By Amanda Sotelo, TSTC Staff
Anthony Medrano found a life after the military and a second career at Texas State Technical College, and is now about to complete his first year as an aircraft mechanic.
The Port Isabel native tried his hand in automotive mechanics after graduating from high school, but with doubts about going into the industry, he enlisted in the Army instead.
“While stationed in Hawaii I met a friend who had completed the aircraft maintenance program at TSTC, and he introduced me to the aviation industry,” said the 34-year-old. “With still no solid career path, the program seemed like a good idea when I left the military.”
After serving seven years as a diesel mechanic in the Army and traveling the world with a deployment to Afghanistan, Medrano went back to school.
“I knew school was the only thing that was going to open doors of opportunity for me,” he said. “I didn’t want to do diesel mechanics anymore so TSTC’s Airframe and Powerplant Technology programs seemed to be a great choice.”
It was Spring 2019 when Medrano earned certificates in Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology making his way into the aviation industry.
“TSTC was honestly a great experience,” said Medrano. “I have never been the studious type, but you have to do what you have to do and TSTC’s hands-on teaching approach helped me with that.”
Medrano said he’s worked with his hands all of his life, breaking things apart and putting them back together, so being able to learn by doing and practicing the work and aviation maintenance processes prepared him to hit the ground running when he graduated.
“Along with the hands-on learning, the program also has experienced faculty who offer a broad scope into the industry and share their experiences,” he said. “That makes all of the difference for students like me. They believe in us.”
With the goal to be employed before graduating from his program, he took the knowledge and skills he had already gained and used them to search for an internship.
After several interviews the director at Sun Valley Aviation in Harlingen gave him an opportunity, and now he is a full-time aircraft mechanic.
“It took a lot of hard work and dedication and at times I missed being in the military, but TSTC’s aviation programs have helped me reach career goals,” said Medrano.
And he also credits TSTC’s Veterans Center with helping him with benefit paperwork and processes that helped him graduate from TSTC debt-free.
Now that Medrano has begun his career, complete with a good salary and benefits package, he said he can now work toward other life goals such as buying a house.
“I’m now in the process of gaining experience in the field and taking the steps I need to grow within the industry,” he said. “I had to go through several doors to get where I am, but I’m grateful that TSTC gave me the resources and training I needed.”
For more information Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology, visit tstc.edu/programs.