(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Jennifer Cable likes puzzles. It is only natural that she sees a diesel engine as one big puzzle.
Cable is looking to make solving puzzles a career with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Diesel Equipment Technology at Texas State Technical College. The Abilene native is scheduled to graduate from the Sweetwater campus in spring 2023.
“I like to do puzzle games. I have always liked to take things apart and put them back together,” she said.
Working in the TSTC lab has shown Cable that her puzzle-solving skills can come in handy.
“I always look at stuff and try to identify it correctly. I then want to put it back together the right way,” she said. “If you put one thing on incorrectly, you are going to have problems. That is especially true with the clutch. If it is not on correctly, you are not going to be able to go anywhere.”
Cable, who has dyslexia, said watching her instructors and classmates is the best way for her to learn.
“I learn a lot better by watching someone show me what to do,” she said. “I have always been a hands-on learner because of my dyslexia.”
A career in diesel mechanics has always been one piece of Cable’s future. Her grandfather, father and fiance all have mechanical experience.
“My grandfather retired from the diesel field and was also in the Air Force,” she said. “My father was a mechanic for Texas Healthcare Linen for 10 years.”
Her fiance, Jacob Weir, completed the Automotive Technology program at TSTC and now works for Quality Implement Co. in Rotan.
Cable said if she needs help, she has many people to reach out to, including her instructor and future father-in-law, Shannon Weir.
“He is very encouraging in the shop and away from school,” Cable said. “Everyone is always telling me that ‘you can do it,’ which helps me press on.”
Shannon Weir said Cable works daily to improve her skills, and he sees a bright future for her in the diesel industry.
“Jennifer is a really hard worker,” he said. “She will be able to go anywhere she wants in this field because she is dependable. I would hire her in my own shop because of her ability to work.”
Cable said her classmates are also a good resource when she finds herself stuck on a puzzle piece.
“My classmates and I text each other a lot, especially if we are having problems with an assignment,” she said. “It makes me feel better knowing that we are able to ask each other for help.”
During the fall semester, Cable will be part of Shannon Weir’s Preventative Maintenance course, something she is excited about.
“This will take you from bumper to bumper,” Shannon Weir said. “At some point, I am going to throw some ‘bugs’ in the truck, and the students will have to find them.”
For Cable, that is the one part of the course she is anticipating the most.
“I cannot wait to get in there and find out what is wrong and fix it,” she said. “I know what it is supposed to look like and if it is not right. This will be an exciting challenge for me.”
No matter where Cable’s career leads, she has one goal.
“I want to be able to further my knowledge,” she said.
According to onetonline.org, jobs for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists were expected to increase 14% in Texas from 2018 to 2028. Such technicians employed in Texas can earn an annual average salary of $47,850, the website stated.
Diesel Equipment Technology is offered at the Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. It is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee program. If a participating graduate does not find a job in their field within six months of graduating, TSTC will refund their tuition in full.
TSTC offers Associate of Applied Science degrees with different specializations, as well as several certificates of completion and a Basic Diesel occupational skills achievement award, in Diesel Equipment Technology, depending on campus location.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.