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TSTC Grad Makes Career at Keppel AmFELS

Saturday, August 10, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

GarzaWhen Luis Garza graduated from Texas State Technical College 20 years ago, he never envisioned spending most of his life working as a welder.

Garza, a 1991 Los Fresnos High School graduate, graduated from the Automotive Technology (AUT) Program at TSTC.

“I was always around cars,” Garza said. “My dad was a mechanic so it was the obvious choice for me when I started going to school.”

But the future had other plans for the father of three.

In 1997, Garza inquired about a job at Keppel AmFELS in Brownsville. Garza said three of his uncles had worked for the offshore and marine industry giant and they encouraged him to “look into” getting a job with the company.

Garza took a six-week training course at the training center on site and when he took his welding test, Garza passed it on his first attempt.

“They hired me right away,” Garza said. “This company has done a lot for me. And I’m very grateful for that…I’ve really learned a lot while I’ve worked here.”

Garza said he took one welding class while at TSTC but the job came naturally to him. Garza said in 16 years, he’s grown immensely as a welder and an individual.

“it’s a tough job but I’ve matured a lot over the years,” Garza said. “I love it here.”

Garza’s ties to TSTC aren’t the only thing joining Keppel AmFELS and the Harlingen college.

Through TSTC’s Corporate and Community Development division, employees of Keppel AmFELS can take continuing education courses at TSTC. The course being offered is a three-week pipe fitting class.

Keppel AmFELS Human Resources and Training Administrator Rudy Marks said the relationship between TSTC and Keppel is in its early stages but it is growing.

“Keppel AmFELS is now part of the TSTC Welding Advisory Board,” Marks said. “And we’re moving toward recruiting more of TSTC’s graduates too.”

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