Pete Reyes takes the Long Beach approach to life — the California beach town attitude of moving with the tides. Reyes is a senior compensation analyst in the office of academic resources. He helps determine salaries and placement for units reporting under the executive vice president and provost. The two-time alum — ’13 BA Psychology and ’16 MPA — is also a celebrated, self-taught guitar player and electronic indie musician, who released an album in August as Youth Fables.
Are you studying something now at UNLV?
I’m actually in law school now. I plan to stay in the field of HR, but I feel that having a legal background will help me grow in the profession. I’m studying labor law. It’s also a plan of mine to be able to provide pro bono legal/HR consulting work that is geared toward nonprofits in Las Vegas. During my graduate studies with the School of Public Policy and Leadership, I saw first-hand the importance of helping our community and the ripple effects it has on society as a whole. I believe we all have a duty, as members of a community, to help it progress.
What drew you to UNLV?
UNLV offers limitless growth, professionally and academically. As an employee, I can work alongside a diverse workforce that is proficient and passionate about their expertise. I have been spoiled in that I’ve had really good mentors. Brian Steen, for example, (I worked with him when I was first starting out in HR) understood what my strengths and weaknesses were. He made it a point to empower me to be more creative, and to succeed even if was going to be challenging. As a student at Boyd School of Law, I am in an environment with other working students who are driven and supportive of each other. You would think from TV that law school is cutthroat and competitive, but we’re all actually cheering each other on.
Inspiration to get into your field
I never planned to be in the HR field, but the opportunities and mentors that I’ve had along the way guided me toward the growth that I have experienced. My first HR job was a data entry position, and since then, I’ve worked within different HR offices in pay administration, recruitment, talent acquisition, training and development, classification and compensation. There are boundless opportunities!
What is your job, exactly?
My job is to evaluate and analyze internal and external salary data to determine appropriate salary assignment and placement for specific units reporting under the executive vice president and provost area. Our team administers the university’s academic faculty compensation plans, reviews compensation policies and practices, and provides consultation to campus managers in standardized job design, establishing career ladders, and department compensation models.
What people on campus can do to make your job easier
If you are in line at the Student Union for food, and you see me at the back of line, let me cut in front of you. It will help with my productivity that day. [Said with a smile.] That, or save me a parking spot in front of FDH during lunch hours.
As a child, what you wanted to be when you grew up
My aspirations changed constantly. I was very much into sports, so at some point, I thought of being a basketball player, but I didn’t grow up to be 6’7”.
Where you grew up
I grew up in Long Beach, California. It was very much like Las Vegas, but the vibe was more laid back. It definitely shaped my personality. The pace of living near the beach is a little different. People don’t freak out too much about problems that come up. I try to keep that approach, just take things as they come. But Las Vegas is definitely my home now. It’s where I’ve planted my root, and where I plan to grow.
You were recognized this year as the “Best of the City” by Desert Companion, KNPR radio’s magazine, for Best New Sound. Please, explain.
With the little free time I have between work and school, I make indie-electronic music under the moniker Youth Fables. Last August I released an album and played around town — Brooklyn Bowl, Bunkhouse, Odd Fellows, Beauty Bar. Every show I played, the crowd got bigger and bigger, to a point where folks at Desert Companion took notice. They reached out for a photo shoot and then I realized it was for the Best of the City awards! It was very unexpected and an extremely humbling recognition. You can stream all my songs on streaming platforms by searching Youth Fables. That’s the thing about the music industry now. You don’t have to have a record label to get your music out there.
How you became such a good musician
Music is my hobby. My primary instrument is guitar, which I learned to play on my own as a freshman in high school, you know, at that age where you’re trying to make an identity for yourself. I eventually taught myself how to record on my laptop. It’s basically a free-for-all, no boundaries, no rules. Music allows me to escape my life as an HR analyst and as a law student. I never want music to be more than a hobby because I feel like it would start to lose its flavor. I feel that I would eventually start catering to outside expectations. It’s one of the few things in life that I can say I have complete control over, and that is very liberating to me.
How your musical talent has influenced how you approach work at UNLV
I approach music with an open mind, and I am always looking for ways to improve and innovate. I can say that is also how I approach the work I produce at UNLV. I value other people’s opinion and I try to think outside the box and to be as efficient as I can.
What is the last show you binge-watched?
Umm. I don’t have a TV in my apartment.
OK. So what band do you keep on replay?
I always have music on. My listening is really diverse. So, (looking at his laptop) this is what I’ve been listening to lately… Flume. That’s an electronic-indie artist from Australia.