Diesel engine skills have translated into a career with hydraulics for Cody Rice
(ROSENBERG, Texas) – When representatives from MEYER, a manufacturer of oil well testing equipment and well control systems, visited Texas State Technical College’s Fort Bend County campus in February, Diesel Equipment Technology student Cody Rice took note.
“I was like, ‘All right, that sounds like something I’d want to do,’” he recalled of the visit, adding that one perk that especially interested him was that MEYER would supply the tools and equipment he needed to get started.
A visit to MEYER’s Corpus Christi headquarters and the opportunity to meet the company’s employees there sealed the deal.
MEYER offered Rice a sign-on bonus, assistance for moving, help paying for school and a flexible schedule so that he could finish his certificate of completion in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program.
“Everybody’s pretty proud,” Rice said of his loved ones’ reactions. “It’s a great job opportunity, kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
His mother, Traci, celebrated her son’s achievements.
“It was great — I was so excited,” she said of her reaction to the news of the opportunity with MEYER. “I was so proud. He is a fourth-generation mechanic. That just tickled his dad to death.”
Rice graduated with honors during TSTC’s recent Spring 2022 Commencement. His interest in engines presented itself early.
“I’ve been a gasoline mechanic since before I knew my colors,” he said. “I knew my screwdrivers before I knew my colors.”
Rice’s background translated easily to class and labs in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program, instructor Brandon Foster said.
“When he came here, you could tell he was mechanically inclined,” Foster said of Rice. “Whenever it came to your beginner courses, he would be able to help students who were struggling. He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind.”
Foster has been excited to see his former student seize the opportunity that MEYER offered — especially since the position requires hydraulics work instead of work on diesel engines of big trucks.
“What that tells us is that companies like this will still be able to take our graduates and put them to work,” Foster said. “It opens up more opportunities for avenues going through our programs. The opportunities are limitless.”
Rice advises current and prospective TSTC students to pay attention to the simple things — especially since a hydraulics course helped pave the way to his opportunity with MEYER.
“The hydraulics course I paid attention to, and I would mess around with the simulation,” he said. “It really helped with the job I’m at. I have the leg up on people here just because of a hydraulics lab.”
TSTC’s campus in Fort Bend County offers training in Diesel Equipment Technology for heavy truck specializations. The program is part of the college’s Money-Back Guarantee. If participating graduates are not hired in the industry within six months of earning their degree, TSTC will refund their tuition.
In Texas, diesel engine specialists can earn an average annual salary of $47,850, according to onetonline.org, which projects the number of positions to grow statewide by 14% through 2028.
At 23,950, Texas employs the highest number of diesel engine specialists in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Registration for the summer and fall semesters is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.