TSTC Graduate Finds Solutions to Work Challenges at Houston Company

(WACO) – Parker Schellhaas of Spring grew up knowing his future career had to involve working with his hands.

But, he was not sure what path he would take after graduating in 2010 from Cypress Woods High School in Harris County.

“I was told about Texas State Technical College by my wife’s uncle, who was working at Luminant at the time,” said Schellhaas, 25. “His company was getting quality employees from TSTC. We visited TSTC one weekend to check out the different programs they offered at an open house.”

Schellhaas graduated in 2015 from TSTC with an Associate of Applied Science degree in what is now Facilities Maintenance and Management.

He is now a facilities technician at Data Foundry in Houston and works alongside co-workers troubleshooting and finding solutions. Schellhaas said he wants to professionally grow with the company and eventually work on a bachelor’s degree to move into management.

“I wouldn’t say there is a typical day,” Schellhaas said. “It can vary from doing paint touch- ups around the site to working on HVAC and power equipment.”

He said he has learned on the job about the value of teamwork.

“In facilities, you start at the bottom and prove your way to the top,” Schellhaas said. “No matter what the job asks, it is your responsibility to do it.”

TSTC offers the Associate of Applied Science degree in Facilities Maintenance and Management in Waco. The degree includes classes in hydraulics, electrical theory, blueprints, piping standards and boiler maintenance. Students are exposed to building, electrical and safety codes and learn about paperwork and retention. Students also learn about Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

Michael Hubbard, lead instructor in the Industrial Maintenance and Engineering Department, based the curriculum around professional competencies developed by the International Facility Management Association.

Program graduates are encouraged to apply for IFMA credentials, which are recognized worldwide, Hubbard said. The organization’s credentials are for Facility Management Professional, Sustainability Facility Professional and Certified Facility Manager.

“We don’t need managers (in the field), we need leaders,” Hubbard said.

Texas had more than 110,000 general facilities and maintenance workers in May 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Woodlands – Houston – Sugar Land metropolitan area had the most workers in Texas with more than 27,800 people, while the Waco area had more than 900 people in the field in May 2016.

General facilities and maintenance positions are expected to increase by 83,500 nationwide through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Other professions that graduates can pursue include building and systems analysis, facility maintenance, building automation control, building inspections, facility management and plant maintenance engineering.

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