Category Archives: Abilene

TSTC in Abilene Seeking Faculty for New Technical Programs

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College is looking for team members.

With a reputation for hiring faculty who have real-world industry experience, TSTC in searching for teaching candidates to teach in Abilene.

TSTC’s Industrial Technology Center is currently under construction on Loop 322 next to Abilene Regional Airport and will house three new TSTC programs: Electrical Power and Controls, Industrial Maintenance and Welding Technology.

Quality faculty are key to helping students become well-trained employees.

“The knowledge the faculty brings to the classroom and labs is hard to quantify,” said Rick Denbow, provost of TSTC in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater. “You are conveying that information to the student that has maybe limited knowledge. They are preparing those students upon graduation to get into industry and get those great paying jobs.”

TSTC will hire for four full-time instructors and two adjunct instructors in Electrical Power and Controls and Industrial Maintenance. There will also be two full-time instructors hired for the welding program. A program maintenance specialist will be hired who will help instructors prepare classrooms and equipment for labs, grade papers and other tasks needed by instructors, said Rhiannon M. Hastings, lead statewide recruiter in TSTC Human Resources.

People interested in the jobs need to have at least an associate degree in one of the fields and at least three years of professional field experience. Applicants should also have professional certifications as needed for their fields, Hastings said.

Dan Bateman, a senior instructor in the Electrical Power and Controls program at TSTC in Waco, is leading the creation of the new associate degree program in Abilene.

“What we need is someone with utility or testing and maintenance experience along with utility design,” he said.

The number of electrical engineers is expected to grow by more than 16,000 through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. West Texas had more than 400 jobs in May 2016, according to the federal agency.

David A. Junek, TSTC’s statewide department chairman for Industrial Systems and Engineering Technology, said he wants to see Industrial Maintenance faculty members who have the academic experience and have gotten their hands dirty in the workplace. Faculty will teach students earning the program’s associate degree which has an electrical specialization.

“Industrial Maintenance graduates are maintenance technicians that can not only make repairs to mechanical equipment, but are also trained to troubleshoot electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems as well.”

Jobs for industrial machinery mechanics are expected to increase by more than 23,000 jobs nationwide through 2026, according to the federal labor statistics agency. In May 2016, there were more than 4,000 industrial machinery mechanics jobs in West Texas, with the most being centered in Odessa and Midland, according to the federal agency.

Faculty in Abilene will teach classes in the first Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology being offered at the TSTC campuses in West Texas.

The number of welders, cutters, solderers and brazers in the United States is expected to grow by 22,500 jobs nationwide through 2026. West Texas had more than 4,700 jobs in these fields as of May 2016, according to the federal agency.

The Electrical Power and Controls and Welding Technology programs are part of TSTC’s Money Back Guarantee initiative. Students in these programs who do not get a job in their field within six months of graduation will get their tuition back.

Hastings said Human Resources’ goal is to have the new faculty hired by early summer so they can set up classrooms and labs with new equipment in the building. Students in the programs will be able to take classes from faculty members and adjuncts in the daytime and evenings.

TSTC is a state institution offering Health Select of Texas administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, paid vacation, sick leave and state holidays, dental insurance, vision insurance,  life insurance, flexible spending accounts and retirement. In addition, the technical college offers employee development and employee appreciation events as part of its overarching goal to make TSTC a great place to work.

For more information on employment at Texas State Technical College, go to


TSTC Names Rick Denbow Provost

(WEST TEXAS) – Texas State Technical College has named Rick Denbow as the Provost over its four West Texas campuses. Denbow served as Interim Provost for the campuses since May.

Along with functioning as Interim Provost, Denbow was also the Senior Field Development Officer for The TSTC Foundation, an instrumental role in supporting the efforts of TSTC’s new technology center in Abilene. Denbow began working for TSTC in 2009 as the director of the Welding and Transportation Technology Division.

Denbow said he is honored to have been selected.

“It’s a lot of responsibility, but I’m very excited also,” he said. “In my tenure with TSTC, I’ve spent my time in West Texas working with the four campuses and I’ve come to know the programs and the faculty and staff. I’m really excited about going forward. Some of the things the college has done, like the most recent reorganization, have really positioned us to be successful.”

The West Texas community is one of Denbow’s favorite things about his job.

“The communities at each of the four locations are very supportive of TSTC and what we’re trying to do, and that makes our job a little bit easier,” he said. “Also, the faculty and staff are just awesome. They’re always willing to go that extra mile and I’m honored to be able to work with them.”

Denbow has lofty goals for TSTC in West Texas.

“As the Chancellor stated in an email to employees a few weeks back, there’s one word and that’s growth,” Denbow said. “That can have different meanings depending on the campus. Is it growing enrollment? Is it growing capacity? Is it growing placement? I would submit it’s all of the above. Each campus in West Texas is unique and one of my goals is to make sure we grow at each of our four campuses.”

TSTC Vice Chancellor & Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Kilgore said he is excited to welcome Denbow in the role.

“Through his experiences, Rick has a really good sense of the communities and needs of industry in the West Texas Region,” Kilgore said.

Denbow graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of Texas at Austin.

“I come from the business world,” Denbow said. “With Chancellor Reeser’s focus on making TSTC a little more entrepreneurial, a little more business-like, that fits very well with my background. I think I can add value to the West Texas campuses in the provost role.”

Denbow added that TSTC’s new Industrial Technology Center in Abilene is ahead of the construction schedule. They hope to start moving employees in on Aug. 1, and classes will begin in the building in the fall. Denbow says the campus signifies a new beginning for TSTC in Abilene.

“That campus, the design and how it’s laid out, the Abilene community has never seen anything like that from TSTC,” he said. “The Abilene campus has been housed in an old hospital and we didn’t really have an opportunity to put any heavy equipment and industrial trades in there. This is a new start.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, visit

TSTC to host annual counselor update

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College will host its annual Counselor Update and Luncheon from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Nearly 45 high school employees from Regions 9 and 14 and the surrounding areas are expected at the event.

Marina Wilcox, TSTC vice president of dual enrollment, will speak about the importance of two Texas house bills: one that impacts the way high school students choose courses with a career goal in mind and another that requires high schools to improve student performance.

“We are educating them on House Bills 5 and 22 and how TSTC can meet their needs in being successful,” said TSTC dual enrollment advisor Amy Freeman.

TSTC representatives will also cover new forms and changes in the admissions process and general business for the 2018-19 academic year.

“Dual enrollment has gone through some major changes,” Freeman said. “We’ll update them on these new processes and how we can help make the transition easier for them.”

Freeman said the event is beneficial for counselors to attend

“We are covering a lot of information that is relevant for them — not just on TSTC’s end, but also for the state of Texas and its goals. We’ll educate them on what they can do to help students graduate high school with a certificate so they can go out and get jobs.”

Last month, TSTC announced new, fully online pathways in Cyber Security, Digital Media Design and Medical Office Specialist. Health Information Technology was the first program to go completely online. Many of the high schools participating in dual enrollment opted for these degree plans.

“With the distances that West Texas dual enrollment covers, I will say the majority of our schools are participating in fully online programs,” Freeman said. “We’re anticipating additional schools to partner with us in online programs for the 2018-19 academic year.”

TSTC will open its newest Abilene campus in the fall, bringing the addition of three new programs: Electrical Power & Controls, Industrial Maintenance Technology and Welding Technology.

“Each of those programs will have a dual enrollment pathway available for local students,” Freeman said. “We hope that students from AISD, Jim Ned, Clyde and Hawley will be interested in coming to the new campus.”

For more information on TSTC and its dual enrollment program, visit

Local TSTC talent competition canceled

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College and “Texas Music Cafe” have canceled the regional Talent Search competition originally scheduled to take place on February 27 on TSTC’s Abilene campus.

The decision was made after only one student signed up to perform. Texas Music Café will transport that contestant to Waco to record her performance, and she will be invited to perform on behalf of West Texas at the finals in Waco on Tuesday, March 20.

The grand prize is a $2,500 recording contract and a chance to perform in a live taping of “Texas Music Cafe.” Runners-up can receive recording gear, a single recording package or a ukulele package.

“Texas Music Cafe” is an hourlong, magazine-style PBS program that is recorded all over the state of Texas in front of live audiences and broadcast nationally on radio, TV and the internet.

TSTC Helps Graduate Achieve Goals

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College alumnus Ted Harvey was working as an assistant manager at a dollar store when he decided he needed a life change.

Harvey had always loved working with computers but hadn’t thought about making it a career.

“I just loved computers and was really good at working with individual computers, home networking and stuff like that,” Harvey said.

After researching career options and colleges, Harvey finally chose TSTC’s Computer Networking & Systems Administration program.

“When I came to TSTC, I got to learn about the business side of things and got more in-depth,” he said. “That really inspired me to go out and learn more and push myself.”

Harvey was unsure of what to expect when he first arrived at the school.

“When I walked in here, I was terrified. I was 30 years old,” he said. “But when I had my very first meeting with Jennifer Herrera, she was so welcoming and so friendly. It made me feel very comfortable and relaxed. It got me even more excited about going to college. Every step of the way, my whole time here, I always felt like the staff was extremely friendly and interested in my future.”

Harvey now works as a computer technician for the city of Abilene, where he troubleshoots desktops and servers and sets up wireless access points, among other duties.

“It has changed my whole life, coming to TSTC,” Harvey said. “Before I went to school, I was absolutely miserable at my job. I felt stuck, like there was no escape. Since coming here, I’ve been able to move up in my life.”

Apart from his full-time job, he also runs his own business, Blue Helix Technology.

“It is absolutely exhausting to do that with a full-time job, but I enjoy it a lot,” Harvey said. “I manage small business networks. I do computer security and Wi-Fi for a few small businesses here in town.”

Harvey has some advice for those considering the Computer Networking & Systems Administration program: “You get what you put in.”

“When you come to the CNS program, you’re not going to graduate and immediately be a networking expert,” he said. “You’ll get a very solid foundation and hands-on learning experience that will allow you to build on that. TSTC gave me the foundation to build on for everything that I do now and everything that I love.”

For more information on TSTC’s Computer Networking & Systems Administration program, visit

Annual TSTC Abilene Open House a Success

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College in Abilene held its annual open house Friday, opening all three of its Abilene campus locations for tours and presentations. The event, designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, saw about 100 students come through.

This is the first year that all three campuses have been available for Open House.

“We did things a little differently this year because we opened up all three buildings,” said TSTC Vice President of Recruitment Kim Porter. “So, they went to Culinary, they got to see Aviation, and Wind Energy came over from Sweetwater. We had pictures of the new Industrial Maintenance labs to market the new building, and Welding came over as well.”

Electrical Power & Controls, Industrial Maintenance Technology and Welding Technology will begin in Abilene in the fall with the opening of TSTC’s new Industrial Technology Center. Visiting prospective students learned about the three programs.

“We had a lot of interest in the new programs,” Porter said. “All in all it was a really good day.”

Many of the day’s visitors came in with programs already in mind.

“A lot of the students that came in kind of knew what they wanted, other than just coming in to visit TSTC,” Porter said. “Our recruiters have done a really good job in preparing them and showing them what to expect. I met a young lady from Abilene High School, a first-generation student, and she applied for our Industrial Maintenance program. She’s really excited about that.”

TSTC recruiter Hannah Elliott said she had seen a lot of the visitors before.

“A lot of students I’ve developed relationships with throughout the year came to the event,” said Elliott. “Every student thanked me and was glad that we held the event. The parents were excited that they were able to come and that everybody was here and ready to help them.”

TSTC will hold open houses at its campuses in Brownwood in February and Breckenridge and Sweetwater in March.

For more information on open houses, visit To learn more about the college and its programs, visit

TSTC Receives Equipment From Lincoln Electric

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College has received 10 welding machines from Lincoln Electric to jump-start the welding program at its new Abilene campus.

“This support gives our students access to the newest technology out there,” said TSTC Interim Provost Rick Denbow. “Our students have the advantage of becoming familiar with industry-standard equipment before they begin working.”

Lead TSTC welding instructor Gregory Nicholas said the equipment is highly advanced and will be utilized to its highest potential.

“This support from Lincoln provides our students with the most up-to-date multiprocess welders on the market,” Nicholas said. “It gives them every tool needed and available to become the welder that industry needs. These machines will help TSTC ensure that our students are proficient in all welding processes and can pursue a career in the industry.”

The Lincoln Electric equipment is from their Power Wave, Power Feed and FlexTec lines.

“Lincoln Electric is pleased to support and advance Texas State Technical College’s welding program,” said Jason Scales, Lincoln Electric’s business manager, education. “By expanding access to state-of-the art welding solutions, training and skills, TSTC graduates are better positioned to build successful, long-term careers in advanced manufacturing.”

With the upcoming addition of the welding program at the Abilene campus, TSTC will offer welding at all 10 of its locations. Officials broke ground on Abilene’s new campus last April, and classes are set to begin there this fall. The new building, which is being constructed off Loop 322 next to Abilene Regional Airport, will also house Electrical Power & Controls and Industrial Maintenance Technology programs.

Lincoln Electric is the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems, plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Lincoln has 63 manufacturing locations, including operations and joint ventures in 23 countries and a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices covering more than 160 countries.

For more information on TSTC, visit

TSTC Culinary Arts Watches Calendar for Winter Vegetables

(WACO) – The winter months mean an abundance of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and other vegetables for students to learn about in Texas State Technical College’s Culinary Arts programs.

Of Texas’ five growing zones, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, three include TSTC’s campuses. TSTC’s Culinary Arts program in Abilene is in a zone stretching from the Red River to the Rio Grande. The technical college’s Culinary Arts programs in Waco and Williamson County are in a zone extending from the Rio Grande to the Houston coast. And, TSTC’s Culinary Arts program in Harlingen is in a zone made up of the Rio Grande Valley.

TSTC students learn about the seasonality of vegetables in classes, said Aaron Guajardo, an instructor in the Culinary Arts program in Waco. He said paying attention to when vegetables are at their height of availability can mean more quantity and lower food and shipping costs.

“The flavors are going to be better because the conditions will be more favorable for them to grow,” Guajardo said.

Winter vegetables are those that are planted in the fall and early winter and are harvested before spring planting, said Colleen Foleen, a McLennan County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for family and community health.

“The roots and leafy greens are going to be the ones you are going to have,” Foleen said. “If you look when they are available at the stores it’s best from November to April. Things in season and grown fairly locally are going to have a higher nutrition value, will be cheaper and have no artificial means of sunlight to grow.”

Each of the state’s growing zones bring different soil, climates and planting schedules. For instance, beets can be planted about Aug. 15 in the Panhandle and as late as Dec. 15 in the Rio Grande Valley, according to the extension service. The Ruby Queen and Detroit Dark Red beets are available in Texas from October to April as growing seasons move southward, according to the extension service and the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Foleen said kale is currently being harvested and spinach and lettuce are growing well in McLennan County.

“It gets too hot here for most of the greens, but they will grow well in the wintertime,” she said. “We have a lot of vegetables that are winter that are considered spring and summer in other climates.”

Kayleen Mills, a Culinary Arts instructor at TSTC’s Abilene campus, uses celery and onions in stocks. Locally grown celery is available from December to April and onions can be planted in November and December in Central and South Texas with crops being available from March to August, according to the state extension service.

“It’s a huge money saver and time saver and it’s neat for the students to see it too,” Mills said. “Things like that do very well in the winter.”

Herbs are also available year-round throughout the state. Mills said she and other faculty members grow herbs in raised gardening boxes in the parking lot next to the T&P Depot in downtown Abilene.  

“The students see how intense the herbs are in flavor when you grow them versus purchasing them,” Mills said. “It’s a huge thing when you are manipulating recipes.”

Seeing when vegetables are in season helps with menu planning at TSTC’s student restaurants in Abilene, Harlingen and Waco.

“It comes down to how you get the best product at the end of the day,” Guajardo said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

Mark Your Calendar: TSTC Registration Rally on Nov. 29

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College in Abilene will host a Registration Rally on Wednesday, Nov. 29 – all part of an effort to make the registration process as easy as possible for incoming students.


Recruiting and Admissions staff will be on standby to walk students through the registration process. They will also offer tours and help with applications.


The Registration Rally will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the main campus. Attendees will be able to meet with faculty, learn more about the different technologies offered at the Abilene campus and tour the facilities.


In addition to Recruiting and Admissions; personnel from Financial Aid, Testing, Student Success and Veteran Services will be available to answer questions and lend a helping hand. Prospective students will be able to learn all about resources available to them.


Students who need help finalizing their registration are encouraged to bring the following: copy of driver’s license, high school transcript or GED, any college transcripts, proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination and TSI scores.


For more information on the Registration Rally, go to

TSTC Culinary Arts Student Awarded James Beard Foundation Scholarship

(ABILENE) – Matthew Kepner, a first-semester Culinary Arts student at Texas State Technical College in Abilene, was selected to receive a $10,000 scholarship from the James Beard Foundation.

The James Beard Foundation’s scholarship program, which was established in 1991, assists aspiring and established culinary professionals further their education at accredited culinary schools or hospitality institutions, colleges and universities. In 2016 the foundation awarded over $7 million in financial aid to more than 1,850 recipients.

Beard was a culinary pioneer and hosted the first TV food program in 1946. Also a chef, cookbook author and teacher, Beard was dubbed the “Dean of American cookery” by the New York Times.

Kepner applied for the scholarship after finding the information online, and he was excited to find out he was selected.

“I was at work when my mom got the mail,” he said. “She called me crying. It was really exciting.”

So far, the scholarship has helped Kepner in school.

“It’s really helped me with books, paying for classes and registering for everything,” Kepner said. “It helped get me supplies like notebooks, pencils and things I need like that.”

Culinary Arts instructor and chef Kayleen Moon said she sees a bright future for Kepner.

“The prepared ones are the ones that do well,” she said. “He was one of those. He started emailing me long before any of the actual paperwork to get into the school.”

She said Kepner’s cooking experience outside of school will help him succeed.

“He’s worked hard for what he has,” Moon said. “He has experience, actual chef experience in a kitchen. He knows actual culinary terms, not just ‘home kitchen words.’ When I say things like ‘depouillage,’ he knows what it means. He’s already coming in gifted and experienced.”

Kepner will graduate in 2019 and hopes to find a job working on an offshore oil rig or in Alaska.

“Since those jobs are two weeks on, two weeks off, on my two weeks off I’d like to travel abroad to learn about other cultures’ cooking and hopefully study under some other chefs,” he said.

Authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine are Kepner’s favorite foods to cook.

“I love the culture and history around Mexican food and Tex-Mex,” he said. “I learned a lot from my neighbors who are from Mexico. They’ve taught me about cooking meat underground and stuff like that and cooking for hours and hours at a time. I just love the smells; they’re the best thing in the world to me.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College and the Culinary Arts program, visit