Wind turbines on family ranch lead Flores to TSTC

TSTC Wind Energy Technology student Jose Flores, shown here standing outside the TSTC’s mobile trainer, is looking forward to his first climb inside the college’s wind turbine in Nolan County. (Courtesy: Texas State Technical College/TSTC)
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SWEETWATER — Jose Flores remembers running cattle around the wind turbines that lined his family’s ranch near Merkel.

At the time, the Texas State Technical College Wind Energy Technology student did not expect that a career working on wind turbines would be in his future.

“It was fun to run our cattle around the turbines and see how they operated,” he said. “I did not realize how many different components make up the inside of the turbine until I was able to see it.”

Flores, who is in his third semester studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree, said he is pursuing a wind energy career for one reason.

“It is something new and different,” he said. “I have a few family friends who work on turbines. They told me I will be able to see a lot of new things and will be able to travel.”

Later this semester, Flores will get a closer look at the components that he will use during his career when he and his classmates ascend TSTC’s wind turbine in Nolan County for the first time.

“I know that the first climb inside the turbine will make me or break me,” he said. “I am looking forward to making the climb up with my classmates. We have planned for this day since we began school.”

Flores said when he has trouble with a lab project, he has to practice to get it correct.

“That is when you depend on the instructors and your classmates to help build your confidence,” he said.

When Flores is in the classroom, he makes sure to pay attention to each instructor.

“The instructors make learning fun in class,” he said. “They have the real-world experience that they want to pass on to us.”

Jose Flores, a TSTC Wind Energy Technology student, works on a lab assignment at the Sweetwater location. (Courtesy: Texas State Technical College/TSTC)

When Flores was still in high school, advice from his agriculture science teacher, Jacey Tomlin (who is now a TSTC student recruitment representative), and members of Abilene’s Hispanic Leadership Council led him to schedule a tour at TSTC.

“After talking to Jose after the tour, I knew that Wind Energy Technology would be a good fit for him,” Tomlin said. “I am proud of what he has been able to do in the program.”

Flores said he looks forward to TSTC’s industry spotlight events where the college’s Career Services department invites potential employers to talk about their companies and meet students.

“I am excited to be able to meet more of the employers during the spotlights,” he said. “It is helping me get my toes wet in the industry and where I would like to apply for jobs.”

According to, 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 Texas is $56,640, 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. Learn more at