Hunter Rees, a TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology student, switched gears from studying animal science at a big university to pursuing his love of diesel engines at TSTC’s campus in Fort Bend County.

Hunter is leveraging skills from TSTC’s Diesel Equipment program in a new job at Bobcat

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Hunter Rees had been working in an animal clinic for five years and taking classes like organic chemistry and biology at a big university before he realized that becoming a veterinarian was not for him. A professor at the university and a doctor who worked at the clinic warned him that caring for pets would always be a compromise.

When Rees took a step back to figure out what he really wanted to do, he chose Texas State Technical College’s Diesel Equipment Technology program. His university credits transferred, allowing him to pursue both an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion with an anticipated graduation in December 2022.

At a recent TSTC Industry Job Fair, Rees was hired on the spot by a local Bobcat equipment dealership.

“He has a huge desire to learn and is truly interested in this,” said Jake Moyer, a TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology instructor. “He did such a transition and thought about why he wanted to be here. He’s an intelligent kid and very driven. He’s going to get far in life, and he just brightens everyone’s day.”

How has your experience been so far in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program?

Great. Fantastic. At first I was a little worried — is this something I’m going to be able to get enough out of? After talking to a few people who have gone to other trade schools, I learned this is probably the best spot for me. With the instructors — how personable they are with their students and how hands-on it is here, it’s been a fantastic journey and a great experience. I’m definitely learning a lot here.

What have been some of your favorite moments at TSTC?

My first semester, I was in a very small class with Mr. Moyer, one of the newer instructors. Everybody was able to get our hands on something. He would watch us and give us small pointers while we would tear apart a motor and put it back together, just learning everything about it. Being able to do that and working with people with the same mindset as me, wanting to be here and learn this, I think it’s a bunch of little moments. One of the best feelings I’ve had here was just talking with the instructors. Mr. Moyer has been a great mentor.

What was it like being hired by Bobcat, and how has that experience been?

I’m loving it. It was kind of mind-blowing at first. I was like, “Did that really just happen? That’s really cool.”

It’s been good — training at first and shadowing technicians. They’re moving me around, starting to test me. Leaving me alone on smaller jobs to see if I can figure things out for myself. It’s been a lot of fun. Just as some stuff transfers from here at TSTC to Bobcat, it’s a two-way street. I’ve seen some really cool stuff at Bobcat that we’re just now starting to talk about at TSTC.

What keeps you motivated?

At Bobcat, getting the hands-on experience is priceless to me. I want to be somewhere I can own and manage. I want to move up so I’m not turning a wrench at 40 years old. I have to get every ounce of experience that I can while I can so I can do that as soon as possible with as much knowledge and confidence as possible. At TSTC, though, I don’t think I need much of a motivator other than I love it. There’s a lot of cool stuff to learn about. The experience here is its own motivator.

What advice do you have for prospective Diesel Equipment Technology students?

Delve deep. If something interests you, pursue it. Now’s your chance to learn and get hands-on experience. Make connections with your instructors because they love to teach. They have so much knowledge. Ask them questions.

 

TSTC’s campus in Fort Bend County offers Diesel Equipment Technology training with heavy truck specializations, as well as an occupational skills award in Basic Diesel. The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee. If participating graduates do not get hired in a job in their field within six months of earning their degree, TSTC will refund their tuition.

At 23,950, Texas employs the highest number of diesel engine specialists in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Diesel engine specialists can earn an average annual salary of $47,850 in Texas, according to onetonline.org, which forecasts the number of positions to grow in the state by 14% through 2028.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. Learn more at tstc.edu.

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