Category Archives: Williamson County

TSTC Students Volunteer for Hutto has Heart

House_3(HUTTO) – Students from Texas State Technical College’s Industrial Electrical Systems program volunteered Thursday to help run electrical wire in a Hutto resident’s home.

The job, part of a Hutto has Heart project, will help a local family make their home more accessible for their daughter, who has used a wheelchair since an accident last year.

Hutto has Heart provides assistance to families through requests for help, including car repairs, assistance with medical and utility bills, gas money, food, clothing and more.

TSTC recruiter and Hutto City Councilman Michael Smith said TSTC was excited to lend a hand for the project.

“Hutto has Heart’s program coordinator reached out to us with the general need, and instructor Mike Jenkins, (TSTC Provost) Edgar Padilla and I sat down to make sure that we had the manpower and that our students would be properly prepared in time,” Smith said. “Everything lined up, so we jumped at the opportunity.”

Smith said the occasion presented a way not only to make Hutto aware of what TSTC students are doing, but also to help out in the community.

“It is great to give back, “Smith said. “We don’t just have a building here in Hutto; we’re part of the community and a responsible part of that is giving back and helping out when we can.”

Industrial Electrical Systems instructor Mike Jenkins said the experience would benefit the students by learning on the job.

“They’re getting hands-on experience,” Jenkins said. “It’s not what you get in the classroom under clean conditions. You actually see what it’s like to come out and work around people’s personal belongings.”

Eight students helped to install the lighting and electrical power for the handicapped-accessible bathroom. Second-semester student Eddie Santos said he was glad to help.

“I wanted to help out other people,” Santos said. “Our teacher told us about the situation, and us going out there to help was a good thing.”

Santos said the experience helped him learn new job skills.

“Since the Sheetrock was already put in, we got to learn some of the remodeling aspects of the job,” he said. “We’ve done wiring before, but it was before any of that was done, so we learned how to go over those obstacles.”

Padilla said the school couldn’t be more proud to partner with Hutto has Heart.

“We care about our community and are thankful for the opportunity to give back,” Padilla said. “We want to offer a huge thank-you to our friends at The Home Depot in Hutto and the efforts of our students and staff.”

TSTC will begin registering for the summer semester on April 3. The Industrial Electrical Systems certificate is a two-semester program that teaches students residential and commercial wiring.

For more information on TSTC’s Industrial Electrical Systems program, or to apply, visit

TSTC Welding Grad Lands Job with Growing Company

IMG_0311(HUTTO) – When the oil industry crashed in 2015, Cedar Park resident Stephen Price found himself unemployed and looking for a new career.

Price’s brother had enrolled at Texas State Technical College in Williamson County and told him about it. Price wanted something in which he could use his mechanical military background, so he followed suit after learning about TSTC’s welding program.

Price said he learned a lot at TSTC.

“When I started, I knew almost nothing about welding,” Price said. “I think I picked up pretty quick. I’m a quick study. There were some things that took more time to get proficient at.”

The Air Force veteran graduated in December 2016 and found employment at 101 Mobility in Cedar Park. Price wanted to stay close to home after spending six years traveling the world with the Air Force. He served three years at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, three in Aviano, Italy, and some time in Iraq and Qatar.

“Those years in Italy were the best years of my life,” Price said. “I traveled all over Europe. I was an hour north of Venice. In three hours I could be in Poland or Germany.”

Now, he is working as the fifth member in a growing company, and he was excited to get in early.

“101 Mobility installs handicap accessibility items like stair lifts, elevators and ramps,” Price said. “I assemble and install them to the customer’s specifications. It’s what I want to do, the pay is good and I’m getting in on the ground floor.”

101 Mobility began in 2008 in Wilmington, North Carolina. The company opened in Cedar Park in 2012, and current owner and president Kellye Jennings purchased the location in 2015. At the time, the company had two employees, making her the third. She’s since almost doubled the head count.

“I’m really trying to develop more resources and offer more products,” Jennings said. “I’ve invested in additional employees with the expectation that we’ll start realizing the additional revenue. I feel that it’s more important to have the people in place first and then experience the growth, instead of experiencing the growth and scrambling to find people. With growth comes opportunity, and I think that’s what drew in Stephen.”

Jennings was initially drawn to Price’s resume because of his military experience.

“I think it’s important to hire someone with a military background because of the connection with our customers,” Jennings said. “The discipline and the skills you develop in the military really lend themselves to the business. The fact that he recently graduated was the icing on the cake. With him focusing on his next objective, which is developing his skill, shows focus and initiative, and those are two qualities that I really feel are important.”

Spring classes at TSTC in Williamson County begin Tuesday, Jan. 17. TSTC begins registering for the summer semester on April 3.

For more information on TSTC’s welding program, visit

TSTC Campuses Hold Fall Commencement

(WACO) – More than 480 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Fall 2016 Commencement held Friday, Dec. 9, 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 449 graduates, Williamson County had 19 graduates, North Texas had 18 graduates and Fort Bend County had two graduates.

Many of the graduates either have jobs or career offers.

Hobie Horrell, 20, of Edgewood graduated with an associate degree in Diesel Equipment Technology. He described his new job working on diesel equipment at Autoworks Sales and Service in Edgewood as a good opportunity to work in his hometown.

“It feels good to get my life started being that I’m 20,” Horrell said.

Salvador Ceja, 20, of Mansfield said he was excited to receive his associate degree in Diesel Equipment Technology. He will soon start a job at Warner Enterprises Inc. in Dallas.

“It has been awesome at TSTC,” Ceja said. “You get to make some good money in my field.”

Some graduates are still making plans.

Ty Webb, 20, of Corpus Christi graduated with two associate degrees in Instrumentation Technology and Electrical Power and Controls. He chose the fields to study because of his relatives’ work. Webb said his time at TSTC was a challenge but one he enjoyed. The Tuloso-Midway High School graduate said he is job hunting but also thinking about pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

TSTC had more than 900 graduates this fall across the state.

TSTC has graduated more than 100,000 students in its history.

For more information, log on to


Culinary Arts Program Cooking Up Visibility at TSTC

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College’s Culinary Arts program is gaining interest among students.

Chef Martin Ellenberger of Hutto joined the faculty at Texas State Technical College in Williamson County in late August. He is the primary instructor for that campus’ Culinary Arts program, which also has a high school dual enrollment teacher and an adjunct instructor.

Ellenberger, an Ohio native, initially joined the Culinary Arts faculty at TSTC in Waco in January 2015. He decided to change campuses to decrease his commute.

“It’s definitely different (at the Williamson County campus),” Ellenberger said. “There is a lot more stuff I need to stay on top of. I’m buying products and doing lesson plans. I’m able to create the recipes I want and have more responsibility with what I’m doing.”

The program had four students last fall, but has 12 students enrolled this year.

Brady Davis, 20, of Georgetown and a 2014 graduate of Eastview High School, has worked at the Walburg German Restaurant since high school. He said he finds kitchen life enjoyable and wants to learn everything he can in his classes. His goal is to own a food truck.

“I like the flexibility. The price was a huge factor, and I can keep a full-time job,” Davis said.

Brayan Flores, 18, of Taylor and a 2016 graduate of Taylor High School, took culinary classes through dual enrollment. The classes he is taking now at TSTC are an extension of what he has already learned. Flores also wants his own food truck or restaurant in a few years.

On a recent afternoon, Flores donned plastic gloves to melt a slab of butter on a pastry board to make dough.

“I like to look at different recipes and try them out,” Flores said. “I want to learn whatever will help me in the workforce.”

Some of the classes students will take this fall include Meat Preparation and Cooking, Food Service Operations and Systems, and Fundamentals of Baking.

“I like the way that we are structured,” Ellenberger said. “We take the students from having no culinary knowledge to being able to produce in a restaurant setting. I try to introduce as many items as possible that they would not be familiar with in the process.”

Culinary Arts’ two kitchens are on the third floor of the East Williamson County Higher Education Center in Hutto. The cooking kitchen can comfortably accommodate 24 students, and the baking kitchen can hold up to 20 students. Each kitchen has movable tables and stools, an array of skillets, pots, pans, ovens and cold-storage areas.

“I am excited and relieved at the opportunity to have someone who is as well-versed in our curriculum and as talented as Chef Martin is,” said Evan Morgan, Executive Director of the East Williamson County Higher Education Center. “In theory, this is his kitchen.”

When students leave the program with their Certificate 2 in Culinary Arts, Ellenberger wants them to be comfortable using knives, have an increased curiosity about food and have confidence in their skills.

Ellenberger’s goal, along with that of leaders at TSTC in Williamson County, is to see the program take advantage of the Austin area’s thriving culinary scene, where there is Thai, Chinese and Mexican cuisine, barbecue, Southern food and an assortment of food trucks.

The program will also enroll students in January for the Spring Semester. For more information, visit

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TSTC Instructor Brings Workplace Skills to New Job

(MARSHALL) – Hugh Pouland credits divine guidance for finding his way to Texas State Technical College in Marshall.

Pouland, 53, began teaching in the Biomedical Equipment Technology program at TSTC in January. A desire to help others is what motivates him to teach.

“He understands that what we do makes a difference in the lives of real people,” said Nicholas Cram, an associate professor in the Biomedical Equipment Technology program. “The passion and empathy needed for this career field are a genuine part of Hugh’s character.”

Pouland said the biomedical equipment industry is critical to people who are receiving diagnostic and therapeutic care using electronic medical machines.

“I want my students to gain a mastery of medical facility policy and procedures, incoming inspections, electrical safety testing and medical device preventive and corrective maintenance,” Pouland said.

Before he joined TSTC, Pouland worked as a technician in the electronic, production testing and biomedical equipment fields in Dallas, Longview and Lufkin.

“Coming recently out of industry, Hugh brings relevant knowledge of medical technology and processes currently in healthcare that use that medical technology,” said Cram. “His understanding of electronics, networking and medical device functions are extremely valuable. Being able to relate and pass on that knowledge to students is even more valuable.”

Pouland grew up in Lufkin and graduated in 1981 from Lufkin High School. He graduated in 2007 from Angelina College in Lufkin with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electronic Technology. He also received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Biomedical Equipment Technology from TSTC in Marshall in 2011.

He is a member of the North Texas Biomedical Association.

The Biomedical Equipment Technology program has more than 40 students enrolled who can work toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in Biomedical Equipment Technology in Marshall.

For more information on the Biomedical Equipment Technology program, contact TSTC in Marshall at 888-382-8782.


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Hutto Official Starts Work as TSTC Recruiter

(HUTTO) – Michael Smith now has more reasons to root for Hutto’s progress.
Smith, 30, the Hutto City Council’s mayor pro-tem, began June 1 as a student recruitment specialist at Texas State Technical College in Williamson County.
He was previously a political consultant working with area and state candidates.
“It’s a lot of the same skills set in working with people,” Smith said. “From the business side, recruitment is recruitment.”
Smith will focus this summer on non-traditional students, such as military veterans or those who want a career change, and will pick up some of the more than 100 high schools within a 50-mile radius of TSTC in late summer.
“There are so many high schools that haven’t been touched yet,” said Caleb Steed, TSTC in Williamson County’s interim director of student recruitment.
Smith, along with other student recruiters at TSTC, will work closely with Industry Relations and Talent Management when companies seek employees with specific skill sets.
“We are very glad he is part of the team,” Steed said. “We are looking forward to things he can bring to the table for TSTC as a whole.”
Smith was born in Frankfurt, Germany, where his family was stationed in the military. His family eventually moved to Killeen and he graduated from Shoemaker High School in 2004.
He graduated in 2008 from Texas A&M University in College Station with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Leadership and Development.
Smith has served on the Hutto City Council since 2009.
“I see that TSTC in Williamson County is a big part of a relationship with the city, which is a big part of what we do,” he said. “You can always get things done by working together. We have TSTC here which provides a flexible model to teach job training for the city and region’s economic development.”
TSTC in Williamson County is at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center on Innovation Boulevard in Hutto.

TSTC Receives Welding Robot

(HUTTO) – The Welding Technology program at Texas State Technical College in Williamson County has received its largest donation ever.

Dayton Superior Corp.’s manufacturing plant in New Braunfels recently donated a welding robot used for manufacturing and repetitive processes made by FANUC America Corp. The robot is valued at $176,000 and will be used by students taking the Welding Automation course for the Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology.

Brooke Williams, chair of the Welding Technology program, said the robot represents the real world for students. Students have not seen the robot yet but will once the fall semester begins.

“The donation means people know we are here,” Williams said.

Williams said she and faculty members did not see the robot until it was delivered in late May to the East Williamson County Higher Education Center in Hutto.

“We were thinking, ‘Now that’s pretty big,’” she said. “It’s solid metal.”

TSTC in Williamson County Provost Edgar Padilla said the robot will allow for more advanced instruction for welding students.

“This will ultimately prepare them even better for their careers in welding,” Padilla said. “We’re thankful to Dayton Superior for their generous donation and recognition of TSTC as the premier welding training institution in the state of Texas. It’s through industry partnerships like this that TSTC will succeed in our mission to ‘Place More Texans’.”

The donation came about during a conversation last fall between Reagan S. Hill, a manufacturing engineer at Dayton Superior Corp., and Jonathan Davis, an area manager for Lincoln Electric in San Antonio, which is a supplier for the Welding Technology program.

“I mentioned we were trying to sell robots and he asked if we would consider donating them to a welding school,” Hill said. “Being as I am a great proponent of education and needing to move these machines out, I decided it was our best course of action. Jonathan provided me with a list of schools, of which TSTC was at the top of the list. Having some background with TSTC as a program advisor in past years, TSTC was the first school I contacted.”

For more information on how to make a cash or equipment donation to TSTC, contact The TSTC Foundation at 254-867-3900.

Registration continues for the fall semester at TSTC. For more information log on to

The Welding Technology program will have a Welding Pro-Am and Shine & Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 11, at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center on Innovation Boulevard in Hutto. For more information contact Brooke Williams or Keith Armentrout at 512-759-5632.


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TSTC Provost Named to Hutto Area Chamber of Commerce

(HUTTO) – Edgar Padilla, provost of Texas State Technical College in Williamson County, was recently appointed a member of the Hutto Area Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors.

He was selected by Board Chairman Seth Simmons and will work with other board members in guiding policy direction, budgeting and other facets of the chamber made of more than 300 members.

“TSTC represents how much our Hutto values education and working together,” Simmons said. “By educating and preparing people to realize their potential, we are creating an appealing business environment in which families and businesses can thrive together for many years to come.”

Padilla said his appointment signified the college’s mission to contribute to the economic development of Texas.

“By working closely with the Hutto Area Chamber of Commerce, it’s my hope that our scope and mission will continue to grow in Williamson County resulting in enrollment growth for the campus and the attraction of more industry partners for our graduates,” he said. “We know working closely with community partners is an integral part of our success at TSTC, and our responsibility to our local communities extends beyond student outreach.”

Padilla has been provost since November 2015. Before moving into his current position he served as senior executive director for TSTC’s statewide Industry Relations and Talent Management and TSTC in Waco’s director of career services and coordinator of career services. He also worked with Campus Living hiring and training resident advisors, coordinating staff development initiatives and tracking student satisfaction, parent relations and residence life.

He also has had involvement in the Lacy-Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, the Waco Collegiate Forum, the Work in Waco Committee, the Greater Waco Education Alliance and the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Padilla has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management with a minor in Information Systems from Schreiner University in Kerrville.  He is currently working on a Master of Business Administration degree in Global Marketing and Entrepreneurship from St. Thomas University.

Registration continues for Fall Semester at TSTC. For more information go to



Scholarship Campaign Kicks Off at TSTC

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College in Williamson County is raising money for a new scholarship by having its first Welding Pro-Am and Show & Shine from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 11 at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center in Hutto.

The event includes a welding pro-am judged competition and tours of TSTC’s welding labs.

“We will be hosting welding professionals, industry partners and vendors from all over the state who will team up with our students and show off some of the coolest welding equipment the industry has to offer,” said Edgar Padilla, provost of TSTC in Williamson County.

Proceeds will go toward the Make a Texas-Sized Difference campaign developed by The TSTC Foundation to raise money for the Texan Success Scholarship. TSTC will match each donation made – dollar per dollar.

The community has the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of TSTC students  throughout the campaign.

“The goal is to grow TSTC, get our students in school and on track to complete a program and eventually enter the Texas workforce,” Vice President of Institutional Advancement Beth Wooten said. “This is bigger than just TSTC. This is about filling the skills gap in Texas and providing industry with the skilled workers desperately needed.”

Technical degrees and certificates will be critical to have in the next decade. Wind turbine service technology and health care jobs in physical therapy, home health and ambulance driving are predicted to be some of the fastest growing occupations by 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“A large number of well-paying jobs go unfilled in Texas because employers cannot find workers with the right blend of technical skills,” TSTC Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer Mike Reeser said. “At TSTC we teach those skills needed for these great jobs. We hope more students will be encouraged to consider the benefits of a technical education and the great jobs that result from them.”

New, incoming students can receive the non-need referral based $1,000 scholarship at TSTC’s 10 campuses. TSTC recruiters, faculty members and high school counselors can make recommendations for students to receive the money.

“I’ve had the privilege to speak to most of our community and many area employers about the Texan Success Scholarship,” said Padilla. “We are very excited about a scholarship campaign that will specifically benefit TSTC students at our EWCHEC location.”

TSTC in Williamson County has 11 technical programs offering certificates and associate degrees in technical areas from computer tech support to welding technology.

For more information on the welding contest, contact instructors Brooke Williams or Keith Armentrout at 512-759-5632.

For more information on the Make a Texas-Sized Difference Campaign and other ways to contribute to TSTC, log on to or call 254-867-3900.



EWCHEC Hosts College Preview and Open House

(HUTTO) – Myles Wright, 18, a senior at Hutto High School,has his mind on social sciences for a career possibility when he graduates in the spring.

But his mind opened up Thursday morning after seeing college students working in electrical and plumbing and pipefitting labs. Wright was among more than 400 students and counselors from high schools in central Texas who attended the College Preview and Open House hosted by Texas State Technical College, Temple College and Texas A&M University Central Texas at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center on Innovation Boulevard.

“I was surprised at the machinery that is here,” Wright said. “It’s hands-on and being a hands-on learner, I enjoyed seeing that.”

“We want our visitors to learn about the unique partnership we have,” said Edgar Padilla, provost of TSTC in Williamson County “We want them to learn about programs and services here and the opportunities that are here.”

The high schools were divided into four groups that rotated between laboratory tours and information sessions on admissions and financial aid. Information tables were set up for Career Services and Student Life.. Culinary Arts students from TSTC grilled hot dogs for students and made pasta, chicken and green beans for counselors.

Barbara Spelman, principal at New Hope High School in Leander, brought eight students to the event. She said students need to know their options when choosing careers, specifically those in critical-need areas like science and technology.

“I want them to be exposed to as many post-secondary options as possible,” Spelman said. “I think it is super important for our students to understand what types of programs are available at Texas State Technical College.”

Alex Patlan, a counselor at Hutto High School, said a college-going culture is emphasized as early as ninth grade with parental involvement and dual enrollment courses. Counselors regularly promote completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and the online ApplyTexas form.

“I hope they are motivated to come up with a plan for their postsecondary work,” Patlan said. “We want them to have a good future.”

Asomo Ramadan, 18, a senior at Hutto High School, said he lives five minutes away from EWCHEC but was not familiar with what was inside the building. He said he was pleasantly surprised at the preview event.

“I want to study business management,” Ramadan said. “I want to go for the two years here and then transfer. I want to be close to home after high school.”

Phoibe Usabimana, a freshman at Eastside Memorial High School in Austin, said she was familiar with TSTC in Waco and enjoyed seeing what EWCHEC had to offer. She said TSTC had a good engineering program which said could help her prepare for the biotechnology field.

TSTC in Williamson County offers certificates and associate degrees in Computer Technical Support, Culinary Arts, Cyber Security, Database Administration Programming, Global Communications System Installer, HVAC Technician, Industrial Electrical Systems, Industrial Maintenance, Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology, Precision Manufacturing Technology and Welding Technology.

Registration is ongoing for Summer and Fall semesters at TSTC. Log on to and for more information.

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