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Michael Barnes came to Texas State Technical College in 2002 as the instructor for Precision Machining Technology. With nearly 46 years of experience under his belt, Barnes was excited to begin a new chapter teaching younger generations his trait.


Barnes began machining in high school. He describes his start in the industry as “pure luck.”


“As a senior in high school I walked into a company looking for a part-time job,” said Barnes. “They told me no. As I started to leave someone grabbed me and said the president of the company wanted to talk to me. By the time we finished talking I was hired as their first part-time employee.”


Barnes’ worked as a gopher, getting everything everyone else needed to get the job done. He even swept floors.


Barnes said as time went on, he realized machining was what he wanted to do for a living. But, with a war waging in Southeast Asia, he was soon drafted into the military. Using the skills he learned, he spent a full year in Vietnam working as a military machinist and combat engineer.


After his tour of duty, Barnes’ job was waiting for him and he stayed nine more years. He found advanced positions and success with other machining companies throughout his time in the industry, but Barnes said by 2002 he was ready for a change.


Barnes applied for the full-time machining instructor position at TSTC in Fort Bend County and to his surprise he got the job.


“It was a big change for me,” said Barnes. “I had to get used to teaching a big number of students, but it didn’t take me long. I love machining and I hope I can teach others to love it too.”


In his classroom, Barnes has taken a different approach to teaching. He treats his class like an actual machining company and his students like employees.


“It’s important for me to teach my students how the real world works before they even get out there,” said Barnes.


His students are in charge of making shop plans, treating assignments like actual orders and meeting deadlines.


“My goal is to make every one of my students all-around machinists,” said Barnes.

“Mr. Barnes has done some great things for this program. Anytime we’re struggling or we need help he is by our side,” said Colton Boaz, precision machining student. “Even past students come back to visit him and he helps them find jobs because of his many contacts in the industry.”

Barnes said his program has a 90 percent job placement rate and he is excited to see what the future holds.

“Since I’ve started, the program has grown and I hope for more growth with our new campus,” said Barnes. We need the space to teach more students. Manufacturing is the key to all.”


While teaching his students about the importance of a college education, Barnes took the step of earning his associate degree in mechanical engineering technology in 2006 from TSTC in Waco.  


During his spare time Barnes enjoys practicing his machining skills by creating crosses and other works of art using different types of metals and metal-cutting techniques. He also enjoys spending time with his wife of 46 years, two daughters and four grandchildren.


For more information on Precision Machining Technology call 281-239-1587.


Registration for Summer and Fall Semesters begins April 4. Apply anytime online at

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