Category Archives: Brownwood

TSTC EMS instructor overcomes ambulance tragedy

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Texas State Technical College recently hired Stephen Sharp, a resilient and experienced paramedic, as the new emergency medical services instructor for the Brownwood campus.

Sharp has come a long way from last year. He was working for Life Guard Ambulance Service on February 20, 2018 when the unthinkable happened. 

After dropping off a patient at the Brownwood Regional Medical Center emergency room, a vehicle ran a stop sign, hitting the ambulance. As a result, Stephen’s humerus bone (arm from shoulder to elbow) was fractured into three pieces.

“There was a chance I could have lost my arm,” Sharp said. “It was a big transition from being the provider to being the patient.”

After three surgeries, two plates and multiple screws, Sharp was on the road to recovery. 

“I’ve seen the good and I’ve seen the bad, but responders who took care of me the day of the wreck were amazing,” he said. 

Sharp says after the wreck he realized there was still a way for him to continue his passion of helping people.

“It really opened my eyes to see that I could help more people and make a positive impact if I was an instructor for the next generation of emergency medical technicians. By training them, I get to help people through their actions,” Sharp said. 

Sharp is a TSTC alum who graduated in 2009 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Emergency Medical Services. 

“We brought on Stephen because he has a strong foundation in the community and he’s worked in EMS for 18 years, so he knows what he’s doing. He is a great addition to the campus and the program,” Raquel Mata, associate provost for TSTC in Brownwood said. 

Mata and Sharp have high hopes for the future of the EMS program. 

“There is a huge need in the Brownwood community, and throughout the state for paramedics, so we see that need and are here to meet that need. I’m excited to grow this program and just see how far we can go,” Sharp said. 

Sharp encourages anyone with a passion for helping others and serving their community to explore the EMS program. 

Registration for the fall 2019 semester has started. 

For more information about TSTC, go online at tstc.edu.

Stephen Sharp overcame an ambulance wreck while working as a paramedic to become an instructor for the Emergency Medical Services program at Texas State Technical College in Brownwood. 

TSTC Student Overcomes Health Issues to Compete at SkillsUSA Nationals

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Sometimes all a person needs is a second chance.

Katherin “Leif” Brown, a Texas State Technical College Computer Networking and Systems Administration student, will proudly represent Texas and TSTC in the Telecommunications Cabling competition at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 24-28.

Undaunted by a health condition, Brown competed at the state-level SkillsUSA Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference two years in a row. She finally earned a spot at nationals on her second try.

“When I found out I was going to nationals, I was shocked and then surprised and then like, is this really happening?” Brown said.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure that America has a skilled workforce. More than 18,000 people, including students, teachers and business partners, are expected to participate in the national event.

Last year, just before Brown was set to compete for the first time, she was diagnosed with Addison’s disease.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Addison’s disease is caused by insufficient production of certain hormones.

“I have to be careful and really listen to my body. I can’t get too stressed. But if this has taught me anything, it’s that I’m strong enough to do anything,” Brown said.

Despite the challenges she overcomes daily, Brown is working hard to represent TSTC well at SkillsUSA.

“It’s something I have really enjoyed doing, and I feel it’s really helped me,” Brown said. “This is a job skill that will come into play in the real world, so this is extra practice at it.”

One person helping Brown to prepare is Computer Networking and Systems Administration instructor and SkillsUSA advisor Renee Blackshear.

“SkillsUSA helps open doors and serves to motivate students to put forth their best efforts and demonstrate their individual abilities to help close the skills gap,” Blackshear said. “Katherin has been an active member of our SkillsUSA team, and we look forward to supporting her in her preparations for nationals.”

Brown hopes to encourage others not only to be vigilant in their personal health, but also to pursue their passions.

“Don’t let anything stop you. Just pick yourself up and keep going,” Brown said.

For more information about TSTC, go to www.tstc.edu.

TSTC Student Overcomes Health Issues to Compete at SkillsUSA Nationals

Katherin “Leif” Brown will represent the state of Texas and TSTC at the 2019 National Leadership and Skills Conference. She will compete in Telecommunications Cabling.

TSTC Students and Faculty Observe National EMS Week

(ABILENE, Texas) – This week marks the 45th annual National EMS Week, which honors the dedication of those who provide lifesaving services each day.
As the next generation of emergency medical service providers prepares to enter the workforce, Texas State Technical College students and faculty remember why they chose to serve.
“National EMS Week allows me to pause and have a moment of gratitude for my fellow EMS providers and to feel proud that I am part of a profession that has such an impact on so many people’s lives. I’m humbled by it,” said Ronnie Pitts, TSTC’s statewide department chair for EMS.
Pitts has worked in the EMS field for more than 29 years. Before earning his Associate of Applied Science degree in EMS with a Paramedic specialization at TSTC in 2005, he served as a firefighter/advance emergency medical technician with the city of Vernon Fire/EMS Department.
Pitts says his time in the field and as an instructor has allowed him to make a positive impact on not just his patients, but also the patients his students will care for.
For one student, the opportunity to help others in crisis is what he loves most.
“It’s become my passion,” Zacory Gardner, a student in the Paramedic program, said. “EMS
Week allows the public a better understanding that we are more than a transportation vehicle. We are a mobile ER, and we are here to help.”
Gardner currently works as an EMT basic with MetroCare and is expected to graduate from TSTC in 2020.
Classmate Ian Shannon recently started with MetroCare as an EMT basic and says it is exciting to continue the family tradition of being a first responder.
“My mom is a nurse, and we’ve got family that is in fire rescue and law enforcement. I also wanted to help people but figured I would do it in a different way,” Shannon said. “(Working as an EMT) is a great way to help people.”
Shannon is also expected to graduate in 2020.
As National EMS Week comes to a close, TSTC’s EMS lead instructor Kandell Scruggs hopes her students feel appreciated for their hard work. But she also recognizes the need to thank the families of EMS workers for their sacrifices.
“EMS providers give up a lot of family time and time with loved ones, so this week serves as a chance not only to thank the EMS personnel for their service to the community, but also to thank their family members,” Scruggs said.
Scruggs has worked in the EMS field for 28 years and is excited for her students to become part of the EMS family.
Pitts and Scruggs both encourage anyone who feels called to serve their community to consider a career in EMS by attending an information session about the program held every Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the Industrial Technology Center at 2082 Quantum Loop in Abilene.
For more information on TSTC, go to www.tstc.edu.
TSTC Students and Faculty Observe National EMS Week
TSTC in Abilene Paramedic students practice emergency birth and infant resuscitation procedures during National EMS Week.  
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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.

For more information on Texas Tech University, go to ttu.edu.

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

TSTC and Texas Tech Sign Academic Agreement

TSTC Holds Spring 2019 Commencement

(ABILENE, Texas) – More than 100 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Spring 2019 Commencement held Friday, April 26, at the Abilene Convention Center. Graduates from TSTC’s West Texas campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater were recognized.

For Mary Madden, an instructor in Electromechanical Technology at TSTC in Sweetwater, this was what she looks forward to each semester.

“It’s a time for the students to celebrate their accomplishments and the families to see what they have worked so hard for,” Madden said. “They’re starting a new life, a new career, and it’s exciting.”

One of Madden’s students who also was a teaching assistant, Gary Miller from Sweetwater, walked the stage on Friday.

“I’m proud of him because he not only succeeded in the program, but he helped motivate others to succeed as well,” Madden said.

Miller, an Army veteran, graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electromechanical Technology. He graduated with highest honors, was awarded the Outstanding Student Award, and has already accepted a job with M&S Engineering.

“I worked in construction before coming to TSTC, and this was a way to move up in life,” he said. “It’s never too late to come back. Just don’t give up, and keep pushing through.”

Several other students could be found thanking their instructors and excitedly talking about having accepted job offers.

Shawn Baldauf, from Abilene, graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration and has already started working for Batts Communications Inc. After serving in the military, Baldauf decided to come to TSTC for the flexibility and hands-on learning.

“I really love computers. I think they are awesome, so I’m very happy to have a career in something I love,” Baldauf said.

Baldauf is a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and a recipient of TSTC’s Program Excellence Award.

During the ceremony, Mike Reeser, TSTC’s chancellor and CEO, encouraged the graduates never to stop learning and always to have integrity.

“Technology is constantly changing, so keep learning. But honesty and integrity are two things that have not changed, so remain constant in those,” Reeser said.

Chemical Dependency Counseling graduate Roderick Mayfield, from Breckenridge, felt those two ideals were extremely important to remember in his chosen career path. Mayfield earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in CDC so he can help others overcome substance abuse.

“I want to make a change in someone else’s life that was not made for me. I know addiction firsthand and am in my third year of recovery,” he said. “Instead of saying how you want the world to change, why not take those steps to make a change?”

Mayfield also was awarded a TSTC Program Excellence Award.

Many of Friday’s graduates had family members and loved ones in the audience, but one graduate even had his boss present.

Victor Taylor, of Brownwood, earned his Associate of Applied Science degree in Emergency Medical Services with a specialization in Paramedic Services. Taylor is working for Lifeguard Ambulance Service in Brown County, and his boss was there to cheer him on.

“I think TSTC is one of the best schools out there in this field because of the high standard they hold themselves to,” Taylor said. “I’m working already, if that says anything.”  

Taylor also was a recipient of a Program Excellence Award.

Earlier in the day, the Nursing programs held pinning ceremonies for graduates in Abilene and Sweetwater. Best friends Amanda Griswold and Sherri Whitefield celebrated earning their associate degrees in Nursing with “Finding Nemo”-themed graduation caps.

“She’s my exit buddy, so we’re finishing together,” Griswold said.

The students who graduated Friday join an alumni network of 100,000 strong across Texas.

For more information, go to www.tstc.edu.

TSTC Holds Spring 2019 Commencement

More than a 100 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Spring 2019 Commencement. 

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TSTC and 3M Brownwood Celebrate TWC Skills Development Fund Grant

(Brownwood) – Leaders from Texas State Technical College, the Texas Workforce Commission and 3M Brownwood gathered Thursday to commemorate a $78,771 Skills Development Fund grant aimed at improving 35 workers’ skills at the 3M Brownwood facility.

The grant will provide customized training for 33 incumbent and two new 3M Brownwood employees that will take place at both TSTC in Brownwood and the 3M Brownwood plant. Employees will receive training in electrical safety and craft skills training.

3M Brownwood EHS/Plant Engineering Manager Chad Benton believes this is a great opportunity to improve the skills of their employees.

“The increase of new technology at the plant means we need to increase the skills of our folks operating the technology,” Benton said. “This grant is a big success for TSTC, for us and for the community.”

Training is already underway and will be completed in July.

“TSTC has an impeccable record. They are following the governor’s orders and putting people to work. When we gather for events like this, it shows, and we see all the partnerships needed to create jobs and support the economy,” Julian Alvarez, commissioner representing labor for the Texas Workforce Commission, said.

Ray Tipton, executive director for the Brownwood Municipal Development District, said he is excited and thankful for what the grant will do not only for the 3M employees, but also for the city of Brownwood.

TSTC in West Texas Provost Rick Denbow agreed, saying he believes this is a success that will be felt beyond Brownwood.

“This is a win for everybody. It’s a win for the employees, the local economy, the state of Texas and for TSTC. We are putting people to work, and that’s what TSTC was chartered to do,” Denbow said.

The Skills Development Fund has been used since 1996 to localize workforce training for companies. It enables companies to work directly with local partners to develop training tailored to employees’ needs. The grant has assisted more than 4,200 employers statewide, according to the TWC.

3M Brownwood began manufacturing in 1965 and is a leading manufacturer of reflective sheeting for highway signs, license plates, protective clothing and security laminates throughout the world.

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

TSTC and 3M Brownwood Celebrate TWC Skills Development Fund Grant

From left to right, Chad Benton, EHS/Plant Engineering Manager at 3M-Brownwood, Julian Alvarez, Commissioner for the Texas Workforce Commission and Rick Denbow, Provost at Texas State Technical College in West Texas hold the check for $78,771 from Texas Workforce Solutions.

 

More Than 50 Companies Represented at TSTC Industry Job Fair

(SWEETWATER) – More than 180 Texas State Technical College students and alumni attended the TSTC Industry Job Fair in Sweetwater on Tuesday, April 2. They had the opportunity to meet representatives from some 50 local, national and international companies.

TSTC provided free transportation to the Sweetwater campus for students coming from the Abilene, Breckenridge and Brownwood campuses. Students talked with representatives from companies looking to fill positions in various fields such as diesel, electrical power and controls, industrial maintenance, nursing, welding, and wind energy.

It was the first time some companies had visited the West Texas campus.

“I was surprised that TSTC had an RN program out here, and now that I know, we fully intend to take advantage of having this local resource,” Tara Camp, community marketing liaison for Cogdell Memorial Hospital, said.

For others, this was an event marked on their calendar every year.

“I go to as many of the job fairs that TSTC does as possible because of the type of training the students get and just the type of personality these students have. Their hands-on experience shows, and they have the willingness to keep learning on the job,” Bret A. Martinets, Human Resources manager at M&S Engineering, said.

The event was a homecoming for TSTC diesel program alumnus Josh McBride of Bruckner’s Truck Sales Inc.

“I hope these students just keep their eyes open and learn from every opportunity because it pays off,” McBride said.

Representatives from Oncor Electric Delivery spoke with students from TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls, Industrial Maintenance, and Wind Energy programs and offered on-site interviews.

“We’ve got 10 positions we need to fill in Odessa alone, so there is a huge need across the state,” Brad Villa, M&C supervisor at Oncor, said.

TSTC in Abilene Electrical Power and Controls student Anthony Neighbors said he was impressed with the company turnout and hopes to find a job that allows him to travel.

“I’m a single dad, so I want something that provides for my son but that also lets me enjoy new places,” Neighbors said.

Neighbors spoke with representatives from Koenig & Bauer and said he felt like he had found the place for him.

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

More Than 50 Companies Represented at TSTC Industry Job Fair

More than 180 students and alumni attended the TSTC Industry Job Fair at TSTC in Sweetwater. More than 50 companies were represented. 

Brownwood Firefighters Further Education in TSTC EMS Program

(BROWNWOOD) – Not all heroes wear capes, but some do arrive in big red fire trucks.

Three Brownwood firefighters, Ron Groom, John Hendrix and Justin Prince, volunteered to further their education and attend the Texas State Technical College Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program in Brownwood to become paramedics. It almost requires superhuman strength for them to maintain a full-time class schedule while being ready to fight fires and help save lives in their community.

“Any higher level of skill we can have is a benefit to the community. We usually are the first on scene, not always, but a majority of the time. So anything we can do to help is a benefit to everyone,” Groom, captain of the Brownwood Fire Department, said.

Firefighters in Texas are required to have training as basic emergency medical technicians. This is the first group from the Brownwood Fire Department to pursue paramedic licenses, the highest level for EMS responders.

“I, personally, and most firefighters want to be the best firefighters we can be. With our call volume being a majority of EMS, it’s essential that we have that training to be the best on those calls,” said Hendrix, who is a driver for the Brownwood Fire Department and a part-time firefighter with the Early Fire Department.

Besides providing a higher level of service for the community, becoming a paramedic offers an opportunity for promotion within a fire station and is a bonus when applying with other stations.

“For anyone in this field today, education is extremely important, whether it’s as a firefighter or in EMS,” Groom said. “To be in those higher-up or leadership roles, they’re asking for more education on top of having that paramedic license. So it’s important if you want to pursue that.”

According to projections by O*Net Online, Texas can expect increases in emergency medical technician and paramedic jobs of 20 percent and municipal firefighter jobs of 17 percent by 2026.

“There’s a huge need for first responders. Paramedics, especially in the Brownwood area, are in large demand. These guys are helping to fill a need in the community,” Stephanie Young, EMS instructor at TSTC, said.

Working in a smaller department has benefits because firefighters train in a variety of fields, but it also offers challenges.

“Just because it says ‘fire department’ doesn’t mean it’s just fire,” Prince, lieutenant with the Brownwood Fire Department, said. “We’re considered a jack-of-all-trades, so if they don’t know who to call, they call us. We need to be prepared.”

The Brownwood Fire Department encourages anyone interested in becoming a firefighter or entering an EMS field to visit the station or TSTC and ask questions.

Groom, Hendrix and Prince are expected to graduate in spring 2020. For more information on

Texas State Technical College, log on to tstc.edu.


Three Brownwood firefighters, pictured left to right, John Hendrix, Ron Groom and Justin Prince, are working toward their paramedic associate degrees at TSTC in Brownwood.

TSTC Student Exemplifies Dual Enrollment Success

(Brownwood) – Education means opportunity, and no one values that more than Alan Acosta, a Welding Technology student at Texas State Technical College in Brownwood.  

Acosta plans to be the first member of his immediate family, who immigrated from Mexico when he was 6, to earn a college degree. He started working on that goal while still a Brownwood High School student, earning college credit through TSTC’s dual enrollment program in welding.

After graduating high school in May 2018, Acosta became a full-time TSTC student working toward a structural welding certificate.

“I first tried welding in middle school and was fascinated by it, but I was pretty horrible,” Acosta said. “But after the classes in high school, I felt a lot more confident, and I’m learning faster now in college.”

The partnership between TSTC and Brownwood High School allows high school students to experience college courses before committing as a full-time traditional student.

“Dual enrollment students become much more experienced in college coursework than other students entering college having never attended a college class, not knowing what to expect,” Rene Ralston, TSTC director of dual enrollment, said. “Brownwood High School is in TSTC’s backyard, so it makes sense to partner with the school.”

TSTC welding instructor Stephen Hope believes that dual enrollment allows students the chance to figure out what they want to do in life and learn what opportunities are available.

“Alan is a determined young man, and he works so hard because he knows that there are so many job opportunities waiting for him,” Hope said. “He will go far because of his determination, and I’m proud of him.”

Acosta encourages anyone interested in getting a well-paying job to pursue their education. “If you have the ambition, you can do it. It may be hard, but you will learn it,” Acosta said. “And the people at TSTC are so helpful and willing to be there for you.”

Acosta’s younger brother, Domingo, is following in his footsteps and is currently enrolled in the welding dual enrollment program at Brownwood High.

Alan Acosta plans to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology at TSTC in Abilene and hopes to graduate in April 2020.

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

TSTC in Brownwood student Alan Acosta is working on a structural welding certificate after completing the welding dual credit program with TSTC and Brownwood High School.

TSTC Provides Qualified Wedlers for Local Jobs

(BROWNWOOD) — The need for skilled welders is growing, and local businesses hope to remind welders of job opportunities close to home.

The Texas State Technical College welding program in Brownwood produces qualified welders ready for industry, and local companies hope to attract those interested in staying in the area.

“I worked in the oil field, and it’s good work, but it can be hard on families,” said Stephen Hope, a TSTC in Brownwood welding instructor. “So these local fabrication shops are great for those who want stability, and there’s a chance to make a career and move up.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers nationwide are expected to grow to more than 427,000 through 2026. A majority of those jobs are expected to be in manufacturing.

One local business, Barr Fabrication, says it is interested in hiring area workers and supporting local businesses.

“It benefits the Brownwood community as a whole when we hire locally, and we’re very proud to be part of this community,” said Francie Clark, the public and employee relations representative for Barr Fabrication.  

For another company, Solaris Oilfield Infrastructure, creating a positive work-life balance for its employees is something it takes pride in.

“If we can hire welders of Brown County, it means they can make competitive pay without sacrificing time away from family,” said Amber Ray, a human resources representative with the company.

TSTC partners with industry leaders to ensure that graduates find the right company to match their professional and personal goals.

“We’ve got a great program here that lets us work with students one-on-one and provide specific instruction,” Hope said. “That, and our conversations with people in the industry locally and elsewhere, really helps us to make sure these students get where they want to be.”

TSTC in Brownwood offers a three-semester structural welding certificate that includes classes in blueprint reading, fabrication, layout and technical calculations.

For more information on TSTC, log on to tstc.edu.