Author Archives: Debra Gonzalez

TSTC Welcomes Two New Recruiters

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College welcomed two new student recruiters this month at its Williamson County campus.
Stephanie Guillory, of Round Rock, and Melissa Zamora, of Hutto, joined the recruitment team at the beginning of September.
Guillory made the move to TSTC after working for Round Rock ISD for 15 years, beginning as a teacher and later working in administration. She and her husband, who is also a teacher, share a passion for education.
“I want to help students reach their highest potential. My husband and I were raised in two different households. My husband is one of 19, and I’m an only child. For myself, being raised by a single mom, it was a big deal to get an education and have a successful career. It was ingrained in me early, but my husband didn’t have that. He was encouraged more by his teachers.”
Guillory became interested in joining higher education by listening to recruiters at college nights with her students.
“I wanted a career change, but I still wanted to be in higher education,” she said. “The recruiters piqued my interest.”
So far, Guillory is enjoying the position and is eager to tell students about TSTC.
“I’m excited about being able to go to schools and tell them about TSTC and what we have to offer. I’ve been in the classroom for so long and all they’ve promoted are the four-year colleges, not a trade or another option for post-high school. I’m excited to get the word out.”
Zamora is a four-year TSTC veteran who moved to Hutto from TSTC’s Harlingen campus. She is excited to see the campus grow.
“I know what TSTC has to offer, so I’m excited about spreading that across the state,” she said. “I love the transparency of the Williamson County campus. We can view so much — our labs and facilities — while we’re giving our tours.”
Zamora has also enjoyed the campus faculty and staff.
“Everybody has been so welcoming,” she said. “It feels like a very strong TSTC community.”
As a TSTC graduate herself, Zamora wanted to help students navigate their college years.
“I was kind of clueless as a student, and I think that’s what made me want to help others,” she said. “I’m a first-generation college student and I’m the youngest in my family. For me it’s like, ‘how can I help someone that was me?'”
Her favorite thing about TSTC is its job placement record.
“We put our money where our mouth is,” she said. “I feel like we’re on the cusp of changing education. We’re about change and we’re about results.”
TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla was happy to welcome the two to the team.
“It’s exciting to see great talent joining our Williamson County team,” he said. “Melissa brings a wealth of knowledge and institutional experience from her previous role in Harlingen and will immediately contribute to our success. Stephanie is a longtime educator with Round Rock ISD and understands the evolving nature of secondary education. Her expertise will go a long way in bolstering our recruitment efforts. We are very pleased to welcome them both to our phenomenal team!”
TSTC touts itself as 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.

 

BEST Robotics to Kick Off Saturday

(SWEETWATER) – Big Country BEST Robotics will mark the start of its 2017 competition with a kickoff event at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9.

The event, held at The Center at Texas State Technical College, will give students a glimpse into this year’s contest objectives.

“This is where we’ll reveal this year’s game challenge,” said Richard Smola of Ludlum Measurements, who is serving as co-hub director of Big Country BEST Robotics. “They’ll see the scenarios and learn how their robot will need to perform.”

Students will also go over contest rules and pick up their robot-building supplies at the event.

“We give them everything that they need,” Smola said. “Plywood, PVC, wire — everything they need to build a robot. Supplies like motors and programming tools are reused each year. These are middle school and high school students, and they all receive their supplies to start building on the same day.”

Texas State Technical College partners with Ludlum Measurements to co-sponsor the Big Country BEST Robotics program, with Ludlum leading the event this year and TSTC supplying the venue and event volunteers.

“We couldn’t do it without the volunteers, and the venue is really important,” Smola said. “With The Center we have a nice, big space, and we have the expertise of those volunteers from TSTC and Ludlum who’ve helped in prior years.”

BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to help students develop technological literacy skills and encourage interest in engineering, science and technology.

Students have six weeks from the kickoff event to the final game day event. Game day will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at The Center at TSTC.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

 

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TSTC to Celebrate Student Center’s 20th Anniversary

(SWEETWATER) – Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater will celebrate the 20th anniversary of “The Center,” the campus’ 36,000-square-foot recreational facility, with a commemorative ribbon cutting event at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 8, inside the building’s Seminar Room.
Former TSTC President Homer K. Taylor, who served as manager of development at the time, said in the ’90s TSTC exhibited a need for this building.
“First and foremost, our campus is somewhat isolated,” Taylor said. “We are a few miles from town, so our residential students needed a place to be able to use. Prior to this building, our students had a small building where students had like two pool tables and some table tennis. The building was shared with health services and the Dean of Students office. It was a very small place for the number of students we had. Students needed a place to add winter-type intramural sports and a cardio/fitness center. We were also in the middle of adding more housing for students, so we needed a facility that resident students could use and enjoy.”
Taylor said the facility not only filled a need for TSTC, but for the community as well.
“Dr. Clay Johnson, president of TSTC in Sweetwater at the time, had a dream to build a facility that was first class that both our students and the community could use and enjoy,” Taylor said. “In pursuing the plans for the Student Center, Clay and I visited the Cooper Fitness and Cardio Center in Dallas and modeled parts of the facility after the Cooper Center. The Center (at TSTC) offered the community a public place that would have a cardio/fitness center, a workout facility and a public meeting place.”
Maria Aguirre, TSTC executive director of compliance, agrees.
“The Student Center is a place the community has used since its opening,” she said. “We’ve hosted banquets, proms, meetings, workshops, competitions, conventions, practices for basketball and so much more for many community organizations and companies. The Rotary Club of Sweetwater regularly meets in the Seminar Room and has done so for many years. The Student Center is at the heart of our community.”
Since The Center was considered an auxiliary building, state funds could not be used to build it. A community-wide fundraiser was held to raise money to construct the building.
“This was the first time in Sweetwater to conduct a fundraising campaign to build such a facility,” Taylor said. “In The Center, there is a plaque of early donors that made a pledge and financial commitment for this facility. The goal for this building was to raise about $1 million to $1.5 million for this project.”
Aguirre said that even after 20 years, people ask if The Center is a new facility.
“The staff at the Student Center has cared for that facility very well,” she said. “Most prospects or visitors to the campus give great compliments to our Student Center and are surprised to find out it has been around for 20 years.”
Cake and punch will be served at the ribbon cutting. After the ceremony, attendees can also enjoy a lunch of grilled lemon pepper chicken or hamburgers for the discounted rate of $7.

 

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Two TSTC Employees in Breckenridge Earn Chancellor’s Excellence Award

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College has announced the recipients of this year’s Chancellor’s Excellence Award, and seven West Texas employees were honored. Of the seven, two employees from Breckenridge received the award.

This year’s Breckenridge award winners are Vernon Akins, maintenance supervisor, and Cassie Love, enrollment specialist.

Akins, who has been at TSTC for nearly four years, said he was excited to receive the award.

“It was an honor to be nominated and be able to receive it,” he said. “I try to treat everyone nice and get to the work orders as fast as I can get to them. I’m polite to everyone and do my best at what I can.”

He said his co-workers are what drive him.

“I enjoy working with these people,” Akins said. “I feel that everything I do helps them accomplish their jobs in the classroom or going to meetings. I just try to keep everything up and going.”

Love, a 10-year TSTC employee, said she was honored and humbled that her co-workers nominated her for the award.

“They said that I was a very valued employee and an asset to TSTC,” she said. “I’m willing to always help our students and fellow employees.”

Her favorite part of her job is helping students.

“I love my job,” Love said. “I like to help students and see them succeed. When they come in and they say, ‘I don’t think I can do this,’ I like to tell them, ‘Yes, you can!’ I didn’t start college until I was 42, so if I can do it, I know you can do it.”

The Chancellor’s Excellence Award began in 2001, and over the past 15 years more than 280 TSTC employees have received the honor. Recipients are chosen based on outstanding contributions and achievements, commitment to excellence and character. Honorees serve as agents of change in the advancement of TSTC initiatives.

TSTC touts itself as 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.

President and CEO of Abilene Chamber of Commerce to Speak at TSTC Commencement

(ABILENE) – Doug Peters, president and CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, willspeak at the Texas State Technical College summer commencement ceremony, which starts at 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 18, at the Abilene Civic Center.
Peters took on his current position of CEO in 2015. He oversees the strategic direction of the chamber and its affiliate organizations, including the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council and the Abilene Industrial Foundation.
He totes up 30 years of experience in chamber of commerce and economic development environments, having begun his career in Dayton, Ohio. He later went on to work for chambers of commerce in Richmond, Indiana; Findlay, Ohio; and Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he also served on the Economic Alliance.

Peters is a member of the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives Association, the Grace Museum board, the Junior League of Fayetteville advisory board, the board of the United Way, and various other local, state and national organizations.

He is married to his lifelong sweetheart, Whitney, and together they have three children.

TSTC expects to award over 100 degrees and certificates across its four West Texas campuses Friday.

TSTC awards associate degrees and certificates in areas such as Aviation Maintenance, Computer-Aided Drafting & Design, Emergency Medical Services, Environmental Technology, Nursing, Welding, Wind Energy and more. The college is currently registering for the fall semester.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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Who: Texas State Technical College students, faculty and staff; Abilene Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Doug Peters
What: Texas State Technical College Summer Commencement Ceremony
When: Friday, Aug. 18, 7 p.m.
Where: Abilene Civic Center, 1100 N 6th St., Abilene

Manufacturing Consortium Partners with TSTC for $293,211 Job-Training Grant

(TEMPLE) — Texas State Technical College has partnered with a manufacturing consortium including The Butler Weldments Corp., Reynolds Consumer Products LLC and Temple Bottling Co. to train 130 new and incumbent workers using a $293,211 Skills Development Fund grant.

Texas Workforce Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez presented the check to officials from TSTC, Butler Weldments, Reynolds Consumer Products and Temple Bottling Co. at an 11 a.m. ceremony today at the Temple Economic Development Corporation’s Board Room.

Steven Dobos, president of Butler Weldments, said the company is excited to get more training for employees.

“It’s a win-win for everybody involved,” Dobos said. “Skilled labor has been very difficult to find lately. What better way to bring about a solution for us than customized in-house training for our employees. It’s a phenomenal thing to do.”

Kyle Butler, plant operations manager at Temple Bottling Co., agreed.

“Our employees are primarily unskilled and this is going to go a long way,” he said.

Rick Villa, plant manager of Reynolds Consumer Products, said they’ve tried several other training programs, but they didn’t work for the company.

“This is the first program that we’ve really been able to lock our teeth into,” Villa said. “We’re training our operators to become mechanics, our mechanics to become electricians, and taking our electrical skills up in the plant. You need to bring those skills along if you want to be successful.”

Commissioner Alvarez said the training provided is necessary with changing technology.

“Each person that spoke today mentioned that skills have changed,” Alvarez said. “The face of manufacturing has changed. We’re talking about technology and terminology that didn’t exist before. It’s changed. Times have changed and the folks on the receiving end of this grant know that the change is coming. And so, the fact that they’re talking about keeping up their skills and keeping up with today’s technology says a lot.”

Charley Ayres, vice president of the Temple Economic Development Corporation, said the grant speaks to the sense of community in the area.

“It’s exciting to know that this grant doesn’t just involve Temple companies, it also involves our neighbors in Cameron,” Ayres said. “We work together very closely to try to make our businesses more successful. We understand that what happens in Cameron makes Temple better. That workforce makes us all stronger in our region.

The Skills Development Fund is one of the state’s premier job-training programs, keeping Texas competitive with a skilled workforce. Commissioner Alvarez said the grant would have an overall impact of $4 million.

Workers trained will include 35 new hires, and 95 jobs will be upgraded. Workers will be from Temple-area plants and will be trained in the areas of production, maintenance, mechanical and support occupations. Trainees will include machinists, maintenance technicians and production workers, and training will be provided by TSTC instructors. After completing the training, workers will receive an average hourly wage of $20.90.

For more information on TSTC’s workforce training, visit tstc.edu.

Two TSTC Employees in Sweetwater Earn Chancellor’s Excellence Award

(SWEETWATER) – Texas State Technical College has announced the recipients of this year’s Chancellor’s Excellence Award, and seven West Texas employees were honored. Of the seven, two employees from Sweetwater received the award.

This year’s Sweetwater award winners are Marina Wilcox, interim provost and vice president of Dual Enrollment, and Julie Browning, executive administrative assistant.

Browning has worked at TSTC for four years and said she was honored to receive the award.

“I guess I do my job well!” she laughed.

It is interaction with people that motivates her to come into work every day.

“I’m passionate about TSTC because of the people I work with and the students I work for,” Browning said.

Wilcox, who has worked at TSTC for a collective four years, felt the same sentiments.

“I was absolutely honored and humbled that my peers felt that I was worthy of this award and that I helped serve and lead them in a capacity that they felt was of benefit to them and the college,” she said.

Wilcox returned to TSTC in 2015, having previously worked at the college from 2007 to 2008.

“When I returned to TSTC, the college was on the ground level of going through the transition period of moving from separate colleges into one TSTC,” she said. “There was a great deal of change that was going on, on multiple levels.”

She was happy to guide her team through the shift.

“I’m glad I was able to be part of such an exciting transition and that I helped lead my team through that transition,” she said. “I’m glad they were able to see the positive effects the transition was having on the college in the present and where we’re going in the future. Every day is full of change and opportunities to be that servant-leader, to lead your team through the changes and to see the great effects it has in each of their areas.”

The Chancellor’s Excellence Award began in 2001, and over the past 15 years more than 280 TSTC employees have received the honor. Recipients are chosen based on outstanding contributions and achievements, commitment to excellence and character. Honorees serve as agents of change in the advancement of TSTC initiatives.

TSTC touts itself as being “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for over 90 positions at its 10 campuses statewide. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit tstc.edu/about/employment.

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Three TSTC Employees in Abilene Earn Chancellor’s Excellence Award

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College has announced the recipients of this year’s Chancellor’s Excellence Award, and seven West Texas employees were honored. Of the seven, three employees from Abilene received the award.
This year’s Abilene award winners are Holle England, professional development officer; Jeannette Gist, director of student recruitment; and Jennifer Ryan, success coach.
England, a 22-year TSTC employee, was honored to receive the award.
“I believe in TSTC’s mission, and I strive to make sure that everything I do goes toward that mission,” she said. “In today’s society, a technical education is so important. I try to make sure we have excellent faculty and staff to support the students.”
Ryan has worked at TSTC for 14 years and said winning the award was a humbling experience.
“I thought it was a joke,” she laughed. “When you come to work, you do your work and you try to make the best of it. You try to encourage your students the best that you can, and you don’t really think about being recognized for that.”
The “underdogs” keep her motivated at TSTC.
“I want to help the person that was told by their high school counselor, a teacher or even a family member, ‘I don’t think college is for you,'” she said. “I try to show them that just because they may be limited in reading or math skills, or maybe have a learning disability, that doesn’t have to limit their potential to break the chain. Just because your family has always had manual jobs, that doesn’t mean you can’t be something different.”
With a background in children’s and family ministry, Gist also wanted to help make a difference for families.
“My heart just beats for families,” she said. “When I took the job, I wasn’t sure how my passion would connect with this job, but I found out very quickly how well it connects to what I care about. Every day in student recruitment we meet people. Sometimes they’re young, but sometimes they’re people even older than me who don’t know what they want to be when they ‘grow up.'”
She enjoys helping these students take the next step toward success.
“It’s a high to be able to walk through the process and direct them to a career that will enable them to provide for their families,” Gist said. “You never know what everybody’s story is and what it even took for them to walk through the door and pursue something different. What if they grew up in a household where people didn’t tell them they were smart? Maybe they didn’t have the confidence to take on a challenge like college. I want to be the person that sits across from them and says, ‘You can do it.'”
The Chancellor’s Excellence Award began in 2001, and over the past 15 years more than 280 TSTC employees have received the honor. Recipients are chosen based on outstanding contributions and achievements, commitment to excellence and character. Honorees serve as agents of change in the advancement of TSTC initiatives.
TSTC touts itself as “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for over 90 positions at its 10 campuses. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit tstc.edu/about/employment.
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TSTC Presents Faculty Member of the Year Award

(HUTTO) – Employees at Texas State Technical College in Williamson County celebrated Employee Appreciation Day on June 19, a day that included fun for employees and awards for employees of the year.

George Fields, an Industrial Electrical Systems instructor who has worked at TSTC for six years, was chosen by his colleagues as Faculty Member of the Year. The Greenville, Texas, native was excited to hear the news.

“It was satisfying,” Fields said. “I like interacting with the students and helping them reach their goals. What they said they’re giving me the award for is what I try to accomplish, so it feels like I did what I set out to do.”

Fields is on his third career. The veteran retired from the Navy after serving 20 years in the military – seven years in the Army and 13 in the Navy. In the military, he served as an electronics technician. He then went on to a supervisory role and, in his last tour, taught electronics. Fields later worked as a Facilities Maintenance and Services Supervisor in shopping malls, where he stayed for another 18 years before retiring again.

Fields set out to be a teacher after working as a supervisor and realizing that there were certain skills he wanted his workers to know on the job. He began teaching at a prison in 1996.

“You like to see people reach and surpass their ability to do their job,” he said. “You know what you want them to know. You know the type of training you want them to have. It’s not that they aren’t already receiving good training. But are they getting the right training?”

After the prison, Fields taught at Blinn College and in 2011 made his way to TSTC. But teaching wasn’t his first experience with the college; Fields had attended TSTC in Waco in 1983.

“I had been working at the mall part time and going to school part time,” Fields said. “I went down to Waco and found out about TSTC and enrolled. After about two semesters, they asked me to go back to the mall as a facilities maintenance and services supervisor.”

In his short time there, TSTC made an impression on Fields, and once he began teaching, he made it his goal to return to the college.

“That was a goal of mine, to come back to TSTC as an instructor,” he said. “I said if I got that opportunity that I would, and the situation was ideal. It was a brand-new school. They needed old folks like me who knew how to get something started. So I got to get in on the ground floor and see this program start and grow.”

Employees of the campus submitted nominations for the award, and the final winner was chosen by a committee. Employees had great things to say about Fields, with one teammate writing, “Invaluable knowledge, invaluable resource, years of dedication and solid as a rock! He’s an example to us all to keep raising the bar and never stop!”

Another comment reads, “Mr. Fields is an advocate of the student and a consummate professional. If he tells you something, you can trust it is correct. He is there for the other instructors as well.”

Fields is agraduate of Saint Paul High School in Neylandville, Texas. He earned his bachelor’s (2000) and master’s degrees​ (2002) from Texas A&M University Commerce.

TSTC touts itself as “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for over 90 positions at its 10 campuses. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit tstc.edu/about/employment.

TSTC Presents Staff Member of the Year Award

(HUTTO) – Employees at Texas State Technical College celebrated Employee Appreciation Day on June 19, a day that included fun for employees and awards for employees of the year.

Etsuko Martinez, senior staff assistant who has worked at TSTC for 2 1/2 years, was chosen by her colleagues as Staff Member of the Year. The Hutto resident was excited to hear of the news.

“It was definitely unexpected,” Martinez said. “I was honored and glad to be chosen.”

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

Employees had great things to say about Martinez, with one teammate writing, “Etsuko is dependable, efficient and unfailingly punctual. In fact, I have never worked with a person who gives as much attention to detail as she does … She also projects a warm, cheerful attitude to our students, staff and faculty. She loves people, works hard and always tries to lift the spirits of those around her. I believe these characteristics represent all that is good about TSTC.”

Another comment reads, “Etsuko has helped me to learn my job, and she continues to be available whenever I need advice. Etsuko always handles her work with thoroughness.”

Martinez prides herself on being able to assist her co-workers.

“I’m happy when I’m able to help somebody,” she said. “I feel accomplished.”

She reflected on a time last year when her co-workers put together a gift for her after her father passed away.

“I went back home to Japan last November for my father’s memorial service, and they gave me a very thoughtful gift,” she said. “That was really sweet of them. I really feel the support all the time, and that’s why I always want to give back to TSTC. We’re family!”

TSTC touts itself as being “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for over 90 positions at its 10 campuses statewide. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit tstc.edu/about/employment.