9-5-19 Briggs Press Release .jpg

Annie Briggs of Corsicana, sees big-city challenges but still has her small-town grit.

Briggs, a master technician at TA Truck Service near Atlanta, Georgia, got her professional

start at TravelCenters of America in Hillsboro after graduatingfrom Texas State

Technical College's Waco campus in 2014.

"Atlanta is crazy," Briggs said. "It was like exponential growth in a short period of time. There are all kinds of trucks, failures, accidents -- things that happen."

TA Truck Service locations operate 24 hours a day, so there is plenty of work to be done.

"You have to come in and see if there is a work in progress and find out if they (other

technicians) are waiting for parts, or if there is anything in the shop to get finished," Briggs

said.

It is work that she sees a future in.

"I would not mind moving into a mentor position," Briggs said. "I enjoy working on the floor

and being on that side of it."

Briggs grew up in Corsicana and is a 2012 graduate of Corsicana High School. She

remembers the lead-up to her enrollment at TSTC.

"I actually registered before I took a tour of the campus," she said. "When I took the tour,

Richard Stranacher (an instructor in TSTC's Diesel Equipment Technology program) was very welcoming, and he kind of put things in perspective. Going into it, I literally knew

nothing. My dad sat me down a month before school started and taught me what the tools

were called."

Briggs graduated with an associate degree in three specializations in the Diesel Equipment

Technology program and also earned a Welding Technology certificate at TSTC. The

learning process was a challenge. The need for diesel service mechanics and technicians in the United States is projected to increase to more than 304,000 workers by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency attributes this to an increase in freight travel and the popularity of diesel automobiles and trucks.

David Folz, lead instructor in TSTC's Diesel Equipment Technology program in Waco, said

companies contact the program regularly for graduates to fill jobs. The program has

cultivated industry partnerships with companies such as TravelCenters of America, RDO

Equipment Co. and Freight iner, enabling representatives to visit the campus to talk to

students.

"A lot of them (the students) are going back to their hometowns and know what they want

to do," said Folz.

Jim Reed, a vice president for TA Truck Service, said diesel equipment technology graduates can make a good living. But, he said the pool of potential employees is shrinking.

"Getting people to go from the traditional four-year bachelor's degree to go for the technical

degree and come into the market is getting tougher and tougher," Reed said.

Current and new diesel technicians will need to adapt to new technology expected to be

seen on roads and in garages in the next few years.

"Electric trucks are becoming more popular," Reed said. "Once they figure out the battery

and recharging, that is the next wave. It's a good industry that is constantly changing, and

the biggest thing is you want to get with a company that gives you the opportunity to grow.

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