(WACO, Texas) – The TSTC Foundation unveiled a plaque on Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus on Tuesday, in recognition of contributions to TSTC from Southwest Aerospace Technologies LLC totaling $6.6 million.
On hand for the ceremony, which took place at TSTC’s Col. James T. Connally Aerospace Center, were several TSTC aviation students and faculty members; TSTC administrative officials; Kurt Encinias, founder, president and CEO of Southwest Aerospace Technologies; and Shelly Verlander, senior district manager and project coordinator for state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury.
TSTC Board of Regents chair Curtis Cleveland and member John K. Hatchel, as well as TSTC Foundation board member Harold Rafuse, were also in attendance.
Edgar Padilla, provost of TSTC’s Waco campus, started the proceedings.
“TSTC strives to provide a skilled workforce for the state of Texas,” he said. “With the help of industry partners, TSTC and The TSTC Foundation continue to open doors for both student and employer success. Today’s recognition is for an extraordinary gift of high-tech equipment that will strengthen our ability to train the next generation of technicians for the aviation industry.”
Mike Reeser, TSTC’s chancellor and CEO, noted the importance of the gift to the college’s ability to provide the best possible training for future aviation technicians.
“As generous as the state of Texas is to us in our annual funding, there’s always a need that exceeds the means,” he said. “And when corporate partners step forward and fill that need with extraordinary gifts, we’re able to maintain our position as the leading technical provider in the state of Texas. Today we’re here to commemorate that.”
Encinias spoke about the aviation industry’s aging workforce and the need for skilled technicians to replace them as they retire.
Addressing the assembled aviation students directly, he said, “It’s students like you that are going to be the future, and our goal is to make sure that you’re the best (trained) possible to get ready for the future of aviation.”
Beth Wooten, CEO of The TSTC Foundation, read aloud the plaque’s inscription, which concludes: “This generous contribution ensures that TSTC continues to train best-in-class technicians.”
The plaque, now on permanent display in the aerospace building’s main lobby, or “terminal,” commemorates Southwest Aerospace Technologies’ recent donation of a large inventory of Global Express parts that will be used in TSTC’s aviation curriculum.
The college offers Associate of Applied Science degrees and certificates of completion in Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology at its campuses in Abilene, Harlingen and Waco.
Southwest Aerospace Technologies is a certified FAA/EASA 145 Repair Station and parts supplier headquartered in Georgetown, Texas. For more information, visit www.southwestaerospace.com.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.