Category Archives: Breckenridge

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

Prospective Students Attend TSTC Open House

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge hosted more than 400 high school students for Open House on Friday, March 2.

The visitors were treated to talks with instructors in TSTC programs in Chemical Dependency Counseling, Environmental Technology, Vocational Nursing and Welding Technology. Faculty members from TSTC in Abilene, Brownwood and Sweetwater also attended to talk about some of their programs.

“I’m ecstatic at the turnout,” TSTC in Breckenridge Executive Director Debbie Karl said. “This was the largest open house for a TSTC campus in West Texas ever. I wanted the students to learn more about TSTC and what we offer.”

Students who visited Environmental Technology tried on hazmat suits and saw a rat play in a maze. Those who stopped by the table staffed by Culinary Arts, which is offered in Abilene, sampled food.

Vocational Nursing students showed visitors how simulated patient mannequins function. Jenny Wingate, a program instructor, said the pregnancy baby suit was popular with students.

“I hope it sparks their interest in nursing,” she said about the event.

Annette Collins, veteran programs officer for TSTC in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater, told students they could be eligible for education benefits if their parents, or any other relatives who they have lived with and been raised by for at least five years, served in the military.

Some of the school districts that sent students to the event include Albany, Boyd, Breckenridge, Eastland, Ranger and Throckmorton.

Zachary Canada, 17, a senior at Olney High School in Young County, saw the Breckenridge campus for the first time at the event.

“I want to check out Wind Energy Technology and see what they have,” Canada said. “I have family that are in it. They said it was a good thing to look at.”

All of Breckenridge High School’s students walked to the campus at scheduled times throughout the morning to visit the event.

“We are always talking about what you are going to do,” Breckenridge High School Principal Bryan Dieterich said. “We want the students to know every opportunity.”

Dieterich said the high school was fortunate to have TSTC so close for students to visit.

“A lot of schools our size don’t have this opportunity,” he said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to


TSTC to Host Open House at Breckenridge Campus

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College in Breckenridge will hold its annual Open House from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 2. This event is designed for prospective students who want to learn more about the college, but it is also open to their parents, families and friends.

Visitors can tour the campus and speak with instructors about the programs offered, including Chemical Dependency Counseling, Environmental Technology, Vocational Nursing and Welding.

Faculty from the Business Management Technology (Brownwood), Culinary Arts (Abilene), Wind Energy Technology (Sweetwater) and Health Information Technology (online) programs will be available to meet with students and answer questions about their programs.

Students will also be able to meet with Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Support Services, Veteran Services and success coaches, among others, to help guide them through the college enrollment process.

The college expects over 400 students from the local area to visit.

Interested persons should register online at For more information, call 940-447-7714.

Local Ladies Group Votes to Give TSTC Scholarships

(BRECKENRIDGE) – The Stephens Memorial Hospital “Pink Ladies” auxiliary club of Breckenridge has voted to give two $500 scholarships to Vocational Nursing students at Texas State Technical College.

The group gave their first TSTC scholarship last year, and this year they have expanded it to two scholarships.

“Many of our past students are employed at the hospital, clinics and home health agencies in our community, so helping with scholarships spreads goodwill,” said TSTC nursing instructor Marchelle Taylor. “In doubling the scholarship, two students may receive benefits, and that generosity filters out into the community.”

Donna Pardee, president of the Pink Ladies, said the group loves doing things to help the hospital, and that is why they chose to give the scholarship to nursing students.

“We love doing things for the hospital and the community,” Pardee said. “Every penny we make through fundraising goes right back to the hospital. We don’t keep any of it. This scholarship seemed to be the best way to help a local nursing student in need.”

The scholarships will help students with financial hardships.

“Many of our students live in the surrounding rural areas, so gas and transportation may be an issue,” Taylor said. “Our clinicals are also up to 60 miles away twice a week, so gas money can become an issue. Scholarships may also help students with child care, meals, books and scrubs.”

The group will give one scholarship in the fall and the other in the spring.

“We are hoping to expand the amount next year,” Pardee said. “We realize that it costs a lot to go to college and some of these kids don’t get any help, so we are hoping to help the community.”

Students interested in applying for the scholarships can contact Taylor at

The deadline to apply for TSTC’s nursing program is approaching soon. Students interested in starting the program this fall must apply to the school online and send in their program application packet by Monday, April 2.

To apply, or for more information on the program, visit

TSTC Veterans Receive Another $75,000 Gift from EMA Electromechanics

(SWEETWATER) – EMA Electromechanics donated $75,000 to Texas State Technical College in a check signing ceremony Friday, Oct. 20. The donation brings EMA contributions to TSTC to a total of $150,000.

The gift funds an account called Sweetwater Veteran’s Funds for College Education, which was established in 2015 when EMA gave the first gift of $75,000. Funds will go toward helping veterans complete their technical training at the college’s West Texas campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater.

EMA created the account as a way to honor area veterans.

“We want to give back to them for what they do for us,” said EMA Manager Gabriel Acosta. “The way we see it is that we enjoy freedom in the U.S. because of their efforts.”

Since 2015, 36 veterans have benefited from the Sweetwater Veteran’s Funds for College Education. TSTC currently serves 68 veterans across its four West Texas campuses.

EMA hopes the gift will ease the transition veterans face when returning from service.

“The purpose of this gift is to make sure that they have a chance to go back to civilian life with some help if they need some, to go back and get a career or improve their knowledge,” Acosta said.

Robert Schneider, an Air Force veteran who is an Automotive student at TSTC, was one of the recipients of the scholarship.

“I will forever be grateful for EMA being a helping hand in a time of need,” Schneider said. “I probably speak on behalf of many veterans when I say thank you. Being able to receive help from this company has lifted a lot of burden off of my shoulders at very crucial times.”

EMA was founded in 1952 in Argentina, but in 2010 it expanded to open its Sweetwater location, where it develops and manufactures specialized electromechanical equipment for wind generation.

TSTC Interim Provost Rick Denbow said the college is grateful for EMA and its contribution.

“TSTC is very thankful to EMA Electromechanics’ gift to our veteran students,” said Denbow. “Relationships like these not only strengthen TSTC, but bolster our students and community as well.”

For information on making a difference for TSTC students, visit



R.E. Dye Partners with TSTC for $102,285 Job Training Grant

(BRECKENRIDGE) – Texas State Technical College has partnered with R.E. Dye Manufacturing Corporation of Breckenridge to train 51 workers using a $97,568 Skills Development Fund grant. The Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation provided a matching amount of $4,717, bringing the total to $102,285.


Dale Robertson, manager of the Office of Employer Initiatives at the Texas Workforce Commission, presented the check to officials from TSTC and R.E. Dye at a 2:30 p.m. ceremony held at TSTC’s Technology Center on Wednesday, Sept. 27.


The training was designed specifically to meet R.E. Dye’s needs in two critical areas: efficiency and aircraft manual updates. Training will be provided by TSTC instructors. TSTC has partnered with the West Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) to provide training for specific aircraft manual updates.


“This is allowing R.E. Dye to expand their customer base and go out and be able to work with more aircraft manufacturing companies to produce precision equipment for that industry,” said Rick Denbow, interim provost at TSTC in West Texas. “We’re so excited about this. It’s great for Breckenridge, it’s great for TSTC and it’s great for all parties involved.”


Robertson said it takes a team to bring an opportunity like this to light.


“It doesn’t happen by ourselves,” Robertson said. “It starts with the local folks, West Central Texas Workforce Solutions, Texas State Technical College, economic development partners and of course businesses.”


Virgil Moore, executive director of the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation, said they were glad to contribute.


“The Breckenridge EDC is proud to have participated in this,” Moore said. “In addition to the $97,568 grant that comes directly from Texas Workforce Solutions, the Breckenridge EDC also contributed $13,517 to this project.” ($8,800 was provided directly to the TMAC for their training.)


Overall, the Skills Development Fund aims to improve whole communities.


“You are able to get funding here that helps this community, this business and the businesses around upskill their workers, train them, retain their certifications and increase their skill sets, and that is really the essence of the Skills Development Fund,” Robertson said.


Coby Dye, president of R.E. Dye Manufacturing Corporation, said the company is grateful for the opportunity the grant presents.


“I’d like to thank the Texas Workforce Commission, Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas, TSTC and the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation for partnering to make this training possible,” Dye said. “Everyone from these organizations went out of their way to make sure the grant happened in a timely manner to meet our training needs.”


The Skills Development Fund is one of the state’s premier job-training programs, keeping Texas competitive with a skilled workforce. For more information on TSTC’s workforce training, visit

TSTC to Celebrate Student Center’s 20th Anniversary

(SWEETWATER) – Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater will celebrate the 20th anniversary of “The Center,” the campus’ 36,000-square-foot recreational facility, with a commemorative ribbon cutting event at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 8, inside the building’s Seminar Room.
Former TSTC President Homer K. Taylor, who served as manager of development at the time, said in the ’90s TSTC exhibited a need for this building.
“First and foremost, our campus is somewhat isolated,” Taylor said. “We are a few miles from town, so our residential students needed a place to be able to use. Prior to this building, our students had a small building where students had like two pool tables and some table tennis. The building was shared with health services and the Dean of Students office. It was a very small place for the number of students we had. Students needed a place to add winter-type intramural sports and a cardio/fitness center. We were also in the middle of adding more housing for students, so we needed a facility that resident students could use and enjoy.”
Taylor said the facility not only filled a need for TSTC, but for the community as well.
“Dr. Clay Johnson, president of TSTC in Sweetwater at the time, had a dream to build a facility that was first class that both our students and the community could use and enjoy,” Taylor said. “In pursuing the plans for the Student Center, Clay and I visited the Cooper Fitness and Cardio Center in Dallas and modeled parts of the facility after the Cooper Center. The Center (at TSTC) offered the community a public place that would have a cardio/fitness center, a workout facility and a public meeting place.”
Maria Aguirre, TSTC executive director of compliance, agrees.
“The Student Center is a place the community has used since its opening,” she said. “We’ve hosted banquets, proms, meetings, workshops, competitions, conventions, practices for basketball and so much more for many community organizations and companies. The Rotary Club of Sweetwater regularly meets in the Seminar Room and has done so for many years. The Student Center is at the heart of our community.”
Since The Center was considered an auxiliary building, state funds could not be used to build it. A community-wide fundraiser was held to raise money to construct the building.
“This was the first time in Sweetwater to conduct a fundraising campaign to build such a facility,” Taylor said. “In The Center, there is a plaque of early donors that made a pledge and financial commitment for this facility. The goal for this building was to raise about $1 million to $1.5 million for this project.”
Aguirre said that even after 20 years, people ask if The Center is a new facility.
“The staff at the Student Center has cared for that facility very well,” she said. “Most prospects or visitors to the campus give great compliments to our Student Center and are surprised to find out it has been around for 20 years.”
Cake and punch will be served at the ribbon cutting. After the ceremony, attendees can also enjoy a lunch of grilled lemon pepper chicken or hamburgers for the discounted rate of $7.



Two TSTC Employees in Breckenridge Earn Chancellor’s Excellence Award

(BRECKENRIDGE) – 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 Breckenridge received the award.

This year’s Breckenridge award winners are Vernon Akins, maintenance supervisor, and Cassie Love, enrollment specialist.

Akins, who has been at TSTC for nearly four years, said he was excited to receive the award.

“It was an honor to be nominated and be able to receive it,” he said. “I try to treat everyone nice and get to the work orders as fast as I can get to them. I’m polite to everyone and do my best at what I can.”

He said his co-workers are what drive him.

“I enjoy working with these people,” Akins said. “I feel that everything I do helps them accomplish their jobs in the classroom or going to meetings. I just try to keep everything up and going.”

Love, a 10-year TSTC employee, said she was honored and humbled that her co-workers nominated her for the award.

“They said that I was a very valued employee and an asset to TSTC,” she said. “I’m willing to always help our students and fellow employees.”

Her favorite part of her job is helping students.

“I love my job,” Love said. “I like to help students and see them succeed. When they come in and they say, ‘I don’t think I can do this,’ I like to tell them, ‘Yes, you can!’ I didn’t start college until I was 42, so if I can do it, I know 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 being “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for positions at its 10 campuses statewide. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit

President and CEO of Abilene Chamber of Commerce to Speak at TSTC Commencement

(ABILENE) – Doug Peters, president and CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, willspeak at the Texas State Technical College summer commencement ceremony, which starts at 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 18, at the Abilene Civic Center.
Peters took on his current position of CEO in 2015. He oversees the strategic direction of the chamber and its affiliate organizations, including the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council and the Abilene Industrial Foundation.
He totes up 30 years of experience in chamber of commerce and economic development environments, having begun his career in Dayton, Ohio. He later went on to work for chambers of commerce in Richmond, Indiana; Findlay, Ohio; and Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he also served on the Economic Alliance.

Peters is a member of the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives Association, the Grace Museum board, the Junior League of Fayetteville advisory board, the board of the United Way, and various other local, state and national organizations.

He is married to his lifelong sweetheart, Whitney, and together they have three children.

TSTC expects to award over 100 degrees and certificates across its four West Texas campuses Friday.

TSTC awards associate degrees and certificates in areas such as Aviation Maintenance, Computer-Aided Drafting & Design, Emergency Medical Services, Environmental Technology, Nursing, Welding, Wind Energy and more. The college is currently registering for the fall semester.

For more information on TSTC, visit

– # –
Who: Texas State Technical College students, faculty and staff; Abilene Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Doug Peters
What: Texas State Technical College Summer Commencement Ceremony
When: Friday, Aug. 18, 7 p.m.
Where: Abilene Civic Center, 1100 N 6th St., Abilene

TWC Grant Partners Jonell and TSTC for Job Training

(BRECKENRIDGE) – More than 100 employees at Jonell Filtration Products Inc. will receive valuable job training from instructors at Texas State Technical College, thanks to a $210,320 Skills Development Fund grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.

TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez presented the check to representatives from Jonell and TSTC in a ceremony held Friday afternoon at the company’s Breckenridge facility.

Jonell specializes in the development and manufacturing of filtration and separation products for the oil and gas industry, including offshore exploration and production, gas production and transmission, refinery and petrochemical applications and power generation.

The grant will provide customized training for 106 new and incumbent workers in the West Central Texas area during a period of 12 months.

“The workers will receive training in classes aimed at improving the skills of maintenance technicians and operators,” said John Dosher, executive director of Workforce Training and Continuing Education at TSTC.

Dosher explained that classes will focus on general plant safety along with mechanical and electrical safety. Other classes will be taught to improve the skills of front office and sales staff and leadership classes will teach employees about conflict resolution and active listening skills.

Virgil Moore III, executive director of the Breckenridge Economic Development Corp., commented on the importance of the grant’s impact on the community.

“Jonell is Breckenridge and Stephens County’s largest private employer and has been a vital part of the local economy for many years,” he noted. “This training will improve the quality of Jonell’s employees, resulting in higher quality products and service and a stronger local company that successfully competes in an international market.”

Steve Bell, Jonell’s production manager, said his company strives to be the preferred employer in Breckenridge and the grant will help it achieve that goal. He added that TSTC has offered to be flexible around the company’s plant schedules and has been supportive throughout the entire process, resulting in positive feedback from employees.

Robert Puls, business development consultant at Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas, said that Jonell offers quality employment opportunities in the area.

“The hands-on technical training will enhance the skills of current workers in performing maintenance and supporting changing industry and customer requirements,” he said.

Trainees at Jonell will include application engineers, assemblers, machine operators, material handlers, mechanical designers, packaging clerks, production control engineers and shipping clerks.

For more information on Jonell, visit

Registration Rally events for TSTC’s fall semester will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 20, July 20 and Aug. 3 at the TSTC Welcome Center on the Breckenridge campus at 307 N. Breckenridge.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

020 breckenridge twc june 16, 2017