(WACO, Texas) – Representatives from Texas State Technical College and Phillips 66 gathered on TSTC’s Waco campus on Thursday to celebrate a relationship that not only benefits TSTC students through scholarships provided by Phillips 66, but also benefits the energy giant with a reliable source of skilled technicians in the form of TSTC graduates.
Rachel O’Donnell, senior advisor for University Relations and Recruiting, Talent Acquisition at Phillips 66, along with several of her company colleagues, presented a check for $50,000 to The TSTC Foundation.
The money is earmarked for students in TSTC’s Electrical Power & Controls and Instrumentation Technology programs, both through scholarships and through TSTC’s Helping Hands funds.
O’Donnell expressed her appreciation for TSTC and graduates of the two programs.
“On behalf of Phillips 66, this is an institution that we wholeheartedly support,” she said. “The caliber of students that we get from this school is outstanding. So it supports not only Phillips 66, but it supports our energy industry. We talk about sustainability and new things happening in the energy industry, and it’s technical skills like this that play a big part in what that’s going to look like for the future of our industry.”
Beth Wooten, CEO of The TSTC Foundation, noted that the relationship between Phillips 66 and TSTC is invaluable to student success.
“We are incredibly thankful for the loyal support and partnership of Phillips 66 over the past four years,” Wooten said. “Tuition scholarships bridge the financial gap critical to program completion. What makes this gift even more impactful is the addition of financial relief that will be available to students facing unforeseen hardships. Providing emergency aid to our students allows TSTC to take the extra step of seeing our students through to the finish line.”
“Coming out of COVID, there’s a greater need for that, and we want to support that need,” she said. “It’s about retention and making sure that students have those resources and tools that they need so that they can continue on with their program, graduate, and enter the workforce.”
Edgar Padilla, provost of TSTC’s Waco campus, knows the importance of such industry partnerships to the ultimate success of TSTC students.
“We always appreciate industry that believes in the quality of our students and works to build that relationship, because these dollars directly impact student success and access to these programs that lead to quality employment,” he said.
Chad Herzog is instrument superintendent at Phillip 66’s Sweeny Refinery and a graduate of TSTC’s instrumentation program. He said his company has a remarkable success rate in hiring TSTC instrumentation graduates.
“We have three new hires that came from TSTC,” he said. “Two of them just hired in at the first of June, and they are doing fantastic. Going through the program right now, we’ve got two other technicians that we hired about a year ago that came from the TSTC program, and they are doing phenomenal as well. I think TSTC has a very good instrumentation program. We enjoy partnering with TSTC and hope to continue the relationship into the future.”
Mike McGee, maintenance and reliability superintendent, Gulf Coast region, at Phillips 66 Midstream, admires the workforce preparation that students acquire at TSTC.
“The students that we get from TSTC, they come in and are prepared,” he said. “They have the knowledge, they have the hands-on experience. So to be able to have the students understand the tools that they need for the job, the safety aspect, is a huge part of it. They understand that right from the get-go.”
Herzog was excited to tour TSTC’s instrumentation program and see what changes have taken place on the Waco campus since he graduated three decades ago.
“I was a student 30 years ago here, and I graduated in August of 1990 from the program,” he said. “At that time, (Phillips 66’s) instrument superintendent was coming up here and actually interviewing students on campus. I got a job offer from (Phillips 66) and kind of went up from instrument technician through the ranks, and I’m the instrument superintendent at the plant now, so I’m getting to come back to TSTC as that. It’s really exciting.”
Even though Phillips 66 only began donating scholarship money to TSTC a few years ago, the company and the college go way back.
“A lot of the guys before me from back in the ’80s, those guys were from TSTC as well,” Herzog said. “So Phillips 66 has had a longtime relationship with TSTC.”
Texas employs the second-most electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians in the nation, and in 2020 their annual median income was $69,310. By 2028, those jobs are expected to increase by 8% to 13,370 statewide — much higher than the national average.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Power & Controls at the Abilene, Fort Bend County, North Texas and Waco campuses. The Instrumentation Technology program is available in Waco and also offers an Associate of Applied Science degree
For information about giving to The TSTC Foundation, visit tstcfoundation.com.
Registration is underway for the fall semester. Scholarships are available. For more information, visit tstc.edu.