TSTC Student Carries on Family Tradition

(WACO) – Fear of heights may be one of the most common phobias, but for Texas State Technical College student Logan Godino, being up high has become his second home.

Godino, from Canadian in the Texas Panhandle,  is a candidate for graduation for an Electrical Lineworker Technology certificate at TSTC. He is scheduled to graduate at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17, at the Waco Convention Center.

Godino, 19, currently works part-time at North Plains Electric Cooperative in Canadian with his father. After graduation, Godino will move to the office in Perryton as an apprentice lineman.

“I’ve been practicing climbing power poles since I was a teenager,” Godino said. “We had one in the backyard and my dad has been in this industry for 25 years, so I’ve been interested in this for years and the people in it are like family.”

While Godino has always known that he wanted to be a lineman, his first week at school was different than most.

“Hurricane Harvey hit and they needed guys who could help get the power back on,” Godino said. “So I asked my instructor if I could skip the first week of class to go down and help, and he said sure.”

TSTC Electrical Lineworker Technology Instructor Bobby Mitchell was very pleased knowing Godino would be in the field helping others and saw it as a perfect learning opportunity.

“I knew he wouldn’t miss anything he couldn’t make up, so I was okay with it and I was proud of him,” Mitchell said. “I learned he’s just that kind of guy that works and helps others when he can, whether its those in need or assisting the other students.”

NPEC is ready to welcome Godino as a full-time employee and looks forward to seeing him growing with the company.

We love Logan, he has been one of ours his whole life,” said Jennifer Roberts, manager of finance and benefits administration at NPEC.

For more information about Texas State Technical College, log onto tstc.edu.

Student Overcomes Obstacles to Reach TSTC Graduation

(HUTTO) – When Texas State Technical College student Damian Helmbold walks the stage Friday at the Summer 2018 Commencement, he will be reaching a goal he has worked towards for more than  two years.

Helmbold was born in Kingston, New York,  but moved to Texas in 1997. Three years ago, he experienced health issues and decided he wanted to make a change in his life.

“I had a fibrosis growing under my kidney and had a major surgery on my abdomen,” Helmbold said. “I got through that, and then I had back surgery. After that I decided I wanted to do more.”

So after learning about TSTC from some of his colleagues at the city of Georgetown, Helmbold enrolled in the Industrial Maintenance program.

“My coworkers went to TSTC in Waco and graduated from there maybe 10 years ago,” he said. “They’re in the field that I wanted to be in. That’s what made me choose this.”

Helmbold worked for the city of Georgetown’s water department for nine years. He credits his upcoming degree for his new position with the city — supervisory control and data acquisition I&C technician. He began working in the new position six months ago.

“We maintain all the stations in the system for the city of Georgetown,” he said. “It could be water or electrical substations and wastewater plants. We deal with all the communications, the programming on the PLCs and the communications back to the control center via radio and fiber optics.”

Juggling working full time, going to school at night and spending time with his wife and kids, Helmbold was happy to take evening classes.

“I wouldn’t have been able to finish if I couldn’t do it at my own pace,” he said.

Helmbold will graduate with honors and credits two things for maintaining his high GPA: his work ethic and his wife.

“I made sure to allocate enough time to do my work, any studying and any research I had to do,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without my wife, of course, having two boys. Her help allowed me to step away to go to school, while both kids are in sports and with all the school activities.”

His advice to those considering the school is to meet with the instructors.

“Come in and talk to the teachers themselves,” he said. “They’re a big reason I chose to come here and stay the whole eight semesters it took me to do this part time. It’s a big accomplishment to finish something like this.”

Helmbold is one of 23 students eligible to walk at the college’s Commencement exercises  on Friday. The ceremony will be at 6:30 p.m. on the third floor of the East Williamson County Higher Education Center in Hutto.

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 EMS Student Sets a High Bar

(BROWNWOOD) – Christopher Michael of Comanche worked jobs as a bartender and band tour manager after high school, but he knew he wanted to do more with his life.

The job he had as a volunteer firefighter lit the spark, which led to him to enroll at Texas State Technical College.

“I was looking for something more long-term and stable,” he said.

Michael is a candidate for graduation for the Certificate 2 – Emergency Medical Services Paramedic at Texas State Technical College’s Summer 2018 Commencement on Friday, Aug. 17, at the Abilene Convention Center.

Michael is already a graduate of TSTC, having finished his Certificate 1 – Emergency Medical Services EMT in 2017.

“It’s been amazing,” he said. “The instructors we have here have been helpful inside and outside the classroom. You spend so much time working together that it’s like a family.”

Stephanie Young, a TSTC Emergency Medical Services instructor, said Michael set a standard of professionalism among his classmates.

“He is just a wonderful advocate for our program,” she said. “He’s never late, has a 4.0 grade point average, which is not easy in the medical field. He is outstanding in his clinicals. He really sets the standard.”

Michael, 36, currently works for Lifeguard Emergency Medical Services in Brownwood.

“We answer 911 calls in Brown County and take transfers across the state,” he said. “I can work on classwork between calls. I have to push through it. It’s a grueling schedule with school and clinicals.”

Michael’s clinical work was in Abilene and split between ambulance services and hospitals. He said he enjoyed being in the operating rooms the most, learning about anatomy and medical procedures.

“The students learn quality patient care and professionalism that really sets them apart from others,” Young said. “We teach in a flip classroom, which means it is all scenario-based education. It is real world, real-life scenarios from mock phone calls to action in the field. There is an extreme demand for paramedics, so much so that they are being offered hiring bonuses.”

Michael will be among the first Emergency Medical Services students attending classes in late August in the new Industrial Technology Center at TSTC in Abilene. The EMS program is relocating to the new building from the East Highway 80 campus in Abilene.

“Right now I am at another stepping stone to be a flight medic,” said Michael. “I could not have picked a better college.”

Michael is a 2000 graduate of Comanche High School.

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

 

TSTC and Evans Enterprises Inc. Celebrate TWC Skills Development Grant

(WACO) – Leaders from Texas State Technical College, the Texas Workforce Commission and Evans Enterprises Inc., a company specializing in wind turbine repairs, gathered Monday to commemorate a $155,128 Skills Development Fund grant.

The grant will create or upgrade 78 industrial jobs at the company’s Abilene, Waco and Wichita Falls facilities.

“The mission of TSTC and the Texas Workforce Commission intersect at the most critical point – the employer,” said Adam Hutchison, TSTC provost. “By working together with Evans Enterprises Inc., we’re able to leverage our technical education expertise with TWC funds to train more workers, upgrade their skills and make Evans a better and more profitable company. This is how TSTC helps drive economic development in Texas.”

Jerry Boroff, a graduate of TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls program and plant manager for Evans’ three sites in Texas, said workers have already learned about basic electrical theory and electrical safety. Evans employees from Abilene and Wichita Falls travel to the Waco facility for training.

“We get to educate the guys and they feel more comfortable in their jobs,” Boroff said.

TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez III said TSTC’s work with the wind turbine industry signals the diversification of the state’s economy.

“You have customized training for industry need,” Alvarez said.

The Skills Development Fund has been used since 1996 to localize workforce training for companies. This enables companies to work directly with local partners to develop training tailored to employees’ needs. The fund has helped to create or upgrade more than 342,400 jobs in Texas. The fund has assisted more than 4,200 employers statewide.

Evans Enterprises Inc. was founded in 1954 and has 10 plants in four states.

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

 

Student Success Profile – Joesaline Orta

(HARLINGEN) – Joesaline OrtaJoesaline M. Orta is one of two women studying Mechatronics Technology at Texas State Technical College. The Brownsville native rises to the occasion with an outstanding grade-point average of 3.7 and plans to graduate with her associate degree in Spring 2019.

What are your plans after graduation?

I am looking forward to working for three to five years after graduation.  I’m aiming to end up in the Houston or San Antonio area. Ideally, I’m interested in working for a company like Toyota or Tenaris in the manufacturing department. Eventually, I would like to come back to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

What’s your dream job?

I aspire to open a business where I can apply my knowledge in mechatronics. I have an idea of what this business would look like: it would be a one-stop shop where manufacturers are able to purchase parts usually only available online, immediately. It would be a quicker, more efficient way to shop.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment is obtaining my position as a work study where I am able to attend recruitment events where we reach out to high school students to spark their interest in mechatronics. It is important to reach out not only to high schools, but undecided students here at TSTC. I represent only one of two women in the program, so it is important to spread awareness.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

I have learned to never give up. I know that I have the capability to do something, even when it is challenging. In mechatronics, you often have to troubleshoot when your project isn’t functioning in the desired way. Repeating this process over and over becomes frustrating, but pushing through and finding the solution is the most rewarding part of the process.

Name a TSTC person who most influences your success.

The instructors at TSTC encourage me immensely. Mechatronics Technology Lab Assistant Adalberto Perez, in particular, helped me when I didn’t believe in my own abilities. He helped me find solutions and motivated me to push myself.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

My advice to future TSTC students is to not procrastinate, accept help from your instructors, because they will always make themselves available to you, and most importantly, always believe in yourself and your abilities.

 

TSTC received robotic arm donation from Toyota

(HARLINGEN) – Mechatronics Technology students at Texas State Technical College will soon have labs equipped with two robotic arms to program and maintain as part of their hands-on training, all thanks to Toyota.

“Toyota’s donation is really important for our college, our program and our students,” said Lead Mechatronics Instructor Eldwin Leija. “This allows us to expand our training and create more marketable graduates.”

The donated robotic arms have been used to build more than two million Toyota Tundras and Tacomas over the last 10 years.

Toyota Human Resources Manpower Planning Specialist Albert Escamilla, who assisted in organizing the donation with TSTC, said the robots reached their lifespan at Toyota and were replaced with updated versions.

“These robots still have plenty of life left in them for use in a classroom setting,” said Escamilla. “And at Toyota, we feel that their introduction into the classroom will yield us a more capable graduate.”TSTC Robotic Arm Delivery

Escamilla also added that Toyota recruits from TSTC statewide, but has hired more graduates from TSTC in Harlingen than any other campus.

“After learning on larger more versatile robots like these, students will graduate better prepared to enter the workforce,” said Escamilla.

Leija noted that the robots will be ready to use as early as Spring 2019, after installation and instructor training.

All training for the robotic arms will be provided by Toyota and will mirror the automotive manufacturer’s employee training.

“We are so thankful to Toyota, not only for the donation, but also for the training,” said Leija.

“They have saved us money and left room in our budget for other things that are also vital for our students. We are very grateful.”

While there is still work to be done in terms of installation and training, Leija said the hardest part of the process is over.

“This has been months in the making and although we still have a ways to go, the hardest part: pickup and delivery, is complete,” he said.

The pickup and delivery was organized and managed by TSTC’s Continuing Education Commercial Driver’s License instructor Juan Hernandez and Transportation Training Center Coordinator Adan Trevino.

“By using our own semi-trucks for this occasion and not outsourcing we not only saved the college more than $5,000, but we also had the opportunity to promote our program,” said Trevino.

“Our trucks are wrapped in TSTC branding and traveled through major cities like Kingsville, Corpus Christi and of course our final destination: San Antonio,” he added.

Leija said him and his Mechatronics Technology team have a lot of people to be grateful for in making this donation possible for the program and its students.

“We send a huge thank you to everyone from our TSTC Provost Cledia Hernandez, Trevino and his team from Continuing Education and our hard working staff from Facilities,” said Leija. “It is strong partnerships and teamwork like this that allow us to continue training students, increase skills and help fill the workforce needs across the state.”

For more information on Mechatronics Technology and other programs offered at TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

 

TSTC welding instructor celebrates 35 years

(HARLINGEN) – It was 1982. The United States President was Ronald Reagan, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album was released, E.T. The Extraterrestrial warmed the hearts of millions, a gallon of gas was 91 cents and Jose Salas began his career at Texas State Technical College.

The TSTC Welding Technology instructor was recently honored at TSTC’s Employee Appreciation Day for his 35 years of service to the college.

“I’ve had an amazing career and great opportunities at TSTC,” said Salas. “I wake up ready to work and leave fulfilled every day. TSTC has been good to me.”

The Harlingen native began as a part-time employee in the Central Receiving department.at what was then Texas State Technical Institute.

When he took the job he had just withdrawn from Pan American University, now the University of Rio Grande Valley, where he was studying kinesiology, to help his brother manage the grocery story their parents had left them when they died.Jose Salas 35 Years

“By 11 years old I had lost both my parents to health issues and it was my grandmother who raised us six kids,” said Salas. “So it was only right that I help my brother out, but I wanted more.”

So, a year later, he took a full-time opportunity with Welding Technology in the tool crib issuing tools, supplies and equipment to welding students and decided to enroll as a welding student as well.

“My father was a welding fabricator in the 1940’s so that’s where my interest in welding comes from,” said Salas. “This was a perfect match for me.”

Salas is proof that it is never too late to earn a degree and make your dream come true.

He didn’t earn his associate degree in Welding Technology until recently in 2004, nearly two decades after he started.

Working by day and taking classes by night, Salas took his time, even gaining other opportunities during his career at TSTC as a maintenance mechanic, welding lab assistant and full-time faculty.

“TSTC is the ‘Jewel of the Valley,’ that’s what I call it,” said Salas. “We are in the business of changing students’ lives and their journey becomes ours.”

Salas said his favorite part of his job is watching his students grow and lead successful lives and careers.

“It’s my students who keep me going,” he said. “People tell me I’ll never be rich doing what I do, but I always tell them that I don’t need to be rich. I’m happy, I’m making a difference and to me that’s rewarding.”

TSTC Welding Instructor Kenny Moore has known Salas for nearly 30 years and has worked with him for at least two decades.

Moore first met Salas as a welding student in the 1980’s.

“Jose would issue us our tools. His care for us as students was always evident in the way he would go above and beyond,” said Moore. “Little did I know that I would get to work with him someday and I’m so happy to be able to work side by side a man of integrity who still cares so much about his students.”

Moore added, “I hope our department and TSTC is lucky enough to have him around for a few more years. I couldn’t ask for a better guy to work with.”

The 60-year-old Salas said his goal is to hit 40 years at TSTC.

“I plan on staying around as long as I am able to and there is room for me,” said Salas. “I’m not done doing my job just yet.”

Salas added, “But when I do retire, I look forward to spending more time with my family, especially my wife Sylvia, who also retired from TSTC’s Business Office after 35 years.”

TSTC prides itself on being a great place to work and is listed as one of Harlingen’s top employers. For more information on job opportunities at TSTC, go online at: tstc.edu/about/employment.

TSTC in Marshall Presents Staff Member of the Year Award

(MARSHALL) – 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.

Student Success Coach Jason Beach was chosen as staff member of the year.

He was happy to receive the award.

“I felt truly appreciated and was reminded immediately of the many administrators, staff and faculty for whom I have sincere gratitude,” Beach said. “These women and men have taught me a lot and they continue to guide me today.”

Beach, a Longview native who lives in Gilmer, has worked for TSTC for 14 years. He has had titles such as System Analyst II for Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Planning and also provided employees support for TSTC’s Colleague system.

Employees of the campus submitted nominations for the award, and the final winner was chosen by a vote.

Employees had inspiring comments about Beach, with one teammate writing, “Jason works hard to help every student. There is hardly any time in the day that he is not working with students. He is here at TSTC early and works late many evenings. He is a great team member that will assist other staff when they need help.”

Another comment reads, “Mr. Beach is a testament to being a servant to our students and to his coworkers. He has not only accepted a role change but has made the transition with honor and excitement. Mr. Beach takes a very active role in the success of our students along with the success of our college. He continually goes the extra mile even to the extent of taking registration load off the shoulders of our lead instructors.”

Beach’s favorite part of his job is knowing he helped make a difference in students’ lives.

“Hearing students share where they are going to work on Monday after graduation, getting to see caring faculty and staff provide support to those who are learning, and knowing I’m a part of something that changes the lives of people from all walks of life in the surrounding communities, region and state,” he said. “That’s my favorite thing about TSTC.”

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 Graduate Serves South Central Texas With Electric Company

(MARSHALL) – Texas State Technical College graduate Ed Wheat has been serving the San Antonio area with his electrical expertise for over 10 years.

The 1995 honor graduate earned an associate degree in Electrical Instrumentation from TSTC in Marshall and went to work shortly thereafter.

“I had zero lag time — I went straight to work the next week at a facility,” Wheat said. “I got some really good experience. I was there for about three years. Then I went to another place, Louisiana-Pacific. I worked there for almost eight years, and I progressed through the ranks. I became the youngest electrical supervisor in the history of the company. I progressed again to maintenance superintendent and was also the youngest maintenance superintendent in the company.”

After working in the industry for 12 years, Wheat started his own company, Wheat Electric & Controls LLC, in 2007. The company, based in Spring Branch, Texas, covers the Hill Country and San Antonio regions. Wheat moved to the area after marrying his wife, Rachel.

“I married a woman from South Texas, so we relocated down here,” Wheat said. “I like the region, I like the people in the area, and I like the culture.”

Wheat Electric offers industrial, commercial and residential electrical services. Overall, Wheat seems pleased with his field of choice.

“It has its ups and downs, but I definitely have an affinity for it,” he said. “I have the drive for it. It’s a really demanding job. In advanced leadership you’re responsible for things 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Wheat’s advice for those considering TSTC is to make sure you’re ready.

“When I first graduated high school, I went to college somewhere else and I wasn’t mature enough for it,” he said. “I went to the Army, came back with a much higher level of maturity, and I took college much more seriously. If you make sure that you’re serious and ready for it, dig in as deep as you can. Really be serious about the theory side. If you really understand the theory, you can learn anything from there.”

Wheat expanded his business to Corpus Christi in 2016. Read more on the company at wheat-electric.com.

TSTC’s Electronic Instrumentation program is now called Industrial Controls and is offered at the Marshall campus. For more information on the college and its programs offered statewide, visit tstc.edu.

Longtime Friends Set to Graduate Together from TSTC

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College students Jacob Bledsoe and Joshua Johnson did not get along when they first met in fifth grade in Indiana.

A teacher eventually told them to make peace and try to be friends. They took the advice.

Bledsoe and Johnson, both 20, are candidates for graduation at TSTC’s Summer 2018 Commencement at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17, at the Waco Convention Center.

Bledsoe is scheduled to receive an Electrical Construction certificate, and Johnson is set to receive an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology.

Today they are best friends, but their friendship took an unexpected turn when Johnson and his family left the Hoosier State and moved to Texas.

“We planned on high school graduation together, but that did not happen,” said Bledsoe.

Johnson said a teacher at his alma mater, Chisholm Trail High School in Fort Worth, encouraged him to attend TSTC. He was in the high school’s first graduating class in 2016.

“I came to visit (TSTC) in February of my senior year and liked it and applied,” Johnson said.

Bledsoe credits Johnson with influencing him to leave Indiana to attend TSTC. After graduating in 2016 from Southport High School in Indianapolis, Bledsoe worked at UPS and later as an electrician’s helper.

“He felt he could be doing more,” Johnson said.

Bledsoe applied to TSTC before he saw the campus for the first time in August 2017. Johnson, who had already been attending TSTC for two semesters, arranged for Bledsoe to room with him.  

“It’s a pretty big leap of faith and it worked out for (Bledsoe),” said Letha Novosad, lead instructor in TSTC’s Building Construction Technology program in Waco.

Bledsoe tends to be extroverted and Johnson is more introverted. Bledsoe said Johnson can make great tacos while Johnson said Bledsoe is good at grilling. The two have learned when to give each other space after classes or on challenging days.

The friends once lived about 20 minutes apart in Indianapolis. Besides going to school together, the two bonded over the Disney Club Penguin Island video game.

Bledsoe and Johnson visited each other’s house during the summer after fifth grade. Johnson said they spent days playing outside, riding in the Bledsoe family’s four-wheeler and visiting Kings Island amusement park in Ohio.

Although they did not have classes together in sixth grade, Bledsoe said there were a few minutes during school days when they would pass in the hallway and talk.

Johnson and his family left Indianapolis the summer after his sixth-grade year.

“We were definitely upset,” he said. “I was upset that I would lose my friends.”

The Johnson family lived in Houston for a few months before moving to Fort Worth. While in Houston, Johnson got his first Xbox and was able to communicate with Bledsoe through the video game system.

“We talked and texted every day too,” Johnson said.

Despite the distance between them, the two friends were able to see each other during their freshman and sophomore years of high school.

“It was kind of weird seeing each other at first,” Johnson said.

Bledsoe and Johnson became interested in their career fields when they were younger. Bledsoe grew up around the plumbing and carpentry fields while Johnson chose welding as a class in high school.

Bledsoe was a defensive end on the Southport Cardinals football team. Though Johnson never got to see him play, Bledsoe sent him video clips when he played his senior year in the Horseshoe Classic, a season-opening jamboree at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

While at TSTC, Bledsoe participated in SkillsUSA’s Electrical Construction category at the organization’s 54th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

Bledsoe and Johnson are considering job options in Indiana and Texas.

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