Tag Archives: TSTC in Sweetwater

TSTC Welding Program Meets Industry Need

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – The welding program at Texas State Technical College is training and educating highly skilled welders quickly to continue to meet industry demand. 

Texas has the highest employment level for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And demand is expected to keep growing.

“The students come in and earn a Certification Level 1 – Structural Welding in three semesters and are trained in various welds like MIG, TIG, flux-core, stick, oxy-fuel, brazing and more,” Taylor Elston, welding instructor at the Sweetwater campus, said.

As students near graduation, Elston spends time with each one figuring out their career plans and caters to their education with that in mind.

“About the third semester, we’ll start asking the students which type of welding they enjoy most and where they want to live and what kind of job they want. Because in welding there are so many specializations, they can have a choice of where they end up,” Elston said. “So, once we learn what they really want to do, we’ll help them start preparing for that weld test so they can get the job they want.”  

One of the biggest appeals to the welding program for student Kelton Grigsby was TSTC’s proximity to industry and dedication to job placement.

“I want to work in Lubbock, and TSTC is close to those industry leaders. There is a big need for welders. I have family in welding, so I know how lucrative welding can be,” Grigsby said. 

Grigsby began welding in high school. After graduating from Godley High School in 2018, he decided to attend TSTC. 

Clint Faulkner also chose the welding program for career growth opportunities.

“My dad and I have been building metal buildings, carports and other structures for the past four years, and it was important that I get a refresher on my welding and get the technical skills here,” Faulkner said. 

After a nine-year career in truck driving, Faulkner, a Big Spring native, decided he needed a career that was more physically active. 

Grigsby and Faulkner are expected to earn their certificates and graduate in August.

TSTC students spend a majority of their time in the lab with hands-on practice to ensure the technical skills, but Elston says the college is also dedicated to ensuring that students are job-ready.

“With the TSTC Career Services team helping us, we really make sure the students have not only the quality education, but also the soft skills like resumes and job etiquette,”  Elston said. “We make them treat school like their job; they have to show up and show up on time. So when they graduate they won’t just be good welders, but also good employees.” 

Elston encourages anyone interested in the program to come to the campus and schedule a tour.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, go online at tstc.edu.

Texas State Technical College students at the Sweetwater campus practice their welding skills to prepare for high demand careers.

TSTC Student Veteran First in Family to Graduate College

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – When Texas State Technical College student veteran, Juan Lopez decided to go back to school, he didn’t realize the new, literal heights he would reach with his degree. 

Lopez, from San Antonio, is a student in the Wind Energy Technology program and is expected to graduate in August 2019 with his Associate of Applied Science degree. Before graduating, Lopez has already started working in the field for Airway Services, Inc. as a wind technician scaling 300-feet-tall wind turbines.  

“I drove past wind turbines a lot and always wondered about them, but I had no clue that there was a job that let you climb 300 feet up to work on them. Once I did more research into the program, it seemed right up my ally with all the maintenance, problem solving and working with my hands,” Lopez said. 

Before starting at TSTC, Lopez served in the Marine Corps from 2002-2012. After the military, he worked in the oil field but decided he needed more job security. .

“Wind turbines are right in my backyard, the work is steady and the money is good. I can be close to home and provide for my wife and daughter,” Lopez said. 

Lopez says his 10-month-old daughter was a large part of the reason why he wanted to be the first in his family to graduate with a college degree. 

“There’s a sense of accomplishment for me, but also I want to do it for her to give her the best I can,” he said. 

Lopez’s dedication to his school work was obvious to instructors Ron Rendon and Mary Madden, both Navy veterans.

Juan was one of my best students;  always on time, assignments were always completed on time.  He was a mentor to several students, and has a great work ethic, always going above and beyond in every aspect,” Rendon, instructor for wind turbine technology said. 

As classes went on, Lopez found out he shared more than just veteran status with Madden –  they had served on the same aircraft carrier – the USS Nimitz (CVN-68). 

“Juan and I spent some time remembering life on board ship and compared notes on tours we both made overseas,” Madden, instructor for electromechanical technology said. “He is a hard worker, and he wants to take care of his family.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor and the American Wind Energy Association based in Washington DC, Wind Turbine Technology is “the fastest growing job in America.”  Lopez says he is trying to recruit his military and oil field friends to come check out the wind program.

“I mean there’s nothing quite like it when you’re getting to work that high up. And, you’ve got a real chance to move up in the company with the degree from TSTC,” Lopez said.

Lopez encourages prospective students to stay motivated and find what will drive them to succeed. 

Fall Semester registration is ongoing right now. For more information about TSTC, log on to tstc.edu.


Juan Lopez is a TSTC Wind Energy Technology student veteran working for Airway Services, Inc. He is expected to graduate August 2019.

TSTC Employee Recognized for 35 Years of Service

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Sweetwater native Glen Bedgood was recently recognized for his exceptional 35 years of service to Texas State Technical College during TSTC’s Employee Appreciation Day. 

Since graduating from East Texas State University, now Texas A&M University-Commerce, as a double major in computer science and commercial art, Bedgood has spent his professional career serving the students and employees of TSTC. 

“I just felt, and still feel, like this place was my calling. After I graduated college, I came back home to Sweetwater, and it all just fell into place that I should be at TSTC,” Bedgood said. 

Although Bedgood serves as the senior internal systems analyst for TSTC Human Resources, he has worn many hats during his time at TSTC. He says each job has allowed him a rare chance to understand all the roles at the college and helped him better relate to his TSTC teammates. 

His dedication to efficiency and putting the ‘human’ in human resources has made him stand out to his co-workers over the years. 

“35 years — what an exceptional milestone! Glen has held many positions at TSTC, and his success is due to his attention to detail, job knowledge, and ability to communicate with all he interacts with,” TSTC Provost Rick Denbow said. 

To one employee in particular, watching Bedgood receive his 35-year plaque was a very special moment. 

Jacob Bedgood, Glen Bedgood’s son and a TSTC graphic designer, said the moment put into perspective how much his father has dedicated to the college. 

“Having grown up only ever knowing my dad to be a TSTC employee, it doesn’t always hit me just how much of his life and his energy he’s devoted to this organization,” he said. “It’s certainly a lot to live up to, both as a son and as a fellow employee. But I’m fortunate to have him setting that example for me. I’m definitely proud of him.”

One of Glen Bedgood’s favorite things about working at TSTC is the opportunity to make a positive change in a person’s life. 

“There is something about sharing knowledge and teaching that is just really fun, and I love it. I truly believe in the mission here at TSTC and seeing students succeed,” he said.

While 35 years may sound like a long time, Bedgood has no intention of leaving anytime soon. 

“As long as I am doing good for the college and can make a difference, I don’t know why I would ever leave. This is a job I love,” Bedgood said. 

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

Glen Bedgood was recently recognized for his 35 years of service to Texas State Technical College.

Two TSTC Employees Recognized With Statewide Award

(Sweetwater) – Two employees at Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater have been honored for their outstanding service and dedication to TSTC.

James Spivey, a building maintenance supervisor, and Karen Waller, chief of staff of Strategic Relations, have received TSTC’s Chancellor’s Excellence Awards.

“Yearly, the Chancellor’s Excellence Award honors those who have consistently demonstrated a work ethic above and beyond their job descriptions, which aligns with our core values of excellence, accountability, service and integrity. On a daily basis James Spivey and Karen Waller exemplify these values; hence, their induction into this elite group is well deserved,” Rick Denbow, provost at TSTC in West Texas, said.

The Chancellor’s Excellence Award began in 2001 and has been given to more than 300 TSTC employees statewide. Recipients are nominated by their peers for their work toward advancing the technical college’s mission.

“The teammates who win this award model excellence for us all and are recognized for both their sound character and for advancing TSTC’s new direction,” said TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser. “Due to their caring and dedicated efforts, TSTC continues to make a difference in the employment success of our students.”

Spivey joined TSTC in 2016 as a maintenance worker and quickly moved up to a leadership role. He was surprised to learn he had won the award but sees it as a win for his team.

“This means my team is working really hard because they are the ones that make me look good. I am exceptionally proud of them, and I am personally flattered,” he said.

Spivey’s first encounter with TSTC was when he was in high school taking welding courses at what was then known as Texas State Technical Institute. He says fate must have been sending him a sign because he decided to work at TSTC after reconnecting with his high school sweetheart, another TSTC employee, who is now his wife.

“This is my home. A lot of places you work at they don’t even know your name, but here there is compassion. I will be here for as long as TSTC will have me,” he said.

Spivey said this is the first time he has received recognition for his work from a company.

Waller felt honored to win the award and said it fueled her passion even more.

“I truly appreciate that my peers felt I deserve this honor. Our work at TSTC is important because we can affect so many lives and have a positive impact in a student’s life and career,” she said.

Waller has dedicated her career to education and has worked the last 26 years in education administration. She started at TSTC in 2012 and promotes educational partnerships with other community colleges, universities and industry leaders.

“I am very proud of my accomplishments at TSTC and plan to continue to make TSTC a great place to work and also a great place for our students to get an education. We are here to educate our students and provide them with a foundation that will serve them the rest of their lives,” she said.

A Snyder native, Waller has lived and worked in the West Texas area her whole life. She is a certified public accountant and has a bachelor’s degree in interior design and a master’s degree in income tax accounting from Texas Tech University.

Spivey and Waller will join 33 other TSTC employees statewide who will be honored at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s Excellence Awards Dinner and Celebration in May in Austin.

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

Two TSTC Employees Recognized With Statewide Award

James Spivey, from Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater, is a building maintenance supervisor. He was awarded the Chancellor’s Excellence Award. 

Two TSTC Employees Recognized With Statewide Award

Karen Waller, from Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater, is chief of staff of Strategic Relations. She was awarded the Chancellor’s Excellence Award.