Author Archives: Daniel Perry

TSTC in East Williamson County Holds Spring Commencement

(HUTTO, Texas) – More than 20 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Spring 2019 Commencement held Friday, May 3, at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center in Hutto.

Guest speaker Terry Cook, the Williamson County commissioner for Precinct 1, cited a 2018 manufacturing skills report from Deloitte indicating there will be 2.4 million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2028 with an economic impact of $2.5 trillion.

Cook cited the report’s proclaiming of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, a time now requiring workers to have skills in critical thinking, computers and tools. She said soft skills, including creativity and attention to detail, will be looked at more.

“Every day will be a new challenge,” Cook said.

She told graduates they are worth every dollar they are paid and not to undervalue themselves.

“Make sure you get your worth,” Cook said. “You are a huge part of our future.”

Many of the graduates already have jobs.

Raymond Multer of Red Rock in Bastrop County received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology. He attended classes at night so he could work during the day.

“I knew a little bit (about welding), but I like hands-on learning,” Multer said. “I learn better when I get to touch stuff.”

Multer said he was happy his mother could see him walk across the stage. After the ceremony, he and his family were going to eat barbecue.

Multer is working in the maintenance area at Darling International in Bastrop.

Some of the graduates will continue job hunting.

Jason Lin of Cedar Park received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Precision Machining Technology.

“It is pretty awesome,” he said. “It’s seems to have gone by in a blink. It (TSTC) has met my expectations, and it is where I felt like I should be.”

This was the fourth commencement ceremony held on campus. Previous TSTC in East Williamson County ceremonies have been held in conjunction with Texas State Technical College’s Commencement in Waco.

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

For more information on Texas State Technical, go to

TSTC in East Williamson County Holds Spring Commencement

TSTC in Marshall Earns Gold Medals at State SkillsUSA Postsecondary Conference

(MARSHALL, Texas) –  Texas State Technical College in Marshall won six gold medals, five silver medals and one bronze medal at the SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary State Leadership and Skills Conference recently held in Waco.

The gold medalists are eligible to compete at this year’s SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in June in Louisville, Kentucky.

“We are incredibly proud of both our Marshall competitors and our TSTC teammates who gave so much of themselves to lead this group to Waco,” said Barton Day, provost of TSTC in Marshall.

Micki Chaney of Mount Enterprise participated for the first time in SkillsUSA and won a gold medal in the Customer Service contest.

“I was surprised I won,” she said. “It made me feel really good about the path I am on. I hope to gain new experiences and meet new people in Louisville, and of course bring home a medal for TSTC.”

Other TSTC in Marshall’s gold medalists are:

CNC Turning: Trevor Dammeir

Cyber Security: Kyle Hancock and Andrew York

Industrial Motor Control: Jason Aydelotte

Technical Computer Applications: Mikayla Walden

Eighteen two-year institutions took part in this year’s state conference.

For more information on SkillsUSA, go to

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Candidate for Graduation Looks to the Sky for His Career

(WACO, Texas) – Richard Rensing is ready for takeoff.

“It is eye-opening, especially now that I’m close to graduating,” said Rensing, a student at Texas State Technical College from McKinney. “I’m realizing my dreams are coming true. It’s cool to see how things have come together.”

Rensing is a candidate for graduation for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Aircraft Pilot Training Technology at TSTC. He joins more than 500 candidates for graduation receiving associate degrees and certificates at TSTC’s Spring 2019 Commencement at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7, at the Waco Convention Center.

“I have made a lot of really close friends,” Rensing said. “It is rare to find others your age that are interested in the same thing you are. I have enjoyed the friendship and the teaching environment and the knowledge I have gained.”

Jessica Ogden, a flight instructor in TSTC’s Aircraft Pilot Training Technology program, said she admired Rensing’s humble attitude in the cockpit.

“He knows pilots, and that can help a lot,” she said. “He is coachable and can take criticism.”

Rensing’s early exposure to aviation was through his father’s employer who had a company jet and also through traveling with his family.

“I wondered about the science of it,” Rensing said.

When Rensing was young, he would ride his bicycle to watch airplanes land and take off in McKinney. At 13, he flew in the passenger seat of an airplane with a private pilot for the first time, and three years later he started pilot lessons.

While in high school, Rensing took classes in the McKinney Independent School District’s McKinney Aviation Academy. More than 200 students from McKinney’s three high schools attend, taking the first two years of aviation classes on their home campuses and the last two years of courses at McKinney National Airport. Rensing graduated in 2017 from McKinney Boyd High School.

Todd Curtis, an aviation teacher at the McKinney Aviation Academy, quickly noticed Rensing’s ambition.

“He would hang out with pilots at air shows,” Curtis said. “He would talk to anybody. Everything started to click. When he started flying, it was interesting seeing the transition from freshman to when he earned his pilot’s certificate before his high school graduation.”

Curtis said the academy is a great way to expose students to the aviation industry before entering college.

“I think it is a great way to inspire,” he said. “I don’t know that everybody understands how you get a job in aviation. It exposes not only the kids that are interested, but they talk to their friends. It builds chatter about a much-needed career field.”

After his graduation from TSTC, Rensing will start certified flight instructor instrument classes with American Flyers in Addison. Later this year, he will work at TSTC as a flight instructor and pursue an online Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Science: Professional Pilot at Texas A&M University – Central Texas.

“Whenever you are teaching the next generation of pilots, it’s cool to give them your knowledge,” Rensing said. “I get to instruct while flying, which is the best part.”

Rensing is in the Envoy Air Cadet Program, which he hopes will be his flight path to becoming a pilot for American Airlines.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Candidate for Graduation Looks to the Sky for His Career

TSTC Alumnae Hired by Cisco

(WACO, Texas) – Two Texas State Technical College alumnae have been hired by Cisco.

Among the company’s many accolades, Cisco has been named on the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work list for the 22nd year in a row.

Lori Wise and Ruusa Bolton are training to become technical consulting engineers at Cisco.

“IT (information technology) is very exciting. Everything is really happening at such a fast pace,” Bolton said. “Nothing stays new for a long time. There’s always something new happening; it’s an innovative field. What you are striving for is to remain relevant in an ever-changing industry.”

Before attending TSTC, Bolton served as an engineer in the U.S. military.

“People should not be afraid of technical fields,” Bolton said. “It’s probably one of the most learnable industries. No one expects you to know everything. As long as you have a problem-solving mindset, everything else can be taught.”

Bolton encourages more people, especially women, to pursue technical careers.

“Women should be courageous and not feel that they’re restricted, because we don’t see enough women in the field,” Bolton said. “Right now, the time is ripe with opportunity.”

Wise taught special education for 13 years. She discovered her love for technology after continually fixing computer issues at school.

“After I left teaching, I still wanted to make an impact on the world, and I can do that through technology,” Wise said. “I never thought after teaching for 13 years that I would be at a Fortune 500 company. So don’t limit yourself. Don’t look at a job description and go, ‘I don’t have all that,’ and not apply.”

Both women are excited to work for Cisco and love the working environment the company provides.

“I knew that Cisco was where I wanted to be, and nothing was getting in the way of that,” Wise said. “I love how you can innovate. I can play around with problems, make my own patch or make my own invention.”

“Cisco has a very inclusive policy when it comes to women empowerment and diversity,” Bolton said. “You can really see more credible and visible representation.”

John Washington, a TSTC Computer Networking and Systems Administration associate professor, said he was happy for the success Bolton and Wise have had. He also said the alumnae are great examples for current students.

“There are certain people that are going to be successful in life just because of their attitude,” Washington said. “The fact that they’ve gotten this far proves it. Hopefully it will encourage other students to know that they can be successful by seeing our graduates out there doing well.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Alumnae Hired by Cisco

TSTC Alumnus Receives Aviation Patent

(WACO, Texas) – Not everyone can claim to have received a U.S. patent.

But Cecil C. Rhodes Jr., who received his degree from Texas State Technical Institute (now Texas State Technical College), can.

Last year, he and his team at Texas A&M University were awarded U.S. Patent 9,957,035 for Un-Manned Aerial Vehicle Having Adjustable Wing Module, Tail, and Landing Gear, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Rhodes, now a flight mechanics specialist for the Texas A&M aerospace engineering department, helped create the Pegasus unmanned air system.

“I was able to use my experience as an airplane mechanic and working with airplanes to actually put the airplane together,” Rhodes said.

After studying aviation maintenance and receiving his airframe and powerplant licenses from TSTI, Rhodes moved to College Station to attend Texas A&M University but found that his credits would not transfer.

“I do think it’s kind of neat that I came here to take aerospace engineering and then ended up here working in the department as a staff member,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes started to attend Blinn College but decided to seek full-time employment instead. He began working for the Texas Highway Department (now Texas Department of Transportation) as a mechanic, but he also worked part time on airplanes.

“I always had that desire to work full time on airplanes, and the opportunity came up in ‘99 to work for a company (Avlink) that had a fleet of jets,” Rhodes said. “So that was really appealing to me.”

Rhodes worked for Avlink for one year until the company went out of business. He then worked for Z Jets for five years.

“One of my fellow aviation buddies told me that A&M was starting a flight research lab, and they had an airplane over there and they wanted someone to come look at it,”

Rhodes said. “So, as fate would have it, I came over and worked on the airplane a couple times.”

Eventually Rhodes went to work for William Saric at Texas A&M University’s aerospace engineering department. Although the flight lab closed in 2015, Rhodes stayed on.

“I’ve always hired my own technicians, and he is by far the very best,” Saric said. “He has a multitude of skills. But the main thing is that he enjoyed doing new things and learning new things.”

“I’m a support person with mechanic experience,” Rhodes said. “I’m the technical support, the bridge between what they want to do and how they get it done.”

Rhodes also enjoys working with students.

“I’ve got the best of both worlds. I love working with my hands, and I love working with these students,” Rhodes said. “I’m able to help them go out and be the best that they can be.”

One of those former students at Texas A&M University, Andrew Carpenter, learned about the maintenance and regulation aspects of the aviation industry from Rhodes.

“He’s always had a great attitude, regardless of what he’s doing,” Carpenter said. “He helped out whenever he could, and he was a good mentor.”

Rhodes loves his job and is excited to continue working for Texas A&M University.

“For right now, I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing. I get a huge satisfaction from the people I work with,” Rhodes said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Alumnus Receives Aviation Patent


TSTC HVAC Program Sees Need to Fill Jobs

(WACO, Texas) – The last few weeks have been busy for the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program at Texas State Technical College.

David Brannen, the program’s lead instructor, said several companies have visited the campus to recruit HVAC students for jobs. Brannen is happy about this because the program has a very high job placement rate for graduates.

“Everybody picks up this time of year because the cooling season is upon us,” said Brannen.

Brannen also said as senior-level technicians retire, younger workers are needed to replace them.

“This industry pays as good or as better than any industry out there,” Brannen said.

Jobs for heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to grow 15 percent nationally through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Texas has more than 25,200 workers earning an annual mean wage of more than $46,000.

Some area businesses said it is difficult finding the right employees to fill HVAC jobs.

Andrew Smith, a recruiter and salesman at Construction Force Inc. in China Spring, said prospective employees need basic hand tools and a willingness to work.

“We can train new people, but it helps to have some of the background,” Smith said.

More than 100 students were enrolled this spring in TSTC’s HVAC Technology program in Waco, which offers an associate degree as well as a certificate.

Brannen said students entering the program should  have a fascination with how things work. He said students coming into the program are a mix, from those who know people in the HVAC industry to some who have never touched a wrench.

“I have guys that want to go where the money is and some that want to go home to work,” Brannen said. “Even the small towns need HVAC technicians.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC HVAC Program Sees Need to Fill Jobs

TSTC Alumna Turns Childhood Dream Into Career

(MARSHALL, Texas) – From an early age, Destiny Stoker knew she was passionate about technology.

“I have been working with computers since I was 12,” Stoker said. “It was always something I was interested in.”

Stoker is a graduate of Texas State Technical College and is a computer network technician for the Waskom Independent School District.

“My favorite part is that I get to interact with so many people, and I love the kids,” Stoker said. “I’m learning new things every day.”

Amy Hertel in TSTC’s Cybersecurity program in Marshall wants women to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degrees and careers, even though they are historically male-dominated fields.

“It’s always good to have a different, fresh perspective,” Hertel said. “Having a female in a STEM profession is a new and different way to look at things — new approaches and new ideas. Women are going to come into the workforce and provide something different than a roomful of men would.”

Stoker encourages other women to follow her lead.

“Go for it. You only have one life to live.” she said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Alumna Turns Childhood Dream Into Career

TSTC Candidate for Graduation Striving to Keep Goodwill Industries’ Employees Safe

(WACO) – Roxann Buzbee is already transitioning from student to educator in her new job as a human resources training developer.

Buzbee is a candidate for graduation for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Environmental Technology Compliance and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Safety Compliance Technology.

She and more than 500 other students will receive certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Spring 2019 Commencement at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7, at the Waco Convention Center.

“Anybody is going to have obstacles,” Buzbee said. “Anybody is going to have something going on in their lives, but don’t make that an excuse for failure. If I can overcome my obstacles and make sure I set my goals, anyone can.”

She began work a month ago at Heart of Texas Goodwill Industries Inc. in Central Texas. One of her first tasks has been developing a new training curriculum focusing on workplace safety.

“It is a lot, but the ladies I work with give me awesome feedback,” Buzbee said.

She said TSTC instructors Martin Knudsen and Lester Bowers were some of her biggest supporters and gave her motivation to pursue her studies. Bowers was Buzbee’s instructor in what she said was one of her toughest classes; Environmental Toxicology.

“She worked hard,” Bowers said. “She persevered. She was always in class and contributed to class discussions. It was a learning process for her.”

Buzbee grew up in Gholson and graduated from West High School.

“I was a hair stylist for 15 years and a manager of most of the hair salons I worked at,” said Buzbee. “I got my instructor license and was told after I received it that I needed a bachelor’s degree in education. I thought, if I am going back for the third time, I might as well make it worth it.”

She said her advice for other students is to keep an open mind.

“Keep focused on your goals,” Buzbee said. “There is going to be a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of hard work and a lot of studying. Put your mind to it.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Candidate for Graduation Striving to Keep Goodwill Industries’ Employees Safe


TSTC Holds Spring Commencement in Marshall

(MARSHALL, Texas) – More than 70 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Spring 2019 Commencement held Friday, April 26, at the Marshall Convention Center.

David Golden, human resources manager at Norbord in Jefferson, told graduates to always be prepared in the workplace and set others up for success.

“It’s important to be a good member of a team,” Golden said. “Make an effort to help others.”

Many of the graduates already have jobs.

Travis Spence of Waskom graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cyber Security. He is working in information technology at the federal courthouse in Shreveport.

“It feels really good,” Spence said about graduating. “I feel accomplished. I will miss the friends I made, and the instructors and the atmosphere here.”

Spence said he was celebrating his achievement with a steak supper.

Some of the graduates will continue job hunting.

Alicia Davis of Marshall received a welding certificate and is weighing job options in Harrison County.

“It feels amazing,” she said. “I’m a single mom. Right now, it feels great.”

Davis said she was going to eat Japanese food with her family to commemorate her graduation.

The ceremony marked the 70th time students have graduated from TSTC’s Marshall campus. And, the newest graduates join more than 3,400 Marshall alumni.

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

For more information, go to

TSTC Holds Spring Commencement in Marshall

TSTC Candidate for Graduation Turns Interest Into Job

(RED OAK) – Miguel Gutierrez of Burleson is fascinated by Volvos and engine overhauling.

The Texas State Technical College student has combined his interests through hands-on training and getting a job in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Gutierrez is a candidate for graduation with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Diesel Equipment Technology-Heavy Truck Specialization. He and more than 30 other students will receive certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College in North Texas’ Spring 2019 Commencement at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 3, at the Waxahachie Civic Center.

Gutierrez, a graduate of Cleburne High School, started working after high school. He was a regional commercial truck driver for 10 years before having a desire to move into the service side of the industry.

“I am glad I am here (at TSTC) right now. It’s made a world of difference,” he said.

He took TSTC classes full time so he could concentrate on his studies.

“For me, the academics was the biggest challenge for me,” Gutierrez said. “I find more satisfaction getting into the problem-solving side.”

Elisha McKinney, an instructor in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program, said the Basic Brake Systems class was Gutierrez’s favorite.

“Miguel was always easy to work with,” she said. “He kept an open mind and easily applied his previous experience to diesel. He makes me proud that he can easily teach another student exactly what I had taught him.”

Gutierrez said he was confident during his job search and knew he would find something that would match his interests.

“There are a lot of people looking for diesel mechanics,” Gutierrez said. “The market is wide-open for employment.”

The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area has more than 7,000 bus and truck technicians and diesel engine specialists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The annual mean wage is more than $53,000, according to the agency.

Gutierrez has been hired at Prevost in Fort Worth and will start work in May.

“I will be going to work servicing tour buses and motor coaches,” he said. “Prevost is a subsidiary of the Volvo Group. I will be starting as a level II technician. I’m thankful for the training and education I received from the diesel program at TSTC.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Candidate for Graduation Turns Interest Into Job