Waco Welding Technology Bill and Zander Martin father and son

(WACO, Texas) – Bill Martin and his son, Zander, see a lot of each other.

The Martins live in Killeen and commute together to the Welding Technology program at Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus. They are both pursuing certificates of completion and are scheduled to graduate in August.

“It makes it a lot easier,” Zander Martin said of studying alongside his father. “Stuff that I struggle with, he is good at, and what he struggles with, I help him.”

Before moving to Texas, the Martins lived in Monmouth, Illinois. Zander Martin said he did some hands-on work early on with his father in their home’s garage.

“He tried helping where possible, but lack of tools and lack of patience teaching a kid got me,” Bill Martin said.

The family liked to go on driving vacations to Florida and South Dakota, and to cities in Texas such as Amarillo and San Antonio.

“We spent a lot of time in Texas during the summers,” Zander Martin said. “We travel a lot, and I love being in Texas.”

Bill Martin worked at a warehouse and lost his job while the family still lived in Illinois. He decided at that point that he wanted a career change.

Meanwhile, Zander Martin was making plans of his own.

“I was graduating high school early, so I decided to look for welding schools,” he said. “This (TSTC) was just one that popped up as one of the best ones to go to.”

Zander Martin said his TSTC roommates helped him acclimate to Texas during his first semester. He began classes in early 2023.

Bill Martin joined him in mid-2023 to take classes in the Welding Technology program.

“Having both Bill and Zander in the same program is something I would have never expected to happen,” said Jodie Martin, Bill Martin’s wife and Zander Martin’s mother. “I’m so proud of both of them for taking the opportunity. I can’t wait to see them graduate together and see where their careers take them.”

Bill Martin said the last time he welded before coming to TSTC was more than two decades ago. He said he had to relearn the techniques involved in a quality weld.

Bill Martin said his favorite kind of welding is tungsten inert gas welding, while his son prefers stick welding.

Austin Allen, program team lead in TSTC’s Welding Technology program, said instructors have taught father-son student combinations in the past. He said the contrast between the older and younger students is obvious.

“It does bring forth an extra effort from the child that, looking back, has benefited both father and son in that desire to achieve more,” Allen said.

The Martin father-and-son duo will soon work together professionally. They have accepted jobs at Butler Weldments Corp., a metal fabricating company in Cameron, and will begin work in mid-August.

Registration continues for the fall semester at TSTC. For more information, go to tstc.edu

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