Author Archives: Debra Gonzalez

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

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

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 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 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

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

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 Instructor’s Enthusiasm Earns Him Faculty of the Year Award

(RED OAK) – 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.

HVAC Instructor Terry Robinson was chosen as faculty member of the year.

Robinson, a native of Clute, Texas, who has been teaching at TSTC for two years, said he was humbled to receive the honor from his peers.

“I was gratified to get this recognition,” he said. “I think they’ve seen my dedication and the amount of work I put into helping build the HVAC department. When I came here, they had just moved all the equipment from another location, so I had to not only start building stuff to teach with, but I had to build the lab. I think everyone was well-pleased with the effort I put into it.”

Robinson was working as a service manager when he discovered a passion for teaching.

“I enjoyed teaching my technicians and installers how to do things, so I knew that teaching was going to be something I would want to do at some point,” he said. “In 1992 I started teaching, and I’ve been teaching ever since. I’ve also taught at Tarrant County College, Fort Worth Independent Schools’ night adult program and at Cedar Valley College.”

In his teaching style, Robinson swears by his motto: “Those that can, teach passionately.”

“That’s the way I try to approach my teaching. I enjoy communicating with my students and being creative,” he said.

He enjoys showing students the significance of TSTC.

“I’ve seen all types of educational systems — private, proprietary, trade school, junior college — and I like TSTC because I think we’re the best educational value a student can have,” Robinson said. “It’s just such an incredible value for students at a relatively low price.”

Robinson and his wife, a former elementary school teacher, share a passion for education.

“My wife was there the day that I got the award, and it just totally surprised her,” Robinson said. “She had just retired after 41 years of teaching elementary in public schools. In the last 15 years or so, she was a talented and gifted teacher. I always told her, ‘Of course you teach talented and gifted — you live with me!’”

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 Looks to Expand Team

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College is looking to expand its Williamson County team and hiring for several instructor positions.

Precision Machining, Industrial Maintenance, HVAC, Welding and Culinary Arts are some of the areas in which the school is looking to fill vacancies.

Campus Director Darren Block said teaching offers a chance to make an impact in the community. It also lets one do one’s part to fill the “skills gap,” a shortage of middle-skilled workers to fill open positions in the U.S.

“By instructing the next generation of blue-collar workers in this country, we are building the future and providing a path to success,” Block said. “You often hear ‘it’s a dying art’ or the ‘skills gap.’ We are filling that skills gap, or handing down that skill or ‘art’ to the next generation.”

Block said teaching also offers a sense of pride.

“Teaching someone to do what you do is fulfilling and rewarding,” he said. “When I get a call from an employer saying our student is working out great and asking if we have any more to send them, that is what it is all about.”

TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla hopes those interested in strengthening the workforce of Texas will apply.

“TSTC is a dynamic institution, working hard to fulfill a unique mission among colleges and universities in Texas,” Padilla said. “Our employees are the heartbeat of our vision for placing more Texans into great careers. We are seeking employees who are eager to innovate, lead and be part of changing the landscape of higher education in Texas.”

TSTC has 10 campuses statewide in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater, Waco and Williamson County. Each campus provides a unique atmosphere, with programs chosen to suit each area’s employment needs.

“We are situated in one of the top five fastest-growing cities in Texas,” Padilla said. “The business climate in the Austin metropolitan area, coupled with our unique culture, makes this the perfect place to work and make an impact for our future students and graduates.”

TSTC offers benefits such as retirement, medical, dental, vision and more.

For information on open positions at TSTC, visit

TSTC Recruiters Bring Enthusiasm to New Roles

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College recently welcomed two new student recruiters at its Williamson County campus.

MaKenna Honea, of Georgetown, and Brittany Hoke, of Pflugerville, joined the TSTC team at the beginning of June.

Before joining TSTC, Honea worked in the food and bar industry for four years.

“I wanted to find somewhere to grow professionally and start a career,” she said. “I wanted to work somewhere I’d be held to higher standards and have more responsibilities.”

She relishes her new role as a recruiter.

“It’s challenging, but it’s rewarding,” Honea said. “Every day is something different, which is fun.”

While Honea enjoys the team she works with, she is happy to be helping local students map out their futures.

“It’s cool that I get to be somebody I wish I would’ve met in high school, reaching out to kids,” she said. “If I would have had a recruiter, things probably could have been really different for me.”

Hoke enjoys that aspect of the job as well.

“I like getting to help students figure things out that I didn’t figure out when I was younger,” she said. “Getting to help introduce kids to TSTC is pretty awesome because it is such an affordable education.”

Before coming to TSTC, Hoke worked with the Texas secretary of state’s office as an employee of Registered Agent Solutions Inc. and was also a child support officer. She was excited to take on her role at TSTC.

“It was a completely different opportunity than anything else I had seen,” she said. “The pride of the staff is really eye-opening.”

Both women stand behind the school’s mission — to place more Texans in great-paying jobs.

“We are all about students,” Honea said. “We’re not just about numbers; we’re about the actual people.”

Hoke shared those sentiments.

“TSTC is something I can stand behind,” Hoke said. “It’s a good message, a good education and a good value.”

Coordinator of Recruitment Melissa Morman said she is happy to have finally completed her team of recruiters.

“Having Brittany and MaKenna join the student recruitment team has really been the fuel this department has needed to have more of a presence in the surrounding areas,” she said. “With Pflugerville and Georgetown natives on board, it gives us the insight to share our mission of placing more Texans along with spreading the TSTC message.”

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 in North Texas to Host First Commencement Ceremony

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College in North Texas will host its first commencement ceremony Monday, Aug. 20. Sixty students are eligible to graduate from eight of the college’s 10 programs in Red Oak.

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

“We’re extremely excited about having our first commencement ceremony here in North Texas,” said TSTC Provost Marcus Balch.

Balch said the ceremony gives TSTC the opportunity to showcase the success of the campus.

“This is a great opportunity to show the local community the progress we have made in growing our campus and providing our local industry partners with highly skilled employees,” Balch said. “It also allows us to invite our supporters such as industry partners and donors to be able to see firsthand the culmination of the great things we are doing here at TSTC.”

Graduates of the campus are normally hosted at the commencement ceremony in Waco. Balch said he hopes having the ceremony locally will boost participation and morale.

“I would expect that many more of our graduates and their families and friends will be able to attend, making the ceremony much more meaningful,” Balch said. “Participating in the Waco ceremony was great, but North Texas graduates will now become the center of attention.”

This semester boasts the campus’ largest graduating class so far, with students graduating from the college’s Computer Aided Drafting & Design, Computer Networking & Systems Administration, Diesel Equipment, Electrical Power & Controls, HVAC, Industrial Maintenance, Logistics and Welding technology programs.

“These graduates have worked very hard and are currently being heavily recruited by area industry partners,” Balch said.

TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser will be the featured speaker at the commencement ceremony.

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