Category Archives: Marshall

Longview Companies Utilize TSTC Training

(MARSHALL) – Three Longview companies are utilizing Texas State Technical College for training employees in new technical skills.

Komatsu Mining Corp., Stemco and Westlake Chemical Corp. have scheduled training on-site and at TSTC’s Marshall campus in recent weeks.

“We are now approaching businesses to assist them in identifying training gaps and coming up with recommendations to close such gaps,” said Dirk D. Hughes, executive director of TSTC Workforce Training. “Then, and only then, will we talk to the company about how to fund the training through grants and/or cash.”

Thirteen employees at Stemco, which produces bearings, hubcaps, seals and other products for the heavy- and medium-duty trailer and truck industry, will take computer software classes at the end of March and a class in measurements and tools in April. The classes are conducted through a Texas Workforce Development grant.

“We looked at the company needs and worked with TSTC to see what courses they had available and would work best with our colleagues,” said Amanda Tarbet, a human resources business partner at Stemco.

About 140 Stemco employees have already completed five courses in leadership, manufacturing and other topics through TSTC in 2018 and 2019, Tarbet said. Tarbet credited Stemco’s plant manager William Leadaman as being instrumental in getting the training for employees.

“I think it is helping our colleagues to open their eyes on furthering their education as well,” Tarbet said. “We have a few colleagues that are actually registered with TSTC. We have a tuition reimbursement program.”

Four employees at Westlake Chemical recently took a three-day course in motor controls.

Eight Komatsu employees are taking two inventory management classes this month at the company.

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

TSTC Students Able to Find Internships and Job Opportunities in Diesel Equipment Technology

(MARSHALL) – Supervisors at the Sabine Mining Co. in Hallsville see little turnover in its mobile equipment department.

The more than 40 employees, some being graduates of Texas State Technical College, work on bulldozers, forklifts, hydraulic cranes and other heavy equipment for mining operations. The company currently has one full-time diesel equipment mechanic opening.

Matt Hampton, the company’s mobile equipment department maintenance manager, said finding the right employees is a challenge. Hampton said the company looks for employees through online job sites and career fairs. He said the two biggest qualities sought in job candidates are aptitude and attitude.

Hampton said the company uses TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology students as paid interns, and many are hired after graduation.

“We like having the interns around,” Hampton said. “It gives them a chance to do a year to two-year interview. If the timing is right and the person is right, we will hire them.”

The number of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists in East Texas is projected to grow to more than 1,000 up to 2026, according to the Texas Workforce Commission’s Labor Market and Career Information Department.

Hannah Luce, a campus coordinator for TSTC Career Services, said internships are important because students get work experience as they attend classes. And, she said companies are seeking TSTC’s graduates.

“Our Diesel Equipment Technology instructors know the importance of hands-on learning and expose the students to many different projects in the shop to help them be prepared when they graduate,” Luce said.

Some of the projects students work on come from residents who own diesel equipment. Michael Sanders, a TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology instructor, said the labor is free to residents but they have to purchase needed parts. And, they need to be patient.

“They cannot rush us because we teach as we are doing the job,” Sanders said.

Sanders said the experiences the students have can take them wherever they want to work.

“It is up to the student if they want to do well and it is hard on them, but that is the way life is nowadays,” he said. “Most of our students that graduate go into the mechanic profession. I have them working in Midland. I have had some in Kilgore. I have some working in Longview. We do a lot of interning with companies out there.”

TSTC in Marshall’s Diesel Equipment Technology program has more than 60 students this semester studying for certificates or specialized associate degrees.

TSTC also offers Diesel Equipment Technology on the Fort Bend County, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses.

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


TSTC in Marshall Holds Fall 2018 Commencement

(MARSHALL) – More than 60 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College in Marshall’s Fall 2018 Commencement held Friday, Dec. 7, at the Marshall Convention Center.

Students from different backgrounds and all walks of life gathered to celebrate their accomplishments with family and loved ones. Associate Provost Nathan Cleveland always takes a minute to appreciate the success of his students.

“This is why I got involved in education,” Cleveland said. “To watch our students, who range from the first member in a family to attend a postsecondary education institute to a second- or third-generation student, succeed, inspire others and thank their support systems — it’s what it’s all about.”

Several of Friday’s graduates boasted academic honors, including five Board of Regents recipients. Board of Regents recipients must complete their degree program with a 4.0 GPA.

Tyra Levine of Beaumont was displaced after Hurricane Harvey destroyed her home. She relocated to Marshall to live near her family and decided to complete her education. Working two jobs to support her family while battling health issues, Levine still maintained a 4.0 GPA to graduate with her Associate of Applied Science degree in Process Operations.   

“I just made sure I was at class every day and I was in contact with my teachers whenever I needed help or had questions,” Levine said. “My whole experience really has been a testimony, and I am so thankful to be here.”

Several graduates are leaving with jobs already lined up, while others are still considering their options.

Zachary Garner of Forney was a Phi Theta Kappa graduate who received his third degree from TSTC. Garner earned associate degrees in Cyber Security and Network Administration, then changed course to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Diesel Equipment Technology.

“It took me a minute to figure out what I wanted. But I love working with my hands, and I’m really excited with my options,” Garner said. “I’ve interviewed with a couple companies in the area, and things are looking good.”

The evening was two times as special for the parents of brothers Calvin and Quenton Rowe. The brothers both earned certificates of completion in Structural Welding.

“It was awesome to see them accomplish these goals they set for themselves and their focus to get it done,” Latarsha Rowe, mom, said. “I am just immensely proud.”

For Shaquilyn Peoples, a Precision Machining Technology graduate, today was the validation she had been working toward.

“As a girl in PMT, it can be intimidating, but it feels so good to say I did it and that I get to do something different,” Peoples said. “I hope I can encourage other girls to get involved.

This was the 69th commencement ceremony for TSTC in Marshall.

For more information, log on to tstc.edu.

 

TSTC in Marshall Hosts Industry Job Fair

(MARSHALL) – More than 170 students from Texas State Technical College attended Thursday’s Industry Job Fair and talked to employers about a variety of career fields.

The campus had its largest job fair yet for students, with 39 companies from Louisiana and Texas in attendance. Most of the companies specialize in engineering and manufacturing.

“The companies right now are needing people in those fields,” said Hannah Luce, a TSTC Career Services coordinator.

Luce said several students had job interviews at the event, with one student receiving a job offer.

“Unemployment is down, so all these companies are needing employees,” Luce said. “They realize the product we offer.”

J.P. Arrington, a human resources manager at Norris Cylinder in Longview, said the company was looking for lathe operators, electricians, mechanics, materials handlers and other positions. He said it was the first time the company, which makes high-pressure acetylene and steel cylinders, attended a TSTC Industry Job Fair.

And, he was happy with the results.

“I found some really good prospects there,” Arrington said. “I have been really impressed with your college. I have hired three of your students in the last three months. They have been fantastic.”

Crown Equipment Corp. of Arlington was also represented at the job event. The Ohio-based company specializing in forklift parts and production offers tuition reimbursement to TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology certificate and associate degree graduates from the Marshall campus who are hired as technicians.

“The caliber of students is just like any at TSTC – great,” said Joe Razza, a Crown regional recruiter. “They were prepared, asked good questions and were vested in what it was that we had to say.”

The next Industry Job Fair for students at TSTC in Marshall will be on Thursday, March 28.

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

Longview Company Donates Equipment to TSTC

(MARSHALL) – A Longview company recently made a sizeable equipment donation to Texas State Technical College in Marshall.

J-W Power Co. gave the college items valued at more than $41,200, including drums of hydraulic oil, rectangular tubing, ball valves and structural steel.

“We are glad we can donate some parts and raw goods to TSTC,” said David Ramaly, the company’s plant manager. “The parts that are being donated are components that are used in packaging gas compressors and will be able to be used by the students to learn about different aspects of compressor packages.”

The items will be divided among TSTC’s Industrial Controls Technology, Industrial Maintenance, Precision Machining Technology and Welding Technology programs. The equipment will be used by students in course labs.

“These components will help to broaden students’ exposure and increase accessibility to items not currently available to them,” said Nathan Cleveland, TSTC’s associate provost of instruction.

J-W Power Co. sells, leases and services standard and custom natural gas compression equipment and has the largest privately owned compression fleet in the United States.

For more information on how to make a cash or equipment donation to TSTC, contact The TSTC Foundation at 254-867-3900.

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

Komatsu Partners with TSTC for $131,404 Job Training Grant

(MARSHALL) – Texas State Technical College has partnered with Komatsu Mining Corp. in Longview to train 60 workers using a $131,404 Skills Development Fund grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.

Julian Alvarez, Texas Workforce Commissioner Representing Labor, presented the check to officials from TSTC and Komatsu at a 10 a.m. ceremony Wednesday, Aug. 29, at TSTC in Marshall.

“This celebration represents another textbook example of the great state of Texas continuing to support the workforce and industries that drive the state’s booming economy,” said TSTC Provost Bart Day.

The training was designed specifically to meet Komatsu’s needs and will be provided by TSTC instructors. Trainees will include data terminal operators, fabrication machine operators and quality control inspectors. Upon completion of training, the workers will receive an average hourly wage of $18.99.

Komatsu Manufacturing Engineering and Manufacturing manager Kraig Green said he is glad to show that Komatsu is willing to invest in its community.

“We see people who understand we are willing to hire and train to invest in this area,” Green said. “We don’t have to bring people in from big metropolises like Dallas to get skilled labor. It’s right here.”

Wayne Mansfield, president and CEO of the Longview Economic Development Corp., said partnerships are a critical part of development.

“Workforce development is by far the No. 1 critical issue, not just here in Texas, but all over the country,” Mansfield said. “Establishing the foundation for workforce here is important to the continued success of Longview, Gregg County and East Texas.”

Commissioner Alvarez said he is happy that Texans have options for career education.

“Anyone that knows me will tell you that I’m a huge supporter of career and technology education and will always support associate degrees and certificates,” Alvarez said. “Technology is changing every day. … TSTC is keeping up with those changes. We appreciate that. They have an impeccable reputation with us.”

Overall, the grant will have a $3.9 million impact on the East Texas area.

Komatsu (https://mining.komatsu) is a global mining equipment and services provider. With a full line of products supported by advanced technologies, the company helps customers safely and sustainably optimize their operations. The company’s equipment and services are used to extract fundamental minerals and develop modern infrastructure, as well as playing a key role in the construction and forestry industries.

The Skills Development Fund is one of the state’s premier job training programs, keeping Texas competitive with a skilled workforce. For more information on TSTC’s workforce training, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Holds Summer Commencement

(MARSHALL) – Texas State Technical College held its summer commencement ceremony Friday evening in Marshall. More than 40 graduates walked the stage in the presence of their family and friends.

TSTC Provost Bart Day said the ceremony not only signifies an end for the graduates, but also a beginning.

“Tonight represents an end, in that each of you graduating this evening has set and reached a goal and readied yourself for the challenges of the workforce,” Day told the graduates. “But tonight’s celebration also represents a beginning because you’ve made the transition from TSTC student to TSTC graduate.”

Garrett Bradshaw, a Process Operations student, was one of the night’s honor graduates. Bradshaw is completing an extended internship with Eastman Chemical Company in Longview. He began his internship as a materials handling operator in May.

“I flow product from the storage tanks to rail cars and trailers for shipping,” Bradshaw said. “That can involve using pumps, process valves. I collect samples and have analyses run on them. For shipping, paperwork is involved. All things to get the product to the customer.”

The Longview resident is graduating from TSTC with a 4.0 GPA.. His advice for incoming and current students is that “you get what you put in.”

“You’re going to have to do work,” Bradshaw said. “If you’re willing to put in the work, you’re going to get results.”

David Golden, Human Resources manager at Norbord Inc. of Jefferson, spoke at the ceremony. He reminded graduates that they control their own journeys.

“You must plot and steer your course,” he said, “because you are ultimately in command of where your ship goes. You’ll get lots of navigation advice from other captains, but you must steer your own ship.”

TSTC in Marshall graduates earned degrees in all 12 of the programs offered at the campus — Business Management Technology, Computer-Aided Drafting and Design, Computer Networking and Systems Administration, Cyber Security, Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Lineworker Technology, Industrial Controls Technology, Industrial Maintenance, Precision Machining Technology, Process Operations, Software Development and Welding.

Fall classes begin Monday, Aug. 27. For more information on the college, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC in Marshall Presents Staff Member of the Year Award

(MARSHALL) – Employees at Texas State Technical College celebrated Employee Appreciation Day in June, a day that included fun for employees and awards for employees of the year.

Student Success Coach Jason Beach was chosen as staff member of the year.

He was happy to receive the award.

“I felt truly appreciated and was reminded immediately of the many administrators, staff and faculty for whom I have sincere gratitude,” Beach said. “These women and men have taught me a lot and they continue to guide me today.”

Beach, a Longview native who lives in Gilmer, has worked for TSTC for 14 years. He has had titles such as System Analyst II for Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Planning and also provided employees support for TSTC’s Colleague system.

Employees of the campus submitted nominations for the award, and the final winner was chosen by a vote.

Employees had inspiring comments about Beach, with one teammate writing, “Jason works hard to help every student. There is hardly any time in the day that he is not working with students. He is here at TSTC early and works late many evenings. He is a great team member that will assist other staff when they need help.”

Another comment reads, “Mr. Beach is a testament to being a servant to our students and to his coworkers. He has not only accepted a role change but has made the transition with honor and excitement. Mr. Beach takes a very active role in the success of our students along with the success of our college. He continually goes the extra mile even to the extent of taking registration load off the shoulders of our lead instructors.”

Beach’s favorite part of his job is knowing he helped make a difference in students’ lives.

“Hearing students share where they are going to work on Monday after graduation, getting to see caring faculty and staff provide support to those who are learning, and knowing I’m a part of something that changes the lives of people from all walks of life in the surrounding communities, region and state,” he said. “That’s my favorite thing about TSTC.”

TSTC prides itself on being “a great place to work” and is currently hiring for positions at its 10 campuses statewide.

For information on open positions at TSTC, visit tstc.edu/about/employment.

TSTC Graduate Serves South Central Texas With Electric Company

(MARSHALL) – Texas State Technical College graduate Ed Wheat has been serving the San Antonio area with his electrical expertise for over 10 years.

The 1995 honor graduate earned an associate degree in Electrical Instrumentation from TSTC in Marshall and went to work shortly thereafter.

“I had zero lag time — I went straight to work the next week at a facility,” Wheat said. “I got some really good experience. I was there for about three years. Then I went to another place, Louisiana-Pacific. I worked there for almost eight years, and I progressed through the ranks. I became the youngest electrical supervisor in the history of the company. I progressed again to maintenance superintendent and was also the youngest maintenance superintendent in the company.”

After working in the industry for 12 years, Wheat started his own company, Wheat Electric & Controls LLC, in 2007. The company, based in Spring Branch, Texas, covers the Hill Country and San Antonio regions. Wheat moved to the area after marrying his wife, Rachel.

“I married a woman from South Texas, so we relocated down here,” Wheat said. “I like the region, I like the people in the area, and I like the culture.”

Wheat Electric offers industrial, commercial and residential electrical services. Overall, Wheat seems pleased with his field of choice.

“It has its ups and downs, but I definitely have an affinity for it,” he said. “I have the drive for it. It’s a really demanding job. In advanced leadership you’re responsible for things 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Wheat’s advice for those considering TSTC is to make sure you’re ready.

“When I first graduated high school, I went to college somewhere else and I wasn’t mature enough for it,” he said. “I went to the Army, came back with a much higher level of maturity, and I took college much more seriously. If you make sure that you’re serious and ready for it, dig in as deep as you can. Really be serious about the theory side. If you really understand the theory, you can learn anything from there.”

Wheat expanded his business to Corpus Christi in 2016. Read more on the company at wheat-electric.com.

TSTC’s Electronic Instrumentation program is now called Industrial Controls and is offered at the Marshall campus. For more information on the college and its programs offered statewide, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC Visionary Murray Watson Jr. Remembered for Service

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College mourned Wednesday the loss of former Texas legislator Murray Watson Jr., who filed legislation in 1969 to separate what was an arm of the Texas A&M University system into a stand-alone institution for technical education that would become TSTC.

“If there was ever a Mr. TSTC, it would be Murray Watson,” said Elton Stuckly Jr., TSTC’s executive vice chancellor and chief strategic relations officer.

Watson died Tuesday at age 86.

Watson was a state senator when he filed legislation to make the James Connally Technical Institute independent and rename it Texas State Technical Institute (now TSTC). Gov. Preston Smith signed the bill’s final version in May 1969 in Austin.

At TSTC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in April 2015 in Austin, Watson was honored with a Founder’s Award.

Watson’s name is on TSTC’s student recreation center on Campus Drive. That factored into his wife, Greta, having been honored with the nearby Culinary Arts building being named for her.

“Murray and I walked out of the old (TSTC) system’s building, and we were about a million dollars short to build the new Culinary Arts Center,” Stuckly said. “I said, ‘Mr. Watson, I want you to think about something. Your name is on that (the recreation center) building. Wouldn’t it be nice for it (the new building) to be called the Greta W. Watson Culinary Arts Center? If you give us a million dollars, you could look at each other forever.’ It wasn’t a couple of weeks later that he called and said he was going to do it.”

Stuckly said Watson was a mentor who would give him advice.

“He always stayed in contact with me by email,” Stuckly said. “He was always looking for ways and ideas of how to make TSTC a better college.”

Stuckly said he and Watson always found much to talk about.

“He grew up in Mart, and I was raised in Penelope,” Stuckly said. “He always wanted to ask about TSTC first, then talk about farm cattle and his feed store and what I used to do on the farm. He said, ‘Elton, there aren’t many people that I can talk to who relate to those times.’”

Verna Lastrapes, a TSTC college outreach specialist, grew up knowing the Watson family in Mart. She said Watson’s family owned the local feed store, which she would visit as a four-year-old with her father at least twice a week to catch up with residents.

“Murray Jr. was a senior at Mart High School then,” she said. “I knew him well because he and my sister, Barbara, were friends.”

Pete Rowe, TSTC’s vice president for institutional development, hauled hay for Watson when he was a teenager in Mart. Rowe also graduated from Mart High School.

“It’s a personal loss for me because I loved him so much,” Rowe said. “He was a great mentor to me. He and Mrs. Watson have always been very kind to me and have done a lot for me in my life and career.”

Lastrapes said residents in Mart thought Watson would be president one day.

“He did not become president, but he did become our state representative and our state senator,” she said. “As a teenager, I remember helping campaign for him. Just about everyone in Mart campaigned for him.”

The feed store factored into Watson’s law career.

“When he lost the campaign for U.S. representative and went into private law practice, he had his office in Waco and one in Mart above the feed store,” Lastrapes said. “For years that is where he conducted all legal transactions with my daddy and other rural area farmers and businessmen.”

Rowe said Watson raised cattle andis sure he must have encountered on his ranch some of what TSTC teaches today.

“Murray was a highly intelligent person,” he said. “He was way ahead of the curve in the education field. He really studied education. He knew what to do.”

Lastrapes worked several years at the Brazos Higher Education Service Corp. Inc., which financed student loans. Watson was one of the organization’s founders.

“He had his own time schedule,” she said. “We began to say, ‘The starting time is when Murray Watson gets there.’ That was for everything!”

John K. Hatchel, chair of the TSTC Board of Regents, worked with Watson as a member of the Brazos Higher Education Service’s board of directors.

“He was very quiet, but he was consistent,” Hatchel said. “If there was a person who needed something or help, he was the first in line to do his part. He did it not expecting any accolades or thank-you’s. He just did it as a person.”

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