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From Border Patrol to Home Builder: Cesar Zecca’s Inspiring Career Transition

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Construction Supervision graduate Cesar Zecca said he spent 30 years working in law enforcement as a Border Patrol officer and when he was set to retire in 2021 opted to begin courses at South Texas College to help support a brand-new career venture. Zecca talks about how STC gave him a new opportunity in life. STC Image
Construction Supervision graduate Cesar Zecca said he spent 30 years working in law enforcement as a Border Patrol officer and when he was set to retire in 2021 opted to begin courses at South Texas College to help support a brand-new career venture. Zecca talks about how STC gave him a new opportunity in life. STC Image
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By Joey Gomez

McALLEN, Texas – Retiring from United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Cesar Zecca said what began as a way to stay busy has evolved into a blossoming second career – building homes.  

Zecca said he spent 30 years working in law enforcement as a Border Patrol officer and when he was set to retire in 2021, he opted to begin courses through South Texas College’s Construction Supervision program.

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Now more than three years later, Zecca was among the 3,000 graduates at STC’s commencement ceremony receiving his Construction Supervision Associate of Applied Science, which he hopes sends a message to anyone looking for a new opportunity in life.

“I was 54 when I started the Construction Supervision program and I approached it as wanting to learn something new, to learn a different skill,” Zecca said. “It’s all about having the confidence to realize that age doesn’t matter. If you put your mind to it, anything is possible in this life. For me, I had always loved working outdoors and working with my hands around the house, so I started thinking about making a second career out of it. This is where the dream of starting my own company began.”

Zecca said he was in his 20s when he began his career working for CBP, which over the course of three decades, took him all over the country. Through it all, Zecca said he developed a fondness for learning new skills that would be invaluable in his second life as a student at STC.

“My career helped me understand the different cultures and people out there in the world, and it made me get a sense of what I could contribute to the construction industry,” Zecca said. “You need to understand the people and you need to keep learning and networking in this business.  That was one of the most rewarding things for me. The other part was the instructors here making me feel like I was part of a family and making me feel comfortable about learning as part of a group.”

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Now recently graduated, Zecca said he plans to take a semester off to begin his construction company, but plans to return to STC to take more computer-related courses to further help his future business.

“My plans are to begin building my construction company and get it going. I can see myself starting with small projects and take it from there (and) I’m hoping to provide one day, nice, good-looking homes for people out there,” he said. “Then I am thinking of continuing to take different courses. I mean, nowadays, everything is computerized with 3D models and everything else. There is so much out there to learn and there is so much technology that makes it easier to get better ideas so I can one day build better quality homes.”

For more information about STC’s Construction Supervision program visit www.southtexascollege.edu/academics/construction/.

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