Category Archives: All TSTC

Two TSTC Employees in Sweetwater Earn Chancellor’s Excellence Award

(SWEETWATER) – Texas State Technical College has announced the recipients of this year’s Chancellor’s Excellence Award, and seven West Texas employees were honored. Of the seven, two employees from Sweetwater received the award.

This year’s Sweetwater award winners are Marina Wilcox, interim provost and vice president of Dual Enrollment, and Julie Browning, executive administrative assistant.

Browning has worked at TSTC for four years and said she was honored to receive the award.

“I guess I do my job well!” she laughed.

It is interaction with people that motivates her to come into work every day.

“I’m passionate about TSTC because of the people I work with and the students I work for,” Browning said.

Wilcox, who has worked at TSTC for a collective four years, felt the same sentiments.

“I was absolutely honored and humbled that my peers felt that I was worthy of this award and that I helped serve and lead them in a capacity that they felt was of benefit to them and the college,” she said.

Wilcox returned to TSTC in 2015, having previously worked at the college from 2007 to 2008.

“When I returned to TSTC, the college was on the ground level of going through the transition period of moving from separate colleges into one TSTC,” she said. “There was a great deal of change that was going on, on multiple levels.”

She was happy to guide her team through the shift.

“I’m glad I was able to be part of such an exciting transition and that I helped lead my team through that transition,” she said. “I’m glad they were able to see the positive effects the transition was having on the college in the present and where we’re going in the future. Every day is full of change and opportunities to be that servant-leader, to lead your team through the changes and to see the great effects it has in each of their areas.”

The Chancellor’s Excellence Award began in 2001, and over the past 15 years more than 280 TSTC employees have received the honor. Recipients are chosen based on outstanding contributions and achievements, commitment to excellence and character. Honorees serve as agents of change in the advancement of TSTC initiatives.

TSTC touts itself as being “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for over 90 positions at its 10 campuses statewide. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit


Three TSTC Employees in Abilene Earn Chancellor’s Excellence Award

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College has announced the recipients of this year’s Chancellor’s Excellence Award, and seven West Texas employees were honored. Of the seven, three employees from Abilene received the award.
This year’s Abilene award winners are Holle England, professional development officer; Jeannette Gist, director of student recruitment; and Jennifer Ryan, success coach.
England, a 22-year TSTC employee, was honored to receive the award.
“I believe in TSTC’s mission, and I strive to make sure that everything I do goes toward that mission,” she said. “In today’s society, a technical education is so important. I try to make sure we have excellent faculty and staff to support the students.”
Ryan has worked at TSTC for 14 years and said winning the award was a humbling experience.
“I thought it was a joke,” she laughed. “When you come to work, you do your work and you try to make the best of it. You try to encourage your students the best that you can, and you don’t really think about being recognized for that.”
The “underdogs” keep her motivated at TSTC.
“I want to help the person that was told by their high school counselor, a teacher or even a family member, ‘I don’t think college is for you,'” she said. “I try to show them that just because they may be limited in reading or math skills, or maybe have a learning disability, that doesn’t have to limit their potential to break the chain. Just because your family has always had manual jobs, that doesn’t mean you can’t be something different.”
With a background in children’s and family ministry, Gist also wanted to help make a difference for families.
“My heart just beats for families,” she said. “When I took the job, I wasn’t sure how my passion would connect with this job, but I found out very quickly how well it connects to what I care about. Every day in student recruitment we meet people. Sometimes they’re young, but sometimes they’re people even older than me who don’t know what they want to be when they ‘grow up.'”
She enjoys helping these students take the next step toward success.
“It’s a high to be able to walk through the process and direct them to a career that will enable them to provide for their families,” Gist said. “You never know what everybody’s story is and what it even took for them to walk through the door and pursue something different. What if they grew up in a household where people didn’t tell them they were smart? Maybe they didn’t have the confidence to take on a challenge like college. I want to be the person that sits across from them and says, ‘You can do it.'”
The Chancellor’s Excellence Award began in 2001, and over the past 15 years more than 280 TSTC employees have received the honor. Recipients are chosen based on outstanding contributions and achievements, commitment to excellence and character. Honorees serve as agents of change in the advancement of TSTC initiatives.
TSTC touts itself as “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for over 90 positions at its 10 campuses. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit

TSTC Gives Military Members, Veterans Education Opportunities in West Texas

(ABILENE) – Shawn Ogden of Clyde wants to continue working in the aircraft industry after discovering the career as a mechanic in the U.S. Air Force.

But, he knew after leaving the military he was missing some of the certifications needed to professionally maintain aircraft.

“Going to college after being in the military can be intimidating and challenging, but it is absolutely worth the effort,” said Ogden, 43, a student at Texas State Technical College in Abilene. “The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is extremely helpful when it comes to making sure you have everything you need to complete your education.”

Guiding Ogden through his time at TSTC is Veteran Services, which works with students who were in the military or are current active-duty members, along with their spouses and dependents.

“In the military, in order to make rank and be successful, we have to have education in our background,” said Annette Collins, veteran programs officer at TSTC’s West Texas campuses.

Some of the popular programs that members of Veteran Services like to pursue include Computer Networking and Systems Administration in Abilene and Brownwood, and Nursing and Vocational Nursing in Brownwood, Breckenridge and Sweetwater.

Ogden is part of the TSTC FAST Trac Airframe and Powerplant Program in Abilene that allows active-duty military members and veterans to study in an accelerated 13-week program focused on Federal Aviation Administration curricula. Classes are taught in hangar space at Abilene Regional Airport.

“There are a lot of veterans that come out and have worked on jets and airplanes the whole time in service but they don’t have the FAA airframe and powerplant license,” said Julia Humphrey, director of career services for TSTC’s West Texas campuses. “The program is geared for them to get the license and go to work.”

Ogden said he has felt at home at TSTC and knows he will be competitive and ready for job searching once he completes academic work in December.

“TSTC offers a complete package with hands-on training, which I have never had access to before,” he said.

Veteran Services also brings people together who share experiences no matter what military branch they are affiliated with.

Veterans, their spouses and dependents can work with TSTC’s Career Services and Talent Management staff on career readiness, resume writing, networking and interview skills. The technical college also has hireTSTC, an online resource for students to connect with companies that have job openings tailored to certificate and associate degree programs.

“I like TSTC because of the way they take care of their students,” said Collins, a 24-year U.S. Air Force veteran. “The staff is willing to go above and beyond to help the students get the education they need.”

A lot of TSTC’s student recruitment is focused on Dyess Air Force Base, which has more than 5,000 active-duty and U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees and an economic impact of more than $441 million, according to the Abilene Industrial Foundation. The military installation is also the largest employer in Taylor County.

“A lot of the active-duty personnel ask about their benefits and if their spouses can use the benefits,” Collins said. “Yes, they can.”

TSTC will have Registration Rally events for the fall semester on Aug. 2 in Sweetwater, Aug. 3 in Breckenridge, Aug. 8 in Brownwood and Aug. 11 in Abilene.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Police Chief Celebrates 30 Years of Service

(HARLINGEN) – Police Chief Aurelio Torres’ career at Texas State Technical College spans over 30 years and was recently recognized at the college’s annual Employee Appreciation Day for his service.

Torres, whose law enforcement career started at TSTC, said this was always a field he wanted to pursue because of its nobility.

“Our highest call is to provide service to others,” he said. “I feel that with my career I’m doing something with a purpose.”

Torres earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice – Police Administration from the University of Texas at Brownsville and graduated from the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas Leadership Command College and moved up the ranks.

He arrived at TSTC in 1987 as a police officer and served in that position until 1995 when he became an investigator and field training officer. And finally in 2008 he was named the TSTC Chief of Police.

“The title of a job doesn’t matter, it makes no difference,” said Torres. “It’s about helping people and making a difference.”

TSTC Chief of Police Aurelio Torres

Helping and changing lives is what Torres says is his favorite part of the job, even if the task is as small as unlocking a car.

“When I was an officer I loved being out in the field and helping our students overcome challenges,” he said. “It was great getting to know them and becoming a mentor.”

Although he does not work with students as often as he would like anymore, he said it has been great taking his officers and sergeants under his wing and helping them become the best officers and employees they can be.

“I love coaching and mentoring my personnel,” said Torres. “It’s important to me that they understand their jobs and what they do and how it ties into the college’s mission. In turn, it helps us provide the best service possible.”

Torres ensures that his team is always well trained and prepared by encouraging developmental training, the way TSTC has always encouraged his professional growth.

Torres and his officers have all completed trainings such as Campus Orientated Police Training, Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response, Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events and sexual assault family violence investigator courses.  Most recently the chief and his sergeants completed the FBI’s Command Leadership Institute trilogy.

“Learning never stops and I’m thankful for the training that TSTC provides,” said Torres.

TSTC’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel Ray Rushing, who is also Torres’ supervisor, has worked with the chief for more than 18 years and said that he is the epitome of a law enforcement professional.

“His knowledge, skill and leadership is best reflected in the awesome department he has assembled and trained,” said Rushing. “TSTC is lucky to have a man of such integrity and commitment on staff. His love for and dedication to TSTC is showcased daily in his actions.”

It is this dedication that has earned Torres other recognitions as well. He has been recognized by the FBI for his assistance in a child pornography case, by the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office as Law Enforcement Officer of the Year and by TSTC in 2011 as a Chancellor’s Excellence Award recipient.

Torres added that he never expected to be at TSTC for 30 years, but he is grateful that the college has allowed him to stay that long.

“TSTC has become my second family,” he said. “I look forward to continuing my commitment to the college and its community. TSTC offers so many opportunities to its students and employees and transforms lives. I want to continue being a part of that for as long as I can.”

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

Student Success Profile

(HARLINGEN) – Texas State Technical College student Edith Romero is pursuing an associate degree in Business Management Technology and is expected to graduate Fall 2018.

The San Benito native currently boasts a 3.2 grade-point average and is active on campus and within her community.

The 20-year-old is a work study with the Office of Student Life, secretary of the Veteran Students Alliance Club, a member of the TSTC Pool Sharks club and a volunteer with the Harlingen Recycling Center and the Humane Society of Harlingen.

What are your plans after high school?

Edith Romero

After I graduate from TSTC I hope to get hired at either the San Benito Parks and Recreation or the Harlingen Recycling Center as an event coordinator.

What’s your dream job?

My dream job is to work in anything that has to do with recycling and spreading awareness on environmentalism. I’ve always had a love for it and I want to encourage others to help make our communities green. Hopefully one day I’ll also be able to start a recycling center in San Benito and invent environmental-friendly products.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

At TSTC, my greatest accomplishment so far has been being voted secretary for the Veterans Club. I’ve always been a shy person and TSTC has helped me break out of my shell. Another accomplishment I’m really proud of happened when I was in high school when I was selected to be the only national representative for a Health Occupations Students of America competition.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

I live by one quote, “Everything happens for a reason.” I was never interested in going to college, until some TSTC representatives came to talk to my high school class and showed me how important a college education is. I believe I was meant to hear their presentation because now TSTC has given me a brighter life and future.

Who at TSTC has had the greatest influence on your success?

Math lab assistant Vicky Lopez has had the greatest influence on my success. I came into college afraid of math. I’m not good at it. But Vicky was available every day to tutor me and help me. She was so welcoming and because of her and her great attitude I got an A in all of my math classes.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

I want students to remember that college is worth it. Keep trying no matter how hard it gets because it will change your life for the better.


TSTC Tool and Die Technology Changes Student’s Life

(HARLINGEN) – Tool and Die Technology at Texas State Technical College is giving students like Andy Juarez a new lease on life.

This is Juarez’s second try at a college education. He came to TSTC a few years back to pursue a degree in Surgical Technology, but had to leave when he needed to help his mother support their family.

“I had to drop out. I had to work,” said Juarez. “My mom needed help paying the bills and I felt like it was my responsibility and school took a back seat.”

Around the same time, Juarez’s younger brother graduated from Tool and Die Technology at TSTC and his success inspired him.

“My brother ended up moving to Dallas and finding a good-paying job,” he said. “He found financial security and I wanted that too. He is the one who pushed me to return to college and pursue Tool and Die.”

The Rio Hondo native now sees the finish line. He is expected to earn his associate degree Fall 2017 and after speaking to supervisors at Arlington-based United States defense contractor and industrial corporation, Raytheon, he has a position waiting for him immediately after he graduates.

“I’m so fortunate to have this opportunity available to me,” said Juarez. “If not for my brother’s support and that of my instructors, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Tool and Die Technology student Andy Juarez

The 25-year-old said Tool and Die Technology turned out to be more than he could have ever expected.

“We learn something new every day; it never ends,” he said. “The hands-on training is invaluable and the things we can create from nearly nothing is amazing.”

Students like Juarez who enroll in TSTC’s Tool and Die Technology are trained in the field from the bottom, up.

Instructors teach the basics starting with precision tools and measurements to blueprint reading. Lessons then range from learning how to use machines such as drill presses, lathes and computer numerical control (CNC) machines and how to maintenance them.

Tool and Die Technology instructor Rick Limas said this program is  great for a person who loves to work with their hands and mind and enjoy creating components from only a piece of metal.

“There is not one single product that does not go through the machining process,” he said. “Nothing can be produced without us. That’s why the demand for skilled machinists is so high.”

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the employment of machinists and tool and die makers is projected to grow six percent from 2014 to 2024, as fast as the average for all other occupations.

Limas seconds that by saying that across the country skilled machinists are in demand, in particular the South Texas region.

“Our region demands tool and die makers and machinists and at TSTC we work hard to satisfy that demand. Our program job placement rate is nearly 95 percent.”

Juarez and his peers can expect to find jobs in the molding and tool and die, aerospace, automotive and medical industries. They can find careers at local companies such as Fox Valley Molding and Trico Products to national companies such as Toyota, Rave Gears and Machining Company, Delta Centrifugal and Raytheon.

“It’s a great feeling being able to create precise components for planes, trains, automobiles and even prosthetics that can change someone’s life,” said Limas. “And I’m glad we’re teaching our students to do just that.”

As for Juarez he said he is ready for the big changes that will be happening in his life thanks to TSTC.

“I’m prepared, more than ready to begin my career because of TSTC,” he said. “TSTC has prepared me to conquer the machining world.”

For more information or to register for Tool and Die Technology visit

TSTC Provost Will Be Missed

(HARLINGEN) – Texas State Technical College will soon be under new leadership as Provost Dr. Stella Garcia resigns to assume a new position in San Antonio.

With a background in executive leadership and workforce development, Garcia has served TSTC for seven years in several different roles. She started in September of 2010 as the Associate Vice President of Corporate Community Education, then took on the role of Chief of Staff for former TSTC President Cesar Maldonado, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Research and Interim President.

“These were my first jobs in higher education. I certainly did not have the traditional track of getting to where I am. For that I feel very fortunate,” said Garcia.

In fact, the Valley native’s first job was teaching GED classes and basic life skills in the early 1990’s, and her new venture will take her career to new heights, but back to her roots.Dr. Stella Garcia

Though she will miss TSTC, Garcia said she is excited for what is ahead. She will be moving to San Antonio next month where she will work as the Senior Director of Operations for the Alamo Area Council of Governments serving 13 counties, and she would ultimately like to teach in her fields of study, Leadership Studies or Public Administration, at one of the colleges or universities in the city.

Garcia holds a doctorate in Leadership Studies from Our Lady of the Lake University, a master’s degree in Public Administration from Texas State University and a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Texas.

“This was a difficult decision for me,” she said. “I’ve thought long and hard, but this is what’s right for me.”

When asked what she will miss the most about her job, Garcia said it is certainly the relationships she has formed over the years with the people of TSTC and the Harlingen community.

“I’m been very fortunate that my jobs have allowed me to get to know so many great people,” said Garcia. “TSTC has given me good friends who have turned into family and I will miss all of them, but with Rick, they and the college, are in good hands.”

Rick, is Rick Herrera, TSTC’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Integration Officer and head of the TSTC Management Council. A Valley native who has been with TSTC for almost a decade, Herrera will serve as interim provost after Garcia leaves.

“Rick is already a leader for our college and there is no one who understands our vision and mission as much as he does,” she said. “He will be successful and TSTC will continue to flourish under his leadership.”

Herrera, who has already been working closely with Garcia leading up to the change in roles, has nothing but praise for Garcia’s accomplishments.

“Garcia is a true and proven servant-leader. That is, she is someone who has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of others. She has dedicated all her time and effort to support our students and brag about their successes. And in serving TSTC with passion and conviction, she has gained the love and respect of our employees and the community at large,” said Herrera.

TSTC Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer Mike Reeser calls Garcia’s resignation a bittersweet situation.

“As Stella’s coworkers, we are devastated by her departure because she is an important part of our leadership team,” he said. “However, as her friends, we are incredibly excited that she has been presented with an irresistible professional opportunity and we know her success is a certainty.”

Garcia said she is flattered and humbled knowing that her presence and work will be missed at TSTC.

“I will miss everyone also, and I know TSTC, Harlingen and the Valley have great synergy and I’m just sad I won’t get to see it first hand,” she said. “But I hope to be invited back to the campus for a visit soon.”

Garcia will be celebrated at a gathering this morning from 10 to 12 noon at the Cultural Arts Center. Community leaders are invited to attend.

TSTC Student Q&A with Ryan Williams of Waxahachie

(RED OAK) – Ryan Williams, 27, of Waxahachie is a Logistics Technology major at Texas State Technical College in North Texas.

Williams was raised in Longview and is a 2009 graduate of East Texas Christian School.

How did you find out about TSTC in North Texas? “I was going to classes (at TSTC) in Marshall but I wanted to change majors.”

What got you interested in studying Logistics Technology? “I’ve always worked in a distribution aspect of the jobs I’ve had in the past. I thought I would do well in the program. So far I am enjoying the classes.”

Do you do better with hands-on learning or book learning? “I do a mix of both, but I usually like the hands-on training so I can see where I mess up and improve from that.”

What advice would you give to students considering your major or going to TSTC? “Stick with the work and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

What do you enjoy doing away from classes and studying? “I usually like reading fantasy and science fiction books. I’m a big nerd. I like playing video games or board games.”

Some of the fields that Logistics Technology graduates can pursue include manufacturing, technical services or government. Graduates can pursue professional certifications from the International Society of Logistics or the American Production and Inventory Control Society.

The United States had more than 130,000 logistician jobs in 2014, with the figure expected to rise by 2,500 positions through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Texas had more than 13,000 logisticians in May 2016, with a majority centered in The Woodlands – Houston – Sugar Land area. The Dallas – Plano – Irving area had more than 3,200 positions, with an average mean wage of $79,300. The Longview area had 40 logistician jobs, with an average mean wage of more than $68,000.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Instructor Chosen for National Test Writing

(MARSHALL) – A Texas State Technical College instructor recently participated in a weeklong CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) examination development week in suburban Chicago.

Robert Brown, an instructor of Information Technology Studies, worked with nationwide professionals in the cloud management, technology infrastructure, programming, database administration and education fields to develop questions for the CompTIA IT Fundamentals examination. The test is expected to be offered nationwide in 2018 and is updated every three years. CompTIA is a nonprofit trade association providing worldwide vendor-neutral information technology certifications.

“CompTIA doesn’t have subject matter experts all the time, so what they do is reach out and try to get input,” Brown said.

Brown said the subject debate process to develop test questions was stimulating because of the group’s expertise in different areas.

“My biggest takeaway was how much CompTIA puts into test preparation and how much time they vet the quality,” he said. “They do their due diligence to make sure the industry is who is writing the test.”

Brown said he took advantage of telling group members about TSTC.

“I talked about how we are focused on getting jobs for Texans,” he said. “Most of them were jealous and said they wished their states would do what TSTC does. They really liked what they heard.”

Brown was chosen by CompTIA through an application process.

Randy Haley, associate vice president for student learning at TSTC, said Brown was a great choice for the nationwide committee.

“He knows what students need to do the jobs and what they need to know right now,” Haley said. “Being a part of that and helping with that is really an honor.”

Haley said TSTC students in Marshall test for CompTIA certifications in Network+, Security+ and A+ through the Computer Networking and Systems Administration and Cyber Security programs. He said the CompTIA IT Fundamentals test will be added this fall.

“We feel giving students the chance to take the certification tests and them passing increases their chances of getting a better job making more money,” Haley said.

Brown has been at TSTC since 2013. Before coming to the Marshall campus, he was co-owner of Inhouse Associates, an internet development firm in Longview.

Brown received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Commercial Art in 1994 from Kilgore College. He was also a member of the Commercial Art Club and Phi Theta Kappa – Gamma Omicron Chapter.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to