(SWEETWATER, Texas) – James Simonetti plans to use his knowledge and skills to mentor Texas State Technical College Electromechanical Technology students.
An ordained pastor who felt that he was being called to teach, Simonetti recently was hired to be an instructor in the program. He will draw on his years of experience in a variety of fields to help the next generation of technicians.
“I drove through Sweetwater with my wife and believed in God’s plan,” Simonetti said of his decision to begin a career in higher education. “I knew we would need to take that next step, and this was it.”
Simonetti said the approach that TSTC takes with its students will help them find careers.
“Everyone here works to raise the students up. It is instilled in the culture of TSTC,” he said. “We want people to succeed. That is one thing that drew me to come here and educate our future leaders.”
For Simonetti, he will follow the lead of Arnoldo Soto, also an Electromechanical Technology instructor.
“Arnoldo is phenomenal in what he does with this program,” he said. “I am going to learn from him while I also help mentor our students.”
Simonetti is receiving additional guidance from Wind Energy Technology instructors Russell Benson, Gary Blake and Billie Jones.
“TSTC has a wonderful team of instructors in the wind program,” he said. “They have a passion that I am glad to be part of.”
Simonetti said his goal for students will be simple.
“I want to empower the next generation of skilled workers so they value the worth they bring to a career,” he said. “The students need to believe that they will be successful.”
Success has driven Simonetti from the start of his career, which began as an apprentice electrician in 1983. In 1989 he earned his journeyman’s license, and he has not looked back while working throughout the United States.
He has worked in residential and urban construction, field service engineering, and automation. His resume includes work on everything from chilled water units to instrumentation systems in hospitals.
Simonetti said he made the decision in 2020 to put his life in God’s hands. After a conversation with his wife, the couple quit their jobs in Massachusetts and moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he found employment as an industrial mechanic.
“We have been on a Holy Ghost rock ’n’ roll trip ever since,” he said. “I became an ordained pastor and worked for the Teen Challenge Adventure Ranch in Arkansas ministering to teenage boys.”
Eventually Simonetti listened to his heart and made the move to Texas. He began researching jobs in Texas and found TSTC’s opening in Sweetwater. He said having a future in education was the best decision he could have made.
“I am excited to be teaching the basic knowledge the students will need to be successful,” he said. “I want to give them a solid foundation to look back on at work and remember they learned it from me and TSTC.”
According to onetonline.org, the need for electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians in Texas was forecast to increase 14% between 2020 and 2030. The website stated that the median salary for these technicians in the state is $62,970.
TSTC offers a 20-month Electromechanical Technology Associate of Applied Science degree and a 16-month Electromechanical Technician certificate of completion. Both are available exclusively at the Sweetwater campus.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.