Waco Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology

(WACO, Texas) – Tony Montoya, of Axtell, is an instructor in the Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology program at Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus.

He is a graduate of La Vega High School and McLennan Community College. 

Recently Montoya talked about TSTC’s Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology program and the job outlook for its graduates.

 

How did you become interested in plumbing?

Throughout my life I was taught if you wanted something, you had to work for it. At an early age I was introduced to the plumbing field by my father, who worked for Larry Blackburn, a reputable plumber in the 1990s. I saw that plumbing was a great career field due to the demand of running water, natural gas, drainage systems, oxygen, and a lot more necessities of everyday life. Once I started working, I was not only interested in the money flow that plumbing produced, but the complexity of the trade, such as how backflow worked, what created thermal expansion and how different types of plumbing fixtures worked.

How did you become interested in teaching at TSTC?

I became interested in teaching at TSTC when I had a Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology student, Edgar Hernandez, come to work for me during his co-op. I was a lead plumber at Central Texas Plumbing Solutions in Waco where I took young, new recruits into the field and trained them. I developed a program where the guys could work with me for several months to a year before getting their license and branching out running their own truck or crew. 

When I saw the position to teach at TSTC and the opportunity to mold the minds of the students, it was a no-brainer. I spoke to (instructors) Jimmy Bibb and Chris Porter with the program and they gave me affirmation that I was on the right path. Since I have started, not one day has felt like work for me. Being able to do something that I am passionate about while helping change students’ lives in the process is a win.

What do you hope your students take away from the program once they graduate?

My goal as a plumbing instructor is to make an impact on my students’ careers and lives. I really am pushing to change the perception of plumbing from the public’s point of view. We need to spread the word about the complexity and technological system and scenarios plumbers have to face every day. I want my students to leave and be able to know the correct way to do the task at hand and also have an upper hand on how to make a job easier by small tips and tricks that I have developed throughout my career.

How much is technology used in the plumbing field?

Technology is being used in the field daily, from newly designed applications for laying out job sites via 3D images to thermal leak detection with devices such as drones. There are several technology methods that are available that company owners do not know about. We (the faculty and I) are all hoping to advise our students about the different types of technology that are available for them to be able to make their job a little easier.

How are the job opportunities for program graduates?

The demand for licensed plumbers in Texas is extremely high. A lot of companies are looking for young individuals in the trade that have knowledge of the new technology that can be resourceful to the trade and business. I have several close relationships with business owners in Central Texas that are waiting to get TSTC graduates from the program. 

 

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology – Journeyman and certificates of completion in Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology – Apprentice With Endorsements and Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology – Tradesman, along with an occupational skills achievement award in Basic Plumbing.

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

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