Longtime TSTC Employees Recognized with Statewide Award

(WACO) – Three employees at Texas State Technical College were recently honored for their work and talents.

Rudy Cervantez, statewide automotive department chair; Jimmy Holecek, a supervisor for Building Maintenance and Management; and Robert Wells, a system programmer/analyst for the Office of Information Technology, have been named Chancellor’s Excellence Award recipients.

Cervantez, 55, has worked at TSTC for 12 years. Some of his duties as a statewide department chair include scheduling classes, approving leave time, budget management and working with high schools on dual credit plans.

He said he was surprised when he was notified of the award.

“Serving as a statewide department chair for the automotive department here at TSTC is the ‘salsa on the taco,’” said Cervantez. “I never imagined to be in the position I am in now, and I really appreciate the opportunity offered to me by the college.”

Cervantez said he knew in high school he wanted to do two things: operate his own automotive repair business and teach. He ran such a business for 17 years before coming to TSTC.

“I knew I wanted to teach the profession after I had completed my first goal,” said Cervantez. “Goals completed!”

Holecek, 52, has worked for TSTC for 11 years. He supervises and makes assignments to seven people, logs their work time and processes paperwork for work orders.

“I also meet with staff on campus concerning the different projects they are requesting,” he said. “This can be anything from minor repairs to a major construction project.”

Like Cervantez, Holecek said he was astonished at receiving the honor.

“TSTC is a good place to work,” Holecek said. “The benefits are great, and for the most part it is like a working family atmosphere here at TSTC.”

Wells, 56, has worked at TSTC for 22 years and maintains Colleague, the technical college’s system for student and employee data.

“I want people to know about the very kind and over-the-top support the TSTC staff gives its students,” said Wells. “Being a graduate of TSTC, it was the stepping stone I needed to advance into the business world before I returned to work for TSTC.”

The men join 13 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.

The Chancellor’s Excellence Award began in 2001 and has been given to about 300 TSTC employees statewide. Recipients are nominated by their peers for their work toward advancing the technical college’s mission.

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


Longtime TSTC in Sweetwater Employee Recognized with Statewide Award

(SWEETWATER) – Patricia Carpio is one of the first people prospective students meet when they start the registration process at Texas State Technical College.

Carpio, 46, is a support services specialist who administers the Texas Success Initiative Assessment to determine students are ready to start regular classes. She also proctors nursing and automotive technology tests, along with midterm and final exams.

“I am the contact for all four West Texas campuses for testing issues,” Carpio said.

She also works with new student orientations and open house activities.

“I love coming to work each day because I feel like I play a small part in so many students’ lives by getting them started on their paths to their future,” Carpio said. “I get to know the students in the beginning, and when I see them at the end when they are graduating, it gives me happiness knowing that they have accomplished something so important to them.”

Carpio was recently named a TSTC Chancellor’s Excellence Award recipient for her contributions to the technical college. She was the only employee from TSTC’s four West Texas campuses to receive the honor. She and 15 other TSTC employees statewide will be honored later this month at the National Institute for Staff and Organization Development awards dinner and celebration in Austin.

“I was like ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve never gotten an award like this,’” Carpio said of her first reaction to learning she was a recipient. “I was in shock. I am so blessed to work with such great people.”

Some of the people in the Sears Building where Carpio works commended her helpfulness, caring and outgoing personality.

“I need to learn pointers from her because she is so friendly with everyone,” said Irma Ortiz, TSTC’s curriculum specialist. “She gets along well with anybody. She can always strike up a conversation with any student to make them feel at home.”

Mandy Rhoades, a TSTC success coach and substitute testing administrator, said Carpio has a way with students.

“She is the best,” Rhoades said. “She is really good at talking to them. She has a great way of putting a positive spin on things when students may not have done well on the tests. She is good with positive reinforcement.”

Carpio began her work at TSTC in work-study in 2003 and was hired full-time in 2005.

“TSTC gives so many people the opportunity to further their education and to achieve a goal that some think is not within their reach, but what they don’t realize is that TSTC is the portal to their future career,” she said.

The Chancellor’s Excellence Award began in 2001 and has been given to about 300 statewide TSTC employees. Recipients are nominated by their peers for their work toward advancing the technical college’s mission.

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

TSTC celebrates Spring 2018 graduates

(HARLINGEN) – More than 400 Texas State Technical College students recently received a certificate or associate degree during TSTC’s commencement ceremonies at the Harlingen Municipal Auditorium. TSTC administration, family and friends all gathered to celebrate this occasion and welcome these graduates into an alumni network that is 100,000 strong.

TSTC CDL program receives donation from Spirit Truck Lines

TSTC CDL Check Presentation

Pictured left to right: Joziel Briones, Spirit Truck Lines recruiting supervisor and program coordination; Larry Elizondo, Spirit Truck Lines director of safety and recruiting; Cledia Hernandez, TSTC interim provost; and Adan Trevino, TSTC transportation training center coordinator.

(HARLINGEN) – On Wednesday, the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Continuing Education program at Texas State Technical College received a $3,500 donation from Spirit Truck Lines in Pharr to be used for student scholarships. Spirit Truck Lines is one of the local trucking companies that hires TSTC CDL grads. Close to 300 student have already graduated from TSTC’s continuing education program.


Student Success Profile – Amber Briones

(HARLINGEN) – Amber BrionesAmber Briones is pursuing an associate degree in Business Management Technology at Texas State Technical College. The Brownsville native is active around campus as a work study at the Wellness Sports Center, president of the Intramural Sports Club and a volunteer for Student Government Association and New Student Orientation.

The 18-year-old recently received awards at the Student Leadership Banquet for her involvement on campus and volunteer work throughout the community. She received a TSTC Service Squad award for logging more than 40 volunteer hours and winning two awards on behalf of her club: Most Active Club and the President’s Volunteer Service Award for more than 500 volunteer hours.

What are your plans after graduation?

After I graduate from TSTC I plan on transferring to Texas A&M-Kingsville, through TSTC’s University Center, to get a bachelor’s degree in accounting and in communication science.

What’s your dream job?

I have two dream jobs and that’s what I’m working toward. I want to become a certified public accountant so I can open up a CrossFit gym and I also hope to become a speech pathologist to help children and adults.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment at TSTC so far has been my involvement on campus and in the community. I am doing things that I never expected before coming to TSTC. I used to be really shy, but my participation in different organizations has helped me grow as a communicator and a person.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

The greatest lesson I have learned is that no matter how hard life gets or what challenges we face, we have to get up and keep going.

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

There are so many people here at TSTC that have influenced my success, but the person that stands out the most is my supervisor and Intramural Program Coordinator Joe Garza. He is always encouraging me and pushing me to remain active on campus and do things I never thought I could, like becoming president of our club. He gets me out of my comfort zone because he says that is where success lies.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

My advice for all students is to always look on the bright side, encourage others and remain positive.

TSTC, TEEX partnership bring low-cost training to RGV

(HARLINGEN) – Epitacio Ramirez, lead mechanic at the Brownsville Public Utilities Board, and a few members of his team had the opportunity to train at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Mobil Pump and Motor Maintenance trailer parked at Texas State Technical College for a week-long Infrastructure and Safety Summit.

“I’ve been in the field for 33 years and I still find trainings like this one invaluable,” said Ramirez. “Things are always changing so there’s always something new to learn.”

The summit organized by the Infrastructure Training and Safety Institute, a division of TEEX, the second largest Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training center in the nation and one of only 27 centers across the United States, partnered with TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education department for the second consecutive year to offer low-cost training for employers.  TSTC, TEEX Summit

More than 400 people from municipalities and construction companies from Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy counties took advantage of the low-cost summit and the 21 different trainings offered.

“We’re able to offer these trainings at low-cost to no-cost thanks to general revenue funds from the state of Texas,” said Donna Zatopek, senior administration coordinator for TEEX. “Our job is to bring low-cost training to areas that otherwise may not have access to it.”

For Ramirez and his team, the Pump and Motor Maintenance course that usually costs $325 was offered for $75 at the summit.

Others, such as the Disaster Preparedness for Hospitals and Healthcare Organizations within the Community Infrastructure, are offered at no cost.

Also, OSHA safety trainings that generally range from $395 to $900 were offered at a discounted  $65 to $105 at the summit.

Myra Deleon, TSTC continuing education coordinator said the partnership between TEEX and TSTC has helped bring training opportunities to a centralized area of the Rio Grande Valley.

“This partnership has really allowed our local entities to take advantage of low-cost training right in their backyard,” said Deleon. “And not only is this a great opportunity for employers, but it’s also a great way to showcase TSTC and our programs.”

Deleon also added that many TSTC instructors complete their required trainings by earning certifications and co-teaching during the summit.

In the two years of this partnership, TSTC and TEEX have been able to serve close to 1,000 people.

Infrastructure Training and Safety Institute Division Director Ron Peddy, said that the impact their trainings have made in the region is thanks to the partnership with TSTC.

“The impact we have made is phenomenal and we couldn’t have done it without TSTC,” said Peddy. “Our goal is to reach as many people as we can because these trainings can save lives.”

Peddy added, “Safety is our number one priority and our mission is to make a difference through training and build, improve and make communities safer.”

TEEX is an internationally recognized leader in the delivery of emergency response, homeland security and workforce training, exercises, technical assistance, and economic development. A member of the Texas A&M University System, TEEX served more than 173,000 people from across the United States and 75 countries last year through hands-on training and technical services.

For more information on TEEX or the services offered by TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education, call 956-364-4567.

TSTC to Host First Commencement in Hutto

(HUTTO) – When Quinton Hooper walks the stage next Friday at Texas State Technical College’s first commencement ceremony in Hutto, he’ll be joining a long line of technical workers in his family.

Hooper, an Industrial Maintenance student, previously studied under the Digital Forensics program at the Waco campus but decided to change programs to something a little more familiar.

“Most of my family are mechanics,” Hooper said. “It’s a little closer to what the rest of the family is doing.”

While he enjoyed his time at TSTC in Waco, Hooper enjoys the smaller class sizes in Williamson County.

“Here, there are more one-on-one classes,” he said. “You get more time with the teachers.”

Industrial Maintenance instructor Lance Antilley said he has admired Hooper’s hard work.

“I have known Quinton for the past 16 months,” he said. “He is an outstanding student in all respects. Quinton has proven that through hard work, follow-through and teamwork, he can accomplish tasks in a courteous and timely manner.”

Currently interviewing for jobs, Hooper hopes to find a position where he can travel with work.

“I’d like traveling, going to different countries,” he said. “I hope to get into a company that I’m able to travel around and not stay in one place too long. I’d like to visit Europe.”

Hooper, a native of Maxwell, Texas, is one of 20 students eligible to walk the stage at the 6:30 p.m. ceremony on May 11 at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center.

Hooper advises those considering TSTC not to bite off more than they can chew.

“Don’t get in over your head,” he said. “If you go into a class and you don’t know a lot about it, study more in that class.”

TSTC’s Chancellor, Mike Reeser, will speak at commencement, as well as Robb Misso, president and CEO of Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions in Austin.

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 Welcomes Two New Recruiters

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College welcomed two new student recruiters in April at its North Texas campus.

Shaunice Cyrus, of Mesquite, and Brandy Robertson, of Powell, joined the recruitment team at the beginning of April.

Cyrus comes to TSTC after working as a student worker in recruitment during her time at Tarleton State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Most recently, she worked in customer service.

“At Tarleton, I did tours and other recruitment duties such as planning events,” she said. “I worked very closely with the recruiters, like I do now.”

So far, Cyrus is enjoying the added duties.

“Here, I am actually going out to different schools and traveling to recruit the students, attending college fairs, career days and things like that,” she said. “So, with this job it’s more responsibility, but it’s also a lot more fun.”

Cyrus said she loves what the college stands for.

“I love the fact that it’s so affordable and it’s a really good option for students who don’t think that they’re going to go to a traditional college, or don’t think they’re going to college at all,” she said. “It gives them an opportunity to broaden their horizons and see what all is out there.”

She takes pride in knowing she can possibly change the future for someone.

“I’m glad just being able to explain to a student the options that they have for higher education,” she said. “So many times in high school they told us ‘Go to this school. Go to the big names,’ but there’s so many other options out there. It just really warms my heart to show students that they can get a degree in welding and have a job making more money than somebody who had a degree from a four-year university.”

Robertson, who holds business degrees from Navarro College and Texas A&M Commerce, is also no stranger to the field of higher education.

“Before here, I worked at Vista College in the admissions department doing recruiting, admissions, helping register students, tours and sending them to financial aid,” she said. “Basically I would walk the students through the enrollment process.”

Robertson enjoys speaking with potential students at college fairs.

“They really give you an opportunity to get out there, mingle and help the students and spread the word about our school,” she said. “It’s pretty cool.”

One thing that has stood out to her is the enthusiasm of TSTC’s instructors.

“The instructors I’ve had the privilege of working with so far have all been great,” Robertson said. “I love how passionate they are about their programs. You can walk in and ask any of the instructors whose program is number one and they’re all going to say their program is best.”

She was glad to join the TSTC team, and hopes she can help students make smart educational choices.

“I like the fact that I am able to reach more students and help them,” Robertson said. “Here, we actually put students first. I feel like I’m making a difference in students’ lives by going out and showing them that they can still do all these things they love, for not even a fourth of the cost of other colleges. It’s amazing. I like it here. I feel like I’m at home.”

TSTC Provost Marcus Balch said they are proud to welcome Shaunice and Brandy to the team.

“As a growing campus they will play a vital role in the surrounding communities as well as in the local school districts,” Balch said. “Both come to us with experience in the field and we are pleased that they will be working with our prospective students and their families.”

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 West Texas Campuses Seeking Welding Instructors

(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College is looking for motivational people who can put a spark in the lives of Welding Technology students.

TSTC’s campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge and Brownwood are seeking three qualified welding instructors with a combination of professional and teaching experience.

“We are always looking for awesome people to join our TSTC team,” said Rhiannon Hastings, lead statewide recruiter in TSTC Human Resources. “We truly value hands-on experience in industry to provide the best learning experiences possible for our students at TSTC.”

Starting this fall, TSTC in Abilene will offer the Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology and two certificates.

TSTC in Breckenridge offers a three-semester certificate in structural welding and accepts up to 20 students each semester.

“If you like small-town living, a great place to raise a family and a place where everybody knows everybody, it can work for you,” said Debbie Karl, executive director of the Breckenridge campus.

TSTC in Brownwood can accommodate 28 structural welding certificate students.

“We need someone with experience,” said Raquel Mata, executive director of the Brownwood campus. “We would like to have someone well known to the businesses and can meet and greet and have moments with them to get to know them. We want someone to be a good fit for our students and be a good leader.”

Applicants need to have current American Welding Society certifications and  experience in shielded metal arc, flux-cored arc, gas metal arc and gas tungsten arc welding processes, along with fabrication, layout and pipe welding. Applicants having an associate degree in welding are preferred.

TSTC is a state institution offering Health Select of Texas administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, paid vacation days, sick leave and state holidays, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, flexible spending accounts and retirement. The technical college also offers employee development and employee appreciation events as part of its overarching goal to make TSTC a great place to work.

For more information on employment at Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu/about/employment.

TSTC to Hold Welding Competition May 5

(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College is giving area high school welders a chance to put their skills to the test at its welding competition Saturday, May 5. More than 40 students from nine area schools will compete in the contest beginning at 8 a.m.

TSTC welding instructor David Reed said he hopes the contest will pique interest in the North Texas campus.

“We’re bringing in juniors and seniors for the competition,” Reed said. “It’s a friendly game. We bring them out here and showcase the instructors, our welding lab, TSTC in North Texas — it’s a win-win.”

Reed said they asked the participating schools to create a school crest to be judged at the competition.

“Ahead of time, they are supposed to manufacture these before the competition, according to certain parameters,” he said. “It shows school pride for them.”

Alvin Adams, also a TSTC welding instructor, said students will have a few different welds to do and will also compete in a cutting contest.

“They’ll be doing a 1-2-3F — that’s fillet welds,” Adams said. “One, two and three are different positions. That represents the position of the weld. They’ll be doing a 1-2-3V-groove weld also. Then we’re going to have the cutting contest.”

In the cutting round, students will be judged on uniformity, dross (residue left behind in the melting process of metals) and speed. Each contest is staged in rounds.

“From each discipline, we will be giving a first-, second- and third-place medal,” Adams said. “As we go, we’ll go through the process of elimination.”

Students will compete individually, but schools will earn a team trophy for first, second and third place overall.

The Northeast Texas Blacksmith Association will also be attending the event.

“Several of the founding members from their club will be here with furnaces and anvils, hammering out metal,” Reed said. “I’ll be out there myself because a lot of my students enjoy watching the artistic work. I’ll be making roses out of single pieces of rebar and be demonstrating to the students. If there are students who want to, they’ll be able to come up and hammer out some metal with myself and the other smiths.”

Reed hopes students will not only learn to work together, but also be able to see where they stand among their peers in a welding environment.

“A lot of people from small ag shops think they weld really well, but they get out to these competitions and they say, ‘Man, I need to step up my game’ or ‘Wow, we did really well. This validates our program here.’ And TSTC will further complement the program that they have,” Reed said.

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.