Special to the Star
Tracy Deadman is a Sweetwater native who transplanted to the Rio Grande Valley for the booming wind energy industry.
Deadman, who was trained on the job, has worked in wind energy for 18 years, and the last seven years have been spent as a site supervisor with E.ON, one of the world’s largest owners of renewable power projects, based outside of Raymondville.
With the company rapidly expanding its wind, solar and energy storage portfolio, Deadman knew there was a promotion around the corner, but the job advancement required a college degree. That’s where TSTC came in.
The 44-year-old will graduate this month with an associate degree and honors in Business Management Technology, which has led to his promotion as Regional Operations Manager for E.ON and a significant pay increase.
When did you first learn about your job offer?
I first learned I had received the promotion in January, way before even thinking about graduating. I knew this promotion was around the corner, so a couple of years back I started preparing for it. TSTC made it possible and now I can even call myself a college graduate. Before this I had never stepped foot inside a college classroom.
How did TSTC prepare you for your career?
A lot of the classes I was enrolled in already dealt with topics I’ve encountered at work as a supervisor, but what I loved about TSTC was its class flexibility. I work minimum 40 hours a week and I am a father of five, so that was very important to me. The flexibility of on-campus and online classes made it convenient and manageable.
Who has had the greatest influence on your success?
Fortunately for me I’m a self-motivator and self-starter, but my Business Management Technology instructor and advisor Steve Szymoniak kept me going if doubts snuck in. He pushed me, in fact all of his students, to do the work and do our best.
What are your future goals?
The next goal on my list is to pursue my project manager professional certification. This is something I have always wanted. I had the experience and work hours, but not the college degree. Now as a college graduate this is the next step in my career. TSTC has opened doors for me.
What would you tell a student thinking of pursuing a two-year degree vs. a four-year degree?
As a site supervisor and now regional manager, one of my responsibilities is to hire. And out of the 30 people I oversee, nearly half are TSTC graduates. There are plenty of job opportunities that only require a two-year degree, and those people are the ones with the skills. They’re marketable and in demand. So I would tell them, go for it. You could be one of those making $20 or more an hour after graduating.
What is your advice for future TSTC students?
Work hard. In college and in life you get out what you put into it.