(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Leo Tamez, of Harlingen, recently completed his first semester of teaching in the Automotive Technology program at Texas State Technical College’s Harlingen campus.
“It’s great to see the students’ reactions when they understand my approach to fixing an item on a vehicle,” Tamez said. “My objective is to find a method for each student to learn their own way.”
Miguel Zoleta, who is TSTC’s Automotive Technology program director in Harlingen, welcomed Tamez to his team last August.
“Leo fit into our program’s culture because of his industry experience, passion for teaching and enthusiasm,” he said. “Now his innovative ideas have helped our program grow.”
Tamez’s interest in the automotive field was first sparked when he was in high school.
“During my sophomore year, I replaced the cylinder heads on my own vehicle,” he said. “From that point forward, I became interested in learning more about how vehicles function.”
Tamez started working in the automotive industry in 2012 shortly after he graduated with a certificate of completion from another college.
He relocated to South Texas and accepted a job as both a shop foreman and a diagnostic technician with Edinburg City Limits Automotive in 2012.
“My duty was to oversee the shop’s technicians and diagnose vehicle errors,” he said.
Additional opportunities arose when he became a master technician at Pep Boys in 2013, then an assistant service manager at Bert Ogden Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Ram in 2016, followed by a lead technician at Firestone in 2017 and a specialist technician at Bert Ogden INFINITI in 2018.
Tamez added that his fellow colleagues at TSTC have made his job enjoyable.
“This group of Automotive Technology instructors works as a team,” he said. “That’s how every place of employment should be. I want to improve my craft to teach with better efficiency.”
The need for qualified automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow in Texas over the next several years. According to onetonline.org, Texas employs more than 55,000 of these technicians around the state, and that number is forecast to top 61,000 by 2030. The average annual salary for a technician in the state is $46,680.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology. Certificate programs and an occupational skills achievement award also are available.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.