In the plains of West Texas, the oil industry boomed after the millennium – along with the career of Austin Community College graduate Sergio Chavez.
As an electronic technician, Chavez applies his expertise to help extract oil from the fields surrounding Midland-Odessa. It is a role so critical that if anything goes wrong, it could mean thousands, even millions of dollars on the line.
“I’m in charge of everything that is electrical on site at the oil rigs,” he says. “I have to check the computers, sensors, cables and make sure all the devices are functioning.”
Chavez, who moved to Austin from his home in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, landed the job immediately after graduating from ACC’s electronics and advanced technologies department.
“I got hands-on experience at ACC. I knew exactly what to expect when I took this job. The best lessons I received from ACC came specifically from my instructors, because they have field experience,” he says. “It was good to hear their stories to know what to expect in the real world.”
“The best lessons I received from ACC came specifically from my instructors, because they have field experience”
Sergio’s finding that the real world can be lucrative for those who can develop a multifaceted understanding of electronics. His oil rig crew members start at $18 an hour and get raises with time. It’s not always an easy job, though.
“A typical day can range from 15 to 16 hours, because we are constantly monitoring the wells,” explains Chavez. “I work 14 days straight, then my team gets 7 days off.”
Now, 3 years after attending ACC, Chavez knows his experience is paving the way for a bigger future. He just graduated at the end of the summer with a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing.
“I chose this bachelor’s because you can apply for numerous positions, so it will create more opportunities.”Back to Top