Keep Calm & Recycle; Manufacturing Is

Recently, I brought a load of recycling goods to my local center and noticed a massive pileup of scrap metal.  I realized it was not material coming from a household, it was from a commercial/industrial drop.  That got me thinking – how are US companies dealing with their leftover materials?

While most of us grew up hearing, ‘Recycle, Reduce, Reuse’, it’s a mantra for many manufacturing companies today.  The US government has tried to push that narrative along as well, with federal government allowing kickbacks to companies that recycle.  In addition, 25 states currently give tax breaks/kickbacks to companies that recycle.

In terms of quantity, steel is the most commonly recycled metal, comprising more than aluminum, paper, glass, and plastic combined.  The US recycles roughly 88% of steel, making it the most recycled industrial material.

In terms of efficiency, it’s 57% more energy effective to recycle aluminum than to create it from raw material.  Aluminum is also 100% recyclable, meaning it’s not lost in the process and you get a pure return.

While companies are reusing their metals, they’ve also pioneered reusing other needed substances.  Concrete is now recycled at its highest rate, plastics are recycled as fuel, and oil can even be processed for additional industrial use.  A certain kind of plastic is also now capable of being 100% reusable, saving close to 68% in processing costs.  With finite materials, this looks to be a continued trend in manufacturing moving forward.

While recycling may still be a dirty business, it isn’t going out of style any time soon.

To learn more about new recycling processes and improvements, please visit

Dave Rohlfing, Senior Technical Solutions Coordinator

Lessons from PMG Leadership

What do employees want from leadership? A quick Google search or a leisurely scroll through your LinkedIn feed can yield a bountiful harvest of lists (like this one from Forbes). However, if you read enough of them, you’ll find that what employees really want from their leaders is to learn.

As a leader, sharing accumulated lessons and experiences isn’t just good for employee engagement, it’s critical in developing the next generation of leaders.

In light of this, we asked several leaders at PMG to share a few of the leadership lessons they’ve learned on the way to, and through, their current role. We found four themes in their shared experience.

Lessons in Leadership

The Learning Never Stops

People spend a lot of time working towards where they want to end up, but most don’t realize the work doesn’t stop once they get there.

Look up to, and learn from, the leaders around you. It’s NEVER too late to learn. ALWAYS keep learning. Hard, AND smart, work pays off.

Natalie K. – Director of Client Solutions


Change Never Stops

It’s easy to take an, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” approach to business. But if your industry never stops changing, neither should you or your business.

Be open minded and understand that change is a constant, for the better.

Kathy M. – Sales Administrator


Don’t Forget What You’re Working For

The day to day grind is an easy place to lose your perspective at work, but try hard not to.

Work hard and celebrate the wins, no matter how small.

Joan F. – Controller


Misconceptions in Leadership

Leaders Are Not Always Right

Everyone has a boss, and we all look to them for answers when we don’t have them, but they aren’t infallible.

The most common misconception is that we know everything there is to know about our role. I’m a manager, that doesn’t mean I’m going to know every answer right away, but it does mean I’ll know the right places to look or the right people to ask to get you a well-educated and researched answer.

Elizabeth B. – HR Manager


Saying No Isn’t Easy

Our leaders are generally the final say so on most decisions and they don’t normally like to say, ‘No’ without a good reason.

I think people think that leadership is hard because you have to deal with different individuals and you don’t want to ‘ruffle any feathers.’  Saying no is always tough, but setting expectations helps so people are prepared.

Laura Y. – Sr. Manager/Strategic Project Development


Your Leaders DO Care About You

It’s easy to feel that you’re just another cog in an unfeeling machine, but good leaders do care about you.

The most common misconception I feel others have about leadership is that they don’t care. When actually, leaders truly meant to be leaders, do care about your growth within a company and are there to help you as needed.

Sonya T. – Accounting Manager


You’re In-Charge

Being the boss may not mean your work is without headaches, but it does mean you have autonomy to try and address those complications for yourself and your team.

The best part about being in a leadership position is having the ability to drive outcomes, and getting the opportunity to work with people to leverage their strengths and support them in their professional development, which typically has a positive impact on them as well as on the team.

Amy G. – President


You Get to Grow

Good leadership helps good companies, and their employees, grow.

The best part of working in management or leadership is the ability to coach, mentor, and train employees in a way that ultimately builds and propels their own knowledge, skills, experience, and success.

Kim M. – Technical Manager & Coach


You Get to Celebrate Others

It’s easy being happy for the achievements of your teammates and coworkers because training, managing, and leading them means you’ve succeeded too.

The best part of leading is watching your team members succeed!

Kathy M. – Sales Administrator 


Challenges in Leadership

Balancing Personal vs. Professional

Work anywhere long enough and you’re going to develop relationships with people that go beyond your job descriptions. Balancing how you feel about the person against how you feel about their performance can be difficult, even for leaders.

I’ve found the hardest part of management for me is carefully walking the line between friend/coworker and manager/leader.

Kim M. – Technical Manager and Coach


Everybody Is Different

Even in small companies, personalities, communication styles, and work preferences can vary greatly between employees. Finding a harmonious balance that benefits culture and production is one of the most important tasks on any leaders’ to-do list.

The hardest part of leadership, for me, is learning everyone’s work style and what best motivates each individual and then consistently applying that.

Joan F. – Controller


There’s Never Enough…Anything

Whether we’re talking about time, resources, or energy, if you’re a leader, you’re probably stretched thinner than your employees imagine.

In my role, in a HR department of 1, the biggest struggle is finding/making the time to focus on the big picture, while still getting the day-to-day tasks taken care of.

Elizabeth B. – HR Manager


If you’ve struggled to hit your stride as a leader, try focusing on some of these lessons from our leadership team. If you’re still looking for a company that exhibits great leadership, we think you should consider PMG.


“I think anyone should consider a career with PMG because we aim to be a place that offers excellent opportunities to top performers and welcomes the input of all team members to ensure we have the best practices in place to be as successful as possible. If that sounds like it would be an environment you’d thrive in, then we’d love to connect with you.” – Amy G.


Check out our website to learn more about open positions


PMG’s Leadership Team


Layoffs can be inevitable. Here are three ways layoffs can hurt your company and three solutions to help eliminate them.

What effects do layoffs have on your company?


Consider the time and costs associated with hiring and laying off employees.  Recruiting efforts, interviews, internal meetings, on-boarding, training.  Off-boarding, internal meetings, re-distributing work.  Add a 20% reduction in employee performance due to employee job insecurity and you might want to reconsider.

Employee Retention

In general, when companies layoff their people, they are subject to losing trust and productivity in their employees.  If your employees think more layoffs are coming, why should they stay?  In this study, the researchers found that laying off 1% of our workforce can lead to a 31% increase in voluntary turnover the following year.

Brand Reputation

What happens when you are ready to ramp-up again?  Your ability to recruit new or former employees will be limited.  Would you like to hire on with a company that incorporates layoffs as part of their strategy to maximize productivity?   We didn’t think so.

Consider Your Options


Think about what motivates your customers to place an order.  Forward thinking companies understand that demand volatility costs money.   Customers who provide ample notice for their specific needs can be rewarded.  For example, if you know Q4 is your busy season, get those orders in by Q2 so you can stay ahead of it. Incentivize your customers to help mitigate future volatility!

Cut Elsewhere

There really is no such thing as free lunch.  Consider ways to reduce overhead costs without leaving your employees in the dark.  If you find yourself sponsoring employee lunches, try and cut back.  Do your employees travel for work often?  Maybe it’s time to reduce the frequency, or monitor spending with a closer eye.  Have you considered reducing hours on a rotating schedule?  Remember, you are a team and your employees want to be part of that team too.

Partner with PMG

PMG has helped manufacturing companies eliminate their need to lay off employees for 20+ years.  By partnering with us, you have a built-in risk management tool.  As a result, be mindful when considering hiring full-time employees.  When the work picks up, bring in one or more of our skilled technicians, from our diverse roster, for whatever duration you need.  We are flexible, our technicians are highly skilled and we want to make sure you meet your customers’ demands on time without over-hiring.

Connect with PMG!

Tess Dailey, Client Solutions Manager

Kelly Grohowski, Client Solutions Manager

The Who, What, Why, Where, and How of the New W-4 (Employee’s Withholding Certificate)


What has changed?

  • Form W-4 is now titled as Employee’s Withholding Certificate for years 2020 onward.
  • This new W-4 form has been simplified and is more straight forward for both employers and employees.

Why did the W-4 form change?

  • In 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act took effect. The revised W-4 form reflects tax code changes from this act.

Who do the changes affect?

  • Employees hired as of January 1, 2020, at a new place of employment or with a new employer, will need to complete the new W-4 form.
  • Employees with a 2019 (or earlier version) of the W-4 on file with a current employer, are not required to complete the new W-4 form.
    • Note: if you fall into this category and you would like to adjust your withholding, you will need to complete the new W-4 form

How has it changed?

  • W-4 versions prior to 2020 were tied to personal exemptions and withholding allowances which is no longer the case.
  • The new W-4 form is now one page long with only five steps, of which you only need to complete two.

Required Steps

  • Step 1:
    • Personal information (Name, Social Security Number, Address)
    • Filing status (Single or Married Separate, Married Jointly, or Head of Household)
  • Step 5: Signature

Optional Steps

  • Step 2:

Complete if you 1) Hold more than one job OR 2) are married, filing jointly and your spouse works

  • Step 3:

Complete if you’d like to claim dependents and take deductions other than the standard deduction

  • Step 4:

Complete should you want extra taxes withheld for any reason

Where to find more information?

If you need more information on the new W-4 form, here are some helpful links:

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach

Q&A with PMG Machinist Brian B.

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How long have you been working in manufacturing?

Since 1994. I’m a machinist – it’s how I think and it’s in my blood. I like it because you can take a chunk of metal and make it into something. You get to be able to see the beginning, make things work, then see it at the end.

What drew you to the trade?

I got out of the air force after four to five years and was doing different kinds of jobs. A friend recommended a company that was hiring. I went there and was hired as a QA inspector. They needed more operators so I jumped into it and pretty much taught myself. It’s all been history ever since.

Have you had any formal training?

Just the school of hard knocks. Started with tool joints for oil pipe. Then a CNC lathe Mori Seiki and I’ve been all self-taught since.

Before working at PMG, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

Before PMG, I was working for Baker Hughes and I kind of got put in a place where I was doing all prototype stuff. It was interesting because it was pushing things to extremes with the machine, methods and materials. I was always figuring out new things.

What do you like most about working for PMG?

I had my resume on CareerBuilder and I’d been getting emails and ignoring them. Then one day, I came home feeling frustrated and unappreciated with where I was working. I was talking to my wife and she asked if there was somewhere else I could work. I said, ‘Well I’ve been getting these emails.’ She encouraged me to call them. Now, I’ve been with them for a year and a half and I’m on my third assignment.

What I like most is first, I have to give a shout out to PMG Project Manager, Laura. She’s the most awesome person I’ve worked with before. She’s amazing. But the different companies I’ve been at have been great too. The people there. The assignment. They’re all great.

Second, I really like the opportunity to have the variety in my work while doing the same thing, if that makes sense. Different machines, processes, materials, components, industries. All of it.

Lastly, I like that, when you go a place on vacation, you see things but you don’t get to BE there. When you go on a PMG assignment, you get to BE there and it’s great. It’s exciting and I love it. It’s an opportunity I wouldn’t have had anywhere else.

What is one thing you miss or wish you had with you while on the road with PMG?

My beautiful wife. We talk several times a day on the phone. We use FaceTime. She helps me pick my next destination so it’s somewhere she’d like to go. Then she’ll come stay for a week or so at some place. I like just seeing different places. Different houses, different places, different stores. It’s always unique. I like seeing it and being part of it. I also like getting out, hiking and just seeing a new area.

What are some career lessons you’ve learned thus far?

It’s going to sound weird but honesty. Right or wrong.  Up or down. As long as you’re honest, it’s always going to be the way to go. Machining specifically – don’t be close minded. Listen to other people and look at things differently. You can always find a better way to do things even if you’ve done it the same way a hundred times before.

When you’re not working, what sort of hobbies do you like to do in your free time?

I like being outside. Hiking, getting on the nature trails. Just sightseeing the natural world.