Author Archives: Daniel Perry

TSTC Cyber Security Program Advises Caution When Upgrading Mobile Phones

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Consumers need to keep personal security in mind when transitioning to new mobile phones.

Amy Hertel, an instructor in Texas State Technical College’s Cyber Security program in Marshall, said people need to know that information on their mobile phones does not disappear. She advised people not to sell their old phones themselves because stored information can be easily interpreted by tech-savvy people.

“Until it is overwritten, it is there,” Hertel said. “If you hook it up to a computer and have the right software, you can pull that stuff right off.”

Some people will switch mobile service providers and keep their phone number when they buy new phones and stay in the same geographical area. This practice is known as porting, according to the Federal Communications Commission. 

The FCC recommends using personal pin numbers or passwords for mobile phone accounts to prevent people from “porting out” phone numbers. Scammers who get hold of a combination of phone numbers and personal information can intercept calls and get access to bank accounts, social media accounts, emails and other information accessed through mobile phones.

Hertel said the subscriber identity module (SIM) card can be moved from old to new phones. But, she said information is not actually stored on SIM cards because information is sent to a cloud-based system.

One of the most important things to do is keep up with mobile phone software updates, Hertel said.

“They do have security fixes tied into them,” she said. “The quicker you get an update, the safer you will be.”

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

Texas Workforce Commission Funds TSTC Training for Two Companies

(WACO, Texas) – Today the Texas Workforce Commission awarded a Skills Development Fund grant totaling $115,132 that was used for customized training provided by Texas State Technical College for two companies.

 The grant created industry-related training for 58 new and incumbent workers at Cargill, a Minneapolis-based company whose Waco plant processes cooked meats, and Eagle Systems Inc., which provides professional security services.

 Company representatives were invited to join TWC and TSTC officials for the check presentation ceremony held at the John B. Connally Technology Center on TSTC’s Waco campus.

 TSTC Provost Adam Hutchison opened the ceremony by commenting on the importance of keeping workers well trained to help local businesses and economies thrive.

 “The dollars that go into a project like this are reflected back in paychecks and resources that are invested into our community,” he said. “And it’s real people, earning a better living, who may then turn and contribute more meaningfully into our local economy and to the communities they serve.”

 Prior to signing the oversized presentation check, Bryan Daniel, the TWC chairman and commissioner representing the public, spoke about the importance of workforce training to employee retention.

 “So many companies have reached out to us and are taking advantage of the Skills Development program and working with both technical colleges and community colleges to create actual, real, customized programs,” Daniel said. “These are skills that the companies invest in because they want those employees to stay.”

 The training at Eagle Systems included training for its supervisors, who are located in different locations along the Interstate 35 corridor from Dallas to Austin.

 Sherri Springman, human resources manager for Eagle Systems, said the company had grappled with a solution to getting all of its supervisors together in one place for training.

 “This training was huge — just another piece of the puzzle for us to strengthen our team as a whole and just really connect those pieces and make us stronger all across the board,” she said.

 Officials from Cargill were unable to attend the presentation.

 For more information on TSTC Workforce Training, visit https://tstc.edu/workforce/home.

TSTC Environmental Class Provides Field Experience for Students

(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College students pursuing the Associate of Applied Science degree in Environmental Technology Compliance are given many opportunities for hands-on experience. The Environmental Sampling and Analysis class is no exception. 

Fourth-semester students taking that class recently were given the opportunity to go outside the classroom and apply what they have learned by dividing into groups and testing drinking water at several campus locations. 

At each building they visited, students followed an assigned water sampling process: flush the water, retrieve the sample, “zero” (clear) the sample, add anre-agent chemical to activate chlorine, read the sample and record results. The results showed students the chlorine readings in each water sample. 

Environmental student Maxwell Vollan said this was his first time to go out and do water sampling himself.

“One of the biggest challenges we faced was trying to make sure that we had a nice, clean environment to get a representative sample,” Vollan said. 

Fellow student Pamela Jackson likes the program at TSTC because she is a hands-on learner, and the class allows her that opportunity. 

“I like going out there and doing stuff, rather than just watching somebody else doing it,” Jackson said. “I like to do it myself and get a feel for it.”

TSTC Environmental Technology state department chair Lester Bowers said even though the TSTC water system is monitored by the city, he wants the students to gain the hands-on experience while they are at TSTC.  

“If they go out and get a job as a field technician, this is what they will do,” Bowers said. “It is part of that job description, so I figured why not give them the technical aspect here, so when they go out there, they already know what they are doing.”

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

TSTC Police Officer Honored by Lacy Lakeview

(WACO, Texas) – A Texas State Technical College police officer was among four local law enforcement officers honored Tuesday by the Lacy Lakeview City Council.

TSTC police officer Landon Rowell, along with Lacy Lakeview Police Department officer Scott Dent, received the Blackinton Commendation Bar, Life Saving for their work in helping to keep a woman alive on Sunday, Sept. 8. Lacy Lakeview police officers Kadaro Klanika and James Plummer were also honored but unable to attend the ceremony. 

“The honor is very prestigious,” said TSTC’s Lt. Roman Proctor. “Even though officers face a lot of different challenges and have certain things they are recognized for, being recognized for saving someone’s life is paramount.”

According to the Lacy Lakeview Police Department, the officers answered the late evening call for help on North Rita Street. When the officers arrived, they found a 64-year-old woman having medical issues and who was unresponsive. When the woman’s breathing and pulse stopped, the officers began CPR) and used an automated external defibrillator to revive her.

“We all switched out doing CPR and moving her off the bed and moving around the furniture,” Rowell said.

Rowell said he did what he was trained to do in the situation.

“You never know what the day will bring,” he said.

An ambulance arrived at the scene and took the woman to an area hospital as an officer rode along to continue administering CPR. Unfortunately, the woman died a few days later, according to the Lacy Lakeview Police Department.

Rowell grew up in Waco and was home-schooled. He said he always wanted to be a police officer to help serve a community. He is a graduate of the McLennan Community College Law Enforcement Academy.

Before joining TSTC’s police force, he worked for two years for the Woodway Public Safety Department.

“He (Rowell) adds value to our department as far as his willingness and his service to us,” Proctor said. “He helps out by always being available to assist when needed.”

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

TSTC Students Chosen for Nationwide Safety Conference

(WACO, Texas) – Four students from Texas State Technical College’s Environmental Technology Compliance and Occupational Safety Compliance Technology programs have been selected to attend the American Society of Safety Professionals’ 2019 Future Safety Leaders Conference from Nov. 7 to 8 in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Joshua Campbell of Bruceville-Eddy, Chris Garibay of Mart, Robert Johnson of Waco and Craig Womack of China Spring are the first students from TSTC chosen by the organization to attend the conference.

“These are the ones that have stood out the last year I have been here at TSTC,” said Kimberly Williams, an instructor in TSTC’s Occupational Safety Compliance Technology program.

The students completed an application and wrote an essay to be considered. They are among 150 students nationwide going to the conference.

“I was excited to get four accepted,” said Williams. “It will put the program out there and the people who are graduating out there that are transitioning into the workforce.”

Garibay keeps safety in mind daily as a bus driver for the Connally Independent School District. He works in the mornings and on weekends for special events to earn money while attending TSTC.

Garibay said he looks forward to attending the event.

“It seems like it would be a good opportunity,” he said. “I hope I come back with a job. Just about everyone needs some kind of safety person.”

The students took different paths to their programs of study, and all hope to gain more knowledge from the conference.

“I have always been into safety,” said Campbell. “I was in the Boy Scouts. At work, I was the one that watched out for people.”

Campbell said he wants to work for a company as a health, safety and environmental specialist after graduation next summer.

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

TSTC Debuts Updated Programs This Fall in Marshall

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Students attending Texas State Technical College this fall have found two programs that have been updated and renamed, and a third that replaces an older program. 

“This is evidence of TSTC’s ongoing efforts to tailor our programs to the precise skill sets Texas employers need,” said Barton Day, TSTC’s provost in Marshall.

The Automation and Controls Technology program (formerly Industrial Controls Technology) teaches automatic control principles, energy industrial safety, electrical theory and motor controls. Graduates can pursue jobs as electrical engineering technicians and industrial engineering technicians, among others. 

“They can stay local,” said Nathan Cleveland, TSTC’s associate provost in Marshall. “They are going to the same places that an instrumentation technician would go. They do a little robotics, they do a little programmable logic controls, a little instrumentation.”

The Industrial Systems program (formerly Industrial Maintenance) offers an associate degree with an electrical specialization, as well as a mechanic-electrical certificate.

“This is a program we can place students in jobs all day long,” Cleveland said. “It is an in-demand occupation.”

Computer Programming Technology replaces Software Development Technology. It teaches advanced Java programming, database programming and mobile applications development. 

“Most of the work that Computer Programming Technology graduates would do around here is the development of business applications,” Cleveland said. “If you go into the San Antonio and Austin areas, you are going to get more into the gaming applications.”

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

 

TSTC Students Tour Merrick Engineering Inc. in Waco

(WACO, Texas) – Students from Texas State Technical College’s Facilities Management Technology and Industrial Systems programs toured Merrick Engineering Inc. in Waco on Friday.

The tour occurred on Manufacturing Day, which is observed nationwide on the first Friday in October.

“We want them to understand the manufacturing fundamentals,” said Ali Jawady, the company’s operations manager. “Anything we can do to help attract new people in this trade is what I am hoping for.”

The students learned about the company’s production of plastic clothes hangers, bowls, plates and other items. The company supplies these products to Dollar General, Target, Walmart and other retailers.

“It was a pleasure talking to area students today about the great work going on at Merrick Engineering in Waco, the thousands of jobs they create for Texans and the relationship they share with Walmart,” said Rudy Garcia, manager of Walmart’s Franklin Avenue location in Waco.

Students saw Merrick Engineering’s inventory, production, recycling and shipping areas. Large machines hummed and employees stacked newly made plastic goods and boxes as students walked through the plant.

Michael Hubbard, lead instructor in TSTC’s Industrial Systems and Engineering department, said he was glad to see the students engaged during the tour.

“It is fun for me to listen to the students repeat things they are hearing in class,” he said. “It means they are listening.”

Kevin Wright, a Facilities Management Technology student from Sherman, said the program’s field trips are valuable learning experiences.

“You can only learn so much in class,” he said. “We get to see the real aspects. There is just so much. You have the pneumatics, the hydraulics. We get to know the parts and their importance.”

The company has more than 850 employees at facilities in Waco, along with Corona, California, and Clarksburg, West Virginia.

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

TSTC Program Sees Largest Female Cohort

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus has three women enrolled this semester in its Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization program, the largest female cohort for that program in the campus’ history.

Biatris Arevalo of Red Oak and Abby Ramsey of Maypearl are pursuing associate degrees, while Tiquila Dawson of Dallas is studying for a program certificate. The women have things in common, including having grown up in the country and being curious about how the equipment works.

“I probably talk to them about working on stuff more than the guys,” Arevalo said.

John Walker, an instructor in TSTC’s Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization program, said the students are enthusiastic and come to class each day ready to work.

“Abby is so sharp,” he said. “Tiquila is coming here to enhance her skills and get set to move up the pay scale. Biatris wants a better income and opportunities. She likes working with her hands.”

The Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization program has more than 50 students this semester taking day and night classes. Walker said the program’s goal for the spring semester is starting a new night cohort. Some of the skills students are learning include commercial wiring, electrical theory and machinery installation.

Ramsey is a home-schooled high school senior who began taking dual enrollment classes this year at TSTC. She said picking her major was a natural fit for her.

“I live in a small town where we do a lot of hands-on things,” Ramsey said. “That is the mindset of small towns. My family is very hands-on. If you break it, you fix it.”

Dawson is doing some of this work already at the Kohl’s Distribution eFulfillment Center in DeSoto, where she has been employed for three years. She works three days a week and goes to classes four days a week.

Earlier this semester, she received a $250 scholarship from The TSTC Foundation as part of TSTC’s Shaping You to Get Hired campaign. She said the money enabled her to buy tools and other items for classes.

Dawson said she did not think she would go to college. She grew up in Elkhart and said she did not have the guidance needed to plan for life after high school. But, she had a breakthrough while in circumstances that were not ideal. 

“I guess it was my second time going to prison when I realized you get older, and the years, you can’t get back,” Dawson said. “Either you are going to do right or go back where you have been.”

Dawson said she is content working and going to classes.

“Everything is new to me,” she said. “I am meeting new people. It’s tough trying to work and go to school.”

Arevalo grew up with an interest in robotics and majored in criminal justice at a four-year university before realizing it was not a good fit for her. She also endured a sports injury that took her away from playing soccer.

Arevalo said she had a period when she had to think about her career and incorporating her mathematics and science abilities. She eventually knew TSTC would be the right place for her.

“Here, the instructors explain it, and then you work on it,” she said.

Arevalo said her career goal is to work at Oncor.

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

TSTC Hosts Mock Interview Sessions for Students

(WACO, Texas) – Several Texas State Technical College students have become better prepared for job hunting after practicing their interview skills on Wednesday and Thursday.

TSTC’s Career Services department in Waco hosted an interview practicum at the Murray Watson Jr. Student Recreation Center for students to sit down with business recruiters and TSTC staff for mock interview sessions.

“Many of our students have not had an interview before, and this event is a great opportunity for them to get practice in doing so,” said Jose Muniz, TSTC’s Career Services director in Waco.

After the sessions were completed, students received forms highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.

Josue Lopez of La Grange is a first-semester Electrical Power and Controls student who attended the practicum to see how he can refine his interview skills. He said he is eager to use what he learned when he meets with potential employers upon graduation.

“I’m feeling confident, but I don’t want to be too confident,” Lopez said.

Jeff Williams, an Industrial Systems major from Temple, said he wants to better his soft skills. He said what he learned will help him throughout the fall as he prepares for graduation in December.

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

TSTC’s HVAC Technology Program Encourages Preventive Maintenance Ahead of Winter

(WACO, Texas) – Though the first cold front of the fall has not rolled through Central Texas yet, now is the time for consumers to think about testing their heating units so they can stay warm this winter.

“This is a good time to fire them up,” said Gary Lawson, an instructor in Texas State Technical College’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program in Waco.

Lawson said state-licensed contractors should be called to look at heating systems before the temperature drops. He said this is critical, especially for those with gas heaters.

Lawson advised people not to overly react if they smell something smoldering when heaters are turned on the first time.

“That is dust on the heat exchanger, or if it is a new one, it’s oil,” he said. “It burns off quickly.”

Lawson said people should check their carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. And, they should look at digital thermometers to maintain accuracy.

Brayden Stanley, a TSTC HVAC Technology major from College Station, said people should check and replace filters and look at their heating system’s coils.

“Dirty coils won’t allow your condenser to reject heat,” Stanley said.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 49 percent of the country’s homes run on natural gas, while 34 percent use electricity. The agency recommends people set thermostats as low and comfortable as possible and install low-noise, high-efficiency exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to save on heating costs.

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