By Amanda Sotelo, TSTC Staff
In March, Texas State Technical College alumnus Steven Garcia will start his dream job with American Airlines, a goal he said he has had since he was 12 years old.
Now 31, he graduated from TSTC in 2017 with an associate degree in Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology.
“It’s been a lot of baby steps and hard work, but it’s finally paying off,” said Garcia. “I can’t believe how all of my goals are becoming reality.”
The Brownsville native comes from a family of law enforcement professionals, and he said he even thought about becoming a border patrol agent.
That was until he spoke with his uncle, whose father-in-law works in the aircraft maintenance industry.
“When my uncle spoke to me about my aunt’s dad, it sparked an interest,” he said. “And although I realized I’d like to work for a major airline, I also knew that my family could not afford college. So I enlisted. That would be the only way to pay for school.”
In 2008, Garcia entered the U.S. Navy and served four years as an aviation firefighter. During that pivotal time in his life, he figured out that he was going in the right direction.
“When it came time to leave the military or reenlist, a friend told me about TSTC’s aviation maintenance program, and I knew it was my time to go to college,” he said.
As planned, Garcia was able to use his military benefits to pay for school, earn his degree and begin his career.
Since graduating from TSTC, he has worked with L3 Communications as an aircraft sheet metal mechanic and Mesa Airlines as an aircraft airframe and powerplant technician.
“TSTC gave me everything I needed to succeed,” he said. “It was a rigorous program, but it prepared me for the field and kick-started my career.”
Now, with experience under his belt, Garcia recently accepted a position with American Airlines as an aircraft technician.
“It’s still hard to believe that in March another goal of mine will be realized,” he said. “It hasn’t fully hit me yet that I’m working with a major airline. But it’s a proud moment.”
Garcia hopes to grow into a managerial position within the company and is working toward a bachelor’s degree in aviation management.
“TSTC opened so many doors that I could have never thought possible,” he said. “It put me on the right track and has been my most important stepping stone to date. I had a goal, and TSTC showed me the way.”
Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology are also offered at TSTC’s Abilene and Waco campuses.
For more information, visit https://tstc.edu or stop by the TSTC Open House on March 12.