Category Archives: Waco

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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Hurricane Harvey helped one TSTC student find a career

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Two years ago when Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf Coast, Texas State Technical College student Nolen Maraman and his family lost their home to flooding, forcing them to start over, yet through it all he also found a new career.

“We had to evacuate north, in the middle of the storm,” said the 22-year-old. “And as we were leaving, I saw a number of electric companies arriving. There were men and women ready to get power up and running the moment the storm moved out of our area. To me that was intriguing and brave.”

Maraman would spend the next several days researching about what an electrical lineworker is and does.Nolen Maraman

“It didn’t take long for me to realize that becoming an electrical lineworker is what I wanted to do,” said the Cat Spring native. “It’s a career with many opportunities to offer, including the chance to help others.”

There was only one thing delaying his start at TSTC, and that was his last semester at Sam Houston University, he was only a few months away from graduation.

Maraman went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in business management, but he said it was only a path for him to follow, not what he wanted to do. He had found his true passion, and that was at TSTC.

“At first my family was a bit skeptical about me not pursuing a job with my degree, and returning to a technical college,” he said. “But after I showed them the number of job opportunities that would be available to me, how in demand my skills would be and my projected salary, they trusted my choice and were supportive every step of the way.”

He expects to graduate in August with a certificate in Electrical Lineworker Technology and said that the training he has received in his program will allow him to hit the ground running when he enters the workforce.

“I came in completely new. I knew nothing about the field,” said Maraman, “But because of the program’s experienced instructors and the hands-on, real-world training they provide to their students with an on-campus pole yard, I now know the foundation and the basics that I need to be a successful lineman.”

Maraman added that not only has he found his passion and new career, but he has also found happiness.

“I can honestly say I’m happy now,” he said. “I’m working toward a career that helps others, that I’m passionate about and that gives me room for growth.”

Nolen MaramanIn fact, both of Maraman’s parents received a technical education. His mom began her career as an emergency medical technician and his dad is an underwater welder.

“Technical education fuels our workforce,” said Maraman. “In my experience, my certificate is giving me more job opportunities than my bachelor’s degree, it’s unbelievable.”

Maraman also said that he highly recommends TSTC and the many programs being offered.

“These are life-long careers, not just jobs,” he said. “And I’m excited to begin mine. And I have (Hurricane) Harvey to thank for this.”

Graduates from TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program, also offered at the college’s Marshall and Waco campuses, can expect to be in demand for the nation’s highest paying career. Texas employs more lineworkers than any other state.

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment of lineworkers is expected to grow eight percent, and job opportunities will be best for persons with good technical and mechanical skills. In 2018 the median annual wage was more than $70,000.

For more information on TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program or to apply, visit

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.”

For more information on the Women’s Industry Network, visit

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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.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, visit


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 diesel student earns spot at SkillsUSA national competition

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Rene Escobar was the only student at Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County to earn a gold medal at the SkillsUSA state competition held recently at TSTC in Waco.

“When I heard my name, I could not believe it,” said the 24-year-old. “I know I worked hard preparing for the competition, but it was still a surprise. It was a proud moment.”

The gold medalists will advance to the 2019 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 24-28.

The Houston native earned his gold medal in the SkillsUSA Diesel Technology category, successfully completing an 80-question exam, 10 hands-on skills stations and an interview.

At the competition Escobar had two hours for the written exam and 15 minutes to complete each skills station, which included hands-on projects in areas such as engines, transmissions, electrical, air conditioning and hydraulics.Rene Escobar

“I prepared night and day for SkillsUSA,” said Escobar. “I spent my time at the diesel labs after class and worked closely with my instructors to make sure I was competition ready.”

Escobar said he even downloaded the electronic versions of his textbooks onto his phone so he could study wherever he wanted.

Escobar expects to earn an associate degree in Diesel Equipment Technology in August and said although he was nervous and put in a lot of time preparing, the training he has received while enrolled in the program helped him face SkillsUSA with confidence.

“There were some areas I had to give extra attention to while studying, but for the most part I felt fully prepared because of the training our instructors provide,” said Escobar.

This also was not the Diesel Equipment Technology student’s first rodeo. In fact, he competed in last year’s SkillsUSA competition in the same category and earned a bronze medal.

Escobar said SkillsUSA has allowed him to network with like-minded people and showcase his skills to industry professionals, which has opened up doors of opportunity he never expected to receive.

“SkillsUSA is not only about honing in on technical skills, but also growth as a leader and communicator,” he said. “It’s about preparing us for the workforce and ensuring that we’re well-rounded students and professionals.”

Escobar is already receiving job offers and has a lot to consider.

Escobar added that as someone who had his mind set on automobile mechanics, TSTC’s diesel program and SkillsUSA has opened up a whole new world for him.

“Before TSTC, I was working at auto shops and my parents were pushing me to go back to school, while my uncle was pushing me to pursue diesel mechanics,” he said. “And it was TSTC commercials streaming nonstop on Pandora internet radio that made me research TSTC.”

It was during this research that Escobar discovered he could earn a two-year degree in Diesel Equipment Technology and enter an industry where diesel mechanics are always in demand.

“Diesel mechanics is so broad — there are many areas I could specialize in,” said Escobar. “And all aspects excite me and motivate me. I’m really happy to be where I am today and that Pandora annoyed me with TSTC commercials. It changed my life.”

Statewide, 63 TSTC students earned gold medals during the recent state competition.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization teaching technical, academic and employability skills that help high school and college students pursue successful careers. Members build these skills through student-led team meetings, contests, leadership conferences and other activities.

Students in SkillsUSA participate in hands-on competitions in various fields such as science; technology; engineering; mathematics; building construction; and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

For more information on the programs offered at TSTC, visit

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.

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TSTC in East Williamson County Holds Spring Commencement