Category Archives: Marshall

TSTC alumnus designs equipment for West Texas oil field companies

(ABILENE, Texas) – Sheryl Givens turned a lifelong passion into a career.

Since graduating from Texas State Technical College with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology in 2018, Givens has worked as a designer for SCS Technologies in Big Spring.

“I have always been interested in construction,” Given said. “Growing up, I liked drawing things on a day-by-day basis.”

At SCS Technologies, Givens designs equipment for West Texas oil field companies. The company specializes in programmable logic controller-based systems, control panel fabrication, and custody transfer liquid measurements.

Givens said being part of the TSTC program prepared her for this career.

“Throughout the years, I have admired all the strong work ethic and personal integrity of the field,” she said. “I appreciated all the help from TSTC, which led me to become a motivated and driven professional with a high level of leadership and initiative, as well as excellent analytical, organizational, and problem-solving skills.”

She said TSTC instructors prepared her for a career as a designer.

“They helped me find challenging career opportunities where knowledge, skills, and experience can be effectively utilized with organizations offering opportunities for professional growth and advancement,” Givens said.

The drafting and design program is available at the Abilene, Brownwood, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater, and Waco campuses.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Business Management Technology instructor brings experience into the classroom

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – You might say that Texas State Technical College Business Management Technology instructor Duston Brooks brings some practical experience of a bovine nature into the classroom.

Prior to becoming an instructor at TSTC, Brooks worked on the financial side of his family’s dairy farm. He now brings that knowledge to his students as they work toward an Associate of Applied Science degree or certificate in Business Management Technology.

“I learned the financial side of things and how to use the software,” said Brooks, who has taught at TSTC since 2000.

When Brooks first started teaching, TSTC offered a degree in Computer Information Technology. It is now the five-semester Business Management Technology degree program.

Students learn three areas of business management. Brooks said the first part of the program focuses on accounting, followed by management and then software.

“Anybody who works at a computer desk at any business will benefit from this program,” he said.

Students learn a variety of skills, including word processing, presentation graphics, accounting, and business ethics, principles of accounting and management, small business operations, and payroll accounting.

“You will benefit from a well-rounded education,” Brooks said, adding that some graduates continue their education by earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

In addition to on-campus classes, TSTC’s Business Management Technology program is available online, which helps some students, Brooks said.

“We know that people are working and have kids. This gives them the feasibility to complete the program online and at their own pace,” he said.

Brooks said one student completed the course while being employed as a full-time truck driver.

“He could not attend a class on campus, so he took his laptop with him,” he said. “Whenever he had time off the road, he would work on his online classes.”

During his tenure at TSTC, Brooks has seen students of all ages complete the program.

“We have had students just out of high school to adults in their 50s and 60s. Some people want to come back and relearn skills or even learn brand-new skills in order to update their resume,” he said.

Completing the program, according to Brooks, allows graduates to interview for office management positions. He said through hard work, some graduates have worked their way up to higher positions.

Brooks has also had students who wanted to start their own business.

“There are people from our program working in small towns and bigger cities,” he said. “Students who want to move up from a physically challenging job can take our program to get them in a better office or management position.”

Business Management Technology is available at the Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Harlingen, and Marshall campuses.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

Computer networkers keep people connected

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – With more people working from home, the internet has been busy.

Renee Blackshear, a Computer Networking and Systems Administration instructor at Texas State Technical College, said computer networkers have been the “unseen essential workers” during the past few months.

“Computer networkers have been able to keep people in communication with each other,” she said.

The TSTC program was spotlighted this month during a virtual visit on Facebook. Blackshear focused the visit on what students will learn over the program’s five semesters. She said her goal was to turn the people watching the virtual visit into students.

“A lot of people may be looking for a different career. I want them to know this is a cool program,” she said.

Blackshear said graduates have found employment with health care systems, school districts, banks, institutions of higher education and telecommunication companies.

“Anywhere there is a computer, there is a need for a computer networking technician,” she said.

Students will learn routing, switching, server development, security and virtualization.

“All of these are important for a successful career in information technology,” Blackshear said.

While the program is available online, students do have lab sessions to complete.

“The best way of learning is by doing,” Blackshear said.

Students who are patient and pay attention to detail will find success, Blackshear said. However, networkers will find the job challenging.

“Within IT, our daily task list changes like the Texas weather: rapidly. This means one minute you could be sitting at your computer answering technical support questions or building a web server, and the next you could be on a ladder running cable across the ceiling for a network drop or setting up a wireless bridge to communicate for remote learning,” she said.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration at the Abilene, Brownwood, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Workforce Training Offers Microsoft Office Courses

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Workforce Training department  is offering nine weeks of online Microsoft Office courses aimed at boosting Texans’ computer skills.

The training will be broken down into three weeks of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Word. The lessons will be taught by Haley Chapman, an instructor in TSTC’s Business Management Technology program in Marshall.

“With everything that is happening in the state of Texas, there are a lot of people that either are out of work or are having to drive to do something in order to make money,” said Dirk Hughes, executive director of TSTC’s Workforce Training in Marshall. “I have always felt like the two most important things to do as far as work is to go home at the end of the day and make yourself as marketable as you can.”

Cynthia Mata, statewide chair of TSTC’s Business Management Technology program, said participants might later earn Microsoft Office Specialist certifications on their own.

“Every business, regardless of the type, needs someone to manage the office environment,” she said.

Tuition for the course is $300. Ten people will be included in every online training cohort. Hughes said he can assist eligible employers in securing small business funding from the Texas Workforce Commission to pay for employee training.

For more information on the Microsoft Office training, contact TSTC’s Workforce Training department at 903-923-3374.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

Industrial Systems program offers a diversity of classes for TSTC students

(ABILENE, Texas) – The Industrial Systems program at Texas State Technical College’s Industrial Technology Center in Abilene offers a diverse curriculum for students.

Instructor Daniel Diaz said students learn different aspects of industrial systems, from hydraulics and electronics to welding and small engine repair.

“We have had students get jobs with the wind industry, prisons and hospitals,” Diaz said. “We teach a lot of different facets, and that helps students in the job market. No matter what the market is doing, we will train students with the skills they need to go where they want to.”

During the three-semester program for the Industrial Systems Mechanic certificate, students perform industry-standard safety procedures, learn mechanical and electrical skills, perfect diagnostic techniques, and read and interpret schematics. In addition, students work with motors, pumps, chillers, boilers and programmable logic controllers.

Current students returned to the Abilene facility this month to complete required lab sessions. Diaz said students are practicing social distancing and have adapted to new safety guidelines, including facial coverings.

“This has taught students to adapt to what has been given to them,” Diaz said. “At any job, you are going to have to adapt and change some things on the fly. This is a good way for students to learn that.”

Diaz said the new safety guidelines have helped him as an instructor.

“It is a good teachable moment. We have to show the students how to be able to adapt to something new,” he said.

Diaz said classes include online lectures, but the most important portion of the course takes place in lab sessions.

“All of the skills students learn come in the form of the labs,” he said. “That is where the bulk of the learning is done.”

TSTC also offers Industrial Systems programs at the East Williamson County, Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Hosts Drive-In Celebration for Spring Graduates

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College honored its spring graduates Saturday morning with a drive-in celebration.

Instructors lined up on both sides of the entrance to TSTC to cheer graduates and their relatives as they drove by in decorated vehicles.  

Barton Day, provost of TSTC’s Marshall campus, read off the names of graduates and gave them diploma covers. An area was designated  for graduates to take photographs with their relatives. The actual diplomas and certificates have been mailed to graduates.

“Our congratulations are sincere and our pride in your accomplishments enduring,” Day told attendees. “Coursework completion was made especially challenging this semester, but you stuck with it and here you are today.”

Instructors were happy to see their students take the next big step in their lives.

“Our students graduating have seen unprecedented changes in their lives in a short amount of time,” said Philip Miller, an instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program. “They have pushed through the hard times and shown their mettle. Though the future is uncertain, they will help forge the next great generation and be the leaders we need moving forward.”

Edward Chaney, lead instructor in TSTC’s Industrial Systems program, said he admired the students’ work in completing their classes in trying circumstances.

“I applaud each and every one of them for climbing the hurdles placed before them and never giving up,” he said. “Their perseverance and drive to succeed is what makes TSTC what and who we are today. We are totally focused on changing the lives of our students, as our lives are equally changed by our students.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to 


More TSTC Programs to Expand Into Evenings This Fall

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College is expanding the number of programs that will offer night classes this fall. 

Nathan Cleveland, TSTC’s associate provost, said the goal is to attract more nontraditional  students to the campus to study in programs that can help them update their skills or learn new ones. He said potential students can still work full time and take care of their families while getting an education.

Night classes in Diesel Equipment Technology and Welding Technology will be offered at the Marshall campus for the first time. The Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization and Precision Machining Technology programs will continue with evening classes.

“We are looking to expand into the nontraditional student market,” said Russell Hutcherson, an instructor in the Welding Technology program. “They can work during the day and look to better expand their options by attending TSTC.”

Philip Miller, an instructor in the Welding Technology program, said shifting into the evenings gives students more flexibility.

“It will also help because we only have two labs,unlike Waco and bigger campuses,” he said. “We can effectively multiply our space per day, which of course will help the students.”

The Welding Technology program will add a Structural and Pipe Welding certificate this fall for both day and night students.

The Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization program offered its first night cohort in January. First-semester students will continue with the program’s schedule of meeting after 5 p.m. and on Saturdays while taking academic courses online.

“We recognize that we have current and potential students that are trying to build a better future for themselves and for their families,” said Edward Chaney, the program’s lead instructor. “Many of our students and potential students need to work in order to support their families while taking classes. By setting our schedules up in this manner, we offer students the opportunity to take classes and still be able to work a full schedule.”

The first night-class cohort of Precision Machining Technology program students will graduate this summer and fall, said Danny Nixon, a program instructor. He said 11 students are scheduled to earn the program’s certificate and associate degree this year.

“It has been very successful with the first group,” Nixon said. “And, we hope to continue that with the new cohort.”

Registration continues for the summer and fall at TSTC. 

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to 

TSTC Alumni Keep Longview Technologically Together

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Three graduates of Texas State Technical College’s Marshall campus are helping to keep the city of Longview safe and technologically advancing.

“There are a lot of positive aspects to working in the public sector,” said Amy Hertel, an instructor in TSTC’s Cybersecurity program. “Government jobs not only allow for great work experience, but allow for benefits like job security, health insurance, retirement and allotted vacation time. Information technology departments normally work in groups, so it’s a great opportunity for team building and a collaborative work environment.”

Joshua Allen, Blake Gore and Rhonda Haydel work in Longview’s information systems department.

Allen has associate degrees in Computer Systems Desktop Support Technology and Computer Networking and Systems Administration and holds a CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) A+ certification.

He joined Longview’s municipal staff in 2014 and said he enjoys giving employees the tools to do their jobs. Allen’s days revolve around audits, data migration, work orders and department phone systems.

“I work on modifying people’s phones, such as changing speed-dial buttons, and some of the more complicated stuff like call trees and options that you are presented with on a call tree,” Allen said. 

He said he did not become interested in technology until he was in high school.

“I just kind of stuck with it,” Allen said. “Mainly, I knew it was an industry that was not going away. There is job security.”

Gore is an applications manager for the city. His role is to oversee the city’s applications, data analysis and geographic information systems groups. Part of his job includes what he calls “issue escalation” when software needs to be evaluated, migrated or replaced in municipal departments.

Gore said the work is rewarding.

“You are empowering people that serve the community,” he said.

Gore graduated with an associate degree in Computer Systems Networking and Technology. He said he enjoyed learning about computer hardware, programming and troubleshooting.

Gore’s advice for people wanting to pursue technology fields is to learn and understand as much as possible.

“Technology is not going anywhere,” he said. “That is what I have thought since going to TSTC. We are getting more technical, more computer-based.”

Gore became interested in technology by building computers beginning in middle school. And, it was this curiosity that solidified his decision to attend TSTC. 

“I knew somebody who was a high school teacher that recommended TSTC for certain students that he taught,” Gore said. “He spoke highly of it, and I went in that direction.”

Gore also considers himself a certification addict. Some of the certifications he has include CompTIA Server+ and CompTIA A+.

“Certifications focus you on a particular area and show you have knowledge about that particular subject,” he said.

Haydel is an information technology specialist primarily working with the Longview Police Department. She began working for the city in 2007 as a city public safety dispatcher and later attended TSTC while working full time. 

“You could easily follow the money trail to the private sector, but if you want the stability and well-rounded job security, looking outside of the private sector businesses and moving to the government side would be a better choice,” Haydel said.

She also earned associate degrees in Computer Desktop Support Technology and Computer Networking and Systems Administration from TSTC’s Marshall campus.

“TSTC had a focus on where I wanted to be,” she said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to 

TSTC Candidate for Graduation: Change Circumstances to Meet Goals

(MARSHALL, Texas) – When Ryan Holm went on what he thought was just another company tour when he was a teenager, he did not know then that he was visiting his future employer.

Holm is a student operator at Eastman Chemical Co. in Longview. He got the job while still a student at Texas State Technical College’s Marshall campus, where he is a spring candidate for graduation. He is scheduled to receive an Associate of Applied Science degree in Process Operations.

“I really enjoyed my time at TSTC,” Holm said. “The classes were engaging, the instructors would help you with anything, and overall, it’s just a nice place to be.”

Nicholas Cram, an instructor in TSTC’s Process Operations program, admired Holm’s quiet confidence.

“He excelled in grasping concepts and understanding their applications,” Cram said. “He has an unusual gift of absorbing information and being able to see the big picture. He isn’t just a ‘book-smart’ young man. He has the ability to put knowledge into hands-on, practical use.”

Holm said he plans to celebrate the completion of his classes with a steak dinner with his mother, finacee and future in-laws.

“What motivates me is where I have come from and where I want to be,” he said.

Holm was born in New Mexico and later moved with his family to Jefferson.

“During high school, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do as far as my future career was concerned,” he said. “I just knew I didn’t want anything to do with oil field work, so far as the drilling aspect of it, because I watched my father, uncle, cousin and other family members consistently laid off as the economy cycled up and down as it does.”

Two months after he graduated from high school, he and his mother lost their house, and they moved in with an uncle. Holm and his mother saved enough money for a few months to build a two-bedroom house.

“Fast forward about a year, and I had moved out and was living in Marshall, working and changing oil at a shop a few blocks away from TSTC,” he said. “After living on less than $300 a week for the last two years and less than that prior, one day I finally had enough and decided it was time to do something different. And that is when I decided to enroll in classes at TSTC.”

Holm was originally in another technical program, but after one semester  he moved into the Process Operations program.

“I remembered way back in high school in agriculture class, we took a field trip to Eastman,” Holm said. “During that field trip, we were handed a paper that had the various jobs and requirements for them. One of those jobs was for operations, and it listed TSTC as one of the schools that was partnered with Eastman, so I switched.”

Holm’s advice for students is simple: Keep going.

“If you try something and it’s not working, don’t give up,” he said. “Take a different approach, try something new, but don’t give up. Don’t change your goal to suit your circumstances; change your circumstances to suit your goal.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to

TSTC Program Offers Pathway to Water and Wastewater Work

(MARSHALL, Texas) – A fascination with chemistry, environmental science, health and safety can lead to jobs in Texas for water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators.

Graduates of Texas State Technical College’s Process Operations program in Marshall can pursue these jobs, along with those at chemical, gas and petroleum plants. The program exposes students to blueprint reading, industrial processes, physics, process instrumentation, and other topics.

“Our training is very broad-spectrum and can be applied to several industries that have a product requiring monitoring and control as it moves from raw material to finished product,” said Nicholas Cram, an instructor in TSTC’s Process Operations program.

The week of May 3 is Drinking Water Week as proclaimed by the American Water Works Association. The week’s theme, “There When You Need It,” celebrates the people  who keep our drinking water supply safe.

“It is important to recognize the critical role water infrastructure plays, every day, in ensuring our tap water is there when you need it for drinking, cooking and hygiene,” said David LaFrance, the AWWA’s chief executive officer.

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators work to disinfect water, take samples, record meters, gauge readings and do equipment cleaning and maintenance.

Texas has more than 10,800 water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers are tested and licensed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which also offers online and in-person continuing education courses for workers.

The city of Marshall’s water treatment facility can produce 10 to 15 million gallons a day, while its wastewater treatment plant can handle eight to 9 million gallons a day. 

Eric Powell, the city’s public works director, said his plant operators work 12-hour shifts during the round-the-clock operations.

The water treatment plant staff uses a supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, system to monitor flow rates and other measurements.

“We do this via wireless and cellular connections and computer software,” he said. “That technology provides us an opportunity to manage remotely. Before that, you had to go to each facility and read a pressure gauge.”

Powell said technology for water treatment changes quickly and can often be costly.

“Wastewater treatment is very traditional,” he said. “The technology is the pumps, motors, filters and screens. It is not software- and computer-based.”

The federal bureau has projected more than 120,000 jobs nationwide up 2028, with people having automation and mechanical skills gaining better opportunities for employment. Powell said college internships are great opportunities for students to learn about water and wastewater work.

“You will always have a job because you need drinking water and there needs to be a place for wastewater to go,” Powell said. “You have to have a sense of public service in your head. We will always need young people to follow the retiring group.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to