Category Archives: Waco

TSTC grad, Needville native made childhood dream come true

(FORT BEND) – Grant Siebrecht knew he wanted to become a diesel mechanic, but with pressure from his family to attend a four-year university he thought his dream was impossible, until Texas State Technical College opened up in his community.

“TSTC had great timing,” said Siebrecht. “It had everything I was looking for in a college and because of it, I am now doing what I love.”

The Needville native was a new high school graduate in 2016, the same year TSTC in Fort Bend County opened its doors, and much to his surprise, Diesel Equipment Technology was an offered technical program.

“I went through some disapproval from some family members because it was a technical school,” said Siebrecht. “But I knew a four-year degree wasn’t for me. I needed to work with my hands and this place had it all.”

With support from his grandfather from the get-go, Siebrecht received emotional and financial support from him, with the rest of the family following suit when they realized how happy and how much Siebrecht was achieving.

“I used to watch my dad work on cars and trucks as a hobby. It was fascinating and I knew that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up,” he said. “And without the support from my grandfather and family, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”Grant Siebrecht

In fact, Siebrecht loves mechanics so much he took a part-time job while in high school at a local mechanic shop, the same place his family would take their car when it needed repairs.

“This was a great experience for me as a high school student. It laid out my foundation in the industry,” he said. “And attending TSTC just took it to another level for me.”

The 21-year-old was among the program’s first cohort to graduate in 2017. And with honors, a certificate in Diesel Equipment Technology, a 3.7 grade-point average and a job offer in hand, Siebrecht was ready to face the world.

“TSTC was a great place of learning for me. All of the hands-on training and knowledgeable faculty made my experience there worth my while,” said Siebrecht. “My classmates and I learned so much and the student life was great. Everyone was so nice and welcoming.”

Siebrecht credits TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology Instructor Spencer Paige for much of his success because of his knowledge, patience and experience.

“Spencer was great. With his teaching, training and letter of recommendation, I got a job before I even graduated. Not many people can say that about their college,” he said.

Siebrecht started his career at Hlavinka Equipment Company in Rosenberg as a diesel technician and has now been there for a year and half.

“I work on off-road equipment and tractors, have a steady paycheck and benefits,” he said. “What more could a guy ask for?”

Hlavinka Equipment Service Manager Chris Hallman said he knew from the moment he met Siebrecht that he was a great hire.

“I could tell that this was a young man who wanted this position and who actually had a passion to work in this industry. This is what set him apart from other candidates,” said Hallman. “And of course knowing that he received his training at TSTC was an added plus.”

Hallman added, “He is a solid worker, not afraid to get his hands dirty and get the job done and has a concern for safety. He is definitely a great asset to our company.”

Siebrecht said he will be visiting TSTC again soon because he plans on beginning the path toward an associate degree in Spring 2019 because he has bigger dreams he is working toward.

“I hope to someday own a diesel shop and work on diesel truck performance and heavy equipment,” said Siebrecht. “I’m a turn-the-wrench type of guy and I have to continue my education and getting experience to make this happen.”

Diesel Equipment Technology is offered at TSTC’s Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses.

For more information Diesel Equipment Technology, visit

TSTC in Waco Student Restaurant to Open Sept. 19

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

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

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

Sept. 19 and Sept. 21: Texas

Sept. 26 and Sept. 28: Ireland

Oct. 3 and Oct. 5: Germany

Oct. 10 and Oct. 12: Czechoslovakia

Oct. 17 and Oct. 19: Cuba

Oct. 24 and Oct. 26: Northern Italy

Oct. 31 and Nov. 2: Vietnam

Nov. 7 and Nov. 9: Chef’s Choice

Nov. 14 and Nov. 16: Chef’s Choice

Nov. 28 and Nov. 30: Live Action Buffet

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

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

For menus and other information, go to

TSTC Fathers Proud of Sons’ Achievements

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

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

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

Their last names are recognizable on campus.

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

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

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

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

Bowers awarded his son his degree at the graduation ceremony.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Students Get Scholarships from Area Arts Organization

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

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

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

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

The students said they are grateful for their scholarships.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It pushes me,” she said.

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

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to


TSTC Receives Certification for Toyota T-TEN Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC donates school supplies to local non-profit organization


With the new school year upon us, the Student Government Association (SGA) at Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County wanted to help students and their families that struggle to purchase school supplies for the year.

All thanks to the organization’s hard work and help from college students and employees, TSTC was able to donate a boxload of supplies to Lunches of Love in Rosenberg.

Lunches of Love is a non-profit organization that is committed to helping end childhood hunger in Fort Bend County by providing free nutritious sack lunches during extended holidays and weekends. They provide at least 3,500 lunches a day.

“Many of our families don’t have the means to purchase food to eat on a regular basis – much less school supplies,” said Adriane Gray, Lunch of Love creator and director. “These supplies will help our kiddos have confidence and hold their head high when walking into school with the tools needed to have a great year.”

TSTC SGA school supply donation.

Pictured left to right are SGA officers and Cyber Security Technology students Parker Sorrels and Scott Easter delivering the school supply donations to Lunches of Love in Rosenberg.

Grey added that the school supplies are a true blessing for her Lunches of Love kids and that she is very thankful to TSTC for the donation.

To make this donation possible, SGA President Rogelio Garcia, Vice President Parker Sorrel and Treasurer Scott Easter, recently hosted a Gaming Tournament with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward the purchase of school supplies.

“Not only was this a great way for our students to relax and have fun before final exams, but it allowed everyone on campus to get involved and give back,” said Garcia.

Also, between June and August, collection boxes were set up throughout campus with students, faculty, staff and administration making donations.

“We wanted to do something meaningful that would benefit our community,” said Garcia. “We hope that this will alleviate the stress of back-to-school shopping and that it’s a boost for students to help them succeed. They are our future after all.”

TSTC Director of Admissions and SGA Advisor Georgeann Calzada said she is proud of the SGA officers for coordinating donation drives and the event to collect monetary donations and supplies such as notebooks, paper, pens and pencils, folders and colors.

“Our local communities are very important to us so we try to give back in any way we can,” she said. “At the start of a new school year we see how students struggle  to get the bare necessities so we wanted to extend our donations to our local community.”

Calzada added that civic engagement is an important lesson to teach students during this transitional phase into their careers.

“The communities they’ll be working and living in need them to be involved. It builds good character and I hope that they feel the sense of joy I feel when I see them giving back to the community that gives us so much on a daily basis.”

For information on SGA or the programs offered at TSTC in Fort Bend County, visit

The sky is the limit at TSTC for homeless man turned college graduate

(FORT BEND) – They say it takes a village. For Darryl Jackson, or DJ, as most people know him, that could not be more true.
Thursday night was life changing because the 22-year-old graduated with his certificate in Electrical Lineworker Technology from Texas State Technical College – a feat that not long ago seemed impossible for this young homeless man.
“I never dreamt that I would, or could be a college graduate,” said Jackson. “Statistics show I should be in prison or dead.”
But Jackson is not a statistic. Instead, he is defying all odds.
The Houston native was taken away from his mother because of her drug addiction and his father was never in the picture.
Jackson grew up in the foster care system and suffered some abuse. At 18, he aged out, like many teens in the system do.
He found himself out in the streets with no place to live, no food to eat and no money for even his most basic needs.
“My entire life has been discouraging, frightening and sad,” said Jackson. “I was a very angry child and teen. I didn’t understand why I was suffering.”
Jackson spent one year at a homeless shelter. Then went from couch-to-couch, living with different friends.
Then, finally a break. One of his friends invited him to visit TSTC for registration.
“I had no intention of registering for classes. I was only along for the ride,” said Jackson. “But as soon as I stepped foot on campus everything changed.”
Darryl Jackson
That was the day that changed Jackson’s life forever. And although he said he had no idea what a lineworker was or did, he signed up for the program anyways. He figured he had nothing to lose.
“What was I thinking, I’m afraid of heights,” Jackson said he thought on the first day of class. “I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into, but I knew I had to do something. I didn’t want to be homeless forever.”
Enter Troy Eads, TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology instructor. Jackson credits Eads for much of what he has been able to achieve.
As a young homeless man, school was not a priority, survival was. And although Jackson received financial aid and scholarships such as TSTC’s Texan Success Scholarship, it was only enough for tuition and books.
He was still homeless and without enough to eat.
“DJ was so close to quitting several times, and it hurt me as his instructor because I knew about his life and I wanted so much to see him succeed,” said Eads. “He would sleep in the trucks at the college’s diesel lab and he was always hungry and tired, so I took him into my home.”
Jackson would stay with Eads occasionally, but help also came from Carolyn Arnim from Friendship Church in Richmond, who learned about the lineworker student and his situation during one of her clothing drop-offs for TSTC’s Clothing Closet. Arnim got her whole congregation to help.
“As a church in the community we felt compelled to help Darryl. What was happening could not happen on our watch,” said Arnim. “I can’t even put into words what a big deal his graduation is. We’re so proud of him and I truly feel that we needed Darryl more than he needed us. His testimony has resonated with so many in our community.”
The congregation from Friendship Church took Jackson in as one of their own, helping him with spiritual guidance, clothes, food and a place to stay.
Between TSTC and the church sharing the cost, Jackson has been able to stay at a local motel for the past couple of semesters, and Eads picks up Jackson for class and drops him off at his room every day to ensure he has transportation.
“Without Troy, TSTC or the church, I would have quit a long time ago. There is no way I could have graduated without these selfless people. They are special to me,” said Jackson. “Everything everyone has done has changed my life.”
On August 27, Jackson will begin his career at CenterPoint Energy in Houston with a starting pay of $30 an hour.
“I’m ready to get to work and start building my future,” said Jackson. “I have a chance at a completely different life and I’m excited.”
Jackson said with his new career he is looking forward to saving for an apartment and car, and helping his sisters who are also struggling.
His long-term goals are to own a business and help others.
“I need to build myself up so I can build others, he said. “I want to be to others in my situation what everyone here at TSTC and Friendship Church have been to me, they have become the family I never had.”
Jackson celebrated his life-changing milestone with Eads, Arnim, Friendship Church Pastor Jason Frazier, his tenth grade teacher Sierra King and their families, all of which he credits for his success.

TSTC Alumnus Makes Dream Come True in Austin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to


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 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