Diesel

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Finding the right person to work for his company is important to Mike McHugh, plant manager of the Buzzi Unicem USA plant in Maryneal.

During a recent employer spotlight, he told some Texas State Technical College Diesel Equipment Technology students of the many opportunities available at the plant and how the company works to better the community.

“We have a lot of opportunities to offer the graduates of TSTC’s Diesel department,” he said. “We loved to partner with TSTC.”

According to its website, Buzzi Unicem’s Maryneal plant produces more than 1.1 million tons of cement a year. That cement is used in the oil fields of West Texas, McHugh said.

During the spotlight, McHugh introduced one of his mechanics, Antonio Ponciano, a 2020 graduate of TSTC.

“He is one of our top employees at the plant,” McHugh said. “He has a really good background in diesel mechanics, largely because he went to TSTC.”

Ponciano’s supervisor, Pete Gizzi, agreed.

“He was hand-picked by Mike for the job,” Gizzi said. “He does a tremendous job for us, mainly because of his previous experience before attending TSTC and by what he was able to learn at TSTC.”

Ponciano told students that TSTC prepared him for a career.

“I was ready to get out there and into the field by going to TSTC,” he said. “TSTC helped put me in the position I am in today.”

McHugh discussed salary ranges at the company, which led to many students asking for more information about jobs. He said the company had 12 openings in the maintenance department prior to the Christmas holidays.

“Our students were impressed with everything they heard about the company,” said Lane White, a Diesel Equipment Technology instructor. “They were surprised with the salary ranges available at a company in Nolan County.”

McHugh said that offering quality jobs is the best way to attract qualified employees.

“We strive to make sure we offer great-paying jobs for our employees,” he said.

Gizzi said Buzzi Unicem is a place where many people could make a lifelong career.

“The company opens a lot of doors for people,” he said. “With TSTC being only 30 minutes from the plant, it could be a great place for graduates to work.”

McHugh said the company is involved in several community projects in Nolan County. The plant’s signature sponsorship and involvement is with Kids on the Land, which teaches third through fifth grade students about the natural world, as well as stewardship and conservation of natural resources.

“We do a lot of other projects in the community because we care about where we live and work,” McHugh said. “Our company believes in helping our communities become better.”

According to onetonline.org, jobs for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists were expected to increase 19% in Texas from 2020 to 2030. 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.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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