Author Archives: Debra Gonzalez

Komatsu Partners with TSTC for $131,404 Job Training Grant

(MARSHALL) – Texas State Technical College has partnered with Komatsu Mining Corp. in Longview to train 60 workers using a $131,404 Skills Development Fund grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.

Julian Alvarez, Texas Workforce Commissioner Representing Labor, presented the check to officials from TSTC and Komatsu at a 10 a.m. ceremony Wednesday, Aug. 29, at TSTC in Marshall.

“This celebration represents another textbook example of the great state of Texas continuing to support the workforce and industries that drive the state’s booming economy,” said TSTC Provost Bart Day.

The training was designed specifically to meet Komatsu’s needs and will be provided by TSTC instructors. Trainees will include data terminal operators, fabrication machine operators and quality control inspectors. Upon completion of training, the workers will receive an average hourly wage of $18.99.

Komatsu Manufacturing Engineering and Manufacturing manager Kraig Green said he is glad to show that Komatsu is willing to invest in its community.

“We see people who understand we are willing to hire and train to invest in this area,” Green said. “We don’t have to bring people in from big metropolises like Dallas to get skilled labor. It’s right here.”

Wayne Mansfield, president and CEO of the Longview Economic Development Corp., said partnerships are a critical part of development.

“Workforce development is by far the No. 1 critical issue, not just here in Texas, but all over the country,” Mansfield said. “Establishing the foundation for workforce here is important to the continued success of Longview, Gregg County and East Texas.”

Commissioner Alvarez said he is happy that Texans have options for career education.

“Anyone that knows me will tell you that I’m a huge supporter of career and technology education and will always support associate degrees and certificates,” Alvarez said. “Technology is changing every day. … TSTC is keeping up with those changes. We appreciate that. They have an impeccable reputation with us.”

Overall, the grant will have a $3.9 million impact on the East Texas area.

Komatsu (https://mining.komatsu) is a global mining equipment and services provider. With a full line of products supported by advanced technologies, the company helps customers safely and sustainably optimize their operations. The company’s equipment and services are used to extract fundamental minerals and develop modern infrastructure, as well as playing a key role in the construction and forestry industries.

The Skills Development Fund is one of the state’s premier job training programs, keeping Texas competitive with a skilled workforce. For more information on TSTC’s workforce training, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Graduates 37 at First Commencement

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College in North Texas celebrated its first Commencement on Monday, August. 20 as graduates walked the stage in the presence of their family and friends.

“This is a special occasion,” TSTC Provost Marcus Balch told those gathered at the Waxahachie Convention Center. “Not only are we celebrating our graduates and their accomplishments, but this is the first graduating class to celebrate in a Commencement ceremony held right here at home.”

TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. He urged the students to keep learning.

“You chose a technical field,” Reeser said. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but technology keeps moving on. It gets better and bigger, faster and stronger every day. You have to accept that this college event is not the end of your constant evolution, but the beginning. You’ve got to know that you have two choices: keep up with the constant changes or be obsolete.”

Diesel Equipment Technology graduate John O’Connell was selected for the Provost Award, a recognition given to a student who has demonstrated high academic performance, exceptional character and student leadership, and who has influenced their peers to strive for excellence.

“With everything I’ve been through, it was definitely a great honor,” O’Connell said. “I did not expect it or see it coming. I’m deeply honored that the school chose me.”

Among its summer graduates, nine Gerdau employees earned their associate degrees in Industrial Maintenance. The graduates attended classes while working full time.

Jeremy Crowder, an electrician with the company, graduated with a 4.0 GPA. He believes that the company investing in educating employees saves on-the-job training time.

“I think we’re getting guys in at a higher education level and with a better skill set when they start,” said Crowder. “Now, we don’t have to train for that skill set at the job.”

TSTC in North Texas graduates earned degrees in eight of the programs offered at the campus — Computer-Aided Drafting & Design Technology, Computer Networking & Systems Administration, Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Power & Controls, HVAC Technology, Industrial Maintenance, Logistics Technology and Welding.

Fall classes begin Monday, Aug. 27. For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Holds Summer Commencement Ceremony in Waco

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College’s summer commencement ceremony held Friday, Aug. 17, at the Waco Convention Center.

“Tonight’s ceremony acknowledges the completion of years of study and dedication by our summer graduates and signifies the beginning of their professional careers,” said TSTC Provost Adam Hutchison. “Students who earn a college degree should be proud to have reached a significant milestone in life.”

Many of the students graduating have already secured employment.

Anita Nesler is graduating with three degrees in Robotics, Electrical Power and Controls, and Instrumentation. She will work as a technician at Prime Controls in Round Rock.

“I will be handling fiber optics, PLCs and calibrations,” Nesler said.

After Nesler left the military, she was looking for a new career path. Her military education counselor recommended she look into the robotics program at TSTC, but once she started the program, she wanted more.

“I wanted to become the best technician that I possibly could,” Nesler said. “So I tried a couple of other programs so that I’m not just a technician, I’m a great technician. This program allowed me the opportunity to become that.”

Ryan Duplantier, a Cyber Security graduate, is waiting to hear back after interviews.

“I want to go down to Austin and see what they have down there for me,” Duplantier said. “I’ve interviewed a few places, but Austin is going to be my backup. It’s a really exciting opportunity.”

Duplantier enjoyed his time at the college.

“It’s been really great,” Duplantier said. “I love TSTC. I learned a lot more than what I expected here. It’s been a really fun ride.”

Elissa May, an Electrical Power and Controls graduate, will be working as a field service technician for Saber Power Services.

“I will be doing testing and maintenance on substations and preventative maintenance,” May said.

May has received multiple job offers.

Fall classes begin Monday, Aug. 27. For more information on the college, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Holds Summer Commencement

(MARSHALL) – Texas State Technical College held its summer commencement ceremony Friday evening in Marshall. More than 40 graduates walked the stage in the presence of their family and friends.

TSTC Provost Bart Day said the ceremony not only signifies an end for the graduates, but also a beginning.

“Tonight represents an end, in that each of you graduating this evening has set and reached a goal and readied yourself for the challenges of the workforce,” Day told the graduates. “But tonight’s celebration also represents a beginning because you’ve made the transition from TSTC student to TSTC graduate.”

Garrett Bradshaw, a Process Operations student, was one of the night’s honor graduates. Bradshaw is completing an extended internship with Eastman Chemical Company in Longview. He began his internship as a materials handling operator in May.

“I flow product from the storage tanks to rail cars and trailers for shipping,” Bradshaw said. “That can involve using pumps, process valves. I collect samples and have analyses run on them. For shipping, paperwork is involved. All things to get the product to the customer.”

The Longview resident is graduating from TSTC with a 4.0 GPA.. His advice for incoming and current students is that “you get what you put in.”

“You’re going to have to do work,” Bradshaw said. “If you’re willing to put in the work, you’re going to get results.”

David Golden, Human Resources manager at Norbord Inc. of Jefferson, spoke at the ceremony. He reminded graduates that they control their own journeys.

“You must plot and steer your course,” he said, “because you are ultimately in command of where your ship goes. You’ll get lots of navigation advice from other captains, but you must steer your own ship.”

TSTC in Marshall graduates earned degrees in all 12 of the programs offered at the campus — Business Management Technology, Computer-Aided Drafting and Design, Computer Networking and Systems Administration, Cyber Security, Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Lineworker Technology, Industrial Controls Technology, Industrial Maintenance, Precision Machining Technology, Process Operations, Software Development and Welding.

Fall classes begin Monday, Aug. 27. For more information on the college, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Graduates 12 at Summer Commencement

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College celebrated its summer commencement ceremony in Hutto Friday, Aug. 10. Twelve graduates walked the stage in the presence of their family and friends.

“This is a celebration of our graduates’ efforts, and a recognition of all they have accomplished,” TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla said. “Tonight’s ceremony acknowledges the completion of study and dedication by our summer graduates and signifies the beginning of their professional careers.”

Robb Misso, Founder and CEO of Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.

“Start your path,” Misso told the graduates. “Understand your skills and your capabilities.”

He urged graduates to continue developing in their careers.

“The more that I learn, the more that I realize that it’s a journey,” Misso said. “You can’t stop. As soon as you stop, you stop progressing. You stop growing. It’s so important that you don’t ever quit. When you start something, persevere.”

Industrial Maintenance graduate Damian Helmbold was selected for the Provost Award, an award given to a student who has demonstrated high academic performance, exceptional character and student leadership, and who has influenced their peers to strive for excellence.

“I’m totally honored and surprised,” Helmbold said. “I wasn’t expecting anything. My family being here, it was a great feeling.”

Helmbold, who has worked for the city of Georgetown for nine years, credits his degree for his new position as a SCADA Technician, which he began six months ago.

Precision Machining Technology graduate Wyatt Hauer was excited to receive his degree. At just 20 years old, he manages Four Points Platinum Machining.

“I’m certified now, so that helps.” Hauer said. “I do everything from programming parts to sweeping floors. I pretty much run the place. It’s the owner, and then me. He handles the business and I handle the shop.”

TSTC in Williamson County graduates earned degrees in six of the programs offered at the campus – Culinary Arts, Cyber Security, HVAC, Industrial Maintenance, Precision Machining Technology and Welding.

TSTC is registering for the fall semester through Aug. 20. For more information on the college, visit tstc.edu.

For a gallery of photos from the ceremony, click here.

First Cohort of Gerdau Workers to Graduate from TSTC

(RED OAK) – The first cohort of workers from Gerdau’s Midlothian Steel Mill will walk the stage at Texas State Technical College’s first Commencement on Monday, Aug. 20, in Waxahachie.

The company began sending employees to further their training at the campus in 2015. The eight students who will walk the stage Monday worked full-time while attending TSTC to earn their associate degrees in Industrial Maintenance.

TSTC Provost Marcus Balch said the college is looking forward to celebrating the occasion.

“We are very excited to not only be able to host our first ever Commencement ceremony here in North Texas, but also to have the opportunity to celebrate the first cohort of Gerdau employees graduating with the AAS in Industrial Maintenance,” he said.

Ryan Hube, Gerdau Midlothian Human Resources Manager, said the employees are already benefiting from their training.

“Many of them have already accepted maintenance apprenticeship positions throughout the mill,” he said. “With continued hands-on training they will hopefully have long careers as industrial millwrights or electricians here at Gerdau.”

Balch said he is proud to see area companies investing in their employees.

“What a tremendous accomplishment, and, what a great company Gerdau is to invest in their employees and provide opportunities for these employees to grow within their organization,” he said. “We at TSTC couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this partnership.”

Sixty students are eligible to graduate from eight of the college’s 10 programs in Red Oak.

The Summer 2018 commencement will be at 6 p.m. at the Waxahachie Civic Center.

TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser will be the featured speaker at the event.

TSTC is registering now for the fall semester. The last day to register is Monday, Aug. 20, and classes begin Monday, Aug. 27.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

Student Overcomes Obstacles to Reach TSTC Graduation

(HUTTO) – When Texas State Technical College student Damian Helmbold walks the stage Friday at the Summer 2018 Commencement, he will be reaching a goal he has worked towards for more than  two years.

Helmbold was born in Kingston, New York,  but moved to Texas in 1997. Three years ago, he experienced health issues and decided he wanted to make a change in his life.

“I had a fibrosis growing under my kidney and had a major surgery on my abdomen,” Helmbold said. “I got through that, and then I had back surgery. After that I decided I wanted to do more.”

So after learning about TSTC from some of his colleagues at the city of Georgetown, Helmbold enrolled in the Industrial Maintenance program.

“My coworkers went to TSTC in Waco and graduated from there maybe 10 years ago,” he said. “They’re in the field that I wanted to be in. That’s what made me choose this.”

Helmbold worked for the city of Georgetown’s water department for nine years. He credits his upcoming degree for his new position with the city — supervisory control and data acquisition I&C technician. He began working in the new position six months ago.

“We maintain all the stations in the system for the city of Georgetown,” he said. “It could be water or electrical substations and wastewater plants. We deal with all the communications, the programming on the PLCs and the communications back to the control center via radio and fiber optics.”

Juggling working full time, going to school at night and spending time with his wife and kids, Helmbold was happy to take evening classes.

“I wouldn’t have been able to finish if I couldn’t do it at my own pace,” he said.

Helmbold will graduate with honors and credits two things for maintaining his high GPA: his work ethic and his wife.

“I made sure to allocate enough time to do my work, any studying and any research I had to do,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without my wife, of course, having two boys. Her help allowed me to step away to go to school, while both kids are in sports and with all the school activities.”

His advice to those considering the school is to meet with the instructors.

“Come in and talk to the teachers themselves,” he said. “They’re a big reason I chose to come here and stay the whole eight semesters it took me to do this part time. It’s a big accomplishment to finish something like this.”

Helmbold is one of 23 students eligible to walk at the college’s Commencement exercises  on Friday. The ceremony will be at 6:30 p.m. on the third floor of the East Williamson County Higher Education Center in Hutto.

TSTC is registering now for the fall semester. The last day to register is Monday, Aug. 20, and classes begin Monday, Aug. 27.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC in Marshall Presents Staff Member of the Year Award

(MARSHALL) – Employees at Texas State Technical College celebrated Employee Appreciation Day in June, a day that included fun for employees and awards for employees of the year.

Student Success Coach Jason Beach was chosen as staff member of the year.

He was happy to receive the award.

“I felt truly appreciated and was reminded immediately of the many administrators, staff and faculty for whom I have sincere gratitude,” Beach said. “These women and men have taught me a lot and they continue to guide me today.”

Beach, a Longview native who lives in Gilmer, has worked for TSTC for 14 years. He has had titles such as System Analyst II for Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Planning and also provided employees support for TSTC’s Colleague system.

Employees of the campus submitted nominations for the award, and the final winner was chosen by a vote.

Employees had inspiring comments about Beach, with one teammate writing, “Jason works hard to help every student. There is hardly any time in the day that he is not working with students. He is here at TSTC early and works late many evenings. He is a great team member that will assist other staff when they need help.”

Another comment reads, “Mr. Beach is a testament to being a servant to our students and to his coworkers. He has not only accepted a role change but has made the transition with honor and excitement. Mr. Beach takes a very active role in the success of our students along with the success of our college. He continually goes the extra mile even to the extent of taking registration load off the shoulders of our lead instructors.”

Beach’s favorite part of his job is knowing he helped make a difference in students’ lives.

“Hearing students share where they are going to work on Monday after graduation, getting to see caring faculty and staff provide support to those who are learning, and knowing I’m a part of something that changes the lives of people from all walks of life in the surrounding communities, region and state,” he said. “That’s my favorite thing about TSTC.”

TSTC prides itself on being “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for positions at its 10 campuses statewide.

For information on open positions at TSTC, visit tstc.edu/about/employment.

TSTC Graduate Serves South Central Texas With Electric Company

(MARSHALL) – Texas State Technical College graduate Ed Wheat has been serving the San Antonio area with his electrical expertise for over 10 years.

The 1995 honor graduate earned an associate degree in Electrical Instrumentation from TSTC in Marshall and went to work shortly thereafter.

“I had zero lag time — I went straight to work the next week at a facility,” Wheat said. “I got some really good experience. I was there for about three years. Then I went to another place, Louisiana-Pacific. I worked there for almost eight years, and I progressed through the ranks. I became the youngest electrical supervisor in the history of the company. I progressed again to maintenance superintendent and was also the youngest maintenance superintendent in the company.”

After working in the industry for 12 years, Wheat started his own company, Wheat Electric & Controls LLC, in 2007. The company, based in Spring Branch, Texas, covers the Hill Country and San Antonio regions. Wheat moved to the area after marrying his wife, Rachel.

“I married a woman from South Texas, so we relocated down here,” Wheat said. “I like the region, I like the people in the area, and I like the culture.”

Wheat Electric offers industrial, commercial and residential electrical services. Overall, Wheat seems pleased with his field of choice.

“It has its ups and downs, but I definitely have an affinity for it,” he said. “I have the drive for it. It’s a really demanding job. In advanced leadership you’re responsible for things 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Wheat’s advice for those considering TSTC is to make sure you’re ready.

“When I first graduated high school, I went to college somewhere else and I wasn’t mature enough for it,” he said. “I went to the Army, came back with a much higher level of maturity, and I took college much more seriously. If you make sure that you’re serious and ready for it, dig in as deep as you can. Really be serious about the theory side. If you really understand the theory, you can learn anything from there.”

Wheat expanded his business to Corpus Christi in 2016. Read more on the company at wheat-electric.com.

TSTC’s Electronic Instrumentation program is now called Industrial Controls and is offered at the Marshall campus. For more information on the college and its programs offered statewide, visit tstc.edu.

Inspired to Teach, Welding Grad Returns to TSTC

(HUTTO) – When Brandon Cernosek began attending the welding program at Texas State Technical College in Waco, a teaching job was the last thing on his mind.

But while going through the program, he drew inspiration from his welding instructor. As a result, Cernosek recently began teaching welding at TSTC in Williamson County.

“One of the teachers, when I was going to school, was a really good teacher,” Cernosek said. “He was one of those guys you wanted to be around and just listen to because he was always in a good mood with a positive attitude. He just made you want to come to class and learn. That’s the type of teacher I wanted to be.”

Cernosek graduated from TSTC in 2016. Later the Cedar Park resident worked in the welding industry before going to work for the college.

“I worked at Fast Lane Metalworks (in Waco),” Cernosek said. “It was a custom fabrication shop. People would come in and just tell us something they dreamt up that nobody else had, so we’d figure out how to make it. That was a lot of fun. Then I did some more industrial work.”

His love for welding began when he was in high school.

“It was just something that seemed so awesome,” Cernosek said. “You could just make things out of metal and do whatever you wanted with it. Cut here, add it there and, I don’t know, I just fell in love with how it feels when you’re under the hood. I can do a good TIG weld and come out happy. I just like doing it.”

Coming in as a new instructor, Cernosek worried that the students wouldn’t accept him.

“I thought the students weren’t going to respond very well to a young person coming in and trying to help them, but they actually responded really well,” he said. “I’m not trying to be a know-it-all or anything. I’m just trying to help out. They seem to take to it really well, and that feeling itself is really rewarding.”

TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla said he is happy to welcome Cernosek to the team.

“We are excited to see our welding program growing and always feel privileged to have a TSTC grad return from industry to teach our next generation of welders,” Padilla said. “Brandon is a great addition to the Williamson County family.”

Cernosek hopes that passing on his skills will help fuel the workforce.

“There’s not a lot of skilled laborers out there,” he said. “If I can help throw some more skilled laborers out there, that’d be great — teach some kids some new skills.”

TSTC prides itself on being “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for positions at its 10 campuses statewide. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit tstc.edu/about/employment.