We Can Still Love the Fall Season

As we head into a new fall season, there is no question that COVID-19 will wrap its ugly grasp around some of our favorite traditions.  It’s already changed the way we celebrate big events, the way we cheer on our favorite athletes, the way our children get an education, and how we enjoy our favorite comfort foods and beverages (and so much more).

With fall just arriving though, we wanted to put a list together of some things we can still do during this amazing season without letting COVID call all the shots:

  • It’s apple picking season – get out there and pick some apples. You can certainly do this from a distance.
  • Get outside and enjoy the changing of the leaves (if it’s not too late where you live).
  • Make a giant pot of your favorite chili or soup.
  • Bake a pie: apple, pecan, or pumpkin (who knew after toilet paper and disinfectant, that pumpkin puree would be a COVID casualty).
  • Be a kid again and jump into that giant pile of leaves you just raked.
  • Decorate for all the holidays that you get to celebrate this time of year.
  • VOTE!
  • Find yourself a corny movie, grab a comfy blanket, and warm yourself up with a mug of hot chocolate or hot apple cider.

For so many of us, the past seven months have changed our perspective on things.  We’ve lost focus, let our minds wander down a path we’ve never allowed ourselves to go before, and been forced to do things we’re uncomfortable with or unfamiliar with.  It doesn’t mean we can’t still make incredible memories and hold onto traditions.  Sure, things might be a little different, but different is good, right?  Sometimes, you just have to embrace the different and make it all your own.

Happy Fall PMG Friends!

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager

PMG Employee Spotlight with Brian P.

Brian is in his 16th year with PMG as Director of Business Development/Trainer/Mentor/Sales Coach.

About me

I didn’t start out in sales. As a young man, I was in a band, writing music, playing keyboards, and trying to get a record deal. We had some success, however, the woman I was dating and eventually became my life partner knew I needed something else to fall back on. Because of her, I was lucky enough to get pushed a little bit in what turned out to be the right direction.

We started building our family and I started working in accounting, bookkeeping and marketing. But I wasn’t really into crunching numbers and wanted to find something more exciting. What happened next? I answered an ad to sell sandpaper over the telephone! It was a low paying job but I was fortunate to have some great mentors. They showed me how to sell, helped catapult me into some early success that cemented my career in sales and led me to training and managing as well.

What are your main responsibilities in your position?

I start my day out by going through my pipeline, looking at what stage in the sales process my prospects are.  Then, I strategize next steps to continue to move them through towards closing. I also always make time for prospecting. Next, as a trainer/coach/mentor, I make time to critique calls made by other reps. I provide feedback and input to help them hone their craft and become more successful. I really like mentoring new salespeople. Good mentors were crucial to my career success and I enjoy giving that back. It’s really gratifying to see that lightbulb go off for a new salesperson.

How did you learn about the opportunity with PMG?

I’ve been with PMG 15 and a half years and was the first salesperson they hired. I was in a strictly managerial role before coming to PMG and wanted to get back to selling.

When I started, PMG was a young company and that’s what they needed – a salesperson in the trenches. It didn’t hurt that the business model seemed kind of sexy too with how different it was from the competition. I was looking for a 5 to 10-year plan and I thought it didn’t sound like a bad opportunity. It turned out to be a great opportunity! I had thick skin and wasn’t afraid to start from the ground cold calling against established competition. It excited me to be part of building something. They needed someone who could stick it out through the tough times, make the calls and build value around what differentiated PMG from the competition.  We’ve grown well together.

What do you like most about your job?

I like taking a challenging prospect and being able to build enough rapport, and show enough value, to make them see our business model as a viable solution to their problems. That part is always more satisfying when it’s a prospect that was leery or cynical initially. To have them go from doubt to buy-in, and then involve the rest of their stakeholders to get them onboard, is all part of what I enjoy about my job. I get a great thrill from that still, even after all these years.

What do you like most about working for PMG?

I like how the culture has developed, especially over the last five years in particular. It’s been a continuous evolution towards more and more teamwork, cohesive leadership, and accountability throughout all divisions and teams. Leadership actually listens to the ideas of employees from any corner of the office and there is a lot of respect for all team members. There’s flexibility with our roles, tasks, and lives too when it comes to things like working remotely, etc. The benefits don’t suck either! (Laughs) From the difficult growing pains of the first ten years to seeing the way it’s all started to come together has made it all the more gratifying. That’s especially true for me, having had a hand in growing and developing sales.

What advice would you give to a recent new hire at PMG?

If you have to sell day to day: My mindset has always been that every call you make should have intent and purpose. You should always be sincere about wanting to hear about any pain the prospect has so you can share a solution that can have a truly beneficial impact for them.

General to PMG: Hone in on your responsibilities and be a sponge. Take in everything you can learn from your mentor. You’re a branch in a big tree here and we need all the branches to be able to grow fruit. This is a multi-faceted industry and all our departments and resources work together to support each other. You want to be a part of that.

What are some hobbies you do in your free time?

I still love to play, make and listen to music. I play a lot of piano. I like to hike and hunt mushrooms and deer in the fall. I garden and cook what I find and grow too. I don’t mind having a nice glass of red wine to go with any of that either.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled and why?

Colorado. Going there and seeing the Rocky Mountains, and Red Rocks Amphitheater, was one of my best trips ever. Hands down the best. Seeing that beauty up close and being able to experience great music at a great venue – amazing! I also love the beaches in Sarasota, like Lido Beach. I winter there now.

What celebrity/inspirational person do you admire the most?

I like common sense motivational speakers like Jim Rohn. I also admire one of my first mentors, Kevin Aasgaard, who was my first sales trainer at St Paul Abrasives. He really taught me about goals, how important they are and that goals MATTER. From him, I learned to keep my eye on that goal, how to develop a plan to achieve it and the discipline to actually do so. Nobody is a born salesman; you have to have someone that will put their arm around you to get you through difficult times and pick you up when you fall down. I had that in him.

Without that, who knows if I’d have made it to where I am now. I try to give that to the people I am fortunate enough to mentor now because I know how instrumental it was to my success. I want to help others get through those difficult times to achieve the mini-successes that give them the confidence to keep moving on. Kevin gave me that and I try to give it to others.

What did you want to be when growing up?

I thought being an athlete would be fun because I was good at baseball and hockey, so at one point that crossed my mind. Then, at another point, I was really into acting and thought it would be really cool to become an actor. Later, I fell in love with music. I wanted to be a piano/keyboard player in a famous band, tour and record music. That was my biggest dream ever and it’s the one I came closest to actually achieving. We released a song on an album with a national label for the 10 Best Unsigned Bands in America in 1984. I would’ve loved to sit in with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for a few gigs.


You’re happiest when…

I’m content mentally and spiritually and feel that I’m being successful and on the right track as a person. When I’m taking care of my family and being kind and helpful to others, that’s when I’m happiest.

What’s your favorite restaurant and your must order there?

I like homemade perogies, soups, chilis and stews. Homemade anything is really my favorite food, but I don’t mind going to a good restaurant, like Mancini’s in St. Paul, and having a nice steak. I’ve had my 40th and 50th birthdays there already because I really enjoy that place.

There is a common saying out there that: “the people with the best advice are usually the ones who have been through the most.”

We at PMG aim to be a resource of advice, knowledge and information for so many in the manufacturing industry: business leaders and owners, workers and technicians, recruiters, etc. We strive to provide the right information and the right resources (as well as advice) for anyone and everyone to make well-educated decisions. Our monthly common FAQ posts (you can find them on our blog) are just one example of the ways we aim to educate.

We receive a lot of questions from our technicians and they’re often looking for advice. As a result, we’ve compiled a list of the best advice from PMG Technicians for PMG Technicians. Whether you’re looking to join our team, are traveling to your first project with PMG, or have been out on multiple projects, these 30+ best practices are helpful for anyone.

What You Represent

  1. Be respectful and kind to everyone you meet and work with. You must remember that you are a representative for PMG, yourself, and where you are from. – Robert C.
  2. Make sure you are highly alert and highly-enthused on your first day so you can shine. – Kenrick J.
  3. Your hard work reflects your dedication to PMG. – James J.

Preparing for a New Job

  1. Make a list of things to take with and pack them in containers for easy access. – Timothy S.
  2. Get your sleep! Getting 10+ hours of rest before the start of any assignment is essential. – Brandon E.
  3. Complete all household tasks prior to leaving, pack, and then enjoy the last day with your family. – Kenrick J.
  4. Make sure your family is prepared for your extended time away. Make sure finances are taken care of and they feel safe while you are away. Once that is taken care of, make sure you have all your ducks in a row for your job as far as PPE and tools you will need. – Dan O.
  5. Make sure you have all the medicine you will need, and then some. – Albert B.

Additionally, our technicians repeatedly recommend that a best practice, regardless of how many projects you’ve worked with PMG, is to research the company, the equipment, and the location prior to traveling.

Getting Acclimated to the Community  

  1. Get there one to two days early to familiarize yourself with the area. – Felix B.
  2. Get there early to see where the job site is and find the nearest grocery store, gas station, and laundromat. Go to a local restaurant (not a chain restaurant) to see how the locals react to someone new. – Dan O.

Our technicians not only travel for the work, but they travel for the adventure. Many recommend that you make it a priority to sightsee after researching nearby places or ask coworkers or locals for suggestions.

Starting A New Job

  1. Read the manuals and job aids. – Kenrick J.
  2. Give it a couple weeks. It takes time to get acclimated and it might not be the easiest transition, but it gets better. – Octavio G.
  3. Take a breath when you get there. Don’t get too excited; just go in and do what you know how to do. Keep your ears open because you can always learn something new. Do everything you do to the best of your ability. If you don’t know something, remain open and learn so you know. Your name is attached to everything you do, so act like it. – Nick H.
  4. Be truthful about your credentials. Go in with an open mind and be respectful, ready to learn. – Johnny R.

Our technicians also note that PMG projects are not there for you to reinvent the wheel. Rather, the jobs are excellent opportunities to learn new things.

Maintaining Connections Back Home

  1. Utilize the many different electronic options: Duo, Facetime, Zoom – these apps allow you to see the whereabouts of others and that’s better than just hearing their voice! – Brandon E.
  2. Send little gifts for no reason at all. – Dan O.

Keep in mind, depending upon the shift and hours you’ll be working while on assignment, guests are welcome to visit you while on assignment and you are welcome to travel home on your off days.

Starting New Connections

  1. Be careful about what you say in public. – Joshua J.

Other common words of wisdom regarding how to start new connections in an unknown area:

  • Listen and ask questions
  • Don’t be defensive
  • Be open to new ideas and techniques

Staying Healthy

  1. Exercise in your room or at a gym. Don’t eat a lot of fast food. – Brandon E.
  2. Cook in the hotel. – Kenrick J.,
  3. Spend as much time outside as you can to get the benefits of the sun and don’t be afraid to see a doctor if you have any concerns. – Dan O.
  4. Take care of your feet. – Michael W.
  5. Bring a George Foreman Grill and Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice. – Robert E.

More words of wisdom can be found in PMG’s Lunchbox Hack blog posts featuring tools and tips to help you eat healthy and eat from home.

Additional Advice

  1. Getting to work 15 minutes early will help you succeed every day. – Brandon E.
  2. Take a deep breath and be confident. – Andrew S.
  3. Save a month or two of living expenses to utilize in between assignments. – Brandon C.
  4. Don’t be afraid when an assignment is finished. Time between assignments is your ‘vacation’. – Nic S.
  5. Do not spend your free time partying or staying up late.
  6. Stay in close contact with your project manager and recruiter.
  7. Remember you have two bosses: the client and PMG.
  8. Read all of your emails from PMG.
  9. Start with an assignment that is shorter in duration if you’re nervous about traveling and being away from home.
  10. Always carry a notebook and a pen or pencil to keep notes.

If you’d like a chance to put this advice to the test on a PMG assignment, contact our Technical Solutions Team. If you think your workforce could use technicians with this kind of attitude, contact our Client Solutions Team.

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach

PMG wants to mix up your meal planning by improving break time for the American workforce one lunchbox at a time. No matter where it happens, production is powered by people who are fueled by food. We have tips, tricks, and recipes to help you feed yourself with something that makes you feel better! If you missed last month’s lunchbox hack, read it now on our blog page.


Mornings can get hectic quickly, especially for parents now that school is back in session. It’s not uncommon for a pre-packed meal to get forgotten in the fridge once everyone is out the door. If you’d like to life-proof your lunch time, start leaving your car keys in your lunch bag at night. You’ll never make it all the way out the door without your meal again.


Put it in a jar. Whether you’re prepping soup, salad, or a variety of other things, it will always be simpler to make a large batch and then separate servings into jars. This way, you will save time in the morning and simplify transfer/transport.

  • Pro Tip: When packing your pre-jarred soup in the morning, remove the metal lid, overheat in the microwave, then add to a quality insulated thermos (such as this one from Stanley) for a meal that will be ready to eat hours later. This will save you when it comes to dishwashing too!


September is the unofficial start of soup season. Try this easy Best Ever Potato Soup recipe. Prep time will take 30 minutes or less AND it will still be delicious the next day! Remember to pack extra too because a soup isn’t just for lunch time. An extra cup at your morning or afternoon breaks can really help you power through the rest of your day.

Josh Erickson, ReTool & Technical Solutions Associate

Thanks for joining us for another installment of PMG’s “How It’s Made”! We’re covering a common question: How Are Vaccines Made?

What is a vaccine and how does it work?

At its core level, a vaccine consists of the very same virus or bacteria of the disease the vaccine is attempting to fight. For instance, the chickenpox vaccine contains the chickenpox virus. However, the vaccine contains the virus at a weakened level, just enough so that the following items occur:

  1. An antigen completely inactivates or kills the virus. This occurs in the polio and rabies vaccines.
  2. The immune system produces antibodies (essentially proteins within your immune system) that find, defuse, and deactivate the virus or bacteria. Therefore, upon receiving a vaccine, a recipient is exposed to levels of the virus or bacteria that are just enough to create immunity, but not enough to become sick. This occurs in the chicken pox, measles, and hepatitis B vaccines.

How do you make vaccines?

Vaccines start in the lab where researchers grow the virus or bacteria in large quantities. For viral vaccines, this is done in cell cultures, which are often harvested from chicken embryos. For bacterial vaccines, growth is completed in bioreactors. These are essentially large vats in which growth mediums (minerals, carbs, amino acids, and proteins) are added.

vaccine 4In both processes, the main goal is to create an environment in which the virus or bacteria replicates itself repeatedly, producing thousands of copies of itself. In doing just this, scientists create an antigen which is ultimately a toxin and foreign substance that induces our immune systems to respond and thus create antibodies. The task of antibodies within the human body is to locate and attack substances or proteins considered foreign to our immune system.

Next, scientists release the produced antigen and isolate it from the growth chamber or cell. After doing so, the antigen goes through a purification process. To purify the antigen, scientists utilize chromatography – a process of separation utilizing gas, vapor or liquid – or ultra-filtration.

After purification of the antigen, additional materials/ingredients are added to create the vaccine. These ingredients include an adjuvant (find a list of them here) which helps the immune system build up a stronger response to the virus/bacteria. Other ingredients, including stabilizers and preservatives, preserve shelf-life or allow for multi-dose applications. With the addition of these ingredients, the next step is to ensure the bacteria or virus antigen and ingredients are uniformly mixed in large vessels.

vaccine 2

Lastly, mixed ingredients from the vessel fill individual vials or syringe packages. Sterile closures and labels seal and finish the packages. Some are even freeze-dried prior to storage or shipment and are the product you see at time of vaccination.

Extra Resources

Although I’ve summarized this process quickly, the actual creation of a vaccine is long in nature and complex, lasting up to 15 or 20 years in total. Between the various stages, there are many, many studies and trials including basic laboratory research, pre-clinical studies, applications to the FDA, and multiple phases of trials with very specific regulations and rules. Find more details on the testing and regulations required in vaccine development here.

Now, after all that, check out the following links for a little less science and little more fun:

On Saturday, September 5, we celebrate International Day of Charity.  This celebration began in Hungary to commemorate Mother Theresa’s death in 1997. It was declared an international holiday by the UN in 2012, honoring Mother Theresa’s years of service to the poor and suffering.  According to NationalToday.com, “overall, the day reminds us that simple acts of charity can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crisis and create more inclusive and resilient societies.”

I’ve been lucky in my professional career to work for organizations that understand the value of doing something good for others.  Whether that good meant a donation of:

  • Cash
  • School supplies for under privileged children
  • Pajamas for children in hospitals
  • Blood drives for people in need
  • A soup bowl passed across a counter to a homeless person, or
  • An exhilarating jump into a frozen lake.

No matter how we’ve donated, we’ve been able to make an impact because we’re working together.  Not to say that a single donation doesn’t make a difference, but when we work together and make charity a natural part of our company culture, giving is easier.

At PMG, we have greater access to the opportunity of giving because our leadership has such generous hearts. As more and more people get involved, our gifts get bigger, every single time.  For that one person who can only afford to donate $5, it easily turns into $500 or $2,000 because no gift is too small.

A few fun facts about giving according to NationalToday.com:

  • Historically, we give more in the month of December
  • Australia is the most charitable county on Earth
  • Women are more likely to give than men
  • On average, a US donor is 62 years of age

No matter the facts or where you fall in those statistics, experience the joy of doing something good for someone else.  You’ll feel amazing afterwards.

Want to read more about PMG’s recent charitable initiatives? Read about our involvement with FamilyWise, KINMN, Sweet Dreams for Kids and the Polar Plunge.

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager

Posted in CSR

FAQs for PMG

PMG provides labor solutions to American manufacturers and we take the “solution” part of that equation seriously. We’re the folks who have to provide accurate answers for tough questions.  As a result, all of us here end up asking a lot of questions to make sure we find the right way to solve the real problem. This blog attempts to share the answers to the questions we get asked the most.

What is the difference between a VTL and a VBM?

Great question! VTLs (Vertical Turret Lathes) are very similar to VBMs, (Vertical Boring Mills) but distinctly different. It’s easy to confuse one for the other due to a number of reasons.

  1. VBMs are one of the more nuanced machines on the market. Thus, the terminology is not nearly as ubiquitous as VTLs even though VBMs were present in shops much earlier.
  2. Adding to the confusion, VBMs can also perform lathe operations.

What really differentiates one from the other? Basically, a VTL is a VBM with a tool turret.

Vertical Turret Lathe (VTL) with 5 Tool Turret:

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This answer naturally leads to the question – what benefits can a tool turret provide to the machining process to improve upon VBM capabilities? The turret provides a few major benefits when compared to a traditional VBM. Namely:

  • The ability to perform threading
  • Shorter setup times
  • Less frequent tool changes

These three benefits have the overall impact of providing more potential operational ability within any one setup. This decreases average machine downtime while increasing production time, resulting in a net gain in efficiency (and, therefore, profit).

Vertical Boring Mill (VBM):

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More Resources

If you’re looking for more information on either machine, start by watching this video of a VTL or this one of a VBM in operation. If you have the machines and need someone to run them, contact our Client Solutions team. Lastly, if you’d like a chance to run a VTL or a VBM on a PMG project, send us your resume at recruiter@pmgservices.com.

Josh Erickson, ReTool & Technical Solutions Associate