TSTC graduate Kris Guilliams (right) is an operations manager for North American Substation Services. He is shown shaking hands with one of his former TSTC instructors, Douglas Clark. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Marshall native Kris Guilliams now enjoys traveling as part of his job. But back when he was thinking about where to go to college, the idea of a long commute did not appeal to him. A cousin suggested that he look at Texas State Technical College.

“It was close to the house,” Guilliams said. “They had a degree program that matched what I wanted to do.”

That degree program was Instrumentation Technology, which has since been incorporated into the Automation and Controls Technology program in Marshall but is still offered in Waco

Guilliams said balancing school, a part-time job and sleep was no easy task but the program’s instructors were helpful and knowledgeable.

“When you were learning PLCs (programmable logic controllers) with Mr. (Douglas) Clark, it wasn’t like you were learning,” Guilliams said. “He made learning fun.”

After receiving his Associate of Applied Science degree from TSTC in 2016, Guilliams worked for a couple of different companies before finding his footing with North American Substation Services (NASS), which specializes in transformer and substation apparatus installation, service and repair. He has worked at the company for almost seven years.

While Guilliams said managing four different crews can be challenging, the job has provided him with memories such as watching Independence Day fireworks from a cruise ship that he and his crew worked on in Boston Harbor.

“I’ve gotten to go places and see things that most of my peers would never see,” Guilliams said. “I’ve talked to so many people that I went to high school with that never even left this area, and I’ve been to all 48 mainland states and Alaska.”

Guilliams said he enjoys training recruits at NASS and seeing them reach their full potential. Despite having a supervisory role, he said he never stops learning.

“Don’t join the workforce with your degree thinking your education is done, because it’s just beginning,” Guilliams said.

Clark said he has watched Guilliams’ career over the years. 

“He’s grown up quite a bit,” Clark said. “He got through the program, got out, got some experience under his belt, and now he’s excelled where he’s at. He’s the crew chief — that’s a big responsibility and a big deal. I’m proud of him.”

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.

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