(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The Mechatronics Technology program at Texas State Technical College’s Harlingen campus has produced many graduates who have made their mark on the industry.
One such alumnus is AJ Tijerina. He has been employed as a meter lab electrician with American Electric Power in Corpus Christi for five years and resides in Brownsville.
He credits his success at AEP to the training he received at TSTC.
“I learned the importance of alternating current and direct current,” he said. “It gave me the insight of how to be safe and how to measure the voltage and current in our meters.”
A few years ago, Tijerina earned a certificate of completion in Industrial Systems at TSTC. A year later, he returned and earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Mechatronics Technology. In spring 2021, he earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Management Technology at the college.
Now he is pursuing an online Bachelor of Science degree in Energy Management from Franklin University.
In Tijerina’s role with AEP, one of several job duties he performs is testing the meters that return from a factory. He analyzes the results to ensure compliance per company standards.
Six months into his job, one of his colleagues was on the verge of retirement after 47 years. Tijerina recalled thinking he would have to step up his performance.
“I began training with my colleague immediately,” he said. “It was fast-paced training. He offered great insight on how to do certain procedures and how to work hard.”
Tijerina added that one of his favorite job duties is assisting AEP employees that work out in the field.
“I am very good at resolving their issues and doing follow-ups,” he said.
Karyn Phillips, meter laboratory supervisor for American Electric Power, is thrilled with Tijerina’s job performance.
“AJ’s customer service to our front-line employees is an example to all other employees in this department,” she said. “He is also very knowledgeable in using the latest electric meter programs for distribution generation, such as solar, wind and other residential generation.”
In Texas, electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians can earn around $69,000 a year. The number of these jobs in the state is expected to increase 8% by 2028.
TSTC offers Mechatronics Technology at the Harlingen campus, where students can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree or an Electromechanical Automation occupational skills award.
Registration for the spring semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.