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.edu.