BY Amanda Sotelo
In 1989, Tony Abad graduated from Texas State Technical College with an associate degree in Drafting and Design, little did he know then that he would be back nearly 30 years later to serve as a TSTC Board of Regent.
The Pharr native was recently appointed by Governor Greg Abbot to a six-year term as a member of the TSTC Board of Regents and said he is honored for the appointment and the opportunity of working with a great team.
“I am so honored that the governor appointed me as a regent for a college that taught me everything I know,” said Abad. “TSTC opened a huge door for me and I want to help do the same thing for others.”
Abad is a Mechanical Design Engineer with Syber Jet Aircraft in San Antonio with three decades of experience in aircraft modification. He’s also a respected community leader, activist and volunteer.
Abad said his goal as a regent is to continue the tradition of a technical education and to help fill the skills gap in the Texas workforce.
“I want to make sure that our instructors always have the resources they need to train our students and stay up to date on the technology and procedures industry uses,” said Abad. “I also want to educate our communities on the importance of a technical education and the type of career opportunities it can provide.”
TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser said he is honored to have Abad serving on TSTC’s Board of Regents.
“Mr. Abad is a graduate of TSTC in Harlingen and has achieved an outstanding level of professional success,” said Reeser. “Having an alumnus as a member of the Board is a testament to the possibilities provided to our graduates, so we’re excited to have his unique perspective as part of our governing body.”
Abad, a husband and father of three has climbed the ladder and he said it is all thanks to his two-year degree.
“When I went back to school I was a shoe salesman and it wasn’t cutting it,” he remembers. “I had a family to support like many of our students do. And TSTC helped me do that.”
Immediately after graduating, he went to work with Chrysler Technologies in Waco as a drafter and through some changes and 25 years in the industry he finally became a Senior Mechanical Designer and Chief Engineer Liaison.
“TSTC helped start my life and take care of my family,” he said. “From a couple making $12,000 a year combined to earning $35,000 a year, our income nearly tripled. We were in our early twenties, so it was a ’wow’ moment for us.”
As a leader in his community, Abad has also served as a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of McLennan County, Prosper Waco Financial Branch Committee and Waco school board committees. He was also past president of the Hispanic Republican Club of McLennan County, Waco Sunrise Rotary and Sanger Heights Neighborhood Association.
In his free time, Abad helps friends who are running for local, state and nationwide positions campaign, encourages people to register to vote and engage with their elected officials, spends time with his family and reads books such as “The Complacent Class” by Tyler Cowen.
“I love being busy and getting involved,” said Abad. “I’m excited for everything that’s to come and ready for my responsibilities as a TSTC Board of Regent.”