(MARSHALL, Texas) – Hector Ramirez is glad to continue going to college while working in East Texas.
Ramirez, a Gilmer resident, graduated from Texas State Technical College in 2018 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization. He returned to TSTC’s Marshall campus to earn an associate degree in Automation and Controls Technology in 2020.
He is currently enrolled at The University of Texas at Tyler, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology and a minor in business.
“I didn’t have to go out of state,” he said. “I still get to see my family and friends, work, and not get into debt.”
Ramirez is putting his skills to good use, working in industrial maintenance at Republic Elite in Marshall.
“You see something different every day,” he said. “It is a cabinet company, and there is a lot of dust. You will get a lot of electrical problems. You have to change out motors and bearings. The equipment we work on is from Germany, so it is interesting seeing the prints.”
Ramirez said skilled technicians like him are vital to ensuring companies’ smooth operations like the one where he works.
“Maintenance is the backbone of companies,” he said. “If you cannot fix a machine by the end of the day or week, the assembly line could shut down. It is important and interesting to me how it all works and makes the company run.”
Ramirez said his two associate degrees make a good combination. He said some of his favorite classes focused on electrical troubleshooting, hydraulics, and pneumatics.
Edward Chaney, TSTC’s statewide chair of the Industrial Systems program, said Ramirez is the kind of student that faculty in the program crave.
“Hector was the type of student that was willing to put forth the effort to learn as much as he could,” Chaney said. “When assignments were delivered, Hector was always willing to help other students in the class.”
Ramirez was born in the state of Queretaro in Mexico. He and his family came to the United States days before he started sixth grade and settled in Gilmer, where they still reside.
“It was tough,” Ramirez said. “We didn’t speak any English at the time. They almost held me back that year because the teachers were suggesting it was for the best. For some reason, they didn’t. I went to seventh grade and started picking up being able to communicate better.”
Registration continues for the summer and fall semesters at TSTC. For more information, go to tstc.edu.