(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Jacob Vigil has always been mechanically inclined.
While working full time at The Auto Clinic in Snyder, Vigil is broadening his skills by studying Diesel Equipment Technology at Texas State Technical College. He hopes that his certificate of completion specialization in Heavy Truck will lead to more career opportunities.
Vigil spent his childhood working on different pieces of equipment, and that has carried over to his adult life.
“I love what I do. I always loved to take apart things just to see how they work,” he said. “My dad sold horses when I was young, so I was always hauling hay around. The equipment would break down, and we would be the people to fix it.”
At The Auto Clinic, Vigil said he takes some of his knowledge with him to help repair vehicles. He hopes to stay with the family-owned business after completing his studies to show his appreciation to owner Robbie Jamison.
“They have been so good to me by allowing me to go to school and work,” Vigil said. “Unlike my time in the TSTC lab, I work a lot by myself to get the job done when I am in the shop. I enjoy working that way and in the team setting we have in the lab.”
Spending time in the lab has allowed Vigil to learn different aspects of an engine.
“It is nice to learn the more technical side of the engine,” he said. “The electrical systems now are something everyone is looking at in the engine. There is a lot that goes on in making the engine go.”
Jamison said Vigil’s work ethic shows when he is in the Snyder shop.
“He has an enthusiasm I have not seen in a long time,” he said. “He is an absolute joy to have in the shop.”
Instructor Lane White said Vigil is one of the more dependable students in class.
“His confidence shows in everything he does. He is a leader among our students, and he wants to be successful in everything he does,” he said.
Vigil said his experience at work is helping him in the TSTC lab.
“A lot of the odds and ends of the things I do at work are the same as in the lab,” he said.
Jamison said what Vigil has learned at TSTC shows when he is at work.
“Jake has a passion for diesel. It is not something we specialize in, but it is good to have that experience,” he said. “He is going to have a great career.”
Vigil said he sees himself working on heavier equipment in the future.
“I hope to one day work on maritime engines,” he said. “I have always wanted to work on those types of engines.”
Having his certificate will benefit Vigil in the future.
“I know that I have five years of experience, but to have my certification will be an added benefit,” he said. “I knew a lot before I started the program, and it’s good to get that additional knowledge.”
According to onetonline.org, jobs for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists are expected to increase 19% in Texas from 2020 to 2030. Such technicians employed in Texas can earn an annual average salary of $47,850, the website stated.
Diesel Equipment Technology is offered at the Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. It is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee program. If a participating graduate does not find a job in their field within six months of graduating, TSTC will refund their tuition in full.
TSTC offers Associate of Applied Science degrees with different specializations, as well as several certificates of completion and a Basic Diesel occupational skills achievement award, in Diesel Equipment Technology.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.