HR grad: Moraine Park “helped me get where I am today”

Moraine Park Technical College alumnus Tyler Soto recently returned to our classrooms to discuss his time in our Human Resources program, and where his education here has led to both before and since graduation:

Here’s Tyler’s journey, in his own words:

Tell us a little about yourself: 

I was born in Milwaukee but raised in Wisconsin and Illinois as I had family in both states. I’m sure some of you are wondering if I am Green Bay Packers fan or Chicago Bears fan … I am a Bears a fan.

A little fun fact that you should know about me is that I have a twin brother named Jonathan. Ok, that was kind of boring and who doesn’t have a twin nowadays!? HA! The coolest thing about me is that I have worked for the same company for the last eight and half years where I started when I was in high school.

Why did you choose your program of study?

Just like any typical high schooler, I had no idea what I wanted to go to college for. When I started my first job at Festival Foods as a bagger, I had no idea what to expect. Over time, I was exposed to many jobs and positions within the company. Festival Foods is big on their customer service, and it truly is all about serving people and providing that servant leadership to those that you serve.

Working at Festival is where my love and passion for helping people began. Over the years, I had the opportunity to work for some awesome leaders who showed me to put others first. After a few years at Festival, I knew that going into Human Resources was for me. Human Resources for me is not all about making policies and procedures, but being an employee advocate, building relationships, allowing for a stronger culture and growth.

What has your experience been like at Moraine Park/favorite thing about the College?

I started my schooling at another college in the area but soon came to find out it was just not for me. I heard a lot of great things about Moraine Park and figured I would give it a try.

I enrolled in my first semester in 2013 at MPTC in the Human Resources program. This was the first year that MPTC introduced the Human Resource program. On my first day of classes, I remember Marla Werner introducing herself and welcoming us to her class, unlike my last school; you could feel the love and passion Marla had about HR and for her students. Over the course of three years, I had the pleasure of being taught by a lot of instructors, but Marla was the one teacher that stuck with me. With Marla’s work experience and education, she became my mentor through college. There were moments that we would bump heads, but it was never “I’m right, your wrong” it was more of collaborative effort. 

Where has your career taken you after graduation?

Over the years at Festival Foods, I began to understand how retail works. Festival Foods is a big supporter of their associates continuing their education.

While at Moraine Park, I was able to do an internship at Verve, a Credit Union. This lasted about six months and shortly after it ended, Verve called me back to offer me a full-time position as the Talent Management Assistant (Human Resources Assistant). This was cool because I wasn’t even graduated from Moraine Park yet. While employed at Verve, I was also casual part-time at Festival as I knew one day I would like to become part of the HR team.

In fall of 2015, I was approached by Festival Foods and was asked to apply for the HR position in the Fond du Lac store. At that time, I was skeptical because honestly, who wants to hire someone that is not even graduated and has nine months of HR experience? I am happy to say that I am one and half years into being a Human Resources Manager at Festival Foods. I have had some great mentors guide me through life and my career, but yet again, Marla was one of those instructors that help me get to where I am today. In spring of 2016, I graduated from Moraine Park with my Associate’s Degree in Human Resources with High Honors and my certificate in Human Resources Development.

What are your future career goals?

So what am I doing now? I have been loving my job and soaking up as much information as I can from peers, day-to-day interactions with associates and articles that I read. I am also currently attending Rasmussen College as I am working on my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources and Organizational Leadership. Once this is completed in December 24th, 2017, I will plan on studying and earning my SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP. My future goal that I want to achieve is become Vice President of Human Resources for a company.

I was recently invited back to Marla’s Benefits and Compensation Class to speak about these two components in the HR world. Never in a million years did I think Marla would be inviting me back to her classes to speak about HR and all of the different components there are. This was an AWESOME experience and hope I get to do it again.

What advice do you have for others considering a career in human resources?

My advice: Find something you’re passionate about and love what you do every day. In Human Resources, you need to have a passion for people, relationship building, policies, and thinking outside the box but the one you should always remember to do, is “Have Fun!”

To learn more about Moraine Park’s programs, visit

tyler soto

Written by Marla Werner
Human Resources Instructor