field while in college. He said other students search for employment upon graduation.

“Some look at dealerships,” Myers said. “It’s a good way to get better knowledge of a brand and further yourself in the field. Others go to independent shops that work on all makes and models. Those graduates try to find a mentorn and they are the apprentice. They follow and learn from that person for a certain amount of time before they are put out on their own.”

Texas had more than 47,200 automotive service technicians and mechanics as of May 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. West Texas and the Panhandle had more than 1,600 jobs.

Nolan County’s only major automotive dealership, Stanley Ford Sweetwater, uses TSTC as a resource to fill automotive technician jobs. Kevin Atwater, the dealership’s fixed operations manager, said a TSTC graduate has recently been hired.

“We definitely need more automotive technicians. As we grow, we need more,” Atwater said.

This year, TSTC’s Automotive Technology program has more than 20 dual credit students from school districts in Big Spring, Bronte, Colorado City and other West Texas locations.

The need for automotive service technicians and mechanics is projected to grow nationally to more than 795,000 through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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TSTC Opens Industrial Technology Center

(ABILENE) – The first day of classes had that shiny new feeling Monday at Texas State Technical College.

TSTC opened the Industrial Technology Center on Quantum Loop next to Abilene Regional Airport just in time for fall classes. The building is home to the new Electrical Power and Controls, Industrial Maintenance and Welding Technology programs and is the new location for the Emergency Medical Services program.

“Starting today there will be more learning happening out in the labs,” said Rick Denbow, TSTC provost. “It’s not going to be a conventional lecture in the class and then go to the lab.”

The morning’s first group of Welding Technology students toured the automated and metallurgy labs. This semester the program will have morning, afternoon and evening sessions.

Greg Nicholas, lead Welding Technology instructor for TSTC’s West Texas campuses, spent time this summer organizing the welding labs. He said he did not sleep much Sunday night.

“I was thinking on how I would get the information to students,” Nicholas said. “These are things that go through instructors’ heads.”

McKenzie Smallwood, 18, of Odessa heard about TSTC on Pandora and later saw a billboard she considered a “sign” to enroll.

Smallwood was exposed to welding through her father. She is pursuing the Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology. She said she cannot wait to start welding later this week.

“It’s exciting to go to a technical college and learn how you do things,” Smallwood said.

Jacob Rose, 17, of Mertzon was encouraged to attend TSTC by a family friend. He comes to TSTC with welding experience from Irion County High School, where he graduated earlier this year.

Rose was in a whirlwind of excitement as he moved to Abilene the weekend before classes began on Monday.

“It’s a great opportunity to meet new people,” he said.

Kelsie Terry, an Emergency Medical Services instructor, was excited about being in the program’s new location. She said faculty members can now lead students in a mock emergency room and use video for student scenarios. The program was previously housed at TSTC’s East Highway 80 location in Abilene.

“There’s more tools and resources to make it as lifelike as you can in a setting,” she said.

Jonathan Brooks, 19, of Avoca said he was inspired to study Emergency Medical Services because of watching people care for his relatives in hospitals. One of the first lessons he learned Monday was how to render a blood pressure reading.

He saw the new building for the first time Monday.

“They put a lot of work into this,” Brooks said.

Construction on the 56,000-square-foot Industrial Technology Center began in June 2017. The building is the first on what is planned to be a 51-acre campus.

TSTC’s newest building among its 10 campuses was designed by Parkhill, Smith & Cooper, which has offices in Abilene and throughout Texas. Imperial Construction Inc. of Weatherford used local subcontractors where possible to construct the building.

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TSTC Alumnus Makes Dream Come True in Austin

(WACO) – A drive down one of the busiest roads in Austin gave Texas State Technical College alumnus Chris Gaydos a vision of what his future could be.

Gaydos, 31, was visiting the city to attend a wedding when he was on MoPac Expressway and saw National Instruments’ sprawling campus. He thought he could see himself there someday.

He had a job interview and two weeks later was packing his possessions in Utah to return to Texas to work at the technology company, which ranked number 235 in Forbes magazine’s 2018 list of the United States’ best midsize employers.

Gaydos is now a staff software development specialist/project manager at the company. His work involves interacting with employees throughout the world to develop software features for hardware.

“Up until two years ago, if you did not have a bachelor’s degree in science, you could not be considered for an instrumentation project,” he said. “I broke the mold. It seems like with people in technical degrees, they are more flexible and more sought after.”

Gaydos has worked at the electrical engineering, hardware, instrumentation software and semiconductor company since 2011.

“Chris brings energy and passion to all his work and challenges our team to think outside the box,” Ryan Tamblin, group manager for National Instruments’ Radio Frequency/Modular Instruments Software Services section, said in Gaydos’ promotion announcement in late July.

Gaydos was raised in Austin and is a 2003 graduate of Lake Travis High School.

He attended the University of North Texas in Denton for one year to study music.

“Everybody around me at graduation time was encouraging me to study music,” Gaydos said. “They said, ‘you are passionate about it.’ After two semesters, I didn’t want to do that for a living. That is when I stepped back.”

His career choice after that also did not involve technology. He looked at what people he knew were doing and saw they were working in the heating, air conditioning and ventilation field.

He visited TSTC and was ready to enroll, but was convinced by a faculty member to check out the college’s Electrical Power and Controls program.

“Electricity is such an intense subject and concept,” Gaydos said. “The first semester was how to wrap your head around electricity. Everything was so new and intimidating. At some point, it connected and I excelled at it.”

Gaydos graduated in 2009 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Power and Controls from TSTC.

“The biggest thing I have gotten from TSTC is it gave me the confidence and ability to look at new challenges and learn things,” he said. “I learned a lot at TSTC, but I learned more about myself. It taught me I can teach myself anything.”

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Waco Company Looks to TSTC for Potential Employees

(WACO) – Tucked at the end of South Industrial Drive in Waco is a company using Texas State Technical College to fill its hiring needs.

Jerry Boroff, Evans Enterprises Inc.’s plant manager and a TSTC alumnus, receives student resume books each semester from Daniel Bateman, TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls program’s senior instructor and statewide department chair for Generation, Transmission and Distribution.

This summer, Boroff plans to make employment to one Electrical Power and Controls graduate.

“It is great when you get to hire guys who do what you are doing,” he said.

Evans Enterprises specializes in motor and wind turbine repair for companies and municipalities. The company also does work in crane and hoist maintenance. Besides Abilene, Waco and Wichita Falls, Evans has facilities in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Washington.

Boroff said potential employees need to understand how to use tools and have a knowledge of mathematics. Experienced employees often teach new workers how to use micrometers.

“You need to not be afraid to sweat, come to work and earn a paycheck,” said Boroff.

Boroff grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance from Texas Tech University.

“I’ve always liked numbers,” he said.

Boroff began working at Evans in 2013 while he was a student at TSTC. He graduated in 2014 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Power and Controls from TSTC.

“I was a little older and took it seriously and I loved every minute of it,” said Boroff.

Boroff credits Dylan Baugh, Evans’ chief operating officer, for encouraging him to go back to college. The two met when Boroff was a full-time Brazilian jiujitsu instructor in Waco.

“That helped me get away from stupid stuff I was doing, like riding motorcycles,” Boroff said. “There is always someone better than you. That is what drives me.”

Some of Evans’ other employees have ties to TSTC.

Michael Sullivan, a field service electrical service technician and Occupational Safety and Health Administration-certified hoist inspector, has worked at Evans for 18 years. He does a lot of on-site repairs and testing on electrical systems.

He graduated in 1980 from Texas State Technical Institute (now TSTC) in Waco with an associate degree in laser electro-optics.

“I thought lasers were cool,” said Sullivan, 64. “It was kind of new back then.”

Anthony Jentoft, 40, has worked for seven years at Evans and is a field service technician for wind turbine generators and motor testing. He said he cannot imagine doing anything else.

Jentoft graduated in 1996 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology from TSTC. He said some of the concepts he learned about engines are useful to today’s work.

“I’m always learning to do new things,” he said. “I don’t mess with computers as much. I will be turning bolts the rest of my life.”

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TSTC Recognizes National Aviation Day

(WACO) –  As aircrafts reach new heights, Texas State Technical College embraces its rich aviation history and looks to the future during National Aviation Day.

In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed August 19 to be National Aviation Day.

TSTC in Waco started its aviation program almost 50 years ago with two programs: Aviation Maintenance and Aircraft Pilot Training.

Today, TSTC offers nine associate and certifications in aviation related fields, including Air Traffic Control, Avionics Technology and Helicopter Pilot Training.

“We have always been driven by industry needs and our institution has kept pace with the evolution of the industry to ensure our name stands for quality and solidness,” said Carson Pearce, TSTC Aerospace Division director.

While there have been many changes in commercial aviation such as the implementation of GPS and electronic gauges, one of the most notable is the transition from sheet metal to carbon fiber structure.

“Carbon fiber is changing the way structural work is done and the skill set required to work on it,” said Robert Capps, lead instructor in the Aviation Maintenance program. “That, and the fact we are moving rapidly toward electronic based airplanes means everything is heavily computerized which changes how maintenance is done and how pilots operate airplanes.”   

The transition to computer-based aircrafts creates a need for pilots to be trained in both manual and electronic operated aircrafts.Coupled with the Federal Aviation Administration’s increase in required flight hours for commercial pilots from 250 to 1,500 hours, a massive demand for pilots has emerged.

“The need for pilots is absolutely insane,” Pearce said. “We marry both worlds when training our pilots so they can look out the window and fly with a stick and the steam gauges or with the electronic gauges and touch screens.”

Looking to the future, young pilots like Ryan Gauntt are leading the charge in a new generation of aviation fanatics ready to embrace the challenges ahead.

“I caught the ‘airplane bug’ when I was about four years old when my grandpa, a helicopter pilot, retired,” said Gauntt, a TSTC flight instructor.  “He bought a little plane and took my brother and me up and I was hooked. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

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