Category Archives: Fort Bend County

New Online Bookstore Debuts at TSTC’s Campuses in North Texas and Fort Bend County

(RED OAK) – A new online bookstore for Texas State Technical College’s North Texas and Fort Bend County campuses opened earlier this month.

This marks the first time students will have direct access to buy textbooks and not have to order from other campuses.

“This is huge for us,” said Stephen Pape, director of student learning at TSTC in North Texas. “It enables the students to get their books early so they don’t have to wait. The online bookstore gives them a choice of shipping to their home or to the campus where they can be picked up.”

Current and newly registered students can access the bookstore through the technical college’s internal portal. The first visit will enable the student to input their identification number and create a password for later visits.

“The bookstore will recognize them as students and check their schedule for the classes they signed up for,” said Pape. “The bookstore will know what books they need when they log in. The students can order books or they can check the prices for books.”

The online bookstore will give students information on how much of their financial aid money is available to spend on textbooks and automatically deduct it.

Students at the Fort Bend County campus will follow the same steps to access and purchase from the online bookstore. Arturo Solano, bookstore manager at TSTC in Harlingen, worked on planning Fort Bend County’s online offering and said the technical college is adapting to the latest trends in providing sourced materials for students.

“TSTC partnered with Ambassador Education Solutions, which will be distributing all the required course materials straight from their warehouse while at the same time providing students with a custom website tailored to their campus,” Solano said.

Planning for the new initiative began a year ago with financial aid, bookstore, information technology and student learning staff on multiple campuses working together.

“The major reason for the online store was to provide better service to the students,” said Greg Guercio, vice president of retail operations at TSTC in Waco.

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TSTC Welcomes New Instructor, Program

(FORT BEND) – With more than 35 years of experience in his field, Dr. David Johnson comes to Texas State Technical College as the new Environmental Technology-Compliance Specialization instructor.

The United States Marine Corps veteran got his start at TSTC in Waco, when it was still Texas State Technical Institute, in 1975 earning his associate degree in Civil Engineering Technology.

“It feels great being back where my professional career began,” said Johnson. “TSTC is where it all started.”

Immediately after graduating he worked with various Texas-based companies doing surveying and drafting, until he was promoted to an environmental technician and inspired to work for the military and to continue his education.

“TSTC prepared me to work in the industry. It gave me the skills I needed,” he said. “My success is because of TSTC, and my goal as a new instructor is to get my students fully prepared for a rewarding career.”Dave Johnson

In 1987, he became an Environmental and Energy Coordinator for the U.S. Army in Germany and moved between the states and overseas over the course of his career from Fort Polk in Louisiana to Japan and Korea and back to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

The Irving native was promoted through the years to Environmental Training Manager and Environmental Compliance Manager positions. He was also the primary author for the Army Environmental Compliance Handbook.

During this time Johnson was also furthering his education. In 1994, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, in 1996 his master’s degree and in 1998 his Ph.D. in Environmental Science, all from Southwest University.

“It was such self-gratification and self-motivation going back to school,” said Johnson. “And it was my first degree, my associate degree, which got me to where I am today.”

In addition to federal jobs, which Johnson retired from in 2013, he has also worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, as an adjunct instructor at Louisiana State University and for the Texas Department of Public Safety keeping within the environmental and hazardous material line of work. .

The now 65-year-old is back at work saying he needed something more to do than just playing golf.

“I had applied for a safety position at TSTC in Waco, but instead I was offered this position in Fort Bend,” said Johnson. “I was excited to accept it and I am ready to share all of my knowledge.”

Students who enroll in TSTC’s Environmental Technology–Compliance Specialization will have the opportunity to learn under Johnson’s instruction about how to apply science and technology to environmental issues and projects.

The program will not only offer classroom lectures, but also in-lab and off-site, hands-on experience working with soil, water and air sampling, performing chemical and safety audits at businesses and learning how to properly handle hazardous materials.

When the associate degree track is successfully completed, students can find jobs as environmental coordinators and consultants, environmental engineers, environmental scientists and specialists, environmental technicians and health and safety engineers.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas is one of the largest employers of environmental technicians in the nation.

Environmental Technology-Compliance Specialization is already accepting students and will officially begin August 2017. The program will be housed at the Brazos Center, TSTC’s newest building in Fort Bend County.

For more information or to register for the Fall Semester visit

TSTC Women in Welding

(FORT BEND) – Don’t be afraid or intimidated. That’s the message that two Texas State Technical College students want to spread.

April Abitago-Thompson and Sara Rivera are the only two women currently enrolled in Welding Technology at TSTC in Fort Bend County.

April Thompson (left) and Sara Rivera (right)

“When I saw the campus being built while driving down the expressway I told my husband, ‘I’m going to enroll there,’” said Thompson. “I had no fear, I knew welding was what I wanted to do.”

Thompson, 33, now sees graduation around the corner. She will be receiving her certificate in Welding Technology in August during TSTC’s first Fort Bend County commencement ceremony to be held the Rosenberg Civic Center.

“I can’t wait to graduate and get my career started,” she said.

Pending a passing grade on her Certified Welding Inspector test, Thompson already has a job with a Bay City company as a Welding Inspector.

Before TSTC, the mother of four worked as a welder’s helper for nuclear plants and the oil industry.

“I didn’t want to be a helper for the rest of my life,” said Thompson. “TSTC is helping me change that. I’ve had the best experience and I’ve learned so much. TSTC has given me a career to be proud of.”

Thompson’s classmate, Rivera will also be earning her certificate in August, but will return to TSTC in the fall to pursue her associate degree.

The Rosharon native said it was her brother, who works for the oil industry, who introduced her to the possibility of a career in welding.

“What I immediately loved about welding was building something from nothing,” she said. “And now I see how I can take my career anywhere. Welding really can take you a long way.”

Rivera added that her goal is to work in fabrication, her favorite part of the program.

“TSTC is really setting my foundation,” said Rivera. “I appreciate every critique and piece of advice from my instructors, especially as a woman in a male-dominated field. I honestly feel prepared to work in the field.”

She hopes that by telling her story, other women will be encouraged to enter this or other male-dominated fields, and so she offers the following advice: “Work hard, do your best, be the best at what you do, don’t give up and show those men what you are made of.”

TSTC’s Welding Technology gives students like Thompson and Rivera the opportunity to learn how to work all of the equipment that is used in industry, while gaining real-world experience with hands-on training.

The program offers certificate and associate degree tracks in areas such as combination welding and advanced pipe welding.

Upon successful completion of the program students can expect to find careers in welding, in addition to, soldering and brazing, or as pipefitters and steamfitters, cutters and machine setters and operators.

Welding Technology Instructor Brooke Williams said Thompson and Rivera are driven to succeed in this field.

“Since I have known her, April knows where she wants to go with her career and has never lost sight of that,” said Williams. “She is always quick to help other students and isn’t afraid to seek advice on how to achieve her dreams.”

“As for Sara, she is a focused and hardworking student,” she added. “No matter how hard something is she never lets that stop her or bring her down.”

Welding Technology is offered at eight other TSTC campuses: Breckenridge, Brownwood, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater, Waco and Williamson County.

For more information or to register for Fall 2017 visit

Donation Takes TSTC to New Heights

(FORT BEND) – Texas State Technical College Electrical Lineworker Technology will have a nearly two-acre training facility when the program begins August 2017, all thanks to CenterPoint Energy.

The Houston-based electric and natural gas utility company has donated 50 utility poles and electrical lines for students to utilize in hands-on training.

“CenterPoint Energy has been eager to help us right from the beginning,” said TSTC Field Development Officer John Kennedy. “CenterPoint Energy’s generosity will allow us to reallocate our resources in our new Electrical Lineworker Technology program to enhance the students’ learning experience.”

The training yard will mirror that of CenterPoint Energy’s training center for its employees and will include two circles of 15 poles with additional practice lines.  TSTC Utility Pole Yard Installation

“CenterPoint Energy was thrilled to participate in TSTC’s lineworker program. It’s a great opportunity to help them get started,” said CenterPoint Energy Director of Training and Development Don Matthews.

It is also CenterPoint Energy employees who are handling the installation.

“This gives our employees additional practice in setting the poles, but helps TSTC get their training program off the ground,” said Matthews. “It’s a win, win.”

TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology Instructor Troy Eads said he has had the pleasure of working with CenterPoint trainers and he is very appreciative of the opportunities they have given students with their donation.

“We can’t say thank you enough to CenterPoint Energy,” said Eads. “They have had their employees on campus working hard at installing our yard pole set in the rain and mud. This donation really gives our program the chance of providing our future lineworkers a real-world experience and the hands-on training they need for a successful career.”

TSTC Electrical Lineworker Technology will make its debut in the fall and will be located in TSTC’s newest building, the Brazos Center.

The program will include a certificate and associate degree track and will prepare students for one of the most physically demanding, but highest-paying careers in the nation.

Students will learn how to safely use lineworker climbing equipment and tools while practicing in an authentic utility training environment.

“We, and other companies are looking for skilled, quality workers and it is our belief that these graduates could potentially be good candidates for us or other companies in the area,” said Matthews.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Texas employs the most electrical lineworkers than any other state and also shows that employment is expected to grow six percent from 2014 to 2024.

“Because of CenterPoint’s innovative thinking, our students will not only be well-trained, but they will also have a viable option for excellent employment after they leave TSTC,” Kennedy said.

Electrical Lineworker Technology is also offered at TSTC’s Marshall and Waco campuses.

For more information or to register for Fall 2017 visit

TSTC Hosts Summer College and Career Institute

(FORT BEND) – Sparks were flying at Texas State Technical College as the 11 high school students enrolled in a nine-day College and Career Institute got some hands-on experience welding.

The institute is the first of its kind for TSTC and is a partnership between the college, Project Grad Houston, Café College Houston and the Texas Workforce Solution (TWC).TSTC CCI Student 1

“It has been a pleasure hosting these students on campus,” said TSTC Recruitment Coordinator Marigold Sagrado. “They are attentive, well-mannered and I know they will be successful.”

The students participating in this institute were from Houston-based Southwest Charter School, Sharpstown High School and the Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees and have shown an interest in pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) fields.

“It’s always great when we can bring quality program options and a college experience opportunity to high school students who may not get this chance anywhere else,” said Anne Sung, Project Grad Houston vice president and chief strategy officer.

The institute focused on five career areas offered by TSTC: Cyber Security Technology, Welding Technology, Precision Machining Technology, HVAC Technology and Diesel Equipment Technology.

Instructors from each program engaged the students with hands-on career exploration activities and spoke with them regarding education pathways, the college application and financial aid process and careers they can pursue if they obtain a certificate or associate degree from TSTC.

During the institute students also received lessons on job interviewing and resume writing. Students learned how to represent themselves professionally by practicing greetings, handshakes, eye contact and self-introductions.  A portion of their time was also dedicated to interviews skills and resume development.

“We want these students to leave this institute open to the idea that college is a possibility and that they can be successful,” said Adriana Estrada, College Institute coordinator. “It’s about college and career readiness.”TSTC CCI Students 2 5x7

To experience a real-work environment, the students also visited TSTC Board of Regent Joe Gurecky at his local business Gurecky Manufacturing, Inc. They had the opportunity to tour the facility and speak to professionals in the industry.

“All of the students have expressed interest in pursuing TSTC after high school,” said Sagrado. “I consider this 100 percent success.”

Sung said their data shows that students who attend at least two institutes are more likely to enroll in college after high school.

“The impact of these institutes helping students get inspired to go to college is very powerful,” said Sung. “And we’re very grateful to our partners at the TWC and TSTC for making this program possible for our students.”

For more information on the programs mentioned or to register for Fall 2017, visit


TSTC Alum Donates to Help Others Find their Dreams

(FORT BEND) – Texas State Technical College gave Steve Hefner an education and helped him find a career he still loves today and now he is giving back to the school that gave him so much.

The 1985 TSTC graduate recently donated $10,000 to the TSTC Texan Success Scholarship that will assist students who are pursuing a career in construction-related industries such as Industrial Maintenance Technology, Welding Technology, HVAC Technology and Precision Machining Technology. The money will help students pay for tuition, books and other expenses.

Steve Hefner

Steve Hefner

“TSTC was a great experience for me and I want someone else to have that same opportunity,” said Hefner.

The 54-year-old earned his associate degree in building construction from TSTC in Waco and is now the senior vice president of construction, facilities and purchasing for Camden Property Trust in Houston where he has worked for 23 years.

“A home is a special thing in someone’s life,” said Hefner. “And my career gives me great pride in being a part of that and it’s all because of TSTC.”

Hefner said TSTC gave him the foundation he needed to be successful in his field and is glad to see that TSTC is still providing the same service.

“At TSTC and in my career I have had great mentors and I want to be that for somebody,” he said. “TSTC is the best opportunity out there to get an education, skills and a trade.”

Throughout Hefner’s 32-year career in the construction industry he has also worked at Worthing Southeast Builders and SpawGlass and Gross Builders earning promotions and working his way to the top.

“And education is what you make of it,” he added. “Students at TSTC have the same opportunity as a four-year university graduate. Everyone starts at the bottom and earns their place at the top and I hope my donation can help students get there.”

TSTC’s Field Development Officer John Kennedy said donations from alumni are a testament to the college.

“It says a lot for a former students to return to help our college because it builds tremendous credibility for what we are doing in the state of the Texas,” said Kennedy. “In essence it is a testament to an alumni’s trust in our programs and effectiveness in our ability to change people’s lives for the better.”

Kennedy also added that donations are critical to the college’s mission of placing more Texans in great paying jobs.

“These dollars are used by our students to learn a skill that they might not have otherwise been able to without donations from the private sector,” he said. “We are grateful for people like Mr. Hefner who see the value in skilled workers and are willing to invest in the future of others.”

Hefner said he hopes to continue working with Kennedy and TSTC to begin an endowment toward TSTC’s construction-related technologies.


“My goal is to help students avoid debt and give them the opportunity to find their passion,” he said. “I want to help them pursue a career that will provide for their future and their family’s needs in life.”

For more information on how to donate to TSTC’s Texan Success Scholarship please call 346-239-3402.


Registration for Fall 2017 is in progress. To register or apply anytime visit

TSTC Registration Rallies Encourage Early College Registration

(FORT BEND) – To alleviate the stress that comes with college applications and registration, Texas State Technical College will host a registration rally Thursday, June 15, at the TSTC Industrial Technology Center in Rosenberg.

TSTC’s registration rallies give new and returning students the opportunity to receive the resources they need to complete the application and registration processes all under one roof.

This initiative was started by TSTC in Fall 2016. All 10 campuses statewide host this event with hundreds of students taking advantageTSTC Registration Rally of the assistance offered by faculty, staff and student volunteers.

TSTC Director of Recruitment Dora Colvin calls this event a one-stop shop for students.

“We want to help students by providing the resources they need to finish the application and registration processes for the next semester in one centralized location,” she said.

Enrollment representatives from Admissions, Financial Aid, Advisement, Support Services and Testing will be on hand to guide those attending the event. Tours of the college will also be available throughout the day.

“We hope that having faculty and staff present will help make this process easier for students,” said Colvin.

Student Recruitment Coordinator Marigold Sagrado added that this event also helps her team encourage students to register early.

“The earlier a student registers, the more likely it is they get the classes they need and will be happy with their schedule,” said Sagrado. “They will also have the opportunity to meet their instructors and get book lists early. After this event they (students) will officially be ready for the fall semester.”

To complete the registration process, students must complete an admissions application and bring their GED scores (if applicable), recent high school or college transcripts, and proof of their bacterial meningitis vaccination if under 22 years of age.

New and current students at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus also have four new programs to look forward to this fall with the opening of TSTC’s newest building, the Brazos Center: Electrical Lineworker Technology, Robotics/Industrial Automation Technology, Electrical Power and Controls Technology and Environmental Technology – Compliance Specialization.

TSTC’s registration rally will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the TSTC Industrial Technology Center located at 26706 Southwest Freeway in Rosenberg, Texas. Parents are welcome to attend. There will be two more registration rallies later this summer on July 20 and August 10.

Fall registration ends August 21, and the first day of classes is August 28.

To apply or register, visit or call the Admissions Office at 346-239-3414.

TSTC Brings Job Opportunities to Fort Bend County

(FORT BEND) – The Brazos Center, Texas State Technical College’s second and newest building in Fort Bend County, is on track to open in August 2017, and new faculty and staff are needed to fill classrooms and offices.Computer Instructor Teach 5x7 72dpi

TSTC will hire approximately 40 faculty and staff members, including instructors, student recruiters, and custodial and maintenance workers.

Rhiannon Hastings, TSTC’s Human Resources department manager, said they are ready to begin the interviewing and hiring processes immediately.

“We’re looking to fill our positions quickly with qualified candidates,” said Hastings. “We’re looking for people with experience in their field who are dedicated to helping students succeed.”

Hastings said she encourages qualified candidates from the local community as well as TSTC alumni to apply.

“This is a brand-new campus, giving our new hires an opportunity to forge a new way,” she said. “We are one TSTC, but each campus has its own culture that’s defined by its people.”

Hastings added that those who work for TSTC have the chance to inspire and change lives.

TSTC is also a state institution, meaning faculty and staff are considered state employees who can take advantage of competitive pay and benefits packages.

“This is a chance to be part of a wonderful company with a great future in Fort Bend County,” said Vice Chancellor and Chief Execution Officer Randy Wooten. “We are looking for qualified folks to join our mission in helping our students achieve the American dream of success and a great job that will build prosperous futures for themselves and their families.”

The new openings are a result of technologies being added to TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus. There are already 10 technologies with certificate and associate degree tracks offered, and the Brazos Center will housFBC-Bldg-2sm-LOWe four additional programs: Electrical Lineworker Technology, Robotics and Industrial Automation Technology, Electrical Power and Controls Technology and Environmental Technology – Compliance Specialization.

Wooten said TSTC is looking for faculty who have real, relevant and recent experience in their field and want to pass those skills on to the next generation and for staff who want to be part of a team they can be proud of in a great place to work.

“These new programs, along with our current technologies, quickly lead to great, in-demand jobs with high salaries,” he said. “We’re looking for smart, energetic people for a variety of positions. I encourage them to come take a look at us.”

Wooten added that most people who work for TSTC stay for many years because of the family-like atmosphere and their passion for making a difference in someone’s life.

“We support each other here,” he said. “When you work for TSTC, you are doing something worthwhile.”

To review the job postings or to apply for a position, please visit or call TSTC Human Resources at 254-867-2373.

For more information on programs or to register for Fall 2017, visit

Veteran Finds Life After Military at TSTC

(FORT BEND) – Army Veteran Lupe Mendoza was looking for a career to pursue after serving six years in the military. Mission accomplished.

The Richmond native, husband and father recently graduated from Texas State Technical College, which he calls the beginning to a new life.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I just knew I needed to move on in civilian life,” said Mendoza. “So after researching I found machining and it seemed challenging, so I went for it.”

Mendoza decided to put his veteran benefits and G.I. Bill to good use and enrolled in TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology in 2015.

After serving numerous tours overseas, Mendoza returned with a spinal injury being labeled asLupe Mendoza disabled by doctors.

“The work in the military is hard and over time it takes a toll on your body,” he said. “But I wasn’t going to let that stop me.”

As a veteran, Mendoza had access to TSTC’s Veterans Center for help with enrolling and benefit processes.

“I was impressed with the type of help I received as a veteran,” said Mendoza. “The veterans team from Harlingen would travel to me in Fort Bend County to assist me with everything. They played a big part in my success at TSTC.”

Another person Mendoza credits with his success was former TSTC Precision Machining Instructor Michael Barnes.

Mendoza said it was Barnes’ extensive real-world experiences that he shared with all of his students that made all of the difference.

“He treated the class like an actual machine shop and students like employees,” said Mendoza. “It was actual on-the job training and he was our biggest supporter.”

Despite the fact that Mendoza grew up around construction and working in a steel mill with his father, he said nothing compared to the foundation and hands-on experience he got at TSTC.

Mendoza became so captivated with TSTC’s teaching methods that he concurrently enrolled in Welding Technology. He is expected to earn his certificate Summer 2017, in time to graduate at TSTC’s In Fort Bend County’s first commencement ceremony in August.

“I have nothing but praise for TSTC and I’m so glad I followed this path,” said Mendoza. “I can’t thank the instructors and staff enough for all of the help they provided.”

What’s in the future for Mendoza?

He said he is considering enrolling at the University of Houston to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering but is also looking into making a move to Harlingen to do metal work for his uncle who owns two gun shops.

“TSTC has given me the skills I need to move on with my life,” he said. “My options are now endless and TSTC made that easier for me.”

For more information on Precision Machining Technology call 346-239- 3441 and for Welding Technology call 346-239-3452.

Registration for Fall 2017 is already in progress. To register or apply anytime visit

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