Category Archives: Waco

Annual TSTC in Williamson County Open House a Success

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College in Williamson County held its annual open house Friday, opening its campus for tours and meetings with faculty. The event, designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, hosted more than 300 visitors.

TSTC coordinator of student recruitment Melissa Zamora said the event was a success.

“I think it was a great opportunity for us to get TSTC in Williamson County on the map,” Zamora said.

Zamora said the program tours were a popular part of the day.

“The demos and all the information they provided, along with our college fair, really did showcase what we offer,” she said. “I think it actually showed the students why they should commit to this location in particular.”

TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla said the college changed some things up this year to provide a new experience for visitors and for TSTC.

“We tried some new things this year that we felt would be successful in terms of bringing in more students and more applications,” Padilla said. “We had a great mix of both traditional students coming from schools with their teachers as well as individuals coming with parents. We feel it was a very successful day.”

TSTC employees came from the college’s Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses to help make the event a success.

“We had staff from across the state join us to assist our students in serving lunch, submitting applications and answering any questions they had about the college admissions process,” Padilla said. “We’re very proud of the team that pulled together to make it happen.”

Sam McCutchen, college and career readiness counselor with Georgetown High School, said the school brought 29 students to the event.

“They had a blast,” McCutchen said. “It broadened their horizons. They learned about opportunities that they didn’t have a clue about, and they were amazed at how convenient this was to where they live. Now they know this is an option for them.”

TSTC will begin registering students for the summer and fall semesters on Monday, April 2. For more information on the college, visit

TSTC gets international exposure

(FORT BEND) – Texas State Technical College recently hosted a delegation of 21 Chinese educators from Nanjing, China for a tour of the campus and discussions about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) training and career opportunities.

TSTC Provost Randy Wooten said it was a pleasure being able to welcome the delegates on campus from Fort Bend County’s sister city Nanjing.

“It was great being given the opportunity to host these educators on campus,” he said. “The visit was focused on technological training and advancements and aligned well with what we offer at TSTC.”

The teachers were selected as part of a teacher exchange program through the Nanjing Education Bureau.

J.J. Clemence, Fort Bend County Global Initiative public relations director and Congressman Pete Olson’s Asian community outreach director, said each teacher was hand-picked from more than 1,000 schools in Nanjing and required to pass an English exam.


“These teachers are the top from each school,” Clemence said. “And the goal of this trip was to further expose them to STEM studies in the United States, which is why TSTC was an important stop for us.”

Clemence further explained that the teachers’ are visiting for 12-days touring local high schools in the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District and Fort Bend Independent School District and sharing resources and ideas with local educators.

“Technical careers are growing in demand in China and this visit has been eye opening to the delegates,” she said. “This has allowed them to see the importance of a technical education and hands-on training.”

Ning Nei, a high school chemistry teacher in Nanjing, said the TSTC campus and the focus on hands-on training was impressive.

“This college combines teaching with the practice of new technologies and that’s amazing to me,” she said. “It’s a perfect method that I hope to take back to my school and implement.”

Nei also said that she was able to exchange teaching resources with the faculty she visited, which will help her take what she learned back to her students.

TSTC’s Robotics Technology was popular among the delegates.

Guxiao Chun, a high school physics teacher, said he is excited to share his experience with his students when he returns home.

“TSTC is thinking innovatively and coming here has encouraged me to push my students into a technical career,” said Chun. “I’m excited to tell them about the robots and the hands-on training I witnessed.”

Chun added that he realized he can do more for his school and students by focusing on STEM.

Wooten said he was pleased with the positive responses received by the delegates and that these types of visit expand the TSTC brand internationally.

“They were impressed with the type of machinery and tools our students get to use in our labs,” said Wooten. “Opportunities like this are rare in China.”

He went on to say, “Positive responses like these make our brand more valuable and sought after. It gives us world-wide exposure.”

Clemence said she hopes to continue growing the relationship between these Chinese educators, Fort Bend County and TSTC.

“This was a great experience for everyone involved,” said Clemence. “And we hope in the near future we’ll be able bring students from China over to visit Fort Bend County and possibly study at TSTC.”

For more information on the programs offered at TSTC, visit

Registration for Summer and Fall 2018 begins April 2.

TSTC Electrical Construction Program Gives Students Bright Futures

(WACO) – Francisco Santos of Houston already knows where he wants to start his electrical construction career.

“Waco is growing,” said Santos, 22, a student at Texas State Technical College. “I want to stay here and grow with the city. There are new buildings that need to be constructed and old buildings that need attention.”

Santos, a 2014 graduate of Mirabeau B. Lamar High School in Houston’s Upper Kirby district, is scheduled to graduate in August from TSTC with an Electrical Construction certificate. In a recent lab for the Residential Wiring class, Santos said the hands-on lessons he receives help him figure out what mistakes not to make.

Jobs for electricians are expected to increase by more than 59,000 at least through 2026, with a lot contingent on the development of alternative power, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Texas had more than 57,000 electricians in 2016, according to recent data from the federal agency. The Woodlands – Houston – Sugar Land area had the most concentrated number of electricians in Texas with more than 18,000. The Waco area had more than 600 electricians.

Students can earn a certificate in Electrical Construction in TSTC’s Building Construction Technology program. Some students choose to earn the certificate in combination with the Associate of Applied Science degree in Solar Energy Technology or Energy Efficiency Specialist certificate. Students who earn all three earn what is known as the program’s “triple crown.”

Starting this semester, Electrical Construction students can earn hours toward their journeyman license while attending TSTC.

“Students are required to have 8,000 on-the-job training hours under a master electrician before they can qualify to sit for their journeyman exam,” said Letha Novosad, the lead instructor in the Building Construction Technology program, an electrical construction instructor and a master electrician in Waco.

Joe Luna, 55, of Temple is using some of the helicopter mechanic and troubleshooting skills he learned while in the U.S. Army for 15 years to pursue the Electrical Construction certificate. After graduation, he wants to pursue a Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology certificate at TSTC.

“I feel like the oldest in the class, but everyone has something to bring to the table,” Luna said. “All of us complement each other.”

TSTC’s Electrical Construction students wear red shirts when in classes. The program has about 25 students this semester.

“The students have to wear uniforms in business, so we are getting them used to it,” said Earl Leonard, statewide department chair for Building Construction Technology at TSTC. “We have electrical contractors calling us all the time. There are a lot of job opportunities.”

Novosad said Nemmer Electric and Leland Collier Electric, both in Waco, and Walker Engineering, which has locations in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, have hired TSTC graduates in the past.

Corey Morgan, 29, of Lacy Lakeview graduated from TSTC in 2013 with an Electrical Construction certificate. He chose to pursue the electric field because of his grandfather who was a journeyman electrician. After graduation, Morgan was hired at MP Electric in Waco and is an apprentice electrician doing industrial and residential work.

Morgan, a 2007 graduate of Connally High School, said he wired his first receptacle when he was 5 years old.

“I don’t mind the risks associated with it and the hard work,” he said. “You have to take pride in this work. When we take conduit and bend it, it is artwork.”

Morgan said the National Electrical Code guides the work being done across the country.

“That is the big thing with electricians that people don’t understand,” he said. “People can wire a receptacle, but the question is: Did you do it safe and correctly?”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Program Receives Truck Donation

(RED OAK) – The Diesel Equipment Technology program at Texas State Technical College in North Texas recently received a 2009 Freightliner Cascadia truck valued at $10,000.

The donation was made by the south Dallas location of Premier Truck Group. Jeff Wicks, assistant service manager, said the donation was made because of a customer who gave the truck’s title to the business after he could not pay for repairs.

“We ended up making the repairs and getting it running and then donating,” Wicks said. “We knew TSTC would appreciate it and that it would be a training tool relevant to what we do with the technology that is applicable for what we do. The students could learn on something that could help them.”

TSTC Provost Marcus Balch said the heavy vehicle would be used for lessons in electronics, brake systems and other diesel components. The truck will be functional but remain in the program’s lab.

“The donation is a good thing for TSTC in North Texas because as a new program, there are just some pieces of equipment that we do not have yet,” Balch said. “By this company stepping up to provide this, it is going to allow us to grow our program and grow our labs so that we have an opportunity to continue to provide equipment that is fresh out of the box.”

Premier Truck Group has more than 70 technicians, warranty personnel, foremen and delivery drivers who maintain and troubleshoot heavy commercial vehicles.

TSTC in North Texas students can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Diesel Equipment Technology – Heavy Truck Specialization or a certificate in Diesel Equipment Technology – Heavy Truck, among others.

Diesel Equipment Technology is one of the largest programs on campus with about 50 students.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

Annual TSTC North Texas Open House a Success

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College in North Texas held its annual open house Friday, opening its campus for tours and to meet with faculty. The event, designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, hosted more than 300 visitors.

Shannon Gaspard, TSTC director of Student Recruitment, said the event was successful.

“We’ve doubled our attendance from last year, which is great,” Gaspard said. “This year, we also partnered with Region 10 and Region 11 and we worked with them to get the word out about our event to students. It worked out a lot, and we now have recognition in a lot of those different counties with the schools.”

Gaspard said it’s also a win for the instructors.

“Now you have students who are learning about different programs,” she said. “We have a group who’d never heard of welding and had never been in a welding lab, but they’re racing to welding now because they’re interested in learning more about it, taking a look at the equipment and just seeing the different cool things that are made from like a simple cutting machine.”

Renvy Smith, a teacher from LEAP Academy in Midlothian, said the school only brought a small group, but they had a good time.

“They had an idea of what areas they were interested in, so we visited those,” Smith said. “The students did enjoy those areas.”

John Tanner, CTE teacher at Cleburne’s Team School, brought about 20 students to the event. He said they also enjoyed it.

“The students had a good time,” he said. “I think they learned a lot.”

All of TSTC’s programs participated in the event.

“The programs were doing a sort of show-and-tell,” Gaspard said. “So they’re showing the equipment and tools, but they’re also doing different types of competitions in their labs. Industrial Maintenance had cranes and were showing the students how the hydraulics and all these different parts equal out to what you do in the field. They’re doing that while moving building blocks, and whoever stacks them the tallest wins.”

Gaspard said one of the most popular sessions of the day was the “TSTC Experience.”

“That was the session where students could learn more about what we offer, the programs and how to apply,” she said. “We were at capacity every session.”

Another aspect the students loved was the game room.

“We had some fun games, like one where you have to move a cookie from your forehead into your mouth without using your hands,” Gaspard said. “Students loved it!”

TSTC will begin registering students for the summer and fall semesters on Monday, April 2. For more information on the college, visit

TSTC Alumni Part of SpaceX Rocket Project

(WACO) – The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launched in early February included a little touch of Texas State Technical College.

TSTC alumni Ryan Allen, 29, of Whitney and Russell Kent, 29, of Robinson were among several SpaceX employees who built the rocket that the private company has called the most powerful operational rocket in the world.

Kent and Allen are welders and have worked at SpaceX for four years. The men are based at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor but also travel to the company’s other facilities to work.

Allen, Kent and other co-workers in McGregor watched SpaceX’s live feed of Falcon Heavy’s launch on Feb. 6 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“It really put it all in perspective in what a group of people can accomplish,” Kent said. “I found myself thinking that this is what it must have been like in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I tell people all the time SpaceX is making space cool again. SpaceX is bringing it back with people dreaming about being an astronaut again and working in the space industry.”

Kent graduated in 2007 from Hubbard High School in Hill County. His family’s Hubbard donut business is where Kent, then a high school student, first learned about TSTC.

“A customer came in one day and told my mom that I should do the welding program in Waco,” he said. “The rest is history. The donut thing was not for me – it is a third-generation business. I love it and it’s my family tradition. But, I wanted to do something different but I didn’t know what I wanted to do.”

Kent said he naturally took to welding. He spent a few years doing power plant maintenance before joining SpaceX.

“I strive to be the best at welding that I can be,” Kent said. “I didn’t want to fall in with the crowd. I want to be a little bit different. Don’t be scared to be different.”

Allen is a graduate of Bynum High School in Hill County.

Allen and Kent both graduated from TSTC in 2009 with Associate of Applied Science degrees in Welding Technology from TSTC.

Cody Musia, lead instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program in Waco, said Kent and Allen’s work is an example of being able to do welding project work close to home.

“There is a broad variety of things that can be done in welding, including structural or X-ray-quality welding,” Musia said. “There is clean-room welding, which a lot of females are better at. There is also TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding, along with robotics and automation. There are different places in the world for the welders. It’s all about the type of lifestyle you want to live.”

Carson Pearce, TSTC’s statewide transportation division director, said TSTC alumni are working to help advance space travel in other ways.

“We currently have three graduates working with Virgin Galactic on the first commercial spacecraft, Spaceship II,” Pearce said. “SpaceX has hired several graduates as well. Another huge growth area is commercial aviation. The airlines are begging us for pilots, mechanics, dispatchers and avionics technicians. The Federal Aviation Administration is hiring our graduates as they finish their air traffic control classes, and at the FAA Academy, they are almost always in the top 10 percent of the class.”

For more information on SpaceX, go to

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Local high school students experience TSTC

(FORT BEND) – From robot races to dressing up in HAZMAT suits, local high school juniors and seniors had the opportunity to experience the newest Texas State Technical College programs during the first Program Highlight Day.

TSTC recently hosted approximately 70 students from KIPP Generations Collegiate and Palacios High School, both schools nearly an hour away.

“This was a first-time event for us and we couldn’t be more excited about its success,” said Marigold Sagrado, TSTC student recruitment coordinator. “It was a great opportunity to showcase our campus and highlight our programs.”

Students were provided a tour of the Brazos Center, the newest building at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus. They were also introduced to the four newest programs housed in the building: Environmental Technology – Compliance Specialization, Electrical Power and Controls Technology, Electrical Lineworker Technology and Robotics Technology.

“The goal behind this event is to expose students to the programs we offer and can lead to high-paying jobs,” said Sagrado. “These programs impact the areas that are essential to our daily lives and we need to fill the skills gap.”

Faculty and current students from TSTC’s newest programs offered hands-on activities or demonstrations for the juniors and seniors including racing robots, dressing up in HAZMAT suits and respirators and watching electricity safety and electrical lineworker climbing demonstrations.

For many students like junior Mario Arguello from Kipp Generations Collegiate, this was the best part of the day.

“I’m thinking of pursuing robotics at TSTC so this was definitely my favorite part,” said the 17-year-old. “I’ve always had an interest in robots so I was most excited about touring this program.”

When Arguello graduates in 2019, he said he hopes to attend TSTC and pursue an associate degree in Robotics Technology.

“After learning about the program and all of the career possibilities, I feel this is the right place for me.”

Sagrado said she was happy to see the students engaged in all of the activities and to hear the many positive responses she received.“Overall, this event was a success,” she said. “The students really enjoyed the tours and program demonstrations. Many even expressed their interest and excitement about enrolling.”

She added that she is looking forward to many more events like Program Highlight Day that give her and her team the opportunity of teaching the community what TSTC has to offer.

Registration for the Summer and Fall Semesters begins April 2.

For more information or to apply and register, visit

TSTC Graduate Inspired to Pursue Bachelor’s Degree

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College Welding graduate Coltin Wiesner has been accepted to Texas A&M in College Station to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Science.

Wiesner hopes his welding background will help him excel in his new degree plan.

“A lot of times ag teaches both the welding and the animal portions of it,” he said. “The welding will definitely help and will move over into that.”

Wiesner graduated from TSTC with a 3.2 GPA and finds it one of his greatest accomplishments at TSTC.

“I’m proud of earning my associate degree and the lifelong connections I made while doing so,” he said. “In my family, I’m the first one. My mom went to college for a semester, but my grandfather died and it was horrible for her. For me, it’s almost honoring them. I came from a background of farming and ranching; you complete high school and that was it. You went into the field. It’s just honoring that I’m going into something that they came from Germany to do and to make a new life.”

Having been inspired by his high school FFA class, Wiesner hopes to become an agriculture teacher one day.

“I would love to share my FFA experience with others,” he said. “I wasn’t in it for four years like the traditional kid; I was a band kid. Moving over, you don’t know anybody. I met amazing people there who I am still friends with today; they’re lifelong friends. Moving over into that program and having those people there helped me get comfortable. It made me who I am today.”

Wiesner said TSTC Welding instructor A. Keith Wojcik also played a part in his decision to teach.

“My welding instructor, Keith Wojcik — words can’t describe how much I’ve learned from the greatest man I have ever met,” he said. “How much he enjoys teaching people to weld after so long in the business is great. I like the creative part of welding, where you can just make something. That’s something he was really good about him. He would just say, ‘Do it.’ He wants you to succeed. He couldn’t have been any happier when I got accepted to A&M.”

Wiesner hopes to transfer that ideology into his teaching style as well.

“I love animals, I always have, and how much I enjoyed it is something I want to share with other people.”

Wiesner’s advice to those interested in continuing their education is to be productive and to persevere.

“This may sound corny and repetitive,” he said. “However, keeping up with your work and not slacking shows and pays off.”

TSTC will host its annual Open House from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, March 9. For more information on the college and its programs, visit

Live Oak, Midway Students Win Top Prizes at Science and Engineering Fair at TSTC

(WACO) – Two students who were the only representatives of their high schools were the top winners in the Central Texas Science and Engineering Fair held Tuesday and Wednesday at Texas State Technical College.

Caleb Chakmakjian, 15, of Live Oak Classical School and Remi Labeille, 15, of Midway High School were the overall winners and are eligible for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May in Pittsburgh.

Chakmakjian tested different methods of making potassium nitrate for small rockets for his project. This work was a continuation of what he did for last year’s science and engineering fair.

“Caleb has unending tenacity and a tremendous amount of fortitude,” said Melinda Johnson, a Live Oak Classical School science teacher who has taught him in the past. “He is methodical and analytical. He could at some point send a vehicle of his own into space.”

Labeille genetically engineered yeast for biofuel production for his project. He said his goal was to find a better way to produce biofuel.

“He was self-motivated and worked with someone from Michigan State University who has done similar research,” said Kathy McMillan, an Advanced Placement biology teacher and science instruction support specialist at Midway High School.

McMillan said Labeille continues Midway’s winning tradition at the science fair. While this is Labeille’s first time at the top, Midway alumnus and Harvard University student Edward Kim won three consecutive times.

There were more than 100 projects from Brownwood, Cameron, Corsicana, China Spring, McGregor and Waco students on topics such as animal science, biochemistry, mathematics and robotics.

“Don’t stop experimenting and don’t stop playing and having fun,” TSTC Provost Adam Hutchison told students before awards were presented Wednesday morning. “Keep asking the questions that are helping us to build a better tomorrow.”

A team from Live Oak Classical School won the Junior Science Bowl held Tuesday at TSTC’s IDEAS Center.

Live Oak Classical School swept the junior divisions in biochemistry, microbiology and plant science and C.H. Yoe High School in Cameron won the top three spots in the senior division’s plant science category.

The first-, second- and third-place winners in junior and senior divisions are eligible to attend the Texas Science and Engineering Fair on March 23-24 in San Antonio.

For more information on the Central Texas Science and Engineering Fair, go to

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TSTC Alumni Savor Business Success

(WACO) – If you have never seen pigs fly, double-check next time you are at a local HEB.

Waco Beef and Pork Processors’ Holy Smoked Sausage is a local savory treat that will send your tastebuds to hog heaven.

Founded by Wallace Wright in 1995, the company started as a small butcher and meat processing plant that served restaurants in the Waco area. Now the family business is continued by friends Michael Landsfeld and Mike Linder, both of whom earned associate degrees and taught in Texas State Technical College’s Meat Processing and Marketing program before it was discontinued.

“I started in this industry when I was 11 years old with my father. Sausage making and the meat industry is something I’ve just always enjoyed, and you should enjoy what you do,” said Landsfeld, the company’s managing partner.

Recently, the Waco company donated sausage to feed students competing at the Area 5 and Area 8 FFA Tractor Technician Competition hosted by TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program.

“I’ve always kept in contact with my old teacher friends and old students who come by and see me,” said Landsfeld. “And anytime TSTC comes calling, I try to help.”

In 1978, Landsfeld graduated from Ennis High School in Ellis County, and around that time he heard about TSTC at a local trade show.

After graduating from TSTC, he continued practicing his skills in Dallas before returning to teach at TSTC.

“I came back to TSTC in ’89 and was asked to teach in the Meat Processing and Marketing program, and that’s when I first got to work with my friend Mike Linder,” said Landsfeld.

Landsfeld and Linder were both TSTC graduates who returned to teach and always talked about working together in a business environment.

“Linder and I have been friends for 30 years. We never thought we’d get to work together, but we dreamed about it back in the office days,” said Landsfeld.

After teaching for some time, Linder left to work at Waco Meat Service and Landsfeld started his career at Waco B&PP.

“Waco B&PP has been here for 23 years, and our main business is sausage making,” said Landsfeld. “We serve mainly HRI — hotels, restaurants and industry, but you can find us in small grocery stores too.”

Linder later joined Landsfeld and the Waco B&PP team as sales manager and now says he truly enjoys his workday.

Waco B&PP has expanded beyond Waco and now serves multiple businesses within a 120-mile radius.

“You know we’re growing, and it’s a good feeling to have when you’re with a company that’s continuing to grow,” said Linder.

The two friends attribute their success to their time spent at TSTC.

“TSTC made a good impact on me, and it was due to the teachers,” said Linder. “They were really good, knew their stuff and were well-driven. TSTC helped me to learn and be ready to continue learning.”

As with many trades, meat processing technology continues to change, encouraging the industry to adapt along with it.

“The technology has evolved quite a lot, and the emphasis is on the science as opposed to the art, both in sausage making and the meat preparation,” said Landsfeld.

Since the friends’ time at TSTC, parts of the Meat Processing and Marketing program have been integrated into the Culinary Arts program.

“We teach basic butchery skills, and meat fabrication is taught in all savory classes, where students learn the codes and regulations,” said TSTC Culinary Arts Department Chair and Chef Mark Schneider.

As Landsfeld and Linder continue their time together, they encourage the younger workforce to consider meat processing and the affiliated fields.

“We need younger workers; this business is very hands-on, and these young people are wonderful. And we do hire TSTC graduates,” said Landsfeld.

Landsfeld and Linder agreed that in a time when jobs are not guaranteed after a four-year education, TSTC serves as a viable alternative.

“Our time at TSTC was valuable for both of us. I’ve always been a hands-on type person,” said Linder. “I like working with my hands, and I worked in construction before I went to TSTC. But we went to TSTC to step up our education.”

There is evidence of the company’s success in the numerous awards and prizes received from the Texas Association of Meat Processing and other organizations.

“I think TSTC opened the doors to a lot of people, and I can vouch for them — I’m one of them,” said Landsfeld.

Waco B&PP specializes in sausage making but also provides specialty meets, spices and cheeses. These can be purchased directly through Waco B&PP or through local grocery stores.

For more information on Waco Beef and Pork Processors, go to

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