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Justin Nieto is a Precision Machining Technology student at TSTC in Fort Bend County. By pursuing his associate degree in this program he is following in his mother's footsteps.

Justin Nieto is following in his mother’s footsteps by attending Texas State Technical College and pursuing an associate degree in Precision Machining Technology.

 The 23-year-old’s mother, Tommie Ponce, graduated from TSTC in Harlingen in Spring 2009 with an associate degree in the same program and now works as an Applications Engineer at DMG Mori, a global innovation leader in metal cutting and machining, in Houston. An Applications Engineer helps in the design and development of equipment and systems.

 “TSTC has been my strongest foundation for my career,” said Ponce. “It’s done nothing but opened doors of opportunities since I graduated and I’ve been able to provide for my family. So I’m so excited that my son has decided to pursue the same line of work at the same college. It’s going to change his life.”

 In fact, Ponce now trains the instructors at TSTC on how to properly and safely use the new machines the department purchased from DMG Mori for the machining labs at TSTC’s newest Industrial Technology Center campus in Rosenberg.

 “It’s pretty cool seeing your mom teach your instructors,” said Nieto.

 Nieto’s adventure at TSTC began after he was laid off from Hunting Subsea Technologies during the downturn in the oil and gas industry. He worked as a Deburr and Polish Technician.

 “The layoff gave me a chance to return to school,” said Nieto. “It’s something I had been wanting to do since I started working and my interest in the field began growing.”

 Nieto said he also credits his parents for the inspiration because not only does his mother work in the field, but his father is also a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machine Programmer, developing programs to control machining or processing of metal.

 “I knew from the get go that this is the career I wanted to pursue and that TSTC was the right fit for me,” said Nieto. “I get to learn my profession at school and at home.”

 Nieto expects to graduate from TSTC in Fall 2017 and hopes to transition into a machine shop where he can continue to practice his skills and get experience.

 Ultimately, Nieto hopes pursue a bachelor’s degree in Engineering at a local university and dreams of owning a machine shop and engineering parts for the oil and gas or medical industry.

 “Right now I’m building my foundation, but someday I want to be my own boss,” said Nieto.

 As for Nieto’s mother, she said she is very proud of how far her son has come.

 “My son is a bright young man and I know this is a great stepping stone. I have big dreams for him,” said Ponce. “He is already doing so well and I look forward to seeing what he can achieve. There are so many career paths he can choose to follow when he graduates. I’m so proud of him.”

 For more information on Precision Machining Technology call 346-239-4441 or visit This program also offered at TSTC’s North Texas, Waco and Williamson County campuses.

 Registration for Summer and Fall 2017 is already in progress.

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