Lorena Business Owner Uses TSTC Drafting and Design Experience for Construction Work

(WACO) – There are two years that have been pivotal in Charlie Montgomery’s career.

One was 1978, the year he graduated from what was Texas State Technical Institute (now Texas State Technical College) with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Architectural Drafting and Design.

“I was able to gain knowledge to go forward in life,” said Montgomery, 60, of Lorena.

Then there was 1988. Montgomery’s brother committed suicide, and he felt the need to stop what he was doing and move as far as he could from Waco. So, he moved to Fort Worth, where he lived and worked for four years.

But Waco pulled him back.

“This was home,” he said. “It was where all my family was. I started to get my life in order again.”

He started C.O. Montgomery Construction Services LLC in Lorena in 1995 with a pickup truck, a handsaw and tools, and no employees. He learned quickly how well-developed people skills can help build a business.

“The thing that helped me the most was the Jarrell tornado,” Montgomery said. “I started to learn how to weld. I designed and sold 63 storm shelters.”

He said one of the hardest parts of having a business is the management, from taxes to insurance.

His company has 10 employees and also hires subcontractors. He wants to work with TSTC’s Building Construction Technology program to provide internships and fill needs for estimators.

“Us older guys are dying out,” Montgomery said. “In our day, we sacrificed to do what we had to do to get the job done.”

One of the jobs Montgomery’s company is doing is building Bush’s Chicken locations throughout Texas. The restaurant being built in China Spring is how Bobby Horner, a city of Waco inspection supervisor and classmate of Montgomery’s at TSTC, reconnected after years of taking different career pathways.

“It was neat to see Charlie around,” Horner said. “Charlie has done everything we have asked with the project.”

Keith Bush, founder of Bush’s Chicken, said Montgomery is his preferred builder. Bush’s Chicken uses a standard 3,000-square-foot design for all locations.

“It’s so comfortable and reassuring knowing Charlie is on your project because you don’t have to worry,” Bush said. “With other contractors, you have to worry they will do something that is not in your best interest. He does what is in the best interest in the buildings he builds and the work he does.”

Montgomery grew up in McLennan County and graduated in 1976 from Midway High School.

“I was always artistic and did a lot of drawing,” he said.

He said taking drafting classes at Midway helped prepare him for TSTC.

“The trades are completely ignored,” Montgomery said. “If the schools focused on that, it would help prepare the students.”

He was hired for a drafting job after his first semester in college and after graduation worked for Centurion Mobile Homes in Waco designing mobile homes. One project he remembered was building their own hydraulics testing mechanisms for trusses.

“I had a knack for designing things and laying things out and making it work,” he said.

Montgomery said his later work drafting and designing at Bob Hoover Construction in Waco opened his eyes to the construction side of designing. He said he valued his time observing the building process on-site at projects.

“We need drafting and construction taught together,” Montgomery said. “Each needs to know about the other.”

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

TSTC Alum Returns as New IT Field Tech

(MARSHALL) – When Scott Hodkinson joined the Texas State Technical College team earlier this month, it was like coming back home.

Hodkinson, a graduate of TSTC’s Computer Networking & Systems Administration and Cyber Security programs, began working as a field tech in the Office of Information Technology at the Marshall campus on April 16.

Hodkinson graduated from TSTC in August 2017 but worked as a restaurant manager for the last six years. He chose to go into information technology because it is something he has always been interested in.

“I’ve always wanted to do IT,” Hodkinson said. “I was doing restaurant management to get by until I found something that I really wanted to do. The hours and the stress level at a steady job are so much less than I’m used to — it’s amazing.”

The main part of Hodkinson’s job is keeping the campus’ computer network up and running.

“My main duty is to fix anything that breaks as it comes up,” he said. “I’m trying to make sure that everyone has what they need to succeed on their end of things.”

Hodkinson said he was happy to join the TSTC team.

“This campus feels like home,” he said. “Everyone knows everybody. We’re all one big family here at the Marshall campus. It just feels comfortable. It really is the people that make TSTC my favorite — my coworkers.”

Terrye Newcomb, OIT Manager III, said she is happy that Scott joined the organization.

“Scott is a great asset to the Marshall campus,” she said. “He knows the technical field, and he has jumped on board with the rest of the employees. I am glad that he was chosen to be on my team.”

TSTC Provost Bart Day also said he was proud to have Scott join the team.

“It’s especially great to add another TSTC graduate to our full-time family,” Day said. “Scott brought a terrific can-do attitude to the team and has been making a great impact since his first day with us.”

So far, Hodkinson’s favorite part of the job is the challenges he sees daily.

“I like the challenge of having to come up with something to make things work,” he said. “Sometimes I have to try to make something out of nothing, but that’s what I like.”

TSTC prides itself on being “a great place to work” and offers benefits such as retirement, medical, dental and vision. For information on open positions at TSTC, visit tstc.edu/about/employment.

TSTC machining lab dedicated to regent, local leader

(FORT BEND) – In what was an emotional Texas State Technical College Board of Regents meeting, outgoing regent Joe M. Gurecky was recognized for his service to the college, the manufacturing industry and the community.

At that special meeting a resolution of appreciation was presented to Gurecky and in a rare and distinguished tribute the lab inside the Industrial Technology Center was named the Joe M. Gurecky Machining Laboratory.
“I am overwhelmed and moved with emotion,” said Gurecky. “I never expected to have the lab named after me. It is a true honor.”
Gurecky was appointed as a TSTC Regent by Governor Rick Perry on June 9, 2006, and reappointed on September 1, 2011, serving more than a decade.
It was also some 15 years ago, as Mayor of Rosenberg and sitting on the Rosenberg City Council, that he worked diligently to bring TSTC to the community.
“It is impossible to state the importance Joe Gurecky has had on TSTC,” said TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser. “And I want to note that without his contribution, TSTC in Fort Bend County may have never happened.”
TSTC Board of Regent Chairman John Hatchel shared Reeser’s sentiment.TSTC Regent Joe Gurecky and wife Doris Gurecky
“It’s going to be difficult to replace Joe,” said Hatchel. “He added stability and wisdom to our decisions.”
A product of technical education, Gurecky knows first-hand the impact it can have on a person’s life and calls it a privilege to provide the same opportunity to the community.
“The doors of opportunities that opened for me because of my technical education was remarkable,” said Gurecky. “And I, along with my wife Doris, want to give the same opportunities to the students of TSTC.”
Gurecky and his wife have donated more than $100,000 for scholarships and the Chancellor’s discretionary fund, which is used to facilitate the institution’s needs.
Gurecky always gives credit where credit is due; he said he could not have spent the last 12 years as a regent, or the last six decades pursuing his career, without the support from his wife and family.
“I couldn’t have done what I have done alone,” he said. “This is as much their accomplishment and honor as it is mine.”
Gurecky spent 27 years working for Baroid Corporation, a Houston-based oil and gas industry production company, before using his family’s life-savings in 1983 to open Gurecky Manufacturing, which operated out of his garage with only three machines.
Since then, the company has undergone significant growth and is now housed in a 40,000-square-foot-facility filled with state-of-art precision manufacturing machines.
And although Gurecky will no longer serve as regent, he said he will continue to work closely and share his experiences and advice with TSTC as a mentor for students, and assist with recruitment efforts.
“Joe and Doris are pillars of this community and to have Joe serve as a regent has been a distinct privilege for TSTC,” said TSTC Field Development Officer John Kennedy. “He has brought a unique perspective to the board and we will forever be grateful for his years of service to the college.”
Kennedy added, “Joe and Doris are financially vested in TSTC. As a result of their generosity more than 150 students have been able to attend classes at our Fort Bend County campus.”

Community Celebrates TSTC Growth in Fort Bend County

(FORT BEND) – Residents and community leaders of the Fort Bend County community toured the new Brazos Center today as part of an Open House for the new building on the Texas State Technical College campus.
The Brazos Center, a 57-thousand-square-foot building, first opened for classes in Fall 2017 and a dedication had been scheduled for last October, but was postponed due to Hurricane Harvey.
“We’re late celebrating this new building but no less excited to be here and have new offerings for the students of this region,” said Provost Randy Wooten. “Nature is bigger than we are but we bounced back with little negative impact to enrollment.”
The Brazos Center houses four new programs: Robotics Technology, Electrical Power & Controls, Environmental Technology – Compliance specialization and Electrical Lineworker Technology. There are now a total of 10 programs being offered at the Fort Bend County campus.
“The programs were all chosen strictly to serve market demand,” explained Associate Vice President of Student Learning Bryan Bowling. “We work closely with industry and have chosen high performing and high placement programs to meet industry demand and assure there’s a job for every graduate.”

TSTC Brazos Center Open House

The Brazos Center also provides space for various student support services, including recruiting, student accounting, veterans’ programs, financial aid, admissions, bookstore and a learning resource center.
But it was the state-of-the-art equipment that most impressed one touring guest. Enrico R. Giannetti, president of Dorian Tool International, which specializes in the research and development of highly technical, innovative tooling, has already hired a graduate from the Precision Machining program and his own son recently started attending classes at TSTC.
“This is outstanding. The technology here is great. It’s the future of technology and manufacturing in Texas. The region, the state, we’re all going to benefit from having TSTC here,” said Giannetti.
TSTC’s Fort Bend campus has been built with the financial support from the city of Rosenberg, city of Richmond, city of Sugarland, Fort Bend County, Sprint Waste Services, the George Foundation and the Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation. The municipalities and foundations made more than $40 million in contributions to help TSTC expand its educational opportunities in the region.
This summer there are 300 students enrolled in classes and that number will jump to 500 in the fall. TSTC enrollment is on track with growth predictions and Provost Wooten is already planning ahead.
“We have exceeded expectations. We anticipate outgrowing our space and needing building number three in about three years,” explained Wooten. “We’re already meeting, talking about need and starting the groundwork for future growth.”
Ultimately, the TSTC campus in Fort Bend County will boast six to eight buildings and be able to serve a projected enrollment of 5,000 students.
TSTC serves Texas through 10 campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater, Waco and Williamson County. TSTC has graduated more than 100,000 students into the state workforce in its 50-year history.
For more information on TSTC in Fort Bend, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC offers first children’s STEM Summer Camp

(HARLINGEN) – From magnetic slime and rocket launches to robotic race cars, the Texas State Technical College Challenger Learning Center has two weeks of summer fun lined up in June with their first Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Summer Camp.

“We are so excited for this program. It’s a great opportunity for our Valley students,” said Yvette
Mendoza, TSTC College Readiness coordinator. “STEM is a huge focus right now and with this
program we want to help the school districts keep students engaged in STEM fields and learning even during summer break.”

The pilot program begins June 12 for ages six to 14 and is a half-day summer camp that teaches
about astronomy, rocketry and robotics through hands-on experiences and age-appropriate
activities.TSTC STEM Summer Camp

There are four different camps specific to age group: Atlantis, ages six and seven; Discovery,
ages eight and nine; Endeavor, ages 10-12; and Challenger, ages 13 and 14.

Atlantis and Discovery will make magnetic slime and launch rockets respectively, and also complete TSTC’s Micronauts program, which offers kindergarten through fourth-grade students the opportunity to learn science through hands-on projects such as experimenting with magnets and microscopes and learning about computer coding and the solar system with TSTC’s planetarium.

Endeavor and Challenger teams will get to complete Challenger space shuttle flight missions and build and race robotic cars.

“Providing hands-on experiences during this program is an important factor for us,” said Rose
Serafin Corley, TSTC College Readiness program advisor. “This is exciting for the children, it
makes their time with us more meaningful and gives them something to take home as a

TSTC College Readiness Director Neri Balli said this program is taking TSTC’s Challenger
Learning Center to the next level.

“This program allows us to expand our services into more areas of STEM and increase our
community involvement at our center,” said Balli. “It lets us open up the world of STEM to even
the youngest learners and open their eyes to the opportunities available to them in the field.”

The goal for the TSTC Challenger Learning Center team is to grow this new program into an
annual tradition that is also offered during winter break and spring break, while also showcasing the campus and STEM fields of study offered.

“TSTC and the Challenger Learning Center really do fit together and go hand-in- hand,” said
Balli. “One of NASA’s goals is to get to Mars and it is the students with an interest in STEM-

related fields and those who have trade-related skills, who will have the opportunity to help make this happen.”

Applications for the STEM Summer Camp are already being accepted. The camp fee is $20 and
will include lunch. There are two sessions available per age group, June 12-15 and June 19-22.

The TSTC Challenger Learning Center STEM Summer Camp is also being offered at TSTC’s
Waco campus.

To register your child, to get more information or pick up an application, call 956-364- 4125.

TSTC alum builds career with SpawGlass

(HARLINGEN) – May 14, 2018 will be a special day for Harlingen native Sebastian Tovar. It will be the day he begins the career he has been working toward since enrolling at Texas State Technical College in 2016.

The 21-year-old just graduated from TSTC with an associate degree in Building Construction Technology and with a job offer from SpawGlass, a Texas-based commercial and civil contractor, as an assistant superintendent in San Antonio.

“Before getting the job offer I felt like every other college student, worried about what was next,” said Tovar. “But when I got the call, there was a big weight lifted off. I was excited, it was everything I had worked for.”

As a former intern with SpawGlass in Harlingen, Tovar credits his new career to SpawGlass Project Manager and his former supervisor Danny Hawkins.  Sebastian Tovar and his family

While an intern, Tovar worked on the Texas Regional Bank construction project, said Hawkins, site supervisor who encouraged Tovar to take on new challenges.

“Sebastian was a hard worker and quick learner,” said Hawkins. “It was impressive on how engaged and willing he was to learn new things. He grew fast in the few months he was with us. There is no doubt he has a bright future with our company. He is a great asset and we miss him here in Harlingen.”

During his internship with SpawGlass t, Tovar went from shadowing project managers and superintendents to leading safety meetings and managing site teams.

“Danny really helped me move out of my comfort zone and challenge myself,” said Tovar. “I really learned a lot from him and in the field. I’m ready for my new adventure. It’s been a long time coming.”

When Tovar graduated from high school in 2015, the Eagle Scout who wanted to serve his country, joined the Army reserves.

After a year of basic training, he enrolled at a south Texas university. For a man who grew up working with his father, who is a welder, at construction sites and enjoys working outside and with his hands, university life was not for him.

“I changed majors a couple of times: music and political science,” said Tovar. “But I didn’t like it. I felt like I didn’t belong. I was only a number, so I dropped out and moved back home.”

Enticed by the opportunity to learn by doing, Tovar enrolled at TSTC.

“My experience at TSTC was so different from that at the university. It was so much better,” he said. “My instructors actually know my name, they care about my success, our success, as students. And nothing tops hands-on training.”

Tovar said TSTC helped him find his purpose in life and gave him the foundation he needed to start a career.

“Everything I learned in the classroom I applied during my internship and I’m positive I’m going to use it all in my new job. TSTC prepares you for the real-world and I’m excited for my future,” he said.

At TSTC, Tovar had the opportunity to also earn a National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Level 1 carpentry, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10 and forklift certifications through TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education department.

“These additional certifications not only make me a more knowledgeable employee, but they make me more competitive in an already competitive market,” said Tovar.

When it is all said and done, Tovar said he is glad he is no longer living with regret about dropping out of the university and that he’s been able to make his family and girlfriend Serena Hernandez, who have encouraged and supported him along the way, proud.

“I feel good, I’m ready,” he said. “My stars have aligned and everything has fallen into place and I can’t wait to work with SpawGlass and grow in the industry and with the company.”

Tovar and Hernandez have already made the move to San Antonio.

For more information Building Construction Technology, offered at TSTC’s Waco and Harlingen campuses, visit tstc.edu.


Student Success Profile – Maria Lara

(HARLINGEN) – Maria LaraMaria Lara is pursuing a double major at Texas State Technical College. The 20-year-old expects to graduate with her first associate degree in Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics this Summer 2018 and with her second degree in Spring 2019 from Precision Machining Technology.

The Progresso native recently received an award from TSTC Service Squad for completing more than 40 hours in community service and she graduated from TSTC’s Student Leadership Academy.

Lara is also active on campus as a member of the Pool Sharks, Veteran Students Alliance Club and the Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Club.

What are your plans after graduation?

After I graduate I plan on moving somewhere in North Texas to open a tiny house construction company.

What’s your dream job?

My dream job is to become an architect to design and build houses and commercial buildings. And, I also want to design and create my own jewelry line.

What has been our greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment has been receiving an award for my community service and being able to help make a difference in our area and in people’s lives.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

I’m a very impatient person and very fast-paced. I want things done or things to go by quickly so I’ve had to learn how to be patient and pick my battles.

Who at TSTC has had the most influence on your success?

The person who has had the most influence on my success is Samuel Pizano, Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics instructor. He is great at giving advice, I describe him as a therapist who doesn’t get paid for giving advice. And he always encourages me to do my best and always lends a helping hand.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

My advice to future students is to jump on the horse and get things done. Just do what you want and make yourself happy.


TSTC Graduates 12 at First Commencement

(HUTTO) – Texas State Technical College celebrated its first commencement ceremony in Hutto Friday, May 11. Twelve graduates walked the stage in the presence of their family and friends.

“Today is a celebration of our graduates and recognition of all they have accomplished,” TSTC Provost Edgar Padilla said. “Tonight’s ceremony acknowledges the completion of study and dedication by our spring graduates and signifies the beginning of their professional careers.”

TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. He urged the students to keep learning.

“Technology is moving constantly,” Reeser said. “You picked the best school you can possibly attend in terms of technology, but if you want to be an outstanding employee, if you want to be someone that employers treasure and pay well and promote, here’s what you have to know: as technology moves, you must move too.”

Reeser believes that the students learned more than just technical know-how from TSTC.

“You have been taught, by these faculty, not just knowledge and skills, but how to learn,” Reeser said.

Industrial Electrical Systems graduate Eyosias Gemechu was selected for the Provost Award, an award given to a student who has demonstrated high academic performance, exceptional character and student leadership, and who has influenced their peers to strive for excellence.

“I was so excited and nervous at the same time,” Gemechu said. “I wish my mom was able to be here.”

Gemechu plans to continue his education with TSTC.

Welding graduate Cesar Carrillo, who is working as a welder for Jay-Reese Contractors, said he was happy to reach this milestone.

“It feels good,” he said. “It feels like a weight lifted off my back. I’m being shipped off to Iowa Sunday for work.”

TSTC in Williamson County graduates earned degrees in six of the programs offered at the campus — Culinary Arts, Cyber Security, Industrial Electrical Systems, Industrial Maintenance, Precision Machining Technology and Welding.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Graduate Staying Local to Work

(BROWNWOOD) – Danielle Carnes had an idea early on about what she wanted to do in her life.

“Ever since I was little, I wanted my career to be in business,” she said.

Carnes, 27, of Brownwood graduated from Texas State Technical College in Brownwood with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Software and Business Accounting at the recent TSTC Spring 2018 Commencement held in Abilene. Carnes stayed in her academic plan as the program and degree name changed to Business Management Technology.

Carnes was hired during her last semester to work at Landmark Life Insurance Co. on South County Road 225 in Brownwood. She is a claims processor.

“Living in Brownwood made my degree decision easier, so I can stay in my hometown and my kids can stay living in the same town as all of their friends,” she said.

Carnes is a 2009 graduate of Zephyr High School in Zephyr.

At TSTC, she was a student ambassador, a work-study student and member of the honor society Phi Theta Kappa. She said working on campus helped bring income into her household while she was attending classes.

“She is a certified TSTC leader, having graduated from our Student Leadership Academy,” said Duston Brooks, an instructor and advisor in TSTC’s Business Management Technology program. “She set a high example as a tutor to other students and helped explain and reinforce concepts that they may not have completely understood in class. If there could be a photo illustrating the words ‘outstanding graduate,’ Danielle’s photo should be the one.”

Carnes said she would miss TSTC’s staff and attending student-oriented events.

“Always try to make a working routine where you’re not stressed and can enjoy your college experience,” she said. “Yes, the work can be hard, but the environment at TSTC makes it worthwhile and enjoyable.”

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

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.