(SWEETWATER, Texas) – DeMarcus Kelley knew he wanted to work on big trucks when he was older like his brother does.
After hearing what his brother, D.J., learned while studying at Texas State Technical College, Kelley decided to follow a similar path. Now Kelley is studying for a certificate of completion in Diesel Equipment Technology to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a diesel mechanic.
“It is a big leap of faith for me to study Diesel Equipment Technology,” he said. “I knew I would be attending TSTC because my brother told me it is the only place to get a good education in this field. D.J. told me that I would get a taste of everything I need to know. He really sold me on this program.”
Kelley, of Abilene, said it was spending time on the road and attending car shows that led him to pursue a career in diesel mechanics.
“My brother and I always had a passion for big trucks,” he said. “When we would go to car shows, we were drawn to the big trucks. We loved being able to look at the 18-wheelers closely at the shows or anytime we could.”
Lane White, a TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology instructor, said Kelley shows the character of someone who will work hard and continue to learn.
“Like his brother, DeMarcus is going to do good things in the industry,” he said. “He came into the program with the right attitude, and I know he will continue to work hard to learn as much as he can.”
Kelley said his current classmates have become a second family because they share the same passion for working on diesel engines.
“We have become a family in class,” he said. “We want to make sure we are able to succeed on each task we are presented with.”
While in the lab, Kelley said working on the differentials and transmissions has been the most challenging, as well as the most rewarding, part.
“Working on the challenges has taught me to be patient with myself,” he said. “Not everything is going to go your way. That is when I tell myself to keep my head high and head up so I can accomplish my tasks.”
His attitude has been apparent since he started classes in August.
“I have noticed a drastic change in things I have learned during class,” he said. “Having a positive attitude has helped me during school.”
Kelley credits his instructors, White and Shannon Weir, for treating the shop as more than just a classroom as one of the reasons for his success.
“They are the best teachers I have ever had because they want us to succeed,” he said. “They want our feedback on each task because it will only make us better. D.J. told me to make sure to listen to what they tell us because they are the best instructors to learn from.”
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 the state earn an average annual salary of $50,970, the website stated.
Diesel Equipment Technology is available at TSTC’s Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. Depending on campus location, the program offers Associate of Applied Science degrees with different specializations, as well as several certificates of completion and a Basic Diesel occupational skills achievement award.
The program 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.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.