Author Archives: Daniel Perry

TSTC in Marshall ELT Program Hosts Longview Boy for Up-close Visit

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Members of Texas State Technical College’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program on Monday gave a Longview boy an afternoon he will not soon forget.

Five-year-old Luke Harris received his own lineworker helmet and a TSTC Electrical Lineworker Technology poster from the faculty and students. The youngster learned how to operate a digger truck and run wire up a pole. He also gave directions to the students during a pole circle exercise.

“You can never begin too young to have an impact from an education standpoint,” said Eric Carithers, statewide chair for TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program.

Harris’ visit stemmed from a photograph his father, Matthew Harris, took of his son with a lineworker from Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) working in his neighborhood on May 11. SWEPCO workers were restoring power after a storm with straight-line winds caused more than 70,000 power outages in the area on May 8, said Mark Robinson, a SWEPCO external affairs manager in Longview.

The elder Harris noticed his son looking out the window at the activity taking place near their house. He said his son has been interested in power poles and likes climbing, especially up trees.

“Luke pops out, and he’s got his own little lineman outfit put together that his brother helped him with,” the elder Harris said.

Luke’s father said he could go in the front yard and wave the lineworkers.

Robinson came across the photo on social media and took some promotional items from SWEPCO to the younger Harris and his siblings and asked if the photo could be shared on the company’s Facebook page.

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TSTC Celebrates Moon Walk With Lecture, Book Signing

(WACO, Texas) – In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, Texas State Technical College will present a lecture and book signing by Douglas Brinkley, author of “American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 24, 2019, in the auditorium of TSTC’s John B. Connally Technology Center at the corner of Crest Drive and Campus Drive in Waco.

The Apollo 11 space mission occurred eight years after President John F. Kennedy announced a national goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s.

In 1969 the late Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. As he stepped out of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, his words reverberated around his home planet some 238,900 miles away: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Brinkley is the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and professor of history at Rice University, a CNN presidential historian, and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. 

In the world of public history, he serves on boards, at museums, at colleges, and for historical societies. The Chicago Tribune dubbed him “America’s New Past Master.” The New-York Historical Society has chosen Brinkley as its official U.S. Presidential Historian.

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TSTC in Waco ELT Program Revamping CDL Course

(WACO, Texas) – Students enrolling this fall in Texas State Technical College’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program in Waco will have the opportunity to take a restructured commercial driver’s license class.

The program’s students had previously learned how to drive commercial vehicles on campus.

But now, students in their third semester  at TSTC will take a driving course through McLennan Community College and the American Truck Driving School in Elm Mott. The first class will be taught in summer 2020.

The class is backed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates all registered commercial motor vehicles for interstate freight, passenger and hazardous materials transportation.

“It cuts down on costs for the employer and makes the student more sellable,” said Eric Carithers, TSTC’s statewide chair for the Electrical Lineworker Technology program.

Representatives of area electric providers said having a CDL is vital for job candidates.

“As an electric utility, it’s imperative for us to have employees with a CDL,” said Bryan Blanton, a distribution system manager at Southwestern Electric Power Co. in Longview and chair of TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology advisory board. “It will be a huge success when graduates come out of TSTC’s linemen program already having their CDL.”

Craig Ptomey, program manager of craft and field training at Austin Energy, said having a commercial driver’s license is a preferred qualification for applicants.

“It is very advantageous for our company to have a new hire that has already met that requirement before we even hire them,” Ptomey said. “In turn, it gives them a better chance of being hired, as we do not have to spend time and money and other resources in training them. I think that TSTC does a great service to both their students and the companies that hire them by ensuring that students have their CDL before graduating.”

TSTC students will first need to get a commercial driver’s license permit before the end of their second semester, said Carithers.

“The students are required to have their permit and also a copy of their driving record,” he said. “They need a driving record for every state they have lived in the last seven years. They also need to undergo a drug screening.”

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TSTC Electrical Power and Controls Graduates Hired by National Field Services

(WACO, Texas) – Six recent Texas State Technical College graduates have been hired by National Field Services based in Lewisville, Texas.

Seth Culver, Ashley Denton, James Fisher, Daniel Garmon, Luke Sanchez and Stephen Wheir all received their Associate of Applied Science degrees in Electrical Power and Controls at TSTC’s Spring 2019 Commencement in early May in Waco.

National Field Services has hired TSTC alumni for positions before. Bryan Necessary, an instructor in TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls program, knew Matt LaCoss, the company’s South Texas field manager, when they were students at TSTC.

“He knows exactly what we are teaching the kids and what their skills are and what their background is,” Necessary said. “A lot of times, he doesn’t even have to ask technical questions because he knows what we are going to teach them.”

Garmon, of Jacksonville, Texas, said his new job fits with his previous work experience.

“I built power lines for many years and want to get in the transmission side of it to gain knowledge and experience,” he said. “I feel National Field Services is a great opportunity.”

Culver, of Rockport, Texas, said he will be based in San Marcos and work in the San Angelo area, where he will test power and control relays to ensure that power does not fluctuate for customers. Culver said he will also make sure cables are correctly placed.

“I’m really happy to be able to check someone else’s work, and make sure it is correct and fix it if it isn’t,” Culver said. “I’m happy to be able to use my brain more than my hands.”

National Field Services specializes in the maintenance, troubleshooting, engineering and disaster recovery of electrical power systems for the construction, manufacturing, petrochemical and other industries.

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TSTC Auto Collision Student Receives National Scholarship

(WACO, Texas) – A Texas State Technical College student has received a prestigious Women’s Industry Network scholarship.

Jennifer Watson, an Auto Collision and Management Technology student from Moody, was awarded the WIN College Tuition and Conference Scholarship Award.

Clint Campbell, the statewide department chair of TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management department, encouraged Watson to apply for the scholarship.

“We’ve only had three or four students ever receive that scholarship,” Campbell said. “She’s a very good student. She pays attention to detail, is hardworking and asks a lot of questions to make her work better.”

After submitting an essay and being interviewed, Watson received the scholarship.

“I was at my daughter’s talent show when I got the call,” Watson said.

Watson and other scholarship recipients receive a $1,000 scholarship, along with an all-expense-paid trip to the 2019 WIN Educational Conference.

“She’s a great student and the perfect person to get that scholarship because she will make use of it,” said Tracy Marshall, senior instructor for Auto Collision and Management at TSTC. “It gets her out into a different kind of world and opens up her social network contact.”

The conference took place May 6 through May 8 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“Most sessions are about auto collision and the technology coming up,” Watson said.

She also had the opportunity to be mentored by one of the 2019 Most Influential Women Honorees or a member of the WIN Board of Directors.

“There are women at this conference that I can relate to,” Watson said. “I think that was my biggest thing was getting into a network with women I can identify myself with.”

Before attending TSTC, Watson held numerous jobs. She served six years in the military as a helicopter mechanic after high school.

“The military is all about organization, timelines and being prompt,” Watson said. “I do believe if I went to college out of high school, I wouldn’t have been successful. But coming after I was able to be focused and dedicated to what I had to do.”

After the military, Watson found a job with DynCorp (now DynCorp International).

“I worked for DynCorp for 12 years and decided it was time to go back to my passion: working on cars again and restoring them,” Watson said.

Watson said she has loved every minute of her time at TSTC.

“If you go into a career that you’re not happy with, it makes things miserable,” Watson said. “Once you find something you have a passion and love for, that’s where you’ll be the rest of your life. It makes it easier to get out of bed.”

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TSTC Alumna Looking to Set Example in Construction

(WACO, Texas) – As a child, Taylor Allen looked up to her grandfather who was a blueprint consultant. Now, years later, she has earned her Associate of Applied Science degree in Building Construction Technology from Texas State Technical College.

She received the degree at TSTC’s Spring 2019 Commencement recently held in Waco.

“I was always the crafty kid in school, and coming here I took it to a bigger scale,” said Allen, 20, of Waco. “I love being able to draw something and then build it with my own hands.”

Allen’s bubbly personality and work ethic helped her excel in the classroom.

“She’s a great, hardworking student,” said Herschel Miller, a TSTC Building Construction Technology instructor. “She’s always on top of things and studies very hard. She takes pride in her work, and she’s got good leadership skills.”

Allen’s leadership abilities landed her the role of president of Beta Gamma Tau, the construction-oriented, co-educational student organization. She also helped give tours to potential students.

“They used me to give tours to students because I can connect with them on a level that older people can’t,” Allen said. “I show students the different opportunities they have here. You don’t have to go to a big university.”

Miller said Allen helped assist her classmates as well.

“She’s always willing to help somebody in need,” Miller said. “I see her in the break room doing that.”

Allen was chosen to lead many projects for her class assignments. She hopes to translate that into her career.

“I’m really aiming for project manager,” Allen said. “I’m going to make sure it’s done right and that ethics and morals are in place. It goes back to giving people what they want.”

Eventually she wants to start her own business.

“I could see myself starting my own business up. That’s ultimately my goal,” Allen said. “Let me be an owner. Let me be in charge and get it done right.”

Allen is excited about the opportunities in the construction field. However, she is still going to miss her time at TSTC.

“I’m going to miss the acceptance, and I’m going to miss the teamwork,” Allen said. “It’s something different every day. One day you can be drawing a house; the next day you can be making a ‘barndominium’. Each class is something different.”

Allen encourages other women to follow her lead in pursuing a career in construction.

“I want to work as hard as the guys, and I love it,” Allen said. “I need these girls to realize we can do it, and we will.”

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TSTC Joins Ben Barber Innovation Academy for National Signing Day 2019

(WACO, Texas) – Representatives of Texas State Technical College and the Ben Barber Innovation Academy in Mansfield honored two students on Wednesday during National Signing Day 2019 co-sponsored by SkillsUSA and Klein Tools.

Nick Crook, a senior at Legacy High School in Mansfield, and Juan Vela, a senior at Summit High School in Arlington, both take classes at the career and technical education academy and will attend TSTC in Waco this fall.

“Today was important to see kids pursue careers in trade skills and compete in the future at the postsecondary level at SkillsUSA at TSTC,” said Kendal Carrillo, TSTC’s executive director of national competition and a TSTC industry relations officer.

Crook and Vela signed SkillsUSA and Klein Tools certificates dedicating themselves to their continued education and signifying their commitment to the construction field.

“I wish you guys all the success as you move forward,” said Michael Klein, director of Klein Tools’ Klein Business Systems in Mansfield.

Crook will receive a $1,500 TSTC scholarship to study Building Construction Technology this fall. He was a member of the academy’s statewide third-place-winning SkillsUSA TeamWorks team in 2018.

“I am excited,” Crook said. “I can’t wait to get down to TSTC to work on my future.”

Vela will receive a $6,000 TSTC scholarship and study Welding Technology this fall. He placed first in welding at this year’s SkillsUSA state conference in Corpus Christi and will represent Texas at the 55th annual SkillsUSA Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference in June in Louisville, Kentucky.

“It’s cool and exciting,” Vela said. “I’m excited to learn everything TSTC has to teach me about welding.”

Crook and Vela’s signings were symbolic of the academy’s purpose.

“The trades industry is booming,” said Catherine Hudgins, the academy’s principal. “I get calls weekly from companies in Mansfield looking for employees. The students are taught 21st-century skills. Our goal at Ben Barber is to deliver the whole package.”

The academy, which is in the Mansfield Independent School District, was one of 12 high schools in Texas and among 300 high schools in the country participating in National Signing Day 2019.

This was the first time SkillsUSA and Klein Tools have sponsored National Signing Day.

The day’s focus was for high school seniors to “sign” their intent to pursue career and technical education and careers upon graduation. The format is similar to athletic scholarship signings that take place in high school sports.

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TSTC Joins Ben Barber Innovation Academy for National Signing Day 2019


TSTC Holds Spring Commencement in Waco

(WACO, Texas) – More than 500 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Spring 2019 Commencement held Tuesday, May 7, at the Waco Convention Center.

Many of the graduates already have jobs.

David De La Hoya of Italy, Texas, received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Biomedical Equipment Technology and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Imaging Systems Technology. He will start this month as a field service technician at CardioQuip in Bryan.

“It feels great because I am the first generation in my family to graduate college,” De La Hoya said.

De La Hoya said his motivation in graduating from college was being a good role model for his cousins and siblings.

De La Hoya said he would miss playing basketball at TSTC’s Murray Watson Jr. Student Recreation Center  and being a resident advisor.

Kaylynn Lawson earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts. She will continue working as a cook at Kissing Tree Vineyards in Eddy.

She said her time at TSTC was challenging.

“It’s been tough, but if you push through it, you can do anything you put your mind to,” Lawson said.

Some of the graduates will continue job hunting.

Ethan Sessums of Whitney received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Environmental Technology Compliance and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Safety Compliance Technology.

“I am glad I picked the programs I did,” he said. “I liked the mock scenarios and incident prevention. I am ready to start my next journey.”

Sessums planned to celebrate with his relatives at a local restaurant after the ceremony.

TSTC has more than 1,000 students graduating this spring across the state.

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TSTC Holds Spring Commencement in Waco


TSTC and MEDCO to Partner on New Diesel Equipment

(MARSHALL, Texas) – The Marshall City Commission recently approved the Marshall Economic Development Corp. (MEDCO) request to spend more than $170,000 for two mobile diesel engine training modules for Texas State Technical College’s Diesel Equipment Technology program.

“The equipment is the most modern equipment available that complies with all the emission regulatory entities,” said Donna Maisel, MEDCO’s executive director. “This equipment is not available just anywhere. Having the equipment in Marshall is significantly unique. We are at the forefront of training for this program, which could be accomplished through the partnerships.”

The equipment will be housed at TSTC and used by students. The equipment can also be taken to area recruitment events or used for workforce training.

“This will help our students get the troubleshooting experience needed to be comfortable working with this new technology,” said Brandon Ogden, an instructor in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program in Marshall. “Emission standards are changing fast and are here to stay. This new technology will put TSTC at the front lines of the diesel world.”

TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program is one of Workforce Solutions East Texas’ targeted career areas, according to information from MEDCO. Workforce Solutions predicts a 20.6 percent increase in diesel occupations through 2026 in the East Texas workforce development area. Some of the jobs are in farm equipment repair and bus and truck maintenance, according to MEDCO.

“Diesel equipment is used in almost every sector of the economy,” Maisel said. “It will continue to grow as well. As most of the labor force is of mature, experienced individuals, interest in this field is vital. Training new people to be able to fill positions as there is a turnover through retirements, etc., will support that growing need.”

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TSTC and Texas Tech Sign Academic Agreement

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Representatives of Texas State Technical College and Texas Tech University signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday in Brownwood that enables TSTC students to continue their education after graduation.

Under the agreement, TSTC students can begin using course credits this fall to pursue a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree at Texas Tech. The agreement covers students at all of TSTC’s 10 campuses.

Elton Stuckly Jr., TSTC’s executive vice chancellor and chief strategic relations officer, said the partnership provides a great opportunity for TSTC students. He said students moving on to the bachelor’s program can continue to shape their technical and soft skills.

“Education is what builds a community,” Stuckly said.

Melanie Hart, Texas Tech’s vice provost for e-Learning and academic partnerships, said having a student body with diverse academic backgrounds is part of the university’s mission. She said the university can reach out to students who do not live close to Lubbock by way of an online presence.

Sunny Modawell, executive director of the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, attended the signing ceremony and liked what she heard.

“This opens the door for endless possibilities for students in the Brownwood area,” she said.

Rick Denbow, provost of TSTC’s four West Texas campuses, said discussions about the agreement began six months ago.

“We are ecstatic about this opportunity,” he said.

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TSTC and Texas Tech Sign Academic Agreement