Texas Border Business
By Amanda Sotelo
From Little Elm, Texas, Nick Baker took his career to new heights as a graduate from Texas State Technical College’s Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology.
The 22-year-old earned his associate degree in December 2018 from both programs and is now working in Sulphur Springs at Boyett Aviation, LLC as an aircraft mechanic.
“Since I was a teenager I loved tinkering with car engines and parts and fixing friends’ trucks,” he said.
Baker even purchased a 1980 Corvette as a teenager and began rebuilding it.
“I realized early on though that automotive mechanics was only a hobby for me,” said Baker. “I thought I needed to find another passion, but TSTC had options.
So with self-taught skills and a continued passion for mechanics, he chose a different route where he could still use his talents.
“I’ve always had a curiosity about airplanes and how they work,” he said. “So Aircraft Mechanics was perfect for me. I allowed me to work toward financial security, while still doing something that I love.”
He said his first day of class was a bit overwhelming, he did not know anything about aircrafts; cars was all he had ever worked on, but his desire to do more than work three to four odd jobs at a time motivated him to push forward.
But as he learned more about the industry, he learned about the career opportunities he would have at his fingertips when he graduated.
So with that in mind, he worked hard, asked questions and set out to learn everything he could about his trade.
“We had a combination of lecture and lab time, but it was the hands-on work that brought everything into perspective,” said Baker. “We were exposed to tools and equipment that we would eventually see out in the field and this gave us a sense of confidence. It was pretty much like on-the-job training.”
He said his Aircraft Airframe and Powerplant instructor Leo Guajardo stood out during his time at TSTC as the most helpful and caring instructor.
“Leo’s knowledge and expertise was invaluable,” he said. “He is a student’s motivator, encourager and job seeker. He doesn’t have to help us with job placement, but he does it because he cares about our success.”
Immediately after graduating, Baker moved back home to Little Elm and now as a mechanic at Boyett Aviation, LLC, located on the site of a small airport and made of privately owned planes and hangers, he mainly works on repairing, maintaining and rebuilding private jet engines.
“It took me some time to get here. There was a lot I needed to organize in my life before taking on employment, but I am here,” he said. “And it was TSTC that prepared me for this career and has allowed me to find financial security once and for all.”
Baker has goals of earning a specialized private jet mechanic certification, which would give him a pay increase; and working toward obtaining a pilot license.
“I hope to continue growing with Boyett. I’m excited to see where this degree is going to take me because the sky is the limit,” he said.
Air traffic, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is expected to gradually increase over the next decade and will require highly- skilled aircraft mechanics and technicians for repairs and maintenance.
With this increase, the aviation industry projects that the need for trained mechanics and technicians will grow five percent through 2026, faster than the average for other occupations, with a median pay of at least $30 an hour.
For more information on Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology or to register for Fall 2019, visit tstc.edu.
The deadline to register for Fall 2019 is August 23. The first day of class is August 26.