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TSTC Electrical Lineworker instructor ready to bring experience to the classroom

July 10, 2020 by Naissa Lopez

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Angel Toledo enjoyed an extensive career with the Brownsville Public Utilities Board for over 30 years. Last February, he joined Texas State Technical College as an instructor for the Electrical Lineworker Technology program. He hopes his knowledge in the field not only helps his students build careers of their own, but also inspires them to love what they do.

What motivated you to want to become an instructor?

I am interested in sharing my experience in the electrical industry. I want to share the importance of safety while working on power lines. All the instructors teaching these courses at TSTC have 52 years of combined experience and knowledge, which is great.

Do you have any favorite TSTC memories so far?

I’m still new to TSTC. But as of now, I have found that TSTC has a great family tradition and professionalism with its faculty and staff.

What do you hope students gain from taking your courses?

I hope my students will understand and follow all of the safety rules. I hope to teach and share my knowledge with them about climbing, framing, connecting, troubleshooting, distribution and transmission, and underground circuits.

What advice would you give to anyone who is considering a career as a lineworker?

Lineman jobs are going to continue to rise and have great starting hourly salaries. In my opinion, being a lineman is one of the most decent professions in the world.

Fall registration is now underway. For more information on TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker Technology program, visit

TSTC provost featured in Valley Women Inspire magazine

July 10, 2020 by Naissa Lopez

Cledia Hernandez, provost of Texas State Technical College’s Harlingen campus, was featured in the summer 2020 issue of Valley Women Inspire, a free quarterly magazine published in the Rio Grande Valley.

Valley Women Inspire’s mission is to empower women in South Texas, and Hernandez’s determination and resilience are just a few of the traits that made her the perfect cover story for the magazine.

“Provost Hernandez was an incredibly charismatic and welcoming host at the regional spelling bee hosted by TSTC,” said Ernie Garrido, deputy editor of the Valley Morning Star. “Several of the Inspire team members who met her there knew immediately she would be a perfect person to profile as our cover story for the summer issue.”

In the issue, Hernandez, a first-generation college graduate, detailed her journey on the winding road to success. She credits the work ethic she saw in her parents for getting her where she is today.

“She shared very moving and emotional memories of her childhood,” said Garrido. “Her message is exactly what Inspire magazine is all about, and we certainly hope our readers will be moved and encouraged by her story.”

Life lessons from Hernandez’s childhood continue to influence her today.

“There comes a point in your life when you realize that everything your parents told you growing up truly resonates with you,” she said. “My dad taught me never to look at the barriers you may face. Instead, he always told me to look at how I could overcome them.”

Those lessons have helped Hernandez build a career that allows her to achieve her biggest passion: education.

“Our students are why we do what we do,” she said. “Knowing that I have an amazing group of colleagues I can surround myself with is inspiring. The impact that all of us have together is what drives me. The sky’s the limit.”

The latest issue of Valley Women Inspire is available now.

Fall registration at TSTC is currently underway. To learn more, visit

TSTC alumni overcome hardship to find success

July 10, 2020 by Naissa Lopez

Started in 2016, iServe Biomedical is a leading provider of medical equipment repairs serving the Houston area. Founders Javier Valdez and Rene Torres discussed their time at Texas State Technical College and how their Associate of Applied Science degrees in Biomedical Equipment Technology prepared them for this venture.

“TSTC provided the foundation for us,” Torres said. “Our time there prepared us both intellectually and socially for our careers and our adult life.”

The duo met when they were both working for another company. Their efforts not only allowed them to achieve leadership positions within that company, but also gave them the idea to use their expertise and experience to start a company of their own.

Hospitals, surgery centers, clinics, and home health providers are a few of the businesses that benefit from iServe Biomedical. While their business has seen success, the road to get there was not always smooth.

“Like other companies that are just starting, we struggled with gaining our clientele,” Valdez said. “It took us about eight months of planning and investing money into our business before we gained our first customer.”

Startup companies often face struggles at the beginning of their journeys because there is no money to keep them running. Not only did Valdez and Torres experience that, but they also faced disaster when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017.

“Our office became flooded, and we were not able to work,” Valdez said. “We felt a lot of pressure not to lose our newly established relationships with our customers.”

They eventually moved into a new facility, where they spent many late nights ensuring that their customers would have their equipment serviced in a timely manner.

Torres reiterated that customer satisfaction is their biggest goal and most valuable guarantee.

“We believe success can be measured in small increments,” he said. “For us, having happy customers is our success. It is seeing the results of our hard work and sacrifices that we’ve made.”

Ultimately, knowing that they are helping to change a person’s life is what keeps them motivated.

“It’s the rewarding feeling we get from knowing the equipment could be used to save a patient’s life,” Torres said. “It’s the response we get from patients and families who acknowledge the work we do.”

The motivation that drives them to continue to change lives is also the motivation that helped them in the pursuit of becoming business owners.

“I believe that there is no shortcut on the quest to success,” Valdez said. “We need to put in the work, set goals, focus, and work hard.”

“Attitude and perseverance go a long way,” Torres added. “There will be hurdles to keep you from reaching your goals, but keeping a positive attitude and continuing firmly toward your desired result will allow you to achieve success.”

To learn more about TSTC’s Biomedical Equipment Technology program, visit

TSTC Workforce Training Department to Offer CDL Training

July 09, 2020 by Daniel Perry

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Workforce Training department will offer a commercial driver’s license course later this summer.

The course will begin on Monday, Aug. 3. The permit part of the course will be taught through WebEx. The skills portion of the course will be taught at TSTC’s Marshall campus. The course lasts five weeks, Monday to Friday. It will enable students to earn a commercial driver’s license permit, with testing being done at the Texas Department of Public Safety in Kilgore.

“Safety is a huge concern at TSTC,” said Dirk Hughes, TSTC’s executive director of Workforce Training in Marshall. “With the state having to deal with the virus, TSTC is taking measures to ensure the safety of its students and instructors. Masks will be worn by students and staff, and the trucks will be sanitized upon the switching of drivers. Safety and health is important to us.”

Tuition for the course is $1,950 for the first six people to sign up and increases to $3,900 for additional  participants.

Some of the occupations that Workforce Solutions of East Texas has listed as needing commercial driver’s licenses include industrial truck and track operators, excavating and loading machine operators, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.

For more information on the commercial driver’s license classes, contact TSTC’s Workforce Training department at 903-923-3374.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to 

Area Residents to Benefit From TSTC Scholarships

July 07, 2020 by Daniel Perry

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus is using the generosity of two donors to help Midlothian-area residents further their education.

The Midlothian Economic Development Corp. recently made the final contribution in a three-year giving cycle to fund the Midlothian Workforce/Careers Scholarship.

The $30,000 scholarship fund will be divided into $1,000 TSTC scholarships for area residents who live within the boundaries of the Midlothian Independent School District and are high school graduates or have General Educational Development certificates.

TSTC Provost Marcus Balch credited Larry Barnett, a former MEDC executive director and current member of The TSTC Foundation’s board of directors, for helping to bring the campus and Midlothian together.

“He really took an interest in us and connected us to a number of industry partners, city officials, and school officials,” Balch said. “It has just been an all-around good partnership from a connection standpoint.”

Another recent scholarship contribution came from Colten Crist, advertising and operations director of the Midlothian Mirror and Waxahachie Daily Light. He contributed $1,500 for scholarships for students who graduated this year from any of Ellis County’s 15 high schools to attend TSTC’s North Texas campus. Three students will receive $500 each, Crist said.

The inspiration for making the financial gift came from the for-profit Best of All-Ellis County Preps sports banquet held virtually this year. The second annual event honored high school athletes at the county’s high schools.

Crist said he felt last year’s event was missing a contribution to the community, so he reached out to Balch and talked about TSTC’s importance to the county.

“I really like TSTC and what they do, honestly,” Crist said. “I think it is something that is extremely needed in our educational system.”

TSTC’s enrollment coaches will tag students in TSTC’s registration system as potential scholarship recipients. The scholarships will be awarded once students register for classes.

For more information on how to make a gift to TSTC, go to

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