Category Archives: North Texas

TSTC HVAC Program Receives Equipment Donation

(RED OAK) – A Plano business recently donated more than $13,000 in Trane equipment to Texas State Technical College in North Texas.

TSTC’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program received five high-efficiency condensing units, five fan coils, two gas furnaces and an evaporator coil from Total Air & Heat Co.

Terry Robinson, a TSTC HVAC instructor with more than 20 years of industry teaching experience, said this was one of the largest equipment donations he has seen.

“The donated Trane equipment diversifies the equipment that students will work on as they install, maintain, troubleshoot and service in the HVAC training laboratory,” he said. “This is high-quality equipment with new technology that will enhance our students’ learning experiences.”

The family-owned company was founded in 1957 and provides residential and commercial boiler, heating and air conditioning installation and maintenance services in Collin and Dallas counties. The company has 45 employees.

“We stay active and keep in front of people, so we stay relevant for people to want to do business with us,” said Justin Lauten, a general manager at the business.

Lauten did not graduate from TSTC, but became familiar with the Red Oak campus when he took a statewide HVAC licensing preparation course from there.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate in HVAC Technology.

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TSTC Holds Fall Commencement

(WACO) – More than 550 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Fall 2017 Commencement held Friday, Dec. 8, at the Waco Convention Center.

Students from TSTC’s campuses in Waco, North Texas and Williamson County took part in the ceremony. The Waco campus had 479 graduates, Williamson County had 46 graduates and North Texas had 27 graduates.

Many of the graduates already have jobs and are ready to work.

Anthony Warren, 22, of Gatesville graduated with a machining certificate. He has been working the last few months at Unique Machine Shop in Oglesby as a CNC operator/machinist.

During his time at TSTC, he had a son.

“I did what I set out to do and I will do what I need to do for me and my son,” Warren said. “If you pursue what you are good at, you will succeed.”

Some graduates are preparing to go to work.

Khadeeja Qurashi, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. living in Waco, received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Laser Electro Optics. She will start in January her new job as a wafer fabrication technician at Texas Instruments in Dallas.

“I’ve made it,” Qurashi said. “It’s amazing and I’ve learned so much. I’m confident in my abilities and I get to show everyone that when I am walking across the stage to get my degree. TSTC was a learning experience, and it was more than math and science.”

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TSTC in North Texas to Host Registration Rally for Spring Semester

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College will host a Registration Rally for the 2018 Spring Semester from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the Jim Pitts Industrial Technology Center on North Lowrance Road in Red Oak.

“We are looking forward to meeting our new students and helping them get one step closer to earning their associate degrees,” said TSTC Provost Marcus Balch. “Registration Rally days are set up to make the registration process as smooth as possible.”

Visitors can take campus tours and talk to faculty members about the 10 technical programs offered at the North Texas campus, including Computer Aided Drafting and Design Technology, Cyber Security and Welding.

People interested in enrolling should bring a copy of their driver’s license, high school transcript or GED, any college transcripts, proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination, housing application and TSI scores.

TSTC is having registration events at its 10 campuses throughout the state this fall. For information on the closest Registration Rally, log on to

For more information, contact TSTC in North Texas at 972-617-4040.

TSTC Honors Former Texas Representative with Building Dedication

(RED OAK) – The work that James R. “Jim” Pitts did while a member of the Texas House of Representatives is solidified for future students that walk through the building now bearing his name at Texas State Technical College in North Texas.

The Jim Pitts Industrial Technology Center was formally dedicated Thursday morning at a plaque unveiling ceremony attended by Waxahachie and Ellis County leaders along with TSTC administrators and staff members.

Pitts said he appreciated the honor and that TSTC in North Texas is in a great location in proximity to the Dallas – Fort Worth area.

“I’m thrilled to see something you dreamed about become a reality,” Pitts said.

Pitts was a Republican member of the state House of Representatives representing House District 10 from 1993 to 2015 and was chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations. He was named one of the state’s 10 Best Legislators by Texas Monthly magazine in 2005, 2009 and 2013.

“I miss the legislature and I miss doing good things for Ellis County,” Pitts said.

TSTC Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer Mike Reeser said he first met Pitts during the 2013 Texas legislative session. Pitts told him he had a goal of bringing technical education to the county’s residents to become contributing members of the workforce.

During the session, Pitts introduced legislation that was sponsored by Sen. Brian Birdwell authorizing the creation of a TSTC extension center in Ellis County. The extension center evolved in less than a year into today’s stand-alone campus. After a land deal with the Red Oak Independent School District, the building on North Lowrance Road formally opened in October 2014 and now houses the technical college’s 10 programs.

“He is your neighbor,” Reeser told ceremony attendees. “You had a guy who went to Austin and fought for your best interests in Ellis County.”

Pitts is a former member of the Waxahachie Independent School District Board of Trustees. He is an attorney and owner of Ellis County Abstract and Title Company in Waxahachie.

After the ceremony, The TSTC Foundation hosted a luncheon and visitors took building tours.

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TSTC in Waco, North Texas and Williamson County Hold Summer Commencement

(WACO) – More than 580 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Summer 2017 Commencement held Friday, Aug. 18, at the Waco Convention Center.

Students from TSTC’s campuses in Waco, North Texas and Williamson County took part in the ceremony. The Waco campus had 515 graduates, Williamson County had 40 graduates and North Texas had 34 graduates.

Many of the graduates already have jobs and are ready to work.

Rosie Zamora of Fort Worth graduated with a Certificate in Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology. She is following her father and grandfather into the profession. Zamora will continue working as a plumbing apprentice in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“It was an experience,” Zamora said about her time at TSTC. “I learned things I didn’t know before.”

Cesar Castillo, 19, of Del Rio received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology. He follows in the footsteps of several other Del Rio students who have graduated from TSTC’s Welding Technology program.

“This program tests if you really want to go down your career path,” Castillo said. “It’s a lot more welcoming since most of your instructors know where you came from.”

Castillo said he will continue job hunting.

“I’m excited to go out on my own,” he said.

TSTC had more than 1,200 graduates this summer across the state.

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New Online Bookstore Debuts at TSTC’s Campuses in North Texas and Fort Bend County

(RED OAK) – A new online bookstore for Texas State Technical College’s North Texas and Fort Bend County campuses opened earlier this month.

This marks the first time students will have direct access to buy textbooks and not have to order from other campuses.

“This is huge for us,” said Stephen Pape, director of student learning at TSTC in North Texas. “It enables the students to get their books early so they don’t have to wait. The online bookstore gives them a choice of shipping to their home or to the campus where they can be picked up.”

Current and newly registered students can access the bookstore through the technical college’s internal portal. The first visit will enable the student to input their identification number and create a password for later visits.

“The bookstore will recognize them as students and check their schedule for the classes they signed up for,” said Pape. “The bookstore will know what books they need when they log in. The students can order books or they can check the prices for books.”

The online bookstore will give students information on how much of their financial aid money is available to spend on textbooks and automatically deduct it.

Students at the Fort Bend County campus will follow the same steps to access and purchase from the online bookstore. Arturo Solano, bookstore manager at TSTC in Harlingen, worked on planning Fort Bend County’s online offering and said the technical college is adapting to the latest trends in providing sourced materials for students.

“TSTC partnered with Ambassador Education Solutions, which will be distributing all the required course materials straight from their warehouse while at the same time providing students with a custom website tailored to their campus,” Solano said.

Planning for the new initiative began a year ago with financial aid, bookstore, information technology and student learning staff on multiple campuses working together.

“The major reason for the online store was to provide better service to the students,” said Greg Guercio, vice president of retail operations at TSTC in Waco.

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Detention Training Officer Follows Technology Curiosity to Pursue TSTC Degree

(RED OAK) – April Smith of Wylie credits actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie for inspiring her to study cyber security.

Smith said as a teenager she watched “Hackers,” a 1995 movie starring Jolie in which the main characters create a technological virus and hack into computer systems.

“I chose cyber security because I have always been intrigued by the ability of technology,” said Smith, 36. “I was in awe of the movie. Computers, video games and art are all of my passions and technology rolls them all into one.”

Smith took her passion and used it to work toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cyber Security at Texas State Technical College in North Texas in Red Oak. She is a candidate to receive the degree at TSTC’s Summer 2017 Commencement on Aug. 18 in Waco.

“In some of my classes I was the only female, but that didn’t prevent the camaraderie of us pulling together and learning,” Smith said.

Smith’s academic work also earned her the Provost’s Award.

“I was blown away and felt so much gratitude,” she said. “I was floored really and so happy that I could share the surprise with my family, who have supported me throughout it all. My hard work and dedication paid off and I am still in the clouds about it all.”

TSTC Provost Marcus Balch said he selected Smith because she attended classes and works at the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department as a detention training officer. She has been at the sheriff’s department for a decade.

“Her job doesn’t provide a lot of flexibility, yet she has overcome the odds,” Balch said. “She also has a positive outlook and is excited about the possibilities that the future holds for her. She is just a good solid example of a hard-working TSTC student.”

Besides her work schedule and balancing her study and family time, Smith said her other challenges involved her parents each dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

“It was difficult not knowing the outcome of their situations while attending classes,” she said. “Thankfully, they were stronger than the disease and are here with me now to celebrate.”

Smith recommended that females interested in technology pursue cyber security.

“Allow your dreams to become reality and make a mark on the world,” she said. “Explore all possibilities and interests. Everyone has something to offer, and that one thing may change everything about technology.”

Smith grew up in Wilmot, Arkansas, and graduated in 1999 from Hamburg High School in Hamburg, Arkansas.

She was in the United States Air Force and was stationed in Mississippi and Germany.

Smith plans to study information technology after graduating from TSTC.

“I hope my career in information technology allows me to find a great company to work for so that I can grow as an individual and a colleague,” she said.

TSTC’s Summer 2017 Commencement will include graduates from the North Texas, Waco and Williamson County campuses. The ceremony will be at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18 at the Waco Convention Center at 100 Washington Ave.

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TSTC in North Texas Receives New Logistics Training System

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College’s Logistics Technology program recently received a manufacturing operations training system through a Texas Workforce Commission grant.

“It walks you through the manufacturing process, from raw materials to the final products being shipped,” said William Scott, a TSTC Logistics Technology instructor. “Our students can get trained on logistics in a manufacturing environment.”

The $235,000 equipment will be used by students taking Introduction to Materials Handling, Materials Requirement Planning and Warehouse and Distribution Center Management for the Associate of Applied Science degree in Logistics Technology. Students will learn how to turn the machinery on, troubleshoot and operate the system. Scott described the machinery as a new experience for students.

“I’ve always wanted this since the inception of the program,” Scott said. “Manufacturing logistics is an added arm of the program.”

TSTC is poised to meet increased logistics demands in Ellis County. Some of the jobs that Logistics Technology graduates can pursue include purchasing, warehouse dock management, dispatching and inventory control.

Logistics and distribution is one of the city of Red Oak’s target industries. National Freight Industries has at least 70 employees working in logistics and warehousing at a 60,000-square-foot facility on Bowie Drive, according to the city’s economic development office. Lee McCleary, Red Oak’s economic development director, said the company has plans to build a new 117,000-square-foot structure next to the current building.

“NFI conducts business with multiple locations nationwide,” McCleary said. “NFI is the logistics and warehousing provider for Triumph Aerostructures – Red Oak.”

And in Waxahachie, Walgreens has a distribution center with less than 1,000 employees, according to the city’s economic development office.

“The Logistics Technology program was specifically chosen and developed for TSTC in North Texas given the local workforce needs,” said Provost Marcus Balch. “We’re training using the latest technology, including drones and radio-frequency identification technology.”

TSTC graduated its first group of Logistics Technology majors in December 2015.

TSTC in North Texas will host a Registration Rally for the fall semester from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 8. For more information, go to

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TSTC Student Q&A with Ryan Williams of Waxahachie

(RED OAK) – Ryan Williams, 27, of Waxahachie is a Logistics Technology major at Texas State Technical College in North Texas.

Williams was raised in Longview and is a 2009 graduate of East Texas Christian School.

How did you find out about TSTC in North Texas? “I was going to classes (at TSTC) in Marshall but I wanted to change majors.”

What got you interested in studying Logistics Technology? “I’ve always worked in a distribution aspect of the jobs I’ve had in the past. I thought I would do well in the program. So far I am enjoying the classes.”

Do you do better with hands-on learning or book learning? “I do a mix of both, but I usually like the hands-on training so I can see where I mess up and improve from that.”

What advice would you give to students considering your major or going to TSTC? “Stick with the work and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

What do you enjoy doing away from classes and studying? “I usually like reading fantasy and science fiction books. I’m a big nerd. I like playing video games or board games.”

Some of the fields that Logistics Technology graduates can pursue include manufacturing, technical services or government. Graduates can pursue professional certifications from the International Society of Logistics or the American Production and Inventory Control Society.

The United States had more than 130,000 logistician jobs in 2014, with the figure expected to rise by 2,500 positions through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Texas had more than 13,000 logisticians in May 2016, with a majority centered in The Woodlands – Houston – Sugar Land area. The Dallas – Plano – Irving area had more than 3,200 positions, with an average mean wage of $79,300. The Longview area had 40 logistician jobs, with an average mean wage of more than $68,000.

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TSTC Student Q&A with Sergio Gutierrez of Red Oak

(RED OAK) – Sergio Gutierrez, 20, is a Computer Aided Drafting and Design Technology major at Texas State Technical College in North Texas. He is TSTC’s first Student Government Association president and is scheduled to graduate in August.

He is a 2015 graduate of Red Oak High School, where he played soccer and was a member of Hawks Against Destructive Decisions Inspiring Teens (HADDIT).

How did you learn about TSTC? “It was during a tour. I was taking drafting at the high school and I saw the program here and decided to take it. The campus is really convenient and I like it a lot. I don’t have to be away from my family.”

What do you enjoy about Computer Aided Drafting and Design Technology? “I like the 3-D modeling. I have gotten good at it. I like to make costume parts, and in architecture you can make houses.”

Do you get to use the program’s 3-D printers? “It’s really fantastic. We have three and they are pretty cool. I can make the costume parts and print them out and use them.”

What have you done in the Student Government Association? “Right now I’m the only member. Student involvement is a big factor. SGA helped start clubs for Diesel Equipment Technology and Welding. I hope SGA continues after I graduate. Being the first sets the standard.”

What kind of work experience are you getting while in college? “I am doing an internship at my uncle’s cabinet shop. I am making drawings in AutoCAD and they look good. I have learned a lot to get out in the field.”

Registration for fall semester is taking place now, with two special Registration Rally events planned from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 13 and Aug. 8 at TSTC in North Texas.

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