As a stay-at-home mom, Sandy Toney spent a lot of time with food. She grew vegetables, preserved them and cooked many meals for her family. Most of her jobs had been waitressing in restaurants. At 30, she decided to get more education and start a career.
“I evaluated my life and remembered my best classes in high school were science,” she recalled.
When she first tried to enroll in the Food Science Program at Moraine Park Technical College, administrators told her she didn’t have the academic skills for the rigorous courses, but Sandy was determined.
The courses were tough and the program was “intense.” However, she persevered.
Sandy appreciated the expertise of her instructors who knew the latest techniques and taught them on up-to-date equipment.
“Technical college gave me confidence I could go into the industry and know what I was talking about,” she added. After four or five interviews, she took a position as quality manager at a new Masters Gallery plant. Her duties included testing products for gases, acidity, moisture content, fat and salt.
With tuition assistance from Masters Gallery, Sandy earned a bachelor’s degree from Silver Lake College. She progressed through several management positions to vice president.
During her career Sandy has judged cheese for the Wisconsin State Fair, the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest and the World Championship Cheese Contest. In 2014, she became the first woman chosen to wear the red hat as assistant chief judge.