(WACO) – Mariano Perez of Waco learned early on about the meaning of work.
Perez, 19, began working at 13 with his father in the family’s residential concrete business. He spent many holiday breaks, weekends and sizzling days helping to pour concrete driveways, patios and sidewalks in McLennan County.
“It all started off with respecting the guys pushing the shovel all day long,” Perez said. “I learned the value of a dollar. I learned the general skills. I learned how to measure with the tape, how to hit a nail, how to use a sledgehammer.”
The knowledge Perez gained launched him into the Building Construction Technology program at Texas State Technical College. He is a candidate for graduation with an associate degree at TSTC’s Fall 2018 Commencement at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at the Waco Convention Center.
“Mariano is a very hard worker and dedicated to everything he puts his hands on,” said Herschel Miller, a TSTC Building Construction Technology instructor.
Perez will start work on Monday, Dec. 10, at Big Creek Construction Ltd. in Lorena, where he will be trained on project scheduling.
Wade Miller, Big Creek’s assistant director, said Perez is the first graduate to be hired directly out of TSTC. The company currently employs several TSTC alumni.
“We are excited to have Mariano coming aboard,” Miller said. “He’s a very impressive young man, and we expect him to do well at our company.”
The company is a heavy-highway contractor working on Texas Department of Transportation road and bridge projects and occasional projects for the city of Waco.
Miller said TxDOT’s increase in spending on projects due to state propositions being passed by voters means more road and bridge improvements will be made in the next decade.
“This equates to roughly 70,000 employees needed to build this work,” Miller said. “The workforce across our industry and state is aging. We are running out of people to do this work. For this reason, programs by TSTC make sense to contractors like us.”
Perez’s goal is one day to own his own concrete business.
Perez graduated in 2017 from West High School where he took dual enrollment classes in general academics and automotive technology. He decided to pursue construction during his senior year.
“Honestly, I never gave up until I found my passion,” Perez said. “It is difficult to be successful if you don’t know what to do.”
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.