Waco Electrical Power and Controls Matthew Machner

(WACO, Texas) – A trip to Indiana during the pandemic led Harlingen native and Navarro County resident Matthew Machner to reassess his future.

Machner and his wife, Jordan Campbell, a senior enrollment coach in the HVAC Technology program at Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus, had traveled to Indiana to see her grandfather.

“We went around his hometown, and he pointed out a building and said he built it,” Machner said. “I thought to myself how jealous I was. I was so envious that he could point to things that transformed people’s lives because of his hands. It was his skill that made the world a better place.”

After learning about the work that his grandfather did as a substation technician, Machner toured the Electrical Power and Controls program at TSTC’s Waco campus and decided it was an essential field that he wanted to go into.

“I could point to concepts I was part of, but nothing that I built,” Machner said. “I felt I was lacking and I needed to contribute more than I was taking.”

Now Machner is a candidate to receive an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Power and Controls at TSTC’s Spring 2024 Commencement scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, at the BASE at Extraco Events Center in Waco.

Machner said his favorite class was Motor Controls but he found learning about programmable logic controllers challenging. 

“It was a little daunting, but I think our faculty are outstanding at what they do,” he said. “With the baby steps along the way, they transformed my confidence and my own ability to perform tasks within the electrical world.”

Bryan Necessary, an instructor in TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls program, said Machner exhibited qualities early on that make for a great technician.

“He was always curious, never afraid to ask questions, and had the patience to apply the lessons that he learned in his classwork to his lab assignments,” Necessary said. 

Machner attended the Harlingen Independent School District’s Early College High School, where he was named prom prince during his senior year. While there, he was a dual enrollment student at TSTC’s Harlingen location. 

Machner and Campbell met as students in high school and went to separate universities.

“He was handsome as ever and so outgoing,” Campbell said. “He was always campaigning or trying to get your vote for something going on.”

Machner chose to pursue government at what was then The University of Texas at Brownsville, now The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where he was in its first graduating class.

“I had said back in high school that my idea of a great career field would be working as a lobbyist,” he said. “That was something I really wanted to do. I got to do that for one legislative session in Nevada.”

Machner said he learned that political work means not being employed in the same location for long. His parents encouraged him to apply to TSTC for employment. He was soon working in events management, and later he worked in the chancellor’s office as a staff associate and then as a field development officer at The TSTC Foundation. He began taking Electrical Power and Controls classes while working at TSTC.

“TSTC has been a huge part of every milestone in my life,” Machner said. “My entire life is different with TSTC.”

Machner will begin work in early June for Shermco Industries Inc. as a field service technician, working on distribution equipment and performing preventive maintenance. He said he expects to work in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu

tstc logo