Waco SkillsUSA Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology graduate Miguel Reyes

(WACO, Texas) – A recent graduate of Texas State Technical College’s Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology program at the Waco campus received a silver medal at last week’s 2024 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Miguel Reyes, of Waco, placed second in the Plumbing contest.

Reyes, while still a student at TSTC, qualified in April to represent Texas at the national conference by placing first in the Plumbing contest at the 2024 SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference held in Houston.

Tony Montoya, an instructor in TSTC’s Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology program, coached Reyes for the state contest and worked with him to prepare for the national conference.

“Miguel has worked diligently during his two years in the plumbing program, demonstrating great integrity and dedication,” Montoya said. “Winning at the state level and securing second place nationally speaks volumes about the hard work and determination Miguel has invested in his craft.”

Reyes received advice from Chris Martinez, a TSTC Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology alumnus who received bronze medals in the Plumbing contests at the 2022 and 2023 SkillsUSA national conferences.

“He (Martinez) told me the schedule I needed to be on,” Reyes said. “He said to finish the cast iron and PVC pipe the first day. He said to just take it slow and steady, making sure the work was neat and correct. I did not want to rush and mess up on any measurements and did not want it to be sloppy.”

Besides placing first in last spring’s contest, Reyes was third in the state in 2023.

“I had realized that I had a lot of learning to do,” he said. “From last year to this year, I learned a lot, especially being in a job. I put that field work to use. I have seen plumbing from different perspectives. I feel that prepared me. I felt like I had a better chance competing in SkillsUSA.”

Reyes works as a plumbing apprentice at Rabroker Air Conditioning and Plumbing in Hewitt. He returned to work on July 1, just two days after returning to Waco from Georgia.

“My company supported me with SkillsUSA,” Reyes said. “They encouraged me to go. They like having a worker that is standing out a little bit.”

Reyes is a graduate of Waco High School. He was among more than 40 students from TSTC’s Abilene, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses who competed at the national conference. The event was held June 24-28 at the Georgia World Congress Center, Omni Atlanta Hotel at Centennial Park, and State Farm Arena in downtown Atlanta.

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit professional organization teaching employability, leadership, and technical skills that can help middle school, high school, and college students pursue successful careers and be part of a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA has more than 100 leadership, technical and trade competitions.

For more information on SkillsUSA, go to skillsusa.org.

For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu


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