Category Archives: Sweetwater

TSTC and Presidio ISD Unite to Offer Dual Credit Classes

(SWEETWATER) – Gilberto Madrid of Presidio is lighting the fire for his career each day in a welding booth at Texas State Technical College.

“I liked the thought of being able to control metal and fuse it together to make it something that can support weight,” said Madrid, 20. “That has interested me for a couple of years now.”

Madrid earned dual credit hours while a student at Presidio High School and is scheduled to graduate from TSTC in August with a certificate in Structural Welding and is considering his work options. It is a path Presidio Independent School District education leaders hope other students will follow as they are armed with dual credit hours from TSTC.

This year, there have been 20 Presidio High School students taking dual credit courses from TSTC online in Culinary Arts, Digital Media Design and Medical Office Specialist, and in person with TSTC credentialed high school teachers in Business Management Technology and Welding Technology.

For PISD Superintendent Dennis McEntire, one of the goals is to give Presidio students every opportunity they can to achieve.

“We are open to any dual credit with TSTC,” he said. “The welding is the one we have had the most numbers in. We can work with TSTC on anything they can make available for the kids to work on. This is the future; this is Presidio. We absolutely bought into this. We have managed to build this into our budget and create a financial model to make it successful.”

Some of Presidio High School’s welding students recently visited TSTC to meet Welding Technology program instructors and work with equipment.

“This just gives them a taste to get them motivated and hopefully continue on with us,” said Taylor Elston, a TSTC in Sweetwater welding instructor. “It seems to be paying off with some of them.”

Elston said Sweetwater’s welding program attracts students from throughout West Texas and the Panhandle. He said the goal is for graduates to have a job, or a welding test for a job, waiting for them upon graduation. Elston said he and fellow welding instructor Frank Molini are starting to build relationships with employers in Brady, Early and Roscoe.

“We are looking at the market and what is available and places they would not mind living,” Elston said. “We will see what the companies are testing and we will help them practice for their test to get the job.”

PISD’s early college high school concept containing a technical college component began about seven years ago, McEntire said. The school district also partners with The University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa.

“We were able to put this into place about five years ago,” McEntire said. “It is 300 miles to UTPB  and nearly than 400 miles to TSTC – so everything has to be done online and done at a distance. It took us a couple of years to convince the Texas Education Agency that it is viable. It has become a much more common occurrence.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

 

TSTC Names Rick Denbow Provost

(WEST TEXAS) – Texas State Technical College has named Rick Denbow as the Provost over its four West Texas campuses. Denbow served as Interim Provost for the campuses since May.

Along with functioning as Interim Provost, Denbow was also the Senior Field Development Officer for The TSTC Foundation, an instrumental role in supporting the efforts of TSTC’s new technology center in Abilene. Denbow began working for TSTC in 2009 as the director of the Welding and Transportation Technology Division.

Denbow said he is honored to have been selected.

“It’s a lot of responsibility, but I’m very excited also,” he said. “In my tenure with TSTC, I’ve spent my time in West Texas working with the four campuses and I’ve come to know the programs and the faculty and staff. I’m really excited about going forward. Some of the things the college has done, like the most recent reorganization, have really positioned us to be successful.”

The West Texas community is one of Denbow’s favorite things about his job.

“The communities at each of the four locations are very supportive of TSTC and what we’re trying to do, and that makes our job a little bit easier,” he said. “Also, the faculty and staff are just awesome. They’re always willing to go that extra mile and I’m honored to be able to work with them.”

Denbow has lofty goals for TSTC in West Texas.

“As the Chancellor stated in an email to employees a few weeks back, there’s one word and that’s growth,” Denbow said. “That can have different meanings depending on the campus. Is it growing enrollment? Is it growing capacity? Is it growing placement? I would submit it’s all of the above. Each campus in West Texas is unique and one of my goals is to make sure we grow at each of our four campuses.”

TSTC Vice Chancellor & Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Kilgore said he is excited to welcome Denbow in the role.

“Through his experiences, Rick has a really good sense of the communities and needs of industry in the West Texas Region,” Kilgore said.

Denbow graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of Texas at Austin.

“I come from the business world,” Denbow said. “With Chancellor Reeser’s focus on making TSTC a little more entrepreneurial, a little more business-like, that fits very well with my background. I think I can add value to the West Texas campuses in the provost role.”

Denbow added that TSTC’s new Industrial Technology Center in Abilene is ahead of the construction schedule. They hope to start moving employees in on Aug. 1, and classes will begin in the building in the fall. Denbow says the campus signifies a new beginning for TSTC in Abilene.

“That campus, the design and how it’s laid out, the Abilene community has never seen anything like that from TSTC,” he said. “The Abilene campus has been housed in an old hospital and we didn’t really have an opportunity to put any heavy equipment and industrial trades in there. This is a new start.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Student Receives Guitar Once Used by Famous Rock Band

(SWEETWATER) – In the wake of the Bluebonnet Inn dorm fire at Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater, one student had a special request. Isaiah Ornelaz, an Automotive Technology student and avid guitar player, just wanted his guitar replaced.

When TSTC employees heard of the request, Rene Ralston, TSTC’s director of Dual Enrollment programs, made a post on her personal Facebook page, asking if anyone might have a guitar they would be willing to donate. She soon had a response.

Maggie Dickey, owner of Sweetwater Performing Arts Center and wife of the late David Dickey, bassist of the band America, told Ralston she might have a guitar for Ornelaz.

“When we asked Maggie if she was sure she wanted to do this, her answer was, ‘electric or acoustic?,’” Ralston said. “Maggie took the guitar to Abilene on Saturday, had new strings put on it, had it tuned and bought Isaiah a new guitar case.”

Ornelaz said he mentioned the guitar in conversation with TSTC employees he talks to often.

“I talk to them a lot, so they knew I play the guitar,” he said. “When the fire happened, I was like, ‘Aw, I lost my guitar,’ and later they asked me if I had an electric or acoustic.”

The guitar was presented to Ornelaz on Monday at a gathering TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser held to speak to the students affected by the fire.

“I’m a guitar player, too, and I want you to know that if I lost one of my guitars in a fire, I would really be upset,” Reeser told Ornelaz. “I happened to hear this morning that there are some employees trying to make sure you get your guitar. I knew David Dickey, and he’s quite literally a rock star. He’s the real deal.”

Ornelaz was shocked to receive the gift.

“I was pretty surprised,” he said. “I just thought he knew I played guitar and was talking about it, and then they showed up with a guitar.”

He wasted no time in playing and even looked up music by America, whose music he hadn’t previously heard.

“I played it all last night. It’s awesome,” he said. “I looked up some songs [by America.] They’re pretty good. I’ll listen to them quite a bit now.”

David Dickey, a Sweetwater resident since 1996, joined America in 1972. The band produced hits like “A Horse with No Name,” “Ventura Highway,” “Hat Trick” and “Sister Golden Hair.”

In all, 28 students were left without their belongings because of the dorm fire. The college and the community have rallied together to recoup the students’ lost items and necessities like clothing and books.

Those interested in donating to the students can give to the Sweetwater Fire Emergency Relief Fund at foundation.tstc.edu.

TSTC, Community Offer Support to TSTC Students Affected by Fire

(SWEETWATER) – Texas State Technical College Chancellor Mike Reeser met with students affected by the Feb. 7 Bluebonnet Inn dorm fire on the Sweetwater campus at a 2 p.m. gathering today.

Chancellor Reeser reiterated his support for the students.

“When you enroll in TSTC, you become family,” he told the students. “When tragedy happens, a family gathers together. This meeting is to continue that opportunity for you to know that we care. We’re here for you.”

Reeser said the college will do whatever it can to help students stay on track.

“We’re going to make sure that we do everything in our power to make sure you reach the goal you set — to be a technician in a high-paying field,” he said. “We’re going to do all that we can to make sure this tragedy doesn’t deter you, and the way we’re going to do that is with our support for you.”

While no one was injured in the fire, the dorm and the students’ belongings inside were a total loss. TSTC provided books and tools to the students affected, and elected officials, TSTC supporters, area colleges, businesses, churches and community members from the region have generously offered assistance.

At the meeting, the students were presented with gift cards from Trinity Baptist Church, 4th & Elm Church of Christ and Goodwill-West Texas’ Grounds Division to help replace lost possessions. EMA Electromechanics also made a donation to help the students.

“The community really responded,” said TSTC Provost Rick Denbow. “In less than a week’s time, we’ve had a lot of people reach out. We’re still getting calls asking how they can help the students.”

Rep. Stan Lambert​,​ District 71 (R-Abilene)​,​ also spoke to the students.

“We are concerned, and we’re trying to put ourselves in your shoes and understand what you’re going through right now — not just the loss of physical possessions, but some of the emotions and mental issues that you may be dealing with right now,” Lambert said. “The state of Texas is going to step up and do anything that we can to help you in this recovery effort.”

Lambert said he hopes to help ease the students’ hardship.

“I live in Abilene just east of here,” he said. “What I tell parents who send their children to colleges, and even the Dyess airmen, I tell them, ‘They’re ours now. We’ve adopted them.’ We’ve adopted you, because you’re part of the Big Country. You’re part of our family. I want you to know that we’re committed to do anything we possibly can to help you make this transition as soon as possible and ease your burden.”

Those interested in donating to the students can give to the Sweetwater Fire Emergency Relief Fund at foundation.tstc.edu.

TSTC in Sweetwater to Host Blood Drive

(SWEETWATER) – Texas State Technical College will host a Meek Blood Center blood drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, in front of the Student Center on the TSTC campus in Sweetwater.


Griselda Sanchez, community standards liaison at TSTC, said the students requested that the school host the drive.


“They wanted to donate and asked if I could make that arrangement,” she said.


Sanchez hopes to make the blood drive a recurring event on campus.


“We have had this in the past, but it was a few years back,” she said. “I want to make it a regular thing, and the Meek Blood Center is really excited to do that. I feel like TSTC should be known as a location that not only is here to educate our students in technologies, but also in serving opportunities.”


TSTC hopes the drive will help those in need of this lifesaving gift.


“Many have a personal tie to donating, so in lieu of naming this drive, I hope each student and employee who donates comes with their special person in mind,” Sanchez said.


Frances Baker, marketing and business development manager at Meek Blood Center, said donating blood is a powerful action.


“We don’t have a lot of opportunities in our lives to save someone else’s life, but blood donation is one way to do that,” Baker said. “You can save three lives with one donation. There’s a lot of power in the blood.”


Sanchez said everyone benefits from the drive.


“Those in need of blood benefit, and those who donate will feel like they have made a difference.”


Meek donations benefit patients over a large area.


“Meek Blood Center provides blood to 17 area hospitals, including Sweetwater’s Rolling Plains,” Baker said.

Donors will receive a T-shirt. For more information on the blood drive, call 325-235-7311.

Mark Your Calendar: TSTC Registration Rally on Nov. 28

(SWEETWATER) – Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater will host a Registration Rally on Tuesday, Nov. 28 – all part of an effort to make the registration process as easy as possible for incoming students.   

Recruiting and Admissions staff will be on standby to walk students through the registration process. They will also offer tours and help with applications.

The Registration Rally will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Sears Building. Attendees will be able to meet with faculty, learn more about the different technologies offered at the Sweetwater campus and tour the facilities.

In addition to Recruiting and Admissions; personnel from Financial Aid, Testing, Student Success and Veteran Services will be available to answer questions and lend a helping hand. Prospective students will be able to learn all about resources available to them.

Prospective students who need help finalizing their registration are encouraged to bring the following: copy of driver’s license, high school transcript or GED, any college transcripts, proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination, housing application and TSI scores.

For more information on the Registration Rally, go to www.tstc.edu/rally.

 

TSTC Automotive Technology Receives Large Donation

(HARLINGEN) – Texas State Technical College Automotive Technology programs at Harlingen, Waco and Sweetwater recently received large donations from San Antonio’s CarFest and TSTC industry partner Jasper Engines and Transmissions.

The donation from CarFest totaled $30,000 and was divided equally among the three campuses and will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the TSTC Foundation for student scholarships.

Jasper donated another $2,500 to each campus for the purchase of automotive engines and transmissions to be used for industrial training.

Combined, Automotive Technology at TSTC’s Harlingen campus received $12,500.

TSTC Automotive Technology and Auto Collision Technology Lead Instructor Adan Gutierrez said these recent contributions are not only great for the program, but also for its students.

“We are so grateful to have received these donations,” said Gutierrez. “It helps us train more students and gives us the opportunity to give them access to the newest technologies.”TSTC Automotive Technology

TSTC’s Waco campus is a second-year sponsor of San Antonio’s CarFest, an event organized to help repair vehicles for local families in need and dedicated to building a culture of continuous skill building, quality and pride in the automotive industry.

Faculty and students from TSTC’s Technical Drag Racing Association and Automotive SkillsUSA Club arrive at the event ready and willing to get under the hood, diagnose the problem, complete repairs and return the car to the family ready to drive.

TSTC Automotive programs Statewide Department Chair Rudy Cervantez said this is the second year they have received a donation of this magnitude from CarFest.

“This is an organization that likes to give back to its community,” he said. “And they definitely give back to our students in more ways than one.”

He added that CarFest gives the students a hands-on, real-world experience and an opportunity to speak with industry professionals in addition to the donations that help pay for tuition, books and equipment.

“We’re really excited for next year’s CarFest in April,” said Cervantez. “Our Waco team will be there and we’re encouraging our other campuses to join us.”

Gutierrez said he is working diligently to get his students from TSTC’s Harlingen campus to San Antonio in April for the event.

“This is great experience for our students,” said Gutierrez. “And our goal is to get our students there and have them experience this event first hand and to give them the opportunity to give back to an organization that has given them so much.”

For more information on TSTC’s Automotive programs, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Veterans Receive Another $75,000 Gift from EMA Electromechanics

(SWEETWATER) – EMA Electromechanics donated $75,000 to Texas State Technical College in a check signing ceremony Friday, Oct. 20. The donation brings EMA contributions to TSTC to a total of $150,000.

The gift funds an account called Sweetwater Veteran’s Funds for College Education, which was established in 2015 when EMA gave the first gift of $75,000. Funds will go toward helping veterans complete their technical training at the college’s West Texas campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater.

EMA created the account as a way to honor area veterans.

“We want to give back to them for what they do for us,” said EMA Manager Gabriel Acosta. “The way we see it is that we enjoy freedom in the U.S. because of their efforts.”

Since 2015, 36 veterans have benefited from the Sweetwater Veteran’s Funds for College Education. TSTC currently serves 68 veterans across its four West Texas campuses.

EMA hopes the gift will ease the transition veterans face when returning from service.

“The purpose of this gift is to make sure that they have a chance to go back to civilian life with some help if they need some, to go back and get a career or improve their knowledge,” Acosta said.

Robert Schneider, an Air Force veteran who is an Automotive student at TSTC, was one of the recipients of the scholarship.

“I will forever be grateful for EMA being a helping hand in a time of need,” Schneider said. “I probably speak on behalf of many veterans when I say thank you. Being able to receive help from this company has lifted a lot of burden off of my shoulders at very crucial times.”

EMA was founded in 1952 in Argentina, but in 2010 it expanded to open its Sweetwater location, where it develops and manufactures specialized electromechanical equipment for wind generation.

TSTC Interim Provost Rick Denbow said the college is grateful for EMA and its contribution.

“TSTC is very thankful to EMA Electromechanics’ gift to our veteran students,” said Denbow. “Relationships like these not only strengthen TSTC, but bolster our students and community as well.”

For information on making a difference for TSTC students, visit tstc.edu/tstcfoundation.

 

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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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