TSTC degrees lead husband and wife to jobs with wind turbine manufacturer

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Recent TSTC Wind Energy Technology graduates and married couple Ruben Lopez and Reyna Cardenas-Lopez now work for the Nordex Group. (Courtesy: Ruben Lopez via Texas State Technical College/TSTC)

HARLINGEN — Ruben Lopez and Reyna Cardenas-Lopez are not a typical married couple.

Not only did they recently graduate together from Texas State Technical College with associate degrees in Wind Energy Technology, but they also found jobs before they graduated with German wind turbine manufacturer Nordex Group and are helping with its installation of wind turbines at the Prairie Hill wind farm in Mart, Texas.

“We were hired in November,” Cardenas-Lopez said. “I was hired as a service technician, and five months later I was promoted to a maintenance lead. The work gives me satisfaction because I get a wind turbine working again.”

“I’ve been a service technician for seven months,” Lopez said. “I resolve issues on a wind turbine and have other duties.”

Austin Sauceda is a site lead for Nordex at the wind farm.

“I have been impressed with Reyna and Ruben’s commitment and leadership,” he said. “The impact they have had on our team has been great. They pick up quickly and are eager to improve day in and day out.”

Cardenas-Lopez said the work culture at Nordex is motivating.

“From our first day on the job, our teammates have taught us what we need to know to do the job right,” she said.

Javier Rodriguez was one of the couple’s former instructors at TSTC.

“Ruben and Reyna came to our program knowing they wanted to work with their hands,” he said. “The fundamentals (they) learned, such as Ohm’s law and other areas, gave them credentials to have a great career in the renewable energy industry.”

Rodriguez recommended Nordex to the couple based on his own experience with the company.

“Mr. Rodriguez suggested the Nordex Group during a conversation when we were thinking about which companies to apply to,” Lopez said. “He had a positive experience, and we took that into consideration.”

The job outlook for the wind energy industry is bright. According to onetonline.org, the need for wind turbine service technicians in Texas was forecast to increase 102% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary for a technician in the state is $59,290, according to the website.

TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion at the Harlingen and Sweetwater locations.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.