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(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College alumnus Ulises Perez recalls when at a young age he would observe his grandfather’s craftsmanship as a homebuilder in Mexico.

“I found his homebuilding process fascinating,” he said.

That fascination, combined with Perez’s interest in fixing household objects when he was growing up, informed his later interest in drafting and engineering. Little did he know that he was on a trajectory to a fulfilling job at Garver, an engineering, planning and environmental services firm with more than 1,000 employees in 17 states across the U.S.

“I wanted to repair any items that were broken in the house,” he said. “That’s how I developed a love for engineering. In high school I took an engineering dual enrollment class through TSTC. That turned out to be an introduction to drafting. I realized the job opportunities that were available in that industry.”

His early introduction to architecture and engineering would lead Perez to graduate with associate degrees from TSTC’s Computer Drafting and Design Technology program in 2008 and Engineering program in 2021.

One week after he graduated with his first associate degree from TSTC, Perez accepted a full-time job as a computer-aided drafting design technician with AIA Engineering Ltd. in Houston. After seven years there, a new job opportunity arose with HDR Engineering in Corpus Christi.

“I performed transportation drafting by helping engineers develop plans for roads, bridges and any other transportation needs for TxDOT and other entities,” he said.

In 2019 Perez relocated to Harlingen to begin work as a senior computer-aided design drafter with Garver. He proved his abilities and now is a production and design team leader.

Ernesto Flores, a water infrastructure design center manager for Garver, said Perez’s commitment to his team makes him a valuable asset.

Garver is a firm that’s dedicated to connectedness and making sure that we have a support system within the company,” he said. “Ulises has most definitely become that. He now leads our production and design team, which consists of the senior designers just like himself. He has also taken the reins of mentoring and developing our younger staff.”

Perez said the company’s work culture is motivating.

“It’s a family-friendly environment, and I work with a collaborative team,” he said.

He is grateful for the training that he received at TSTC.

“The hands-on aspect of the program was engaging — especially the labs,” he said. “The instructors were open to the questions we asked and helped us understand the course material. They also helped us find job opportunities through their connections.”

Hector Yanez, TSTC’s senior vice president of student learning and a former TSTC Drafting and Design instructor, said Perez was known for his exceptional drafting skills and attention to detail.

“Ulises showcased a combination of technical proficiency, mentoring abilities, coordination skills, and a passion for his field,” he said. “These leadership characteristics highlighted his potential for success in the world of civil engineering.”

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit

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