Jimmy Sierra: Diesel Tech in the Making


“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This is the mantra Jimmy Sierra, a veteran Navy mechanic and a Diesel Technician in the making lives by.  Jimmy has always dreamed of doing a job where he can work with his hands and that is why he chose to study Diesel Technology at STC.  His passion for hands-on work was really honed in the Navy.  Jimmy  worked with pressurization and fire extinguishing systems, gaining the most sought after qualifications even as a low ranking soldier at the time.  Wanting to put his skills to the test, he decided to bring his learned wisdom to the civilian workforce.  While still deployed with the Navy, Jimmy researched the civilian equivalent to his military training, finally deciding that his experience working on various aircraft could transfer well to working on diesel trucks. Having always loved his Tonka toys and airplane models he knew that he would love work on the real thing one day with a company like Caterpillar.

Transitioning back to civilian life would came with some substantial changes, but Jimmy was ready to get his life on track, and one of the first steps was to get educated. He had lots of plans after discharging, including planning his wedding with his high school not-so-sweetheart. Jimmy had met his wife in high school, but she didn’t think too highly of him at the time. When telling his parents how they first met she recalled that they’d met because “He pulled the fire alarm the first day.” Upon his return to the Valley, the couple had reconnected and fell in love.  He wanted to be able to support his wife-to-be and himself successfully.  He knew that STC was his most reliable option. As Jimmy recalled, “My mom works for STC.  I talked to her and she said ‘Get into the catalogue, go ahead and talk to these people and they’ll point you in the right direction.’” The same month he was set to get out of the military, he started to register for classes.  

Jimmy is now in his second semester. His teachers hold him in high regard, with one teacher even calling Caterpillar to give a recommendation. Jimmy believes his military experience has taught him the discipline and responsibility he needs to take control of his life, taking him from being a “crybaby” to a self-sufficient young adult.  He has also discovered a passion for teaching in the field he loves while assisting a fellow student learn the curriculum in a way that he understood, realizing that he wants to help inspire others to pursue their dreams. Jimmy believes in a life without limits. “I just don’t want to stop learning. There is so much to learn out there.”  He now has plans for an Associates Degree after he finishes his certificate program.

STC helped Jimmy every step of the way in changing his entire career around. He describes his instructors as “top-notch” and recognizes that every teacher has their own way of teaching. He explains how each teacher goes above and beyond their call of duty to ensure that students are taught the real-world applications that they’ll need to know. He mentioned, “If there’s any problem that you’re having picking up the information, they don’t hesitate to stop and give you a little time.” To the new students coming in, he advises that you know what it is that you want to do. And most importantly Jimmy notes “With your hard work and motivation, they (STC) will give you the right tools for your road to success!”