(SWEETWATER, Texas) – A tragic event led Korbin Elder to study Diesel Equipment Technology at Texas State Technical College.
In 2019, Elder’s grandfather died in an accident while driving his truck. His grandfather failed to navigate a turn late at night on a rural highway in Scurry County. That incident led the Hermleigh High School graduate to a career crossroad.
“I decided to have a career working on diesel trucks to prevent what happened to my grandfather from happening to someone else,” he said.
Instructor Keith Aguirri did not know Elder’s entire background, but is proud he chose to pursue his passion.
“We all have something that happened to us that made us who we are,” Aguirri said. “That will help you build confidence in what you are able to do.”
Instructor Shannon Weir said he understood Elder’s passion for diesel technology after learning about the loss of his grandfather.
“Like all of us, Korbin has been through a lot in his life,” Weir said. “I think he is going to grow from this and accomplish a lot in his life and career.”
Elder has been around diesel trucks his entire life. He enjoyed driving his grandfather’s and father’s trucks while they were on the road. But being able to work on the engines and other aspects of the vehicle is what he now enjoys.
“It has been fun working in the shop. I realized quickly that there was a lot more to it than I thought,” he said. “We just finished our finals this month and it was stressful. But it is good to be able to see where you are at and what you have been able to learn.”
Elder said that he sees his dad showing interest in his training at TSTC.
“I have shown him some of the videos of me fixing things in the shop,” he said. “My dad is impressed with what I have been able to learn since I started the program.”
Elder said that he made the decision on a diesel career after hearing about TSTC and the opportunities for graduates.
“They came to our school a lot and I was immediately drawn to this program,” he said. “There are so many opportunities in diesel mechanics, especially with how the industry is looking right now.”
According to onetonline.org, jobs for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists are expected to increase 14% in Texas by 2028. Such technicians employed in Texas can earn an annual average salary of $47,850, the website stated.
Elder is studying for a heavy truck certification, but hopes to continue school in order to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree. He is juggling school and work while adjusting to life on his own.
“It has been difficult to find the time since I work full-time and go to school,” he said. “Plus with a full-time job, I know I have to do my best and work and school to pay the bills.”
Elder is pleased that the instructors are available to help anytime he asks.
“They really care about you as a person,” he said. “They do not want to fall through and not complete the program.”
In addition, Elder likes that TSTC offers employer spotlights for students — especially in his case because he has not decided where he wants to work after completing school in December.
“There are so many things I can get into with this training,” he said. “I am excited to see where it takes me.”
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, in Diesel Equipment Technology.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.