Category Archives: Marshall

TSTC Lends Support to Annual Marshall Chamber Banquet

(MARSHALL) –The Texas State Technical College Foundation is solidifying a relationship with the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce by serving as a dinner sponsor for the organization’s annual banquet.

The event, with the theme “There’s No Place Like Home,” will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, at the Marshall Convention Center on East End Boulevard South in Marshall. Chamber leaders will announce the Citizen of the Year and Ambassador of the Year and celebrate the work and progress of businesses in Harrison County.

TSTC in Marshall Provost Barton Day is the chamber’s chair-elect of the Board of Directors for 2018, and Jessica Ford, a field development officer for The TSTC Foundation, is a chamber ambassador. TSTC is a chamber member.

“The chamber is here to enlist the help of industries, retail and wholesale businesses, even our professional services and citizens, to make sure we all play a part as stakeholders in the economic development of our community and Harrison County,” said Stormy Nickerson, the chamber’s executive director.

Nickerson has personal experience with TSTC. One of her sons is a Biomedical Equipment Technology graduate and another son is scheduled to graduate in the same program this spring. Her husband, Brian Nickerson, is an instructor in the technical college’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program.

“TSTC is in the market of placing individuals for quality employment after they graduate,” Nickerson said. “We appreciate elements of their programs, like the Money-Back Guarantee. They are making a bold and brave statement to train people to move forward in the work environment. We need all the relationships with higher education. It’s vital we have the jobs to boost our industrial community, and TSTC helps us get there.”

Lewis Engineering Co. on East Houston Street in Marshall is an active chamber member. Adam Hopkins, the firm’s quality manager, graduated in 2011 from TSTC with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Aided Drafting and Design.

Hopkins, 28, a Marshall native and graduate of Texas Early College High School, said he has been fortunate to be able to stay close to family throughout his career.

“I think it’s awesome to have a technical college here that offers those skills that are in demand here in the region,” Hopkins said.



TSTC Electrical Lineworker Technology Program a Source for Area Power Providers

(MARSHALL) – Area electrical providers continue searching for qualified workers to replace an aging workforce. Texas State Technical College stands ready to fill the void.

Students in TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program prepare for the field by taking classes in electrical calculations, live line safety, distribution operations, electrical theory and testing, along with other topics. The program had more than 20 graduates in 2016.

“For the right person who is dedicated to entering the industry, the possibilities of employment are almost endless,” said Eric Carithers, TSTC’s statewide department chair for Electrical Distribution and Industrial Systems. “Our students coming through the program are challenged with real-life scenarios that they will most certainly encounter when they go into industry.”

Texas had more than 10,900 electrical power line repairers and installers — the most in the nation — earning an annual mean wage of $53,780 as of May 2015, according to recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Woodlands-Houston-Sugar Land and Dallas-Plano-Irving areas had the largest concentration of lineworkers in Texas, with more than 4,600 as of May 2015, according to the labor statistics bureau.

The number of electrical lineworkers in Texas is expected to grow to 13,780 by 2024, according to, a clearinghouse of national and state job market predictions.

The Panola-Harrison Electric Cooperative in Marshall services customers in Harrison and Panola counties in Texas and Caddo and DeSoto parishes in Louisiana. The cooperative has more than 30 employees servicing more than 13,600 commercial and residential members.

“We have had good success in recent years hiring young linemen,” said Kathy Wood, a general manager at the electric cooperative. “We have quite a bit of people that apply to work for Panola-Harrison. Our culture here is different than an investor-owned company. We are small and more family-oriented. We have hired TSTC linemen in the past.”

Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) based in Shreveport, Louisiana is one of seven regional electric utilities for Ohio-based American Electric Power. The company has recruited several TSTC graduates for jobs in power plant operations, maintenance, instrumentation and electrical work. SWEPCO provides electrical services to several counties in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

“Our economy depends on electricity — there can’t be water supplies, information technologies or even health care without it,” said SWEPCO President and Chief Executive Officer Venita McCellon-Allen. “With a local economy fueled by electricity, there is a need for highly skilled craft jobs and apprentice linemen programs to feed this growth. And with the average age of a utility lineman at 50 years old, this intersection of growth and an aging workforce has presented us some challenges to providing skilled lineworkers for today and the future.”

SWEPCO contributed $350,000 in early 2008 to help start the Electrical Lineworker Technology program at TSTC. The Marshall Economic Development Corporation donated five acres for the technical college’s outdoor Electrical Lineworker Technology training lab in 2009.

Carithers said plans are being developed to have students learn CPR/first aid and earn traffic control certifications.

TSTC students can graduate with the associate degree or certificate in Electrical Lineworker Technology and have 30 hours of Occupational Safety and Health Administration training.

“TSTC makes our communities strong and vibrant through valuable skills training and workforce development,” McCellon-Allen said.

Marshall Electrical Lineworker Technology program photo


TSTC Leads Excel Training at Norbord

(MARSHALL) – Norbord employees in Jefferson are taking advantage of a component of Texas State Technical College: workforce development.

Twelve employees attended two trainings in late January and early February to learn basic Excel at the company’s training center. Future trainings are planned for the computer spreadsheet program developed by Microsoft.

“We wanted to use Excel more efficiently to give us better understanding of data to support the business,” said David Golden, human resources manager at the Norbord Jefferson plant.

The course was taught by Carolyn O’Neill, an instructor in the Professional Office Technology program at TSTC. She taught company employees how to create spreadsheets, enter text and numbers, format cells, spell check, print and create charts.

“Excel is used in every business I have ever had contact with, from large to small,” O’Neill said. “It is a software application that many people do not know, so having knowledge of how to use it can be a big plus when applying for a job. Excel has the ability to do many mathematical functions. With the ability to add charts, it is also a very good visual aid when trying to show complex data.”

This is the first time the company and the technical college have partnered on training. The training came about after company leaders did a skills assessment of workers.

Norbord is based in Toronto, Canada, and is a global manufacturer of wood-based panels, particleboard, oriented strand board and medium-density fiberboard. The company has 2,600 employees at 17 plants in Canada, Europe and the United States. The Jefferson plant has 110 employees, some of whom are TSTC graduates working as millwrights and electricians.

Marshall Norbord training



TSTC Biomedical Equipment Technology Programs Teach Students to Defend Security

(WACO) – The United States healthcare system has been targeted this year as having a high vulnerability for cyberattacks because of advanced network connectivity for equipment and data, according to a nationwide healthcare technology organization.

Texas State Technical College’s Biomedical Equipment Technology programs in Harlingen, Marshall and Waco train students to fight off hackers trying to get into critical medical systems.

“We teach them the basics of how to learn what the hackers know,” said Garrett Seeley, associate professor in the Biomedical Equipment Technology program at TSTC in Waco. “We show students how hackers communicate with each other and let people know what they know.”

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation is a nonprofit organization that released this month its AAMI Pulse: Cybersecurity survey, which included responses from 118 nationwide information technology and healthcare technology management workers. The survey found that about 75 percent of participants thought their medical facilities could react quickly to a cyberattack, while 9 percent of people thought cyber security was considered a low priority in their workplaces.

“The best way to predict is to communicate,” Seeley said. “Hospitals are trying to shoulder the burden.”

Malware is considered one of the main tools to infiltrate hospital security systems, according to the association and the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology. Malware can find its way into network-connected and configured medical devices, smartphones, tablets, implanted patient devices and records systems.

Seeley said it is not specific equipment that people try to disrupt – it is the technology system that ties everything together. He said the goal for hackers is to bring networks down and cause disruptions.

“People are remarkable in that they can find loopholes that you don’t know exist,” he said.

The Food and Drug Administration has also found in recent years that the unauthorized sharing of passwords enables people to undertake cyberattacks.

The need for medical equipment repairers to keep technological systems secure in Texas is expected to grow through 2024 from at least 2,600 workers to a projected 3,300 employees, according to, a clearinghouse of short-term and long-term state labor market predictions.

Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas has hired several of TSTC’s Biomedical Equipment Technology graduates.

“The TSTC program is probably the strongest, in my opinion, in the state of Texas,” said Carol L. Wyatt, director of Healthcare Technology Management for BSW’s Northern Region in McKinney. “The graduates we have hired at BSW, in my experience, are ready to hit the floor running. That is exactly what we need – a good foundation. When they come in, we ‘Baylorize’ them and teach them how to use our database and how to be good BSW employees.”

Cyber security plays a critical role in medical equipment security at the sprawling healthcare system spread throughout North and Central Texas. Staff members also consider who emails are being sent and forwarded to as part of security.

“They (biomedical equipment technology workers) have to make sure all patient information is secure and the equipment is secure, whether with a password, a firewall or physical cables,” Wyatt said. “It’s part of our responsibility in the management of maintenance of medical equipment that it is taken care of.”

There are eight two-year programs for Biomedical Equipment Technology in Texas, according to the AAMI. TSTC offers the Associate of Applied Science degree in Biomedical Equipment Technology in Harlingen, Marshall and Waco. The Waco campus also has the Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Imaging Systems Technology.

“A two-year technical degree in Biomedical Equipment Technology with added Information Technology certifications may provide graduates with an earning potential equal to or greater than that of many four-year degrees at much less cost and time spent in the classroom,” said Nicholas Cram, associate professor and lead instructor in the Biomedical Equipment Technology and Process Operations Technology programs at TSTC in Marshall. “The workforce landscape has radically changed in healthcare technology over the last 10 years and will continue to change in the future.”

One of the courses that TSTC’s Biomedical Equipment Technology majors take is Medical Equipment Networks.

“As a biomedical equipment technician, you are responsible for maintaining, calibrating and troubleshooting problems related to all of the medical devices in the hospital,” said Cram. “With expanded and immersive capabilities of healthcare networks, it is common to have medical devices providing physicians with ‘real-time’ physiological data. Biomeds need to understand this aspect of the data flow if problems occur. It is an extension of the medical device troubleshooting process.”

BET Jan. 24, 2017 Waco resized



Longview Company Donates Equipment to TSTC

(MARSHALL) – J-W Power Co. in Longview recently made its second donation of equipment this year to Texas State Technical College.

The donation is valued at about $71,000 and includes square tubing, steel pipes, steel plates, check valves, hydraulic pumps, motors, solar panels, an automated plasma cutter and a welding machine. The items will be used for teaching purposes by the technical college’s Diesel Equipment Technology, Welding Technology, Computer Aided Manufacturing and Industrial Maintenance programs.

“We have written this obsolete inventory off, but we are glad it can be repurposed by a college that can put it to good use,” said David Ramaly, plant manager at J-W Power Co. “It will provide usable inventory goods that will be used by students for many years to come. I am so glad we can help TSTC and its students with this donation.”

The company sells, leases and services standard and custom natural gas compression equipment and has the largest privately owned compression fleet in the United States.

The company donated this summer a Waukesha six-cylinder natural gas engine valued at $12,500, along with its parts book and instruction manual. The industrial engine is used in the field as a generator operated off natural compressed gas. The engine went to TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program.

“It is good for companies not only to make donations such as these to help keep us updated with technology, but also to give us a better understanding of the equipment they are using,” said Edward Chaney, lead instructor in the Diesel Equipment Technology and Industrial Maintenance programs at TSTC. “By knowing their equipment, we can introduce our students to the different technologies that are being used today. These donations also help us to build relationships with industry partners for placing our students.”

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


TSTC, Longview Company Unite for Workforce Training

(MARSHALL) – Sixteen employees at Longview-based Network Communications Inc. recently started an 84-hour comprehensive networking and cyber security course for workforce development at Texas State Technical College.

The Texas Workforce Commission is providing $35,000 to cover the pay of TSTC instructors, along with books, supplies and other training costs. The one-day-a-week training began in November and ends in May.

“Some workers deal directly with networking, and the training will align with what they are doing,” said Benjamin Cantu, business relationship manager for TSTC’s Workforce Training office. “Other Network Communications workers have known networking their whole life and are understanding the back-end work of it.”

Keith Lloyd, Network Communications’ general manager, said he is happy about the convenience of having the training close by. This is the first time the company has used TSTC for workforce development.

“We are excited to use this for our people because we know a year from now it will be beneficial to everyone involved,” Lloyd said. “The fact that TSTC can do this is huge for us. We were going to have to figure out how to piecemeal it. It is an expensive proposition to train people, but it is nice to see those types of dollars available to help us grow our business.”

Network Communications has about 50 employees and is locally owned. The company provides commercial office automation, prepaid telephone cards, high-speed internet using fiber-optic networks and telephone services to Henderson, Kilgore, Longview and Marshall.

The company donated earlier this year to TSTC’s Make a Texas-Sized Difference campaign for the Texan Success Scholarship developed by The TSTC Foundation and has been part of TSTC’s Industry Career Day.

“People don’t realize what we have in our backyard with TSTC,” Lloyd said. “Training is available. The effort that is put in putting kids into the school and then in good careers is valuable.”

The training is an amendment to a TWC Skills Development Fund grant the technical college received in 2015 for more than 250 employees at The Crosby Group in Longview.

“If you love our graduates, you will love our training,” Cantu said. “It will help the bottom dollar and help with company efficiency.”

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Former Oil Field Workers to Receive Degrees From TSTC at Fall Commencement

(MARSHALL) – Joshua Anderson of Waskom and Joshua Jackson of Longview have gone from the oil fields to the classroom.

Now, the two friends will walk across the stage together to receive Associate of Applied Science degrees in Computer Networking and Systems Administration from Texas State Technical College at Fall Commencement on Friday, Dec. 9.

“Joshua and Joshua have both been outstanding students with respectful attitudes, exceptional critical thinking skills and dedication to follow through until a problem is solved,” said Amy L. Hertel, an information technology studies instructor at TSTC. “They have both taken on leadership roles at TSTC and have been a great example to our incoming students. I’m looking forward to watching them enter their career field and excel.”

Anderson grew up in Marshall. After graduating from Marshall High School in 1998, he went to work in the oil fields and along the way studied emergency medical technology and receive firefighter certification.

“Then I decided I didn’t like firefighting and went back to the oil fields and met Joshua,” Anderson said. “After the oil fields, I figured I would come back to school again.”

Jackson was born in Houston and grew up in Southern California. After high school, he joined the U.S. Navy and worked with bombs and missiles. After he left the military in 2001, he was hired for oil field work in Kilgore and moved to Longview.

Anderson and Jackson worked in Texas and offshore in Louisiana. The two were laid off from their jobs in 2015.

“Being laid off was a blessing in disguise,” Jackson said. “I really wanted to go back to school and had I not been laid off I probably would not have.”

Anderson was familiar with TSTC and visited with staff members about technical programs. He told Jackson about the college, and the two registered to start classes in May 2015.

“We worked it out with our class advisor and made sure we had the same schedule to take the same classes together and study,” Anderson said.

While Anderson had been in college before, this was the first time Jackson sat in college-level classes.

“I went to school and worked full time,” Jackson said. “Being older and coming back to school is intimidating. I didn’t know how I would fare. I wasn’t sure if I could handle it, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.”

Jackson began an internship in September at Marshall’s SEVEN Networks, where he helps manage Linux and Microsoft Windows servers and handles cables.

“I’m really enjoying it,” he said. “The internship teaches me something new every day. It gives me some real-world experience.”

Anderson and Jackson were TSTC student ambassadors who gave tours and told visitors about the mission and technical programs.

Anderson and Jackson will continue their educations working on associate degrees in Cyber Security at TSTC during the spring semester.

“Everything they teach at TSTC is for local jobs,” Anderson said. “It’s to help build the community.”

More than 60 graduates will receive certificates and associate degrees at TSTC’s Fall Commencement at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, at Wiley College’s Julius S. Scott Sr. Chapel at 711 Wiley Ave. in Marshall.

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Cantrelle Scholarship Receives Financial Boost at TSTC in Marshall

(MARSHALL) – A scholarship at Texas State Technical College will continue to aid students needing financial help to study, thanks to a generous gift.

The Rev. Earl Cantrelle of Longview recently gave $5,000 to the Clay Aaron Cantrelle Scholarship. The scholarship is named for Cantrelle’s grandson, a graduate of Marshall High School and TSTC, who died in a fire on May 8, 2010 at SCC Auto Center in Marshall.

The younger Cantrelle had an associate degree in software engineering from TSTC and at the time of his death lived at the business where he was also the office manager. Clay Cantrelle was 27 years old.

“He was a great kid,” Rev. Cantrelle said. “He had good intellectual abilities and enjoyed people. He was very helpful to my wife working in the garden and different things she did. We went camping when my grandsons were young and had some good times together.”

One of the TSTC students who received the scholarship this year, Joshua Jackson of Longview, said the money has been beneficial. He will graduate at TSTC’s Fall Commencement on Dec. 9 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration and return in the spring to finish an associate degree in Cyber Security.

“I got laid off from my job in 2015 and I didn’t qualify for any grants,” Jackson, 35, said. “I had to pay using all student loans. The scholarship helped me a lot because I had some money left over to pay bills and normal standard of living stuff.”

Other scholarship recipients this year were Barbara Gill of Marshall, who is studying Professional Office Technology; Gerald Jordan of Gilmer, who is studying Process Operations and Tony Ratcliff of Marshall, who is studying Electrical Lineworker Technology.

Students who have at least a 2.5 GPA and write an essay can apply for the scholarship. Students who receive the scholarship are required to write a note of gratitude to the Cantrelle family.

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TSTC in Marshall a Employment Source for SEVEN Networks

(MARSHALL) – SEVEN Networks and Texas State Technical College in Marshall are proving to be good neighbors.

The mobile device traffic management and analytics company has three TSTC alumni as employees, along with two students as interns. The company is located in TSTC’s Center for Applied Technology, just steps away from the administration building.

“The benefit to us is their students are concentrating on their trade while they are getting educated,” said Keyvan Shahrdar, SEVEN’s director of operations in Marshall. “That’s a great plus for us because we are getting students who are doing the same exact thing that we are wanting to hire.”

Chastity Rhodes of Marshall has three associate degrees from TSTC in Marshall: Biomedical Equipment Technology, Cyber Security, and Computer Networking and Systems Administration. She was hired earlier this year to work with SEVEN’s marketing, quality control, network administration and cyber security.

“This is great international enterprise experience that Marshall has needed for many years,” said Rhodes, 33. “East Texas is behind in technology terms, and SEVEN provides a doorway to technological advancement for this area. There are great opportunities for graduates from this area who are not in a position to relocate just to have a job.”

The company will soon launch its iPhone Ad Clear platform for the United States. Ad Clear is an advertising blocking application that is already available for Android phones.

“I think that is going to have a major impact in our offices here, with us needing to hire more engineers from the area,” Shahrdar said.

Dustin Morgan, 22, of Jefferson graduated this summer from TSTC in Marshall with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Software Development and is a SEVEN software engineer working on Ad Clear’s Android version.

“The current projects the company has are challenging, and there is always something to learn and improve on,” Morgan said. “It never gets boring or repetitive and is constantly changing. It’s also interesting to see a lot of people use something you are working on, including people you know.”

The company opened its Marshall office in summer 2015. Ross Bott, president and chief executive officer of SEVEN Networks, said the company looked at Texas because some of its senior executives and customers are based in the state.

“We explored a variety of cities in Texas, but our early interactions with the Marshall Economic Development Corp. were so positive that Marshall quickly rose to the top of the list,” Bott said. “The ability to partner with TSTC and other nearby colleges for engineering talent was a second critical factor and ultimately led to our final decision to move to Marshall.”

The Marshall site has 10 employees and one contractor. SEVEN’s workers in Marshall and Hangzhou, China, divide their engineering and feedback workload.


TSTC in Marshall Alumni Indulging in Maintenance Work at Dallas Culinary Company

(MARSHALL) – Two Texas State Technical College in Marshall graduates are ensuring that the production of icing, cupcakes and cookies is trouble-free and on time for clients nationwide.

Derrick Jackson, 41, of Garland and Bradley Moody, 25, of Irving work in maintenance at CSM Bakery Solutions’ manufacturing facility in northwest Dallas. Jackson is a regional maintenance manager working with company-wide safety efforts and providing oversight to plants in Dallas, Houston and Bonner Springs, Kansas. Moody is a maintenance administrator and coordinator.

Jackson and Moody had some things in common before they began working together: both grew up in Marshall and graduated from Marshall High School – Jackson in 1993 and Moody in 2009.

“I still have family in Marshall,” Jackson said. “When Bradley graduated from TSTC, my sister was working in Marshall with his fiancée (now wife) at the time. She told me there was a young man named Bradley working in my field and he was willing to move. We made contact to see what he was looking for. He came up and interviewed and was hired.”

CSM Bakery Solutions has more than 8,500 employees working at 34 manufacturing facilities, 26 distribution centers and four innovation centers in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, North America and Europe. The industrial baking company’s frozen doughs, batters, brioches, muffins and other items are distributed to customers in 100 nations.

Jackson said the Dallas plant, which has more than 250 employees, can produce more than 300,000 cupcakes in an eight-hour shift. The Dallas plant functions 24 hours a day.

Some of TSTC’s statewide technical programs that fit the company’s mission include Culinary Arts, Computer Science, Engineering, Industrial Maintenance, Industrial Systems Technology and Logistics Technology.

“CSM is looking for enthusiastic, positive and hard-working employees,” said Francoise Caraguel, global vice president of talent management based at the company’s headquarters in Sandy Springs, Georgia. “We look for individuals who are willing to take on roles that will challenge them daily. Communication and the ability to work with others is key.”

Jackson began work at CSM in 2009 after working in industrial maintenance at other organizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“Updates in the real world don’t change as fast as technology changes,” Jackson said. “When you walk into a facility, you may not have worked on the equipment you are seeing. They may be a generation behind, but they are running hard. If you will get the same output out of something, why change it?”

Jackson said that away from the machinery it is good for newer workers to find a mentor with experience to learn from.

“Just don’t be out there on your own,” he said. “You need to learn this business as a whole. It is a lucrative career path that a lot of people overlook.”

Jackson was in the second graduating class at TSTC in Marshall in 1994 when he received a certificate in Industrial Maintenance. He liked that he could attend college locally.

“You can graduate from TSTC and go straight to work and understand what the business is about,” Jackson said. “Their programs are designed for the industry. The instructors came out of industry.”

Moody graduated from TSTC in Marshall with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Mechatronics in 2012.

“I liked that hands-on experience prepared me and at least got me familiar with the equipment,” Moody said. “I just applied the theories I learned to the actual real-life situations.”

Moody started as a company floor technician in 2013 before being promoted to his current position. He credits Jackson with being his professional mentor.

“I assist Derrick and the maintenance supervisors with the daily tasks and planned work,” Moody said. “I manage the assets of all our equipment and assist with projects.”

Moody transferred all his TSTC credit hours to earn a bachelor’s degree in Technical Management from DeVry University in 2015.

Caraguel said the company recruits college students nationally through its new CSM UP! initiative, putting them to work in their degree fields with other interns, managers and administrators. Video conferencing is used for students to learn from company executives located at other facilities.

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