Dave McMillan is a graduate of TSTC’s Web Design and Development program. He now works as an online operations director for BH-USA. (Photo courtesy of Dave McMillan.)

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Longview resident Dave McMillan could not help but recall his unrealized passion for computer coding while helping his son apply to study at Texas State Technical College. Encouraged by his family, the elder McMillan set out to make his own dreams come true by signing up for TSTC’s Web Design and Development program.

McMillan began teaching himself coding at age 16 when his father and older brother built a computer for him.

“I’d always been fascinated with how the internet worked and how it took all these symbols and letters together and made art out of it,” McMillan said.

Life got in the way of McMillan’s plans to major in computer science after he graduated from high school, resulting in his dropping out to work in the oil fields — and later, e-commerce — for over 10 years. It was learning about TSTC that helped him find his second chance.

Being a college student in his 40s was not without its challenges. Despite balancing a full-time job, raising a family and working toward his Associate of Applied Science degree at TSTC, McMillan had a love for learning that helped him to take all of it on while still being at the head of his class.

“I was a 4.0 student because I wouldn’t allow for anything less,” McMillan said. 

His high marks paid off, allowing him to compete in the 2023 SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference in Houston. He placed second in the Web Design and Development competition and, later, fifth at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

McMillan’s determination to succeed did not go unnoticed by his TSTC instructors. Web Design and Development instructor Julie Rhoades praised McMillan’s hard work to achieve his dreams. 

“Dave was a serious student who made his education a high priority,” Rhoades said. “He used great time-management and self-discipline skills to complete his work completely and accurately. With his great work ethic, he will excel in whatever he pursues.”

Now McMillan shines in his career with BH-USA, a marine supply company in Longview. Originally working there in e-commerce, he transferred to the position of online operations director after graduating from TSTC in summer 2023.

BH-USA’s graphic designer Sandy Leach appreciates McMillan’s guidance and collaborative spirit in the work environment.

“Dave is a standout team member who consistently goes above and beyond with willingness to help others,” Leach said. “Dave is a true asset for our entire team at BH-USA.”

In the future, McMillan plans to network with other coders and developers and possibly find a part-time job with a development company. He is even considering teaching coding after he retires, which is one of the reasons that he keeps in contact with his former instructors at TSTC.

McMillan credits a lot of his success to his wife and kids.

“It’s not just my story, it’s my family’s story — I just get to be the focal point of it,” McMillan said.

For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.

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