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TSTC Student Prepares for ‘Safe’ Career Upon Graduation

December 06, 2019 by Daniel Perry

(WACO, Texas) – Nathan Craig of Hamilton found his footing on Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus, following the path of a few family members. 

Coming from a family of first responders, Craig, 21, has a strong interest in the emergency services field. When he came to TSTC, he was unsure of what route to take. But he found his niche in the Environmental Technology program, which focuses on workplace safety and compliance. 

“The biggest thing that draws me to it is that it does kind of intertwine with the emergency field,” Craig said.

Craig is a candidate for graduation at TSTC’s Fall 2019 Commencement on Friday, Dec. 6, at the Waco Convention Center. He will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Environmental Technology – Compliance. 

Craig said his plan following graduation is to weigh his current job prospects. His goal is to pursue a bachelor’s degree. 

TSTC’s statewide Environmental department chair Lester Bowers said Craig’s work ethic is only one of his many assets.

“He has proven himself to be a gentle and selfless individual when it comes to matters of social justice and is an expert in efficiently managing his time so he can be a part of all of these various communities,” Bowers said. 

Occupational Safety instructor Kimberly Williams said Craig has been in her class multiple times and is a consistently dependable and punctual student. 

“You can just put him on autopilot and give him instructions, and he is going to do a good job,” Williams said. “You don’t have to stay on him.” 

Craig’s interests go beyond environmental safety, including aviation and culinary arts. However, He said that he was drawn to the safety aspect of his degree. 

“It is important, the fact that you are in a situation where you are in control of keeping people safe,” Craig said. 

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TSTC Auto Collision Program Receives Service King Grant

December 06, 2019 by Daniel Perry

(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program celebrated the end of the fall semester at its traditional barbecue on Thursday.

Representatives of Service King presented program faculty with a $5,000 2019 Service King School Grant through the Collision Repair Education Foundation.

Clint Campbell, TSTC’s statewide Auto Collision and Management Technology chair, said the grant is an opportunity to purchase equipment the program’s budget cannot cover.

Roy Villarreal, Service King’s apprenticeship development director in Richardson, said the company looks forward to partnering with the program on its curriculum and other needs.

“The end goal is to have that easy, smooth transition for the graduates to go into one of our shops,” he said.

Campbell said future work with Service King can enlighten students on how much they are needed in the auto collision and management field.

The program also honored students graduating at TSTC’s Fall 2019 Commencement on Friday, Dec. 6, including those students who had perfect attendance during the semester.

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TSTC student soon to be well-rounded graduate

December 05, 2019 by Amanda Sotelo Sotelo

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – On Friday, Texas State Technical College student David Krenek will walk across the stage at the Stafford Centre and receive his associate degree in Industrial Systems.

“It feels great knowing that I’m done and about to graduate,” said the 20-year-old. “It’s time to move forward and get my life started. That’s exciting.”

At a young age, the Rosenberg native discovered his passion for working with his hands and tinkering with machinery.

“It’s this type of work that allows me to think outside of the box,” he said. “Working with machinery and its components to create, repair or troubleshoot is something I love to do, and I’m glad that at TSTC I can create a career out of my passion.”

College was always in the cards for Krenek, but he wasn’t always sure about attending a four-year university.

“I saw this new school (TSTC) along the highway and decided to check it out,” said Krenek. “And after some research and a tour of the campus and the Industrial Systems program, I was sold. It was the modern, industry-standard equipment I would be trained on and the program’s faculty that sealed the deal.”

Krenek said the program has brought him a long way since the summer days when he worked with his uncle on the farm, repairing farm equipment and small engines.

“I knew a bit about machines, but TSTC has really given me an in-depth understanding of them and what it takes to repair and maintain them,” he said. “I can’t wait to put my training into good use.”

Krenek has already received several job offers from companies around the Houston area.

“I’m ready to start working, and I can’t believe how fast TSTC got me there,” said Krenek. “There is still so much to learn, but TSTC has given me the foundation I need to begin a successful career.”

He added that he enjoyed his experience at TSTC, from training to faculty assistance.

“I received a lot of one-on-one with my instructors, which helped in understanding concepts and processes,” he said. “And even better was the hands-on training and real-world practice I got to do in the classroom.”

Krenek will graduate as a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

“I’ve come a long way, and I’ve entered a new chapter in life,” he said. “I hope to gain experience, learn a lot, advance in my career, start a family someday and enjoy life the best way I can. This is only the beginning.”

Krenek will celebrate with family and friends on Friday, joining nearly 100 other students at the Fort Bend County campus who will graduate with a certificate or associate degree as part of TSTC’s Class of Fall 2019.

This month, statewide, more than 1,000 TSTC students will join an alumni network that is 100,000 strong.

Industrial Systems is also offered at TSTC’s Abilene, East Williamson County, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses.

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TSTC Alumnus Uses Curiosity to Progress in Career

December 02, 2019 by Daniel Perry

(HUTTO, Texas) – Edreich Torres grew up in Georgetown taking broken items and putting them back together.

“I believe that my love for knowing how things work and wanting to fix them has always driven me to pursue the next big challenge that awaits me,” he said.

Torres graduated in 2016 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Maintenance – Mechanical Specialization from Texas State Technical College’s East Williamson County campus.

“TSTC helped me learn how to create, interpret and read many different types of schematics,” he said. “TSTC taught me how to troubleshoot fluid, mechanical and electrical systems.”

Lance Antilley, an instructor in TSTC’s Industrial Systems (formerly Industrial Maintenance) program, said Torres is a good example of the kind of graduates TSTC produces for employers. Students in the program learn about basic electrical theory, boiler maintenance, hydraulics, pumps and other equipment.

“He is a driven individual and an excellent technician,” Antilley said. “He picked up on everything very quickly.”

Torres has been at ICU Medical in Austin for about a year and is a senior electromechanical technician. The job requires him to have knowledge about electrical distribution panels, fluid systems, mechanical systems and programmable logic controls.

“Here at ICU, I help fix, maintain and troubleshoot many different types of issues with fabrication machines that make IV bags for hospitals,” Torres said.

Torres, who lives in Jarrell, said the company’s teamwork drives him in his work.

“The culture that has been established here at ICU Medical has taught me to work more methodically and diligently when troubleshooting,” he said. “This low-stress environment motivates me to perform at a higher level.”

California-based ICU Medical specializes in the development, manufacturing and sale of critical care products for cardiac monitoring, closed-system transfers and infusion therapy.

Aaron Keat, ICU Medical’s talent acquisition lead in Austin, said the company works with organizations that help place military veterans and is represented at career fairs to find technically skilled job candidates. The company also partners with TSTC.

“Over the last several years, it has been increasingly more challenging to find qualified candidates to fill our maintenance-mechanic openings here in Austin,” Keat said.

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TSTC Alumnus Takes Career to New Heights

November 27, 2019 by Daniel Perry

(WACO, Texas) – Michael Mojica has the products you need to go on your next adventure. 

Mojica, a graduate of Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus now living in Centennial, Colorado, has invented products and owns a company combining his appreciation for the outdoors and design.

“If we have unique, novel ideas that have true utility, there is a real opportunity in America to chase those ideas,” Mojica said. 

Mojica’s evolving inventions began with a fire-starting quick release slide buckle and moved to a survival paracord bracelet that people can use to start fires. His invention, The Firebiner®, was named “Best Gadget” by Backpacker Magazine in their 2019 Gear Guide. It was also given a “Radical by Design” award at the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show, the largest outdoor gear show in the nation.

“I thought most people can roll a wheel, like on a lighter,” Mojica said. “I also thought most people who love the outdoors have a carabiner as a keychain. I put the two together and added a couple of other simple features, and the Firebiner® was born.”

Mojica will soon launch a multi-tool carabiner called the “Fire Escape.”

The items are part of Outdoor Element, the adventure survival gear company Mojica founded in 2012. He said he loves controlling his own path and thinking freely for new ideas to come to life. 

Mojica grew up in Hillsboro and always loved taking things apart and building off of one thing to the next. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies and a minor in Textile Design from The University of Texas at Austin. 

“I knew I was meant for design,” he said.

After graduating, Mojica sought out a skills set to enter the engineering industry. He enrolled in what is now TSTC’s Architectural Drafting and Design Technology program in Waco.

“Drafting on the board gave me the ability to think and understand in 3D, and represent in 2D,” Mojica said. “The CAD (Computer-Aided Design) hours that TSTC provided gave me the perfect base training to deal with the stress of the real word and hard schedules.”

Manny Avila, an instructor in TSTC’s Architectural Drafting and Design Technology program, said Mojica was an intelligent, driven student who always sought to learn more. 

“He worked hard and would investigate various designs that were offered to him, and he produced excellent work,” Avila said.

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