Category Archives: Fort Bend County

TSTC Student Finds More Opportunity with Night Classes

(FORT BEND) – Carlos Velasquez is described as a skilled welder by his instructors and peers at Texas State Technical College.

The Wharton native is a Welding Technology student and is expected to earn his certificate during TSTC in Fort Bend County’s first commencement ceremony in August.

The 19-year-old first discovered TSTC when college recruiters did a presentation at Wharton High School. By this time, Velasquez had already began welding with his uncle and knew it was a career he wanted to pursue.

“I’m a guy who likes to work with his hands,” said Velasquez. “So when I discovered I liked welding and was good at it, I went with it and TSTC was there for me.”Carlos Velasquez

Velasquez said had it not been for TSTC, he would not even be in school. The night classes offered at TSTC’s Industrial Technology Center have helped him achieve his goal of a college education.

“Night classes are convenient especially because I have to work full-time to be able to pay for college,” said Velasquez. “TSTC has made it possible for me to get an education.”

Velasquez works at INFRA Technology, a provider of economical technologies for the production of synthetic fuels from natural gas, as a pipeline welder in Wharton. He also does welding work for side projects requested throughout his community.

“I’m working toward a stable job and future,” he said. “And TSTC is helping me fulfill those goals.”

Velasquez also credits his welding instructors and his family for his success during the program.

“My instructors give us the freedom to be creative in the shop and practice our skills,” said Velasquez. “And my parents support all of my efforts even helping me purchase a work truck complete with welders and tools.”

He also added that the state-of-the-art machines and tools available to him on campus is his favorite thing about his program.

“Everything is hands-on. We have an actual welding shop filled with new machinery and tools we can use,” he said. “Actually it was exactly this that helped me get the job I’m at right now.”

Velasquez hopes to continue his education to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, but not before working and getting experience in his field. He has his eyes set on Sunland, a local pipeline company.

“The company is close to home, I can get experience, there’s room for growth and I can use my own welding truck, that’s everything I want. I’m hoping for the best,” he said. “Maybe someday I can even own a business. These dreams all started at TSTC.”

To learn more about Welding Technology call 346-239-3452 or visit tstc.edu.

TSTC, Rosenberg Police Department to Host Coffee with a Cop

(FORT BEND) – Grab a free cup of Joe at Coffee with a Cop hosted by Texas State Technical College and the Rosenberg Police Department on May 24.

The event will be hosted for the first time at TSTC’s Industrial Technology Center from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and is opened to the community.

Rosenberg’s police are the responding department for the campus and have already participated in events such as new student orientations, spring break awareness and summer safety events.

Director of Student Services Georgeann Calzada said her goal for the event is to provide the TSTC and local community with the opportunity to interact with Rosenberg’s police.

“The event is a great opportunity to build the bridge between the local police deparCoffee with a Coptment and the community,” she said. “This will help our students build trust in their local police. I want our students, faculty and staff that stay after normal business hours to feel at ease calling the police officers for help if they need it.”

The Rosenberg Police Department will also be on hand to discuss any issues or concerns that affect Rosenberg and the surrounding communities.

Rosenberg Police Department Community Relations Officer Michael Bradley said he is looking forward to meeting those he serves.

“I want to encourage our community to come out and network with us in a relaxed atmosphere,” Bradley said. “This event is for them and it’s been great organizing this with TSTC and we hope we have many more events like this with them in the future.”

Calzada said it has been a pleasure working closely with the Rosenberg Police Department.

“I feel the partnership between Rosenberg’s police department and TSTC has grown tremendously in the last 10 months since TSTC’s new campus was built,” she said. “I know that between our two organizations, we’re making Rosenberg a better place to live and work.”

Also joining the effort is McDonald’s by providing the coffee and juice for community participants.

“McDonald’s has been so generous in their donations,” Calzada said.

Calzada added that Coffee with a Cop is also a great opportunity to highlight TSTC’s campus.

“I’m so excited to bring this event to the TSTC campus and welcoming our community members,” Calzada said. “I’m looking forward to hearing feedback from our community on how we (TSTC) can better serve their needs when it comes to education and workforce demand.”

For more information about attending Coffee with a Cop call 346-239-3422.

TSTC Holds Spring Commencement in Waco

(WACO) – More than 550 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Spring 2017 Commencement held Monday, May 1, at the Waco Convention Center.

Students from TSTC’s campuses in Waco, Williamson County, North Texas and Fort Bend County took part in the ceremony. The Waco campus had 495 graduates, Williamson County had 48 graduates, North Texas had 15 graduates and Fort Bend County had one graduate.

Many of the graduates already have jobs and are ready to work.

Kody Teague, 20, of Rockdale and a graduate of Caldwell High School, received an associate degree in Electrical Power and Controls. He will start work soon as a relay technician at Power Grid Engineering LLC in Dallas.

“It feels pretty good at 20 making good money,” Teague said. “It’s not too bad.”

Teague said attending TSTC gave him the opportunity to meet new friends who share his interests and to learn life lessons.

“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said.

Matthew Warrington, 21, of Corsicana received associate degrees in Diesel Equipment Technology Heavy Truck Specialization and Off-Highway Specialization. He will begin work this month at Waukesha-Pearce Industries in Pflugerville.

“I had fun and made a lot of friends,” Warrington said. “I liked the hands-on classes.”

TSTC had more than 1,200 graduates this spring across the state and has graduated more than 100,000 students in its more than 50-year history.

For more information, log on to tstc.edu.

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TSTC Hosts First Open House in Fort Bend County

(FORT BEND) – Nearly 700 high school students and community members recently attended Texas State Technical College’s first open house in its new Industrial Technology Center.

TSTC Director of Recruitment Dora Colvin said these type of events are a great opportunity to show off the college’s services.

“A lot of people haven’t see our campus yet and are first-time visitors, so it’s important for them to see how we’re serving their community,” Colvin said.

At TSTC Open Houses prospective students or community members who are interested in registering for summer or fall classes can get help with college applications and financial aid processes.

TSTC Admissions and Financial Aid representatives, faculty and staff were Industrial Technology Center Spring 2017 Open Houseall readily available to speak with prospective students exploring program and career options and to answer any questions.

“This is one-stop shop that many take advantage of,” said Colvin. “We’re glad to see the interest people have in our campus and programs, many of which have very high job placement rates.”

In addition to completing the application process, Colvin said prospective students also had campus tours available to them throughout the day.

“This is a great way to showcase our state-of-art labs and classrooms,” she said. “Hearing about it is one thing but seeing it in person is another. Many were excited to see what would be accessible to them.”

Those at the open house were also treated to lunch, multiple TSTC promotional item giveaways and a chance to win a $250 scholarship.

Employees from the TSTC Veterans Center and Career Services were also on hand to present their services. TSTC faculty and staff also took this time to introduce the new programs that will be offered beginning Fall 2017.

The Brazos Center, TSTC’s newest building, which will also be ready for the fall semester, will house four new programs: Electrical Lineworker Technology, Robotics/Industrial Automation Technology, Electrical Power and Controls Technology and Environmental Technology – Compliance Specialization.

“We’re excited about the response we received for our first open house,” said Colvin. “And we encourage those who couldn’t make today’s event to call us for a personalized tour. Our doors are always open.”

For more information on the programs offered at TSTC’s Industrial Technology Center call 346-239-3416 or visit tstc.edu to apply or register anytime.

TSTC Instructor Overcomes Life’s Obstacles for Education

(FORT BEND) – Deogratias Nizigiyimana, or Deo, as many refer to him, is an African immigrant happy to call Fort Bend County and Texas State Technical College home.

He is a Precision Machining Technology instructor at Texas State Technical College and brings to the table a vast background of experience in his field.

Nizigiyimana is a graduate from North Central Texas College. He earned an associate degree in machining in 2005 and immediately landed his first job, an achievement that he once thought was out of reach.

Nizigiyimana finished high school in his hometown of Burundi in East Africa and traveled to Congo for college, but when the war started his education was put on hold.

“We couldn’t stay in the country and my only other choice was the United States,” he said. “I was scared, I didn’t want to come to the U.S. because I didn’t know any English.”Deogratias Nizigiyimana

With help from the United Nations, Nizigiyimana made the journey to the U.S. in 2000 and struggled to get an education while working odd jobs. “I had to pay for college by myself, I had no help,” said Nizigiyimana. “I was an international student and I didn’t get any financial aid or scholarships. It was hard, but I wanted an education more than anything.”

Fast forward to the present and Nizigiyimana is a college graduate hoping to inspire those he now teaches.

He gained his experience working at several machines shops, including National Oilwell Varco, but he finally found his passion at General Electric.

“I started as a trainee at GE,” he said. “But because I had so much field experience I was always helping others. Many suggested I should become a teacher. I thought they were crazy.”

After giving it some thought Nizigiyimana said he actually began considering the career change, and when he got laid off in 2014 he pursued higher education and became a machining instructor at a local Houston college.

“I told myself I would only teach until I found another machine shop to work at,” he said. “That’s obviously not the case. It turns out I love to teach.”

When Nizigiyimana heard about the new campus TSTC was building in Rosenberg he knew it was sign.

“I was looking for a full-time instructor job and there was TSTC with open doors,” said Nizigiyimana. “I saw the opportunity and I took it.”

Nizigiyimana said he hopes to use his experiences, good and bad, as teachable moments for his students. He added that he will train each student so that they are ready for the workforce and give them a solid foundation.

“I hope to teach my classes everything I have learned,” he said. “They will learn how to be great, professional machinists and be able to jump into the workforce and be an asset to their company.”

Nizigiyimana said he eventually wants to go back to school to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering. In the meantime, he is enjoying watching his two children grow, spending time with his wife, visiting family and friends and exploring Houston.

For more information on Precision Machining Technology call 346-239-3444 or visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Homecoming: Instructor Finds His Way Back a Second Time

(FORT BEND) – After five years away from Texas State Technical College, Artemio Olivares is back as the Precision Machining Technology instructor at the college’s newest campus in Fort Bend County.

As an alumnus and instructor, Olivares knows the many facets of the college. He was first introduced to TSTC when it was Texas State Technical Institute in the 80s as a student in Machine Shop Operations. He graduated with a certificate in 1985.

“TSTC set me up for success,” said Olivares. “I had a family to support and with the training I received I was able to provide.”

Immediately after leaving TSTC he landed a job with National Oilwell in the oil and gas industry as a machinist earning several promotions through the years and an opportunity to continue his education with the company reimbursing his tuition.

While working full time, he attended Southwest Texas State University part-time, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology Manufacturing in 1995.

“It took me nearly 10 years to finish my degree,” he said. “It was hard work, but it was worth it.”Artemio Olivares

Olivares was no stranger to hard work, he served in the Army from 1977-1980 as a Specialist Fourth Class based in Germany.

“I’ve done a little bit of everything and that’s why teaching always seemed right,” Olivares said. “I want to share every single one of my experiences with students who are looking for a path or working toward a goal.”

In 1996 and for 14 years thereafter Olivares was the Precision Machining Technology instructor at TSTC’s Harlingen campus.

“The students I taught were so ambitious to be successful,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better job or students, but there came a time when I was ready for a change.”

Olivares ended up returning to National Oilwell Varco (NOV) for five years before the slowdown in the oil and gas industry led to his layoff.

“It’s like they say timing is everything,” said Olivares. “The job at TSTC couldn’t have come at a better time.”

When the opportunity at TSTC presented itself Olivares was on campus for a job training with NOV. Olivares said one thing led to another and he is glad to be back.

“I left TSTC to catch up on industry and the advancements in technology in my field,” he said. “I’m glad to be back though and I’m excited for the opportunity of teaching students the foundations they need to be successful.”

When Olivares is not in the classroom motivating students to reach their goals he is spending time with family, fishing or off-roading.

“I’m at a great place in my life right now,” he said. “And I’m glad I’m back.”

For more information on Precision Machining Technology, call 346-239-3444 or visit tstc.edu.

Precision Machining Technology is also offered at TSTC’s North Texas, Waco and Williamson County campuses.

TSTC Cyber Security Students Form Campus’ First Student Club

(FORT BEND) – Inspired by the most common computer error, the 404 Computer Club was formed making it the first official student club at Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County.

The 404 Computer Club was founded by four Cyber Security Technology students placing it under the program’s umbrella.

“We wanted a creative name but something (computer code) everyone is familiar with,” said Isaias Martinez, club president. “And the 404 error is the most common and recognized.”

The 404 Error Page is the page displayed when someone is browsing a website and a page cannot be found.404 Computer Club Officers

Martinez and the club’s executive board; Vice President Brett McFee, Treasurer Westin Chauvin and Historian Michael Leung said they have big plans for the club.

With some community service under their belts, the club leaders hope to continue doing projects that will enhance Rosenberg and the surrounding communities in addition to combining technology with their activities and projects.

“One of our primary goals as a club is to reinforce the skills we learn in the classroom,” said McFee. “Currently we’re looking into our options and into what we can and cannot do.”

A few of the ideas the club’s officers hope to begin soon are; a computer repair program, a replica arcade game cabinet for the college in which they will perform all computer programming, and guest speakers series featuring industry leaders.

“We’re going to work hard to achieve these things,” said McFee. “And once our membership really grows, we’ll be able to reach our goals.”

McFee said this is only the club’s first active semester so they are encouraging students in Cyber Security Technology to join and get involved.

“This year we’re going to establish ourselves as an organization among our peers,” said Martinez. “Our goal is to grow membership and make it a great experience.”

Cyber Security Technology is also offered at TSTC’s Marshall, North Texas, Waco and Williamson County campuses offering certificate and associate degree tracks.

Registration for Summer and Fall 2017 begins April 3. Register or apply anytime at tstc.edu or call 364-239-3409.

TSTC Hosts First Community Resource Fair

(FORT BEND) – Texas State Technical College recently hosted its first Community Resource Fair to serve the students and the residents of Fort Bend County.

The fair focused on health and wellness and finance, hosting six businesses: 24 Hour Fitness; Texana, Mental Health Agency; Frost Bank, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office; Access Health, a medical facility that provides affordable healthcare to those with or without insurance; and TSTC’s Veteran Services.

The businesses set up in the entrance of TSTC’s Industrial Technology Center, providing information and guidance for those needing or having an interest in their services.

Director of Student Services Georgeann Calzada said this event was held with the students’ needs in mind. Every business at the event is located within a 10 to 15-mile radius from the campus, also giving students the benefit of proximity.

“We want our students to be healthy and make good financial decisions,” said Calzada. “We encourage healthy lifestyles and I’m so glad all of these businesses were willing to help us.”

Calzada said she hopes studeTSTC Community Resource Fairnts found the information they received useful and that they will take advantage of the services that were offered during one-on-one conversations between students and the company representatives.

“Many of the students and even faculty and staff on campus, can benefit from these services,” she said. “We hope to make this a yearly event and grow the partnerships we have with our local service-orientated businesses around the county.”

During the event, TSTC staff also encouraged students to register for the college’s Emergency Notification System (ENS), an alert system that utilizes phone calls, text messages and emails to send notifications in case of inclement weather or dangers around the campus.

“Safety at TSTC is our number one priority,” said Calzada. “It’s an important factor at school, work and in life.”

Calzada said students can expect a Spring Break Awareness Fair in the coming month to provide students with the information they need to stay safe during the one-week break from classes.

For more information on the services offered to TSTC students or to sign up as a business partner, call 364-239-3422.

TSTC, Fluor Partnership Funds Student Scholarships

(FORT BEND) – Texas State Technical College has received a $10,000 donation from Houston-based Fluor Corporation, a global engineering and construction company, to fund the college’s Texan Success Scholarship campaign.

The donation is matched by TSTC dollar-for-dollar and is awarded to new, full-time students to assist with tuition, books and other expenses.

“A partnership like this significantly increases our ability to provide a high quality education for our students while increasing the TSTC brand in Fort Bend County,” said Vice Chancellor and Chief Execution Officer Fluor, TSTC Check PresentationRandall Wooten.

Wooten said Fluor has also expressed interest in hiring TSTC graduates, participating in an intern program and placing representatives to serve on the college’s Welding Technology Advisory Committee.

“We are pleased to partner with TSTC in its efforts to provide scholarships to students. Investing in organizations that provide best-in-class student training is what’s required to prepare the next generation, to not only find jobs, but to grow into careers, “ said Callie Coester, vice president of Project Operations E&C Americas at Fluor. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with TSTC in the future.”

Wooten added that having a partnership with a large corporation like Fluor will play a huge role in supporting the college’s mission of placing more Texans in good paying jobs.

“The recruiters at Fluor will know our instructors and be able to observe the work of our students,” he said. “In essence, they will be able to hire the top performers and place them in high paying jobs which fulfills our state mandate of placing more Texans in great paying jobs.”

TSTC’s Industrial Technology Center opened in August and is expanding with its second building scheduled to open in Fall 2017. Wooten said with TSTC growing in the Fort Bend market, the partnership with Fluor could not have come at a better time.

“This partnership adds a tremendous level of credibility to TSTC in Fort Bend County as we continue to grow in the market. We appreciate Fluor’s forward thinking and support,” Wooten said. “And as we expand we will continue to look for other industry partners who will benefit from the work of our highly-trained students.”Wooten would like to encourage other large corporations to invest in TSTC.

“We feel that there will be other large companies that will be willing to invest in TSTC because of the reputation that we have earned throughout the state of Texas,” he said.

For more information on the Texan Success Scholarship and how you can do your part to help a deserving student, call 346-239-3417.

TSTC’s Brazos Center on Track to Open in Fall 2017

topping out 2 sm(ROSENBERG) – Texas State Technical College and Bartlett Cocke General Contractors celebrated a project milestone for the college’s second building on TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus with a “topping out” ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 22.

A long-standing tradition in the construction industry, a topping out ceremony marks the placement of the last structural beam and celebrates the progress and timely construction of a major project.

“A topping out ceremony is very important in the construction process, because it gives us a point in the progression to pause and celebrate that a lot of people have come together to make a complex thing happen,” said TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser.

TSTC’s 57,000-square-foot Brazos Center is anticipated to be completed in July, and classes are on track to begin in the new building starting Fall 2017.
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The Brazos Center will bring four new programs: Robotics Technology, Electrical Power & Controls, Environmental Technology – Compliance specialization and Electrical Lineworker Technology. The building will also provide space for various student support services, including recruiting, student accounting, veterans programs, financial aid, admissions, a bookstore and a learning resource center.

TSTC Vice Chancellor and Chief Execution Officer Randy Wooten said he expects the new offerings will increase the economic vitality of the region.

“These programs were specifically selected because of the regional employers’ needs, as well as high salaries for the graduates,” Wooten said. “TSTC is an integral part of making ‘the American Dream’ attainable to those who don’t attend a four-year university, and we’re proud of that.”

TSTC’s Fort Bend campus came with encouragement and financial support from the city of Rosenberg, city of Richmond, city of Sugarland, Fort Bend County, Sprint Waste Services, the George Foundation and the Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation. The municipalities and foundations made more than $40 million in contributions to help TSTC expand its educational opportunities in the region.

TSTC Regent Joe M. Gurecky, himself a product of technical education, said the college will help make technical education attainable for area residents.

“It’s very dear to me to see technical training brought to Fort Bend County,” Gurecky said. “Many parents feel that a four-year college is something their children must go to, but it isn’t for everybody. TSTC has no problem placing students into employment when there are a lot of people with bachelor’s degrees who are looking for work anywhere just to pay off their student debt. Here, students can attend school and be able to live at home with their parents, making it a lot more affordable for the family. Our students don’t have to get out of college with a huge debt on their shoulders.”

Mary Garza, Bartlett Cocke’s vice president of operations for East Texas Region 4, said the company couldn’t be more proud to work with TSTC to bring the vision to light.

“The completion of this building structure is a major milestone for the TSTC Fort Bend campus and a celebration of yet another success story for a bright future for the students who will emerge as successful skilled technical partners,” Garza said.

Reeser agreed and urged the importance of partnerships.

“I can’t say enough good things about the architect and the builder in this project,” he said. “They’ve done simply an outstanding job on this building and the one that preceded it. Regarding partnerships, there’s no worthy endeavor that happens when someone works alone. Partnerships are the key to making really important things happen. You can search all over Texas and you won’t find a better community to make things happen than the communities in Fort Bend County.”

Ultimately, the TSTC campus will boast six to eight buildings and be able to serve a projected enrollment of 5,000 students.

TSTC serves Texas through 10 campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater, Waco and Williamson County. TSTC has graduated more than 100,000 students into the state workforce in its 50-year history.

For more information on TSTC in Fort Bend, visit tstc.edu.