There is a special art piece on a wall in Rudy Cervantez’s office in the Kultgen Automotive Center at Texas State Technical College.
The pencil drawing on white paper depicts a sleek, modern bus drawn by one of Cervantez’s former students, Caleb Grisham of Robinson. Cervantez is statewide chair for TSTC Auto Repair, and at one time taught Grisham in dual credit automotive technology classes when he was a student at Robinson High School.
“He’s really talented and so sharp,” Cervantez said. “He just has that artistic knack.”
Grisham, 25, used that motivation and creativity to earn an associate degree in Automotive Technology at TSTC and open Precision Wraps on Franklin Avenue in Waco. The small business specializes in designing and installing large-scale vinyl wraps for automobiles, trucks, boats, trailers and businesses.
Grisham was inspired to open the business three years ago while working for an automobile trim business in Waco.
“I saw a niche for wraps here,” he said. “I got certifications and started a limited liability company. I had a good client base for window tinting, so that kept me afloat the first couple of months. I started graphics on the side in college and taught myself the programs. It’s second nature now.”
Grisham has three employees who work with customers on design and installation. He said he takes pride in offering on-site installations for customers statewide, even as far away as Laredo on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Most weeks we are trying to cram in new projects so we can grow faster,” Grisham said.
Grisham learned his work ethic from his family. He grew up on 22 acres of family land in Golinda.
“My sisters went the university route and have master’s degrees,” he said. “My father has had his own business. There is kind of a freedom owning your own business, and I’ve probably wanted to be like him. We are an extremely competitive family.”
Grisham was a gifted and talented student throughout his school career in the Robinson Independent School District. He played trombone in Robinson High School’s music program, was on the powerlifting team and worked at a grocery store.
“I finished high school my junior year, so I had to add classes,” he said. “I had taken Advanced Placement classes through McLennan Community College the year before. I was really interested in working on and customizing cars.”
During his senior year, Grisham took morning classes at Robinson High School and drove to take afternoon automotive classes at the old Midway High School building (now Midway Middle School).
“I do promote dual enrollment,” Grisham said. “It’s cheaper than paying for a semester of college. You need to work hard and apply yourself.”
Cervantez was his teacher and used the same course plan for his technical college and high school students.
“He is a really good guy,” Grisham said. “He encouraged me to do a summer semester at TSTC. I took a couple of classes and stayed.”
Grisham commuted from home to take TSTC classes and said he enjoyed being around classmates who had common interests.
“I liked the hands-on part of my classes,” he said.