While some students aren’t interested in the occupations on their high school career aptitude assessment, that was not the case for Diana Soto-Marengo, focus factory manager at Thermo King’s Arecibo, Puerto Rico manufacturing facility. On her test results, industrial engineering was a career option, and it stood out for her because it was a blend of people-facing, technical, and project management. She decided in high school to be an engineer.
Then she set out on a path toward her future, not stopping, even once she reached the intended destination.
Diana attended the University of Puerto Rico, earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. While at a job fair after graduation, she stopped at the Trane Technologies booth and learned about the Accelerated Development Program (ADP). What sparked her interest was the opportunity to work in a variety of roles. She applied on the spot, interviewed, joined the ADP for engineering, and fell in love with the program and the company.
“Working in different business areas and different plants in Puerto Rico was exciting for me. I learned about materials, engineering, quality, and production. Once I finished the program, I worked as a paint shop supervisor for two years, which gave me leadership experience,” shared Diana.
That experience prepared her to move to Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a role supporting Thermo King Americas’ engineering team. She didn’t know anyone or English very well, and still, she was up for the challenge.
“I worked with different Thermo King plants on projects. And I loved it—I loved traveling to different plant sites to learn about their processes, work with different people, and help them meet their goals,” added Diana.
While in Minneapolis, Diana decided to go back to school to advance her career, earning a master's degree in manufacturing engineering. She received support and flexibility from the company, enabling her to thrive at work and at home.
After spending four years in Minneapolis, she returned to Puerto Rico with a new role as a production manager. Two years later, she became operational excellence (OpEx) manager, then worked as a materials manager for seven years before overseeing assembly lines and operations at the plant in Arecibo as a focus factory manager – her current position with the company.
She took on different responsibilities with each role and learned different facets of engineering and the Thermo King business.
“I was always asking myself how I could improve the company, what could I learn so that I could contribute more to our overall success,” shared Diana. “I worked in different areas, which gave me a better understanding of the business. I’ve loved the variety.”
Diana’s worked for the company for 28 years now, and there has never been a moment of monotony.
“It’s been exciting for me. My days are never predictable here. The environment is one where we are constantly challenged to keep evolving to a higher level,” said Diana. “What’s kept me at Thermo King is that we are always looking for ways to improve. I love that the people here are passionate about getting better because I am too."
And what has Diana learned after being with the company for two decades?
“I’ve learned that no matter what I do, it's important to adapt to change, be open to learning new things and keep people in the equation. We’ve been through so many different changes over the years, so I’m always adapting, learning, improving, and considering my team and customers to contribute to the business and deliver results,” explained Diana.
While things are changing in the engineering field, it’s still male-dominated. Diana is one of few women engineers, and she wants other women to see her as an example—as someone who hasn’t let her gender stop her from pursuing a rewarding career.
“I hope to influence women to not let gender be the thing that keeps them from choosing to engineer—if that is what they want,” shared Diana. “There are so many opportunities in the field—I encourage women to consider engineering as a career.”
Learn more about employment opportunities at: https://www.tranetechnologies.com/en/index/careers.html
Thermo King is proud to celebrate Engineers Week and its theme Reimagining the Possible.