(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Aron Guajardo grew up in Donna, Texas, and is a graduate of the South Texas High School for Health Professions in Mercedes. He also has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Mechatronics Technology from Texas State Technical College in Harlingen.
Guajardo has a maintenance position at PVC pipe manufacturer JM Eagle in Wharton. His work involves doing electrical, mechanical and programming work on extruders and saws. He also maintains the computer network around the plant and keeps servers functional.
What inspired you to study Mechatronics Technology at TSTC?
From a young age, I wanted to understand how things worked. When it was time to choose a path after high school, I had many options laid out in front of me. When I was looking at programs at different colleges and universities, nothing really stood out. I knew I wanted to do something in the engineering and robotics field, but I stumbled upon the Mechatronics Technology program offered at TSTC. After learning about the two-year program and what opportunities laid ahead once completing it, I decided I would study Mechatronics Technology.
How did TSTC prepare you to enter the mechatronics field?
The Mechatronics Technology program at TSTC helped me understand the various basic concepts I would later work with in my current career. I have developed many skills such as robotics, troubleshooting and motor controls. Without the foundation laid out by the instructors at TSTC, many of the jobs I currently perform would have been difficult to understand.
What motivates you to wake up each morning and go to work?
In the field of mechatronics, there will be different challenges presented almost every day. The best days are when I work on a machine that has been giving us trouble for so long and it gets solved and repaired.
What is a typical workday like for you?
I clock in and look at the production schedule for the day and respond to any emails that came in after hours. I walk out onto the production floor to talk to the night shift about any concerns they may have or any abnormal behavior coming from the machinery. If there is something to cause concern, I will bring it up to the production supervisor and attempt to schedule the line down for maintenance. If there is not, I work on the lines that are already scheduled to be serviced and repaired. Unless there is an emergency, I work on the other half of my position, which is maintaining our warehouse stock and ordering parts.
Why is mechatronics the best field for students to go into?
If you like to take things apart and want to see how the industrial world really works, or if you like working with your hands, Mechatronics Technology will help you have a career that builds on what you already like. It offers a diverse range of career options you may not have considered.
What is the best career advice you have received?
My brother told me, “You always want to work for the number one company in the field.” I took that to heart, and I now understand why. When you work for a top company, you also feel included in their accomplishments. It makes one feel proud to work there.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website, electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians in Texas make an average yearly salary of more than $69,000. Jobs are centered in the Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio areas. The agency has projected a need for more than 13,000 workers in Texas by 2028.
TSTC offers Mechatronics Technology on its Harlingen campus, where students can earn an associate degree or an Electromechanical Automation occupational skills award.
Registration continues for the fall semester, and scholarships are available. For more information, go to tstc.edu.