Category Archives: North Texas

First Cohort of Gerdau Workers to Graduate from TSTC

(RED OAK) – The first cohort of workers from Gerdau’s Midlothian Steel Mill will walk the stage at Texas State Technical College’s first Commencement on Monday, Aug. 20, in Waxahachie.

The company began sending employees to further their training at the campus in 2015. The eight students who will walk the stage Monday worked full-time while attending TSTC to earn their associate degrees in Industrial Maintenance.

TSTC Provost Marcus Balch said the college is looking forward to celebrating the occasion.

“We are very excited to not only be able to host our first ever Commencement ceremony here in North Texas, but also to have the opportunity to celebrate the first cohort of Gerdau employees graduating with the AAS in Industrial Maintenance,” he said.

Ryan Hube, Gerdau Midlothian Human Resources Manager, said the employees are already benefiting from their training.

“Many of them have already accepted maintenance apprenticeship positions throughout the mill,” he said. “With continued hands-on training they will hopefully have long careers as industrial millwrights or electricians here at Gerdau.”

Balch said he is proud to see area companies investing in their employees.

“What a tremendous accomplishment, and, what a great company Gerdau is to invest in their employees and provide opportunities for these employees to grow within their organization,” he said. “We at TSTC couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this partnership.”

Sixty students are eligible to graduate from eight of the college’s 10 programs in Red Oak.

The Summer 2018 commencement will be at 6 p.m. at the Waxahachie Civic Center.

TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser will be the featured speaker at the event.

TSTC is registering now for the fall semester. The last day to register is Monday, Aug. 20, and classes begin Monday, Aug. 27.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Instructor’s Enthusiasm Earns Him Faculty of the Year Award

(RED OAK) – Employees at Texas State Technical College celebrated Employee Appreciation Day in June, a day that included fun for employees and awards for employees of the year.

HVAC Instructor Terry Robinson was chosen as faculty member of the year.

Robinson, a native of Clute, Texas, who has been teaching at TSTC for two years, said he was humbled to receive the honor from his peers.

“I was gratified to get this recognition,” he said. “I think they’ve seen my dedication and the amount of work I put into helping build the HVAC department. When I came here, they had just moved all the equipment from another location, so I had to not only start building stuff to teach with, but I had to build the lab. I think everyone was well-pleased with the effort I put into it.”

Robinson was working as a service manager when he discovered a passion for teaching.

“I enjoyed teaching my technicians and installers how to do things, so I knew that teaching was going to be something I would want to do at some point,” he said. “In 1992 I started teaching, and I’ve been teaching ever since. I’ve also taught at Tarrant County College, Fort Worth Independent Schools’ night adult program and at Cedar Valley College.”

In his teaching style, Robinson swears by his motto: “Those that can, teach passionately.”

“That’s the way I try to approach my teaching. I enjoy communicating with my students and being creative,” he said.

He enjoys showing students the significance of TSTC.

“I’ve seen all types of educational systems — private, proprietary, trade school, junior college — and I like TSTC because I think we’re the best educational value a student can have,” Robinson said. “It’s just such an incredible value for students at a relatively low price.”

Robinson and his wife, a former elementary school teacher, share a passion for education.


“My wife was there the day that I got the award, and it just totally surprised her,” Robinson said. “She had just retired after 41 years of teaching elementary in public schools. In the last 15 years or so, she was a talented and gifted teacher. I always told her, ‘Of course you teach talented and gifted — you live with me!’”

TSTC prides itself on 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 tstc.edu/about/employment.

TSTC Visionary Murray Watson Jr. Remembered for Service

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College mourned Wednesday the loss of former Texas legislator Murray Watson Jr., who filed legislation in 1969 to separate what was an arm of the Texas A&M University system into a stand-alone institution for technical education that would become TSTC.

“If there was ever a Mr. TSTC, it would be Murray Watson,” said Elton Stuckly Jr., TSTC’s executive vice chancellor and chief strategic relations officer.

Watson died Tuesday at age 86.

Watson was a state senator when he filed legislation to make the James Connally Technical Institute independent and rename it Texas State Technical Institute (now TSTC). Gov. Preston Smith signed the bill’s final version in May 1969 in Austin.

At TSTC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in April 2015 in Austin, Watson was honored with a Founder’s Award.

Watson’s name is on TSTC’s student recreation center on Campus Drive. That factored into his wife, Greta, having been honored with the nearby Culinary Arts building being named for her.

“Murray and I walked out of the old (TSTC) system’s building, and we were about a million dollars short to build the new Culinary Arts Center,” Stuckly said. “I said, ‘Mr. Watson, I want you to think about something. Your name is on that (the recreation center) building. Wouldn’t it be nice for it (the new building) to be called the Greta W. Watson Culinary Arts Center? If you give us a million dollars, you could look at each other forever.’ It wasn’t a couple of weeks later that he called and said he was going to do it.”

Stuckly said Watson was a mentor who would give him advice.

“He always stayed in contact with me by email,” Stuckly said. “He was always looking for ways and ideas of how to make TSTC a better college.”

Stuckly said he and Watson always found much to talk about.

“He grew up in Mart, and I was raised in Penelope,” Stuckly said. “He always wanted to ask about TSTC first, then talk about farm cattle and his feed store and what I used to do on the farm. He said, ‘Elton, there aren’t many people that I can talk to who relate to those times.’”

Verna Lastrapes, a TSTC college outreach specialist, grew up knowing the Watson family in Mart. She said Watson’s family owned the local feed store, which she would visit as a four-year-old with her father at least twice a week to catch up with residents.

“Murray Jr. was a senior at Mart High School then,” she said. “I knew him well because he and my sister, Barbara, were friends.”

Pete Rowe, TSTC’s vice president for institutional development, hauled hay for Watson when he was a teenager in Mart. Rowe also graduated from Mart High School.

“It’s a personal loss for me because I loved him so much,” Rowe said. “He was a great mentor to me. He and Mrs. Watson have always been very kind to me and have done a lot for me in my life and career.”

Lastrapes said residents in Mart thought Watson would be president one day.

“He did not become president, but he did become our state representative and our state senator,” she said. “As a teenager, I remember helping campaign for him. Just about everyone in Mart campaigned for him.”

The feed store factored into Watson’s law career.

“When he lost the campaign for U.S. representative and went into private law practice, he had his office in Waco and one in Mart above the feed store,” Lastrapes said. “For years that is where he conducted all legal transactions with my daddy and other rural area farmers and businessmen.”

Rowe said Watson raised cattle andis sure he must have encountered on his ranch some of what TSTC teaches today.

“Murray was a highly intelligent person,” he said. “He was way ahead of the curve in the education field. He really studied education. He knew what to do.”

Lastrapes worked several years at the Brazos Higher Education Service Corp. Inc., which financed student loans. Watson was one of the organization’s founders.

“He had his own time schedule,” she said. “We began to say, ‘The starting time is when Murray Watson gets there.’ That was for everything!”

John K. Hatchel, chair of the TSTC Board of Regents, worked with Watson as a member of the Brazos Higher Education Service’s board of directors.

“He was very quiet, but he was consistent,” Hatchel said. “If there was a person who needed something or help, he was the first in line to do his part. He did it not expecting any accolades or thank-you’s. He just did it as a person.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

 

TSTC in North Texas to Host First Commencement Ceremony

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College in North Texas will host its first commencement ceremony Monday, Aug. 20. Sixty students are eligible to graduate from eight of the college’s 10 programs in Red Oak.

The summer 2018 commencement ceremony will be at 6 p.m. at the Waxahachie Civic Center.

“We’re extremely excited about having our first commencement ceremony here in North Texas,” said TSTC Provost Marcus Balch.

Balch said the ceremony gives TSTC the opportunity to showcase the success of the campus.

“This is a great opportunity to show the local community the progress we have made in growing our campus and providing our local industry partners with highly skilled employees,” Balch said. “It also allows us to invite our supporters such as industry partners and donors to be able to see firsthand the culmination of the great things we are doing here at TSTC.”

Graduates of the campus are normally hosted at the commencement ceremony in Waco. Balch said he hopes having the ceremony locally will boost participation and morale.

“I would expect that many more of our graduates and their families and friends will be able to attend, making the ceremony much more meaningful,” Balch said. “Participating in the Waco ceremony was great, but North Texas graduates will now become the center of attention.”

This semester boasts the campus’ largest graduating class so far, with students graduating from the college’s Computer Aided Drafting & Design, Computer Networking & Systems Administration, Diesel Equipment, Electrical Power & Controls, HVAC, Industrial Maintenance, Logistics and Welding technology programs.

“These graduates have worked very hard and are currently being heavily recruited by area industry partners,” Balch said.

TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser will be the featured speaker at the commencement ceremony.

TSTC is registering now for the fall semester. The last day to register is Monday, Aug. 20, and classes begin Monday, Aug. 27.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Registration Rally Set for July 17

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College in North Texas will host a Registration Rally on Tuesday, July 17 – all part of an effort to make the registration process as easy as possible for students starting classes in the fall semester.

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 7 p.m. at the campus at 119 N. Lowrance in Red Oak. Attendees will be able to meet with faculty, learn more about the different technologies offered at the North Texas 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.edu/rally.

Gerdau donates ten thousand dollars for TSTC scholarships

(RED OAK) – Gerdau’s Midlothian Steel Mill has pledged to donate over $10,000 for scholarships to Midlothian ISD students to attend Texas State Technical College.

For the first year, Gerdau pledged $3,000, which will be matched by The TSTC Foundation to provide six $1,000 scholarships to students in the college’s Industrial Maintenance program. The second year will bring another $3,000 for first-year students, with at least $4,000 more for second-year scholarships.

Gerdau’s relationship with TSTC began in 2015, when the company sent 13 of its employees to train at the college’s North Texas campus in Red Oak. Gerdau later received a Texas Workforce Commission Skills Development Fund Grant to train an additional 189 employees at TSTC.

“Gerdau has had a very strong relationship with TSTC for the last couple of years and currently sends over 50 — and growing — of their employees to North Texas to get their associate degree in Industrial Maintenance,” said Jessica Ford, field development officer at TSTC.

With these scholarships, Gerdau hopes to help fill the expanding shortage of skilled workers.

“There is a growing resource gap in skilled trades across the U.S. And in a booming area like Dallas-Fort Worth, that gap is becoming even more challenging,” said Gerdau Midlothian Human Resources Manager Ryan Hube. “Encouraging today’s youth to enter into these programs will be instrumental in attracting them to careers at Gerdau and other domestic manufacturers.”

Hube also hopes the scholarships will encourage local high school students to look into technical fields like Industrial Maintenance at TSTC.

“Our goal is to recruit young talent with the technical aptitude we need directly from TSTC’s program,” he said. “We are confident that this scholarship is a great first step in attracting local talent to manufacturing in order to meet our future needs while at the same time continuing as a partner for this community for years to come.”

Hube said the company is proud to support the local community.

“The scholarship presented itself as a unique opportunity to give back to our community while at the same time developing a pipeline of talent to fulfill future people-needs at the mill,” he said. “We’ve had great success thus far by partnering with TSTC to develop our own employees through the Industrial Maintenance program. We’re hoping to build on that success by providing scholarships to local high school graduates and eventually give them opportunities with Gerdau.”

Besides TSTC, Midlothian students are the winners overall, Ford said.

“This benefits TSTC by allowing us to provide scholarships to students from Midlothian ISD that we could not do otherwise,” she said.

The TSTC Foundation supports the Texas State Technical College campuses across the state, supporting the critical needs of students and providing funds to enhance TSTC’s ability to provide new and emerging technical programs to support the Texas workforce.

For more information on The TSTC Foundation, visit tstc.edu/tstcfoundation.

TSTC is registering now for the fall semester. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC in North Texas Welcomes New Career Services Coordinator

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College in North Texas welcomed a new Career Services Coordinator at the end of May.

Fagen Jones, an Army veteran from Alabama, has an associate degree in instrumentation. After realizing her passion for helping people, she later went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and Psychology from Troy University in Dothan, Alabama.

Jones worked in Career Services for Goodwill Industries of Arkansas before moving to Desoto, Texas, and continuing her work with Goodwill in Dallas. She was thrilled to come across the Career Services position at TSTC.

“When I read the job description, I was really excited about it because I was familiar with technical colleges,” she said. “I knew how technical school could help others like it helped me. I’m very passionate about things I believe in. Knowing what a technical degree can do for you, it really piqued my interest.”

Jones values TSTC’s degree offerings and teaching style.

“The programs that TSTC has to offer are what I really like,” she said. “You can get a career and grow from that. It’s not just the education, it’s the hands-on experience that you’re getting in the classrooms and can take to your job. Not every organization is set up like that, so it’s something that is very valuable.”

So far, Jones is focusing on connecting with the students.

“The main and most important thing is to make sure students secure employment prior to graduation,” she said. “I’m starting to get engaged with those students, trying to get them into the office to assist them with their resumes. I’m always putting out job leads. I’ve created a job board here for them. They’re coming in, seeing what’s there (on the board) and reaching out to me if they have questions about the job postings. That’s going really well. Next week, I’m starting to do workshops with the students, so I’m really excited about that.”

Jones has been impressed with the atmosphere at TSTC.

“Everybody is really nice,” she said. “I haven’t been in Texas long, but the time I have, I’ve never met so many people where the morale is just happy. That’s really good for me because I’m a happy person.”

She immediately felt welcomed by the Career Services team.

“I was really impressed and blown away by just the Career Services department and how they work as a team,” Jones said. “When I went to the Waco campus, they all walked around with me and introduced me. It wasn’t just one person, it was a team. It spoke volumes when the entire team got together.”

TSTC prides itself on 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 tstc.edu/about/employment.

TSTC in North Texas Registration Rallies Begin June 19

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College in North Texas will host two Registration Rallies this summer – all part of an effort to make the registration process as easy as possible for students starting classes in the fall semester. The first rally will be held on Tuesday, June 19, with the second following on Tuesday, July 17.

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 Rallies will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the campus at 119 N. Lowrance in Red Oak. Attendees will be able to meet with faculty, learn more about the different technologies offered at the Marshall 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.edu/rally.

TSTC in North Texas Welcomes New Recruiter

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College has welcomed a new recruiter. Annie Garcia began working at TSTC on April 30.

Garcia, a Palmer resident, most recently worked as a Job Corps admissions and outreach professional in San Antonio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Public Relations from the University of Texas at Arlington.

When Garcia found the opening at TSTC, she said it was an opportunity for a seamless relocation.

“I had heard all good things about the school before,” Garcia said. “When we were looking into moving back into this area and I saw there was an opening, it kind of seemed like it was meant to be. With the position being so similar to what I was already doing, and it being so close to home, it was kind of perfect.”

Although the job duties are similar, Garcia said she noticed one big change: the teamwork.

“Even though I was doing something similar before, it was very much me on my own, almost like they wanted us to compete,” she said. “Here, we work as a team. Whether it be all of the campuses or all of the recruiters at one campus, I definitely feel like the three girls I work with will be pretty close-knit.”

TSTC Provost Marcus Balch said he is happy to have Garcia on board.

“We’re excited to welcome Annie to our team and once again have a full student recruitment staff,” Balch said. “The team is critical to the continued growth of our campus as we work to meet the needs of our industry partners in the area. Annie has hit the ground running and brings enthusiasm to our campus and to the students she serves.”

Garcia is enjoying her new position.

“I love it,” she said. “I haven’t met one stranger since I’ve been here. I get along with everybody, and I like the job. It makes it easy for sure.”

So far, her favorite thing about TSTC is the enthusiasm she sees from her co-workers.

“Everybody that’s here is very passionate about what they do,” Garcia said. “Whether it be the provost or the instructors or the recruiters, everyone is very passionate about the school and their position. It makes the school worth coming to for the students because if they’re going to spend the next two years here, they need to be around people who believe in what they do.”

TSTC prides itself on 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 tstc.edu/about/employment.

Liptak Earns Chancellor’s Excellence Award

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College employee Kevin Liptak goes the extra mile for his students and his campus. Liptak’s initiative has earned him TSTC’s Chancellor’s Excellence Award, an honor given to TSTC faculty and staff who model excellence at the college.

Liptak, who began working at TSTC in 2015, was excited to be chosen for the award.

“Like everybody else, I try to go above and beyond what we’re asked to do,” he said. “I’ve taken on large class loads and worked on a couple of special projects for TSTC.”

Liptak oversees TSTC’s Industrial Maintenance and Electrical Power & Controls programs in North Texas.

“I like my job,” he said. “There are a lot of responsibilities, a lot of tasks here. I run two programs, so every day is new.”

Liptak takes pride in building relationships with his students.

“So far with every student that has graduated, there have been things we’ve helped them out with,” he said. “Whenever Red Oak had tornadoes, there were several students that lost property and we kind of became a support center for them. It’s the right thing to do.”

His favorite part of working at TSTC is the work environment.

“There are a lot of teamwork aspects here that are lacking elsewhere,” he said. “Everyone is here to move forward, and we all work together to get the job done.”

The Chancellor’s Excellence Award began in 2001, and over the past 15 years nearly 300 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.

Liptak will join 15 other TSTC employees statewide who will be honored later this month at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Awards dinner and celebration in Austin.

TSTC prides itself on being “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for over 100 positions at its 10 campuses statewide. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit tstc.edu/about/employment.