Category Archives: Brownwood

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.



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

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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

TSTC Culinary Grad to Head Kitchen in New San Antonio Restaurant

Duttry cooking(ABILENE) – San Antonio bakery La Panadería has something new cooking, and Texas State Technical College Culinary Arts graduate Travis Duttry is the chef behind the fire.

The 2014 graduate was hired last month as head chef for the soon-to-open restaurant and has been busy readying operations since.

“It’s slightly chaotic right now,” Duttry said. “I’ve been working on writing the menu, getting recipe books set up, making sure that everything is delivered properly — we’re still getting equipment coming over from Europe, and I’ve put up a few ads for hiring here in San Antonio. We’re just running straight forward trying to get everything set up.”

But success didn’t come easy for the chef. Duttry says hard work was what got him where he is today.

“I’ve been working two jobs for the last six years or so,” he said. “I always thought I could get more experience working two jobs rather than one. While going through school I probably cooked more than I slept. I was working almost 100 hours a week.”

Culinary instructor Kayleen Moon said Travis definitely showed initiative.

“He commuted for class and had better attendance than those who lived in town,” she laughed. “I’m so impressed that he got a job as a head chef with a certificate. He asked a lot of questions in class and cross-trained outside of school. It screams potential.”

Duttry, a Brownwood resident, chose TSTC for its proximity to home and traveled to school in Abilene.

“TSTC was the closest school to me, and I didn’t want to owe a lot of money when I graduated,” Duttry said.

He enjoyed his experience at TSTC.

“Chef Kayleen Moon was awesome. She was very informative,” Duttry said. “I always felt like I learned as much in school as I learned out of school. There are certain things I learned there that I would have never learned in a small town, like the classic mother sauces and steak au poivre. Stuff like that I never would have learned in a small town, but I got to learn those skills there, use those in the professional world and build on what I learned in school.”

Duttry enjoys cooking what he likes to eat.

“Anything that’s Italian; Mexican food, and I don’t mean Tex-Mex, but traditional Mexican food; upscale bar food; and classic comfort food — that’s what I like to cook.”

Set to open Friday, the downtown San Antonio location will be the second store for La Panadería and will be located at 301 E. Houston St.

Duttry recommends that culinary arts students and aspiring chefs get as much experience as they can.

“Do your best in school and outside of school,” he said. “Try to find a nicer restaurant to work in so you can implement what you learned in school. The things you learn at work and in school, they’re going to build off of each other. And you make money while you’re doing it!”

TSTC is registering now for the fall semester. For more information on TSTC’s Culinary Arts program, visit


Recent TSTC Graduate Continues Classroom Work

(BROWNWOOD) – Charles Marr still finds himself in a classroom, but not getting a grade for academic work.

Marr, 29, began work in mid-May as a campus technician at the Brownwood Independent School District. Marr graduated in late April with an associate degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration at Texas State Technical College in Brownwood.

He troubleshoots and repairs technology issues primarily at Brownwood Intermediate School and works elsewhere in the school district when needed. As the school year ends, Marr said he and his co-workers will work on upgrades and repairs to computers throughout the summer. He will also work on a CompTIA certification.

“Stay open-minded and be optimistic, and there is nothing really you should ever consider out of your reach,” Marr said.

Marr began growing comfortable with computers when he was in elementary school.

“It was more than just figuring out how to play solitaire,” he said. “A buddy of mine and I would mess with computers at his house and tear them apart and play with them.”

Marr graduated in 2005 from Brownwood High School. He joined the U.S. Army and was a combat engineer stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He also lived in Houston before returning to Brown County.

“Moving back here wasn’t in the cards initially. But in coming back and graduating, it was actually easy because Brownwood is kind of a small town, but not what it used to be,” Marr said. “Everyone knows everybody, and that makes it easier.”

Qualities he learned in the military, such as discipline and commitment, helped him succeed in college.

“At the same time, I had to develop patience with people around me,” Marr said.

Renee Blackshear, an instructor in TSTC’s Computer Networking and Systems Administration program, said she was impressed with Marr’s helpfulness and graciousness.

“As a veteran, Charles is determined to be successful with any task he undertakes,” she said.

While at TSTC, Marr participated in SkillsUSA and placed third statewide in the telecommunications cabling contest.

“Charles distinguished himself by consistently demonstrating knowledge and expertise with course content, completing hands-on projects with ease, and submitting exceptionally well-researched and well-written documentation on various topics,” said Blackshear. “Charles is highly intelligent and has good analytical and communication skills.”

TSTC in Brownwood will have Registration Rally events for the fall semester from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 7, July 7 and Aug. 8.

For more information on TSTC, go to

Charles Marr resized Brownwood

TSTC Spring 2017 Commencement to Be Held Friday

Marlensm(BROWNWOOD) – You can do anything you set your mind to. That is what Marlen Longoria, who will graduate from Texas State Technical College on Friday, believes. The Santa Anna, Texas, resident grew up in Acuna, Coahuila, Mexico, and moved to Texas in 2009.

“Two or three years ago, I got my GED, thanks to my mother-in-law,” Longoria said. “She always encouraged me to start again, to get my driver’s license first and then to get my GED. She said, ‘Well, you have a brain. You can go to college.’”

Longoria did some research, found TSTC online and visited the campus. She chose to study TSTC’s Software & Business Management Accounting.

“One day we came here to look for information,” she said. “I took two years of accounting in Mexico, and that’s why I decided to study it here. I like it.”

Longoria served as vice president of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two-year colleges and academic programs, and was a member of the Student Government Association. She will graduate with a 4.0 GPA. While she was part of the SGA, the group established a food and clothing pantry on campus to help other students.

“We always try to do community service,” Longoria said. “This year we have more members and we’re really active.”

Longoria will join nearly 150 other students from TSTC’s West Texas campuses in walking the stage at the spring commencement ceremony, which will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the Abilene Civic Center.

After graduating, Longoria plans to attend Howard Payne University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She chose one word to describe her experience at TSTC: awesome.

“It’s so much more than I expected,” she said. “The people here are great. They always have a smile on their faces and they always made me feel a part of it. My English isn’t great — it’s not my first language — but they always made me feel comfortable. The instructors have always been patient with me. It’s been a great experience, and they gave me the confidence to continue my education!”

Longoria offered some words of advice to TSTC students and those considering TSTC.

“Never give up,” Longoria said. “There’s no problem that is bigger than your dreams.”

TSTC in Brownwood is currently enrolling for all programs, including Chemical Dependency Counseling, Computer Aided Drafting & Design, Computer Networking & Systems Administration, Database & Web Programming, Emergency Medical Services, LVN-RN Transition, Medical Office Specialist, Software Accounting & Management and Welding. Summer registration continues through May 1. Fall registration ends Aug. 21.

For more information on TSTC and programs available, visit

TSTC Graduate Returns to Teach New Program

stephBROWNWOOD- Stephanie Young began working at Texas State Technical College in Brownwood at the start of August to teach the campus’ new Emergency Medical Technician program.

The Bangs, Texas, resident graduated from the Emergency Medical Services program at TSTC in Abilene in 2011. She served as a paramedic throughout the Big Country area for the last six years before teaching at TSTC.

Young was inspired to break into the industry by her brother, who is also a paramedic.

“My brother was a paramedic right out of high school,” Young said. “We’re only 14 months apart.”

But after getting married and having children at a young age, she decided to put her college plans on hold.

“I had my first child when I was 18,” Young said. “You’re kind of strapped to the kids at that point. I worked in real estate for a long time, but I always wanted to be an EMT. I just had a passion for it and for helping people.”

So once her children were able to care for themselves, she took the plunge into the emergency medical services field.

“I decided that it was time for me to do it,” Young said. “I went through the paramedic program at TSTC in Abilene and I loved it so much. I really think the education I got at TSTC is what brought me back here to teach.”

Beginning work at TSTC just a few weeks before classes began for the fall, Young was nervous.

“When I got into this, I was worried about the teaching portion of it, but I realized very quickly that it’s not just teaching,” Young said. “There’s a lot involved—recruitment, getting the kids in here and registered, following up with learning programs the EMS department uses. I’m kind of getting used to the software and everything, but I’ve found that—since I’m passionate about it and about EMS— teaching has come easy.”

So far, her favorite part has been working with the students.

“We had a class yesterday and we were going over anatomy and physiology, cells and our body’s responses to injuries,” Young said. “The students were reading it on their own and they didn’t quite understand, but then they came to class and we were able to shed light on the subject. It’s really awesome to see the students get excited. And I think that’s my favorite part—that they enjoy learning.”

The Emergency Medical Technician certificate is now offered at the Brownwood campus. For more information on the program, visit

TSTC in Brownwood to Offer Emergency Medical Services Certificate

Texas State Technical College in Brownwood will begin offering an Emergency Medical Services certificate beginning in fall 2016.

Andy Weaver, Allied Health division director for TSTC in West Texas, said the new program revives a previously offered program.

“We used to offer Emergency Medical Services a number of years ago in Brownwood,” Weaver said. “Now, there was some local motivation for more health care programs to be available, so we’re bringing it back.”

The 16-credit-hour certificate can be completed in two semesters and prepares graduates to enter the field as an emergency medical technician.

Chris Furry, Lifeguard-Brown County EMS chief said Lifeguard is excited that TSTC is again offering the program in Brownwood.

“We are excited for the opportunity to work with the TSTC EMS program,” said Furry. “With the local program, students will be able to gain a direct understanding of Lifeguard’s services and patient care expectations, thus expanding our local candidate pool as they complete the program.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 29 percent growth in emergency medical technician and paramedic jobs through 2022, with Texas being the nation’s top employer in that field.

“We have an ever-growing geriatric population and a reduction in the workforce,” Weaver said. “These combined are making it more challenging for organizations to remain staffed.  We want to open and grow the Brownwood Emergency Medical Services program to help serve the EMS industry in and around Brownwood.”

Before enrolling in the program, students must attend an information session, where they will be given a packet with pre-requirement information. Sessions will be offered at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27, and Wednesday, Aug. 10, in Brownwood. Students can also attend a session in Abilene, where they are offered every Tuesday.

For more information on the program or the information sessions, contact TSTC in Brownwood at 325-643-5987.

TSTC Students to Challenge for Gold

(WEST TEXAS) – Two students from Texas State Technical College in West Texas are preparing to travel to Louisville, Kentucky to contend for gold medals at SkillsUSA’s National Leadership and Skills Conference.


Rachael Thompson will compete in First Aid-CPR and Jon William Lewis will compete in Information Technology Systems at the conference, which is scheduled for June 20 to 24. More than 6,000 high school and college students are expected to compete in about 100 contests.


“We are very proud,” TSTC in West Texas Provost Eliska Smith said. “We are excited that we will be represented again at SkillsUSA. It’s wonderful for them to have this experience to compete against other college students around the nation.”


The TSTC Foundation honored the students with a special send-off on Friday, June 10, in Abilene.


Winning a gold medal at the national competition can add another credential to students’ resumes and make them more marketable when job hunting.


“SkillsUSA is an excellent opportunity to get the attention of important people, whether it be the contest chair who is selected from industry or a potential employer through one’s resume,” said Lewis, 21, of Abilene and a May graduate in Computer Networking and Systems Administration.


Students from TSTC in West Texas, Waco and Harlingen won more than 30 gold medals, and more than 70 medals total, during SkillsUSA’s statewide postsecondary competition in early April in Waco.


“The biggest success I think we have had this year for our campuses in West Texas has been the amount of medals we have taken home this year,” said Crystal Latham-Alford, a SkillsUSA campus director for the Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater campuses. “Also, this is the second year we have been up in participation numbers in the last five years. We continue to grow and the future looks bright.”


SkillsUSA is a professional organization teaching technical, academic and employability skills that help college students pursue successful careers. Members build these skills through student-led team meetings, contests, leadership conferences and other activities.


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

TexasBank of Brownwood President to Present Five TSTC Scholarships

(BROWNWOOD) – Gregory Dodds, President and CEO of TexasBank of Brownwood, presented five TSTC students with $1,000 scholarships on Monday, Sept. 21.

The bank has donated $5,000 annually to TSTC for several years. This year the bank asked that the money be disbursed at the rate of $1,000 each to five worthy Brownwood students.

The five students selected, Joshua Barron, Irene Holmes, Dawn Pinkard, Mariolis Ragland and Laura Weaver, were selected based on merit and financial need.

Joshua Barron, a fifth semester Software & Business Accounting student, said he has plans for the scholarship.

“It will help with books, tuition, gas back and forth to campus, and program materials,” Barron said.

TSTC in West Texas Provost Eliska Smith said these kinds of gifts are something that really helps the students.

“Scholarships like these not only help the students with tuition, but also with unexpected expenses that they may need help covering to stay in school,” Smith said. “We’re thankful to Mr. Dodds and TexasBank of Brownwood for supporting TSTC and our students.”

Dodds serves as a Board Member for The TSTC Foundation.

TSTC Chancellor Announces New Leadership for West Texas

(SWEETWATER) – Chancellor Mike Reeser announces the appointment of Eliska Smith, MASCL to serve as provost for the Texas State Technical College campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater, effective August 10.

 Smith began her career in marketing and communications more than 25 years ago, spanning the economic development and consulting, publishing and health care industries, as well as higher education. Smith’s tenure with TSTC began in 2002. Today, she serves as TSTC’s statewide public relations officer and leads strategic communications from the central administrative offices in Waco. Previously, she was TSTC’s associate vice chancellor specializing in communications, public relations, and leadership development. She also was the founding director and sponsoring executive-in-charge of the TSTC Leadership Institute.

“In essence, the job of the provost is to make TSTC a great place to work and to develop our relationships with the communities in which we operate,” said Chancellor Michael L. Reeser. “I have confidence that Eliska’s keen grasp of the organizational mission and her ability to foster relationships will be an asset to our West Texas family,” added Reeser.

“Eliska’s leadership experience and broad background will serve her well as the provost and leader of our West Texas campuses,” said Gail Lawrence, President Emerita, Vice Chancellor & Chief Culture Officer.

“It will be my joy to call the Big Country home,” said Smith. “I look forwarding to helping TSTC strengthen our partnerships with community and industry leaders to strengthen our economies and to help more Texans prosper,” added Smith.

Smith received a Master of Arts in Strategic Communications and Leadership from Seton Hall University, an advanced certificate in mid-management from SMU/Cox School of Business, and a Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University.

Smith has served in leadership positions within community and professional associations including: President and past president of the board, Christian Women’s Job Corp of McLennan County; lay director of the Greater Waco Emmaus Community; member, Waco LeadershipPlenty; secretary, board member, and president of the Central Texas Chapter Public Relations Society of America; district IV executive committee member for the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations, member of the Leadership Waco Class XX, board member of the Leadership Waco Alumni Association, member of the Rotary Club of Waco, and board member of the Waco Aviation Advisory Board.

Smith is a single mother, with a son, Houston, who is attending Texas Tech University, and a daughter, Caroline, who will be attending Sweetwater High School.

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