On August 1, PMG partnered with a non-profit organization called Kids in Need Minnesota (KINMN) to help support their annual 24 Hours to Empower event.  KINMN’s mission is to ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom by providing free school supplies to students most in need. This was PMG’s second year donating time and supplies to the cause.

To learn more about PMG’s first year supporting KINMN’s cause, click here.

The Competition

To prepare for the 24 Hours to Empower event, PMG divided its corporate employees into three teams: Team Rock, Team Paper, & Team Scissors.  We had two weeks to see which team could collect the most backpacks, notebooks, highlighters, glue sticks, crayons, and pencils – each item having a specific points value attributed to it. As a competitive group of people, we quickly accepted the challenge and got to work.

Donations for KINMN

Through social media fundraising, requests for donations from vendors, and personal donations, we were able to collect:

  • 81 boxes of 24 count Crayola crayons
  • 387 Elmer’s glue sticks
  • 31 bottles of Elmer’s glue
  • 894 #2 pencils
  • 1,249 highlighters
  • 158 notebooks
  • 416 backpacks
  • $2,846.62 in cash

For a total fundraising effort of $11,549.54

Final Team Scores

  • 31,870 points – Team Rock
  • 135,022 points – Team Paper
  • 55,625 points – Team Scissors


The Real Winners

The real winners are the 7,309 students who will have the school supplies they need to completely rock this school year following the 24 Hours to Empower event!  Kudos to the KINMN organization for hosting a well-organized event and a HUGE THANKS to our PMG team for stepping in and helping out where it’s needed the most.

For more information about KINMN, visit their website at https://www.kidsinneedmn.org/.

Posted in CSR

Must Haves for Every Technician’s Toolbox

Every technician has a toolbox, but what do you NEED to have in it? While there’s no “right” answer, here is a list of tools that PMG’s most successful technicians always have in their toolboxes – and some recommendations for the average Joe too:

Hand Tools

  • Wrenches
  • Hand Drivers
  • Pliers
  • Hammers
  • Chisels & Punches
  • Files & Deburring Tools

Power Tools

  • Drills & Drivers
  • Cutters & Saws
  • Grinders & Sanders

Measuring Tools

  • Calipers & Micrometers
  • Square
  • Scale
  • Indicators & Edge Finders


  • Flashlights
  • Calculator
  • Markers & Soapstone
  • Notebook

Hand Tools for Your Toolbox


Machinists and maintenance technicians need a good set of wrenches, ratchets, and sockets in typical SAE and metric sizes. A good adjustable wrench and a set of Allen wrenches are also must haves. Most also carry a quality torx set because of their prevalence in industrial settings. 

Professional pick: 500-piece Craftsman Set
Average Joe pick: 497-piece Duratech Kit *25% of the price of the Craftsman!

Hand drivers

Hand drivers may be the toothbrush of tools, rarely appreciated though used every day, but that’s what makes them essential. Every technician prefers a power tool for any job, but sometimes you can’t get power tools where they need to be. A good selection of hand drivers with varied lengths and a multitude of heads (slotted, Philips, square, etc.) can often be a big job saver.

Pros: Wera Insulated Set *the best tips on the market!
Joes: Amartisan Magnetic Tip Set


Whether used for holding work pieces or trimming and stripping wires, or turning the nut a wrench can’t reach, a technician can never have too many pliers. From slip-joint to locking and needle-nose to linesman’s, make sure this tool is well represented in your bag.

KNIPEX Tools 82 01 200 TwinGrip Slip Joint Pliers, 8-Inch

Pros: Knipex TwinGrip Slipjoint Plier *even pros will find it a gamechanger!
Joes: Channellock Combo Kit


Technician or not, everybody knows about hammers, but those used in manufacturing aren’t your father’s claw hammer. It doesn’t matter if you need to set tooling and fixtures, make repairs or fine adjustments, or just knock something loose. A good collection of specialty hammers such as ball peens, brass, and dead blows will more than pull their weight in the shop.

Pros: Stiletto Ti-Bone Claw *worth every penny for framers and carpenters!
Joes: Estwing 16 oz Claw

Chisels & Punches

Sets of up to 1” for chisels and punches can go a long way for working on tooling, fixtures and finished work pieces. Having them may also be the difference between saving the machine, the tool, or your fingers from unnecessary damage in the process.

Pros: Proto 12-piece Punch & Chisel Set
Joes: Swanlake 16-piece Punch & Chisel Set *best bang for the buck you’ll find!

Files & Deburring tools

Files and deburring tools are integral for finish work on parts and features for both machinists and welders. Owning a great set of both is often all that separates a tedious job from an impossible one especially when dealing with fine materials or high tolerance pieces.

Pros: Noga 7-pc Complete Deburring Tool Set
Joes: AFA Tooling Deburing Kit *great on most materials!

Power Tools for Your Toolbox

Drills & Drivers

Drills and drivers replace hand tools, where appropriate, to save time and physical strain. Recent advancements in battery technology now allow many companies to make great entries in this field. However, regardless of brand, the choice will always be between power and physical profile (smaller drills = smaller, less powerful batteries). Be honest about the work you do most or be prepared to see this collection grow quickly.

Pros: Bosch 12v Max 2-Tool Combo Kit *most compact footprint AND brushless!
Joes: Black+Decker 20v Max Drill/Driver + Impact Driver Kit

Cutters and Saws

Cutters and saws help make faster, more accurate, cuts more often than hand tools. You can choose from corded or cordless varieties, and both have their advantages. The convenience and portability of cordless versions normally win in most scenarios. Remember though, it’s still a battery tool. The same considerations apply to these as mentioned for drills and drivers.

Milwaukee 2720-21 M18 Fuel Sawzall Reciprocating Saw Kit

Pros: Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall Kit *best battery on the market!
Joes: Porter-Cable 20v Max Circular Saw

Grinders and Sanders

A quality belt sander and an angle grinder, with both cutting and grinding heads, are essential for rough maintenance and fine finish work. It doesn’t matter if you’re a welder, machinist, or maintenance technician – you will have to clean up weld slag or tool chatter at some point. Pro tip, if you need to use either for more than a few minutes at a time, go with the corded version. Cordless sanders and grinders drain batteries quickly!

Pros: Rigid 15-amp Angle Grinder
Joes: Dewalt Electric Sheet Sander *sheet sanders are cheaper but so is the paper!

Measuring Tools for Your Toolbox

Calipers and Micrometers

A quality 0-1” micrometer and a good 6” caliper will take any machinist a long way by accommodating most typical sized work pieces and features. If you need a bigger range for your daily work, then your toolbox is probably already in great shape without this list. Pro tip: Analog dials never have batteries die, but digitals have fewer parts that need cleaning to maintain accuracy over time.


Machinist square or combo square, both will help you start and check your work. You won’t get far without one or the other. When buying, go for sturdy over fancy.

Scale (Ruler)

A 6” scale is standard, and I recommend sticking with metal for durability and accuracy. Indicators and edge finders are essential for setting your axis, finding the edge of your part and fine-tuning settings. A scale is often overlooked, but you’re simply not a machinist without it.
*Pros can get their measuring tools piece by piece or in a kit to meet all needs, like this one from Insize. But most Joes can get by with just a good tape measure like this classic from Stanley.

Miscellaneous Items 


Flashlights make it easier to do work when you can see it. Get a few and make sure at least one has a flexible head. Magnetic bases frequently come in handy too.


Don’t use your phone as a calculator – there’s a greater chance you’ll wreck it. A calculator capable of performing trig functions is a must for multi-axis machining.


Being able to read your markings on greasy, oily metal is essential in production environments and being able to remove the markings after is a plus.


This is your most important tool as a technician because it allows you to reference work you’ve done and make sure you can apply that previous knowledge to the current job at hand.

Tool Storage

When you go to the job, your tools need to come with you. FlexTrade’s traveling technicians all need a quality toolbox that is portable, adjustable, and lockable. This 22-inch rolling system from Husky is a great option! If you’re wondering what to do with the tools you decide to leave at home, they need to be stored properly as well. We suggest you watch this interview with Stor-Loc, a great American-made option, before deciding on your next tool chest!

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Every work site has its own requirements for PPE, but they all begin with boots. Steel or composite safety toes are the standard, but built-in internal metatarsal protection boots are becoming more common all the time. Waterproofing, slip resistance, and electrical ratings are other things to consider when buying boots. Something like this pair from Red Wings checks all those boxes.

Hard hats or helmets, safety glasses, and hearing protection are often provided by the employer, but every technician has a favorite that works best for their job. When you find yours, buy two immediately!

Position specific equipment like auto-darkening visors for welders and respirators for painters are also PPE worth considering.

While this list is not definitive, it’s a great start to building your kit. See what your toolbox is lacking and consider adding some missing items.

If your collection already includes everything mentioned above, and you know how to use it, you’re probably ready for a career in the manufacturing industry. Send your resume to retoolrecruiting@pmgservices.com and we’ll get you started!

Want to learn more about what it’s like to be a traveling technician? Check out our webinar Road Warrior – What it’s like to be a traveling technician.

Scheduling an interview while you’re working can be a challenge. Let’s think about this for a second –

You’ve made the decision that you’re going to start exploring new opportunities. You’ve updated your resume and started submitting online applications. The interview requests start rolling in and you’re thinking, ‘Wow, this is great!

Then, you’re met with the anxiety of ‘How am I going to take all these calls- I’m still working!’ Fears of your boss finding out you’re interviewing elsewhere start to take over your mind. Suddenly, a good situation has turned into a new source of stress.

Sound familiar?

Take a breath. You’re getting interview requests – that is half the battle! Now is the time to come up with a schedule.

Tips for scheduling your interview while you’re working

  • Look at your week – where can you adjust?
  • Speak with the hiring manager – what does their schedule look like?
  • Speak with your manager – where do you have flexibility for a personal appointment?

Come up with a game plan so you can provide several options of availability to the hiring manager. The more flexibility you’re able to offer, the better.

Looking for more career tips? Check out our post on How to Avoid the Job Search Burnout

Why is schedule flexibility important?

Being more flexible gives the impression you’re invested in the interview process and you’re easy to work with. Remember, the interview process is your first interaction with the company. How you present yourself here will be taken into consideration throughout the entire process. The hiring manager will take into consideration your willingness to adjust your schedule.

Is it appropriate to schedule an interview outside of business hours?

Requesting a time to interview outside of standard business hours is not ideal. You may think it is an easy and logical solution to your scheduling problem, but it’s actually sending a distasteful message to the hiring manger. Just like you, the hiring team works standard business hours. In order to respect the hiring team’s time and yours, set your schedule boundaries to be standard business hours.

How to use PTO wisely

Taking PTO to schedule an interview is a wise option. If you’re planning to take the day off, fill it with as many phone screens as possible. At the end of the day, evaluate each call you had that day. Then, narrow down the opportunities to your top three and go from there.

Interviewing while working isn’t always the easiest task, but having a job while you’re looking is the way to go. Give yourself the financial security and the time to make sure you’re making the best move possible.

For more tips, read this post from The Balance Careers.

Mackenzie Porwoll, Corporate Recruiter