PMG provides labor solutions to American manufacturers. That’s what we do in a nutshell and we take the “solution” part of that equation seriously. We ask a lot of questions to get the right answer. This blog is our monthly effort to provide some solutions to you for the questions we get asked the most.

Skilled traveling tradesmen of all kinds are in high demand everywhere.

Why would someone choose travel work if they’re good enough to get and/or keep a job at home?

We get that question a lot! Really there is no single answer to it either. Travel work is not uncommon in the trades and PMG is far from the only employer in America to offer it. But every tradesman and technician that travels has their own reasons for choosing, and often preferring, road work. Read on to discover which are the three most common. You can also watch our webinar Road Warrior to learn a little more about what it’s like to be a PMG traveling technician.


Most of us choose our employment based primarily on financial reasons. Many traveling tradesmen are no different. The fact of the matter is that the same job doesn’t always pay the same. Depending on your trade, geographic location, industry, and employer base rates and salaries can fluctuate greatly in America for the “same” positions. If the goal is to earn more pay but your region or industry doesn’t allow that, traveling is an easy answer. Rather than waiting for wages to catch up in their area they go where the money is, earn it, and then bring it home.


Every technician is different in what they are best at and like doing the most. Many PMG techs choose our projects simply because the work we offer is more interesting to them than what is available closer to home. For example, a machinist that likes aerospace work but lives in a region dominated by oil & gas companies can often find more of the work they prefer doing away from home.


The travel itself can also be a big draw for those in the trades. Most of us would say we like traveling. It’s hard to argue that going different places and seeing new things isn’t interesting. But most of us have to save while we work to travel so we can spend while we’re not working. Those working road projects get to flip that equation and get paid to explore different cities, states, and regions while they work.

If you’re looking for more insider info on travel work we’ve got you covered. Read one our Technician Spotlights from our blog page, like this one with machinist Brian B. If you have your own question for PMG we have an answer, and we’d love to share it. Send questions to and watch for the answer in future FAQs.

PMG Technician Spotlight

How long have you been working in manufacturing?

I’ve been in manufacturing most of my adult life. I spent about half of my career in municipal government and about half in manufacturing. Last 10 years has been all about manufacturing. I’ve worked in food, medical, automotive, a little bit of everything.

What drew you to the trade?

I’ve always liked warehouse work and machine operating. That kind of work comes easy to me and it’s good money. These projects give me lots of opportunities to grow my skills and knowledge. I get trained up on different machines and different positions and processes. I’ve even learned how to train and lead now as a shift lead. I really like improving myself and the company I’m working with.

Have you had any formal training?

Nothing formal really. It has mostly been on the job training. I try to apply what I learn to other jobs so all that training follows me from job to job. I’ve gotten really good at being able to learn from observation and then apply that knowledge down the road.

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

I always put my job first when I’m on assignment. I’m very big on punctuality and attendance. I try to get up early and get there early. I’m always starting my day ahead that way.

How did you first learn about PMG?

I knew someone that was already working with PMG and they told me they thought this would be a life changing opportunity. Some people get nervous about road work but that wasn’t something I was worried about, so I decided to give it a try. Now, 27 months later, I’m still here on my first assignment (after accepting several extensions) and I couldn’t be happier I did!

What do you like most about working for PMG?

The steady work. I’ve been able to be on this same assignment for 27 months. I’ve learned a lot and met people from all over the world. I’d worked projects before PMG but I’d never traveled for those projects. I really like being able to see the world and work at the same time. PMG makes the traveling really easy too.

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

The most unusual job I had before PMG was working in a food production warehouse. In the summer it could be 100 degrees but in the freezer section you would still need to be wearing full coveralls. I froze to death in the middle of the summer.

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

My children are grown so I’m not leaving a lot behind family-wise. Mostly I just miss the weather back in North Carolina more than anything. My first winter here in Iowa was a real eye-opener with all the sub-zero weather and snow.

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

I like to take a walk or ride my bike. I even bought a bike here on assignment to get around town and explore. Also, I like reading and watching movies. I’m big on horrors and mysteries and thrillers. I like anything suspenseful.

What is something fun you’re looking forward to in 2021?

I had to cancel my 2020 vacation so I’m looking forward to taking my first real time off in 2 years. I’m also looking forward to getting to the beach. I haven’t been there in a long time.

Find more spotlight articles on PMG’s blog.

What are you thankful for this year?

That’s what we asked PMG employees, in honor of Thanksgiving. We wanted to understand what they are most thankful for even after all that happened in 2020. You might notice some themes here. I’m thankful I get to share them with you.

I’m thankful for…

  • “Good family, good friends, good health, and a great employer!”
  • “Now more than ever, I am SO thankful for my job. If I was still working in the restaurant business, my life would be a lot different. My employment would never feel steady.”
  • “Really good teachers who have figured out how to engage my kids, have given them individual attention, and have gotten them excited about school through distance learning.”
  • “Streaming services that give me any movie, show, or clip at my fingertips, on demand.”
  • “The health of our family and being able to go on two vacations as a family!”
  • “Having a job.”
  • “The brave people who fight at the battle lines: whether that be our military who defend our country each and every day of every year, or the doctors, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, and EMT’s who maybe didn’t sign up for a global pandemic but have continued to put their own lives on the line to adhere to the promises they made when they entered their professions.”
  • “I know that it’s crazy to say, and may even disrespectful to those who have lost family members because of this virus, but I am thankful for COVID. COVID forced me home, forced me to work remote. It allowed me the chance to visit my grandparents for a full week – good, hardworking people who got to see what I do for a living. I cherish this week I spent with them because a week after I came back home, my grandpa was admitted to the hospital, and sadly, passed away last week. My grandparents worked hard so they could provide good values and virtues for their children and grandchildren and I am forever lucky to have them as my grandparents.”
  • “All the big things; my health, my family, my friends, my coworkers and career, etc. like everyone. But I just want to say I’m also very thankful for clever Internet memes. Closet-heroes of COVID.”
  • “All my friends and family are healthy during this time.”
  • “Weekends! A time to decompress and spend some quality time with friends and family.”
  • “The people in my life who have really shown to be a resource in trying times, who are empathetic and sympathetic, who build me & encourage me, and remind me of just how lucky I am to have the people I have in my life.”
  • “Small things that inspire: like Christmas music, sending a note to brighten someone’s day, or a simple act of kindness like lending a helping hand.”
  • “Living out a lifelong dream of living in a warmer climate and for a company that helped that dream come true.”
  • “Mindfulness podcasts, books, and other resources.”
  • “Not many military wives get the opportunity to continue their careers while moving around so much. Having a company that supports me and the military is so important! Working for PMG is without a doubt what I am most thankful for this year.”
  • “My family, friends, health, and especially a new Grandbaby. My job and co-workers! Oh, and especially a new Grandbaby!”
  • “Home.”
  • “Adoption. Exactly one year ago today, I watched my dad take his last breath. He was my adoptive dad but that doesn’t matter, he was my dad. My step-son was adopted as well and he brings me such joy. We have become buddies as we travel the states in search of Pokémon, watch Korean horror movies together (he claims that it’s reading time because he has to read the subtitles), engage in Nerf gun wars, and plan grand adventures, even if it’s just down to the laundry room. Even though adoption can be painful at times, the blessings are abundant.”
  • “The people working tirelessly to find a cure for COVID-19.”
  • “I’m thankful that neither myself or anyone in my immediate family has contracted COVID-19.”
  • “I have so much to be thankful for despite the challenges each of us have faced this year. I am thankful for my job because it gives me and my family the stability that we have needed and has enabled us to purchase our first home, my wife and family, and the health that each one of us have been blessed with.”
  • “Being employed with a great compensation and opportunities.”
  • “I’m thankful my health is good enough to perform acceptably for PMG clients so I can set up my more and more imminent retirement.”

So much thankfulness. I couldn’t leave anyone out. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

I want to end with a response from PMG’s president. It seems fitting for so many of us.

Silver Linings

  • “It has been an insane year. We faced challenges I never expected. We adjusted to changes that haven’t necessarily been comfortable or ideal. We’ve had more loss than usual this year, and have felt our losses, both small and large, more deeply that we have in the past. We’ve lived with a level of fear and uncertainty over the past 9 months that wears on us after time. Despite all that, this year I have found some silver linings that I’m thankful for.”
  • “At work, I’m thankful for the silver lining of learning that the team of people I work with, who I thought were pretty amazing going already, are stronger and together can accomplish more than my already high beliefs of what we could accomplish were.”
  • “At home, I’m thankful for the silver linings of a slower pace with less planned activities, more time to just be home together, and using our creativity more than we ever have in the past to entertain ourselves and connect with those we love in new ways.”
  • “I am also thankful for the silver lining of knowing that life as we know it can change at any minute, and that we are resilient and will find ways to grow in new and good ways, including loud, crazy Zoom family Thanksgiving get togethers where we will share our thanks virtually until we can all gather in person again.”

I hope that each of you is able to find the silver linings in your world, and reflect on all that you’re thankful for this year. Remember though – Thanksgiving isn’t the only time to be thankful. Start a gratitude journal for all the days. Gratitude Journals are good all year round!

Many thanks to you!


Beth Bangtson, Human Resources Manager 

From the shop to the warehouse to the field, production is powered by people who are fueled by food. We want to help you work better by helping you eat better. This blog is our effort to do just that. If you missed last month’s lunchbox hack, check it out on our blog page now. But, if you liked what you learned (or you’re just tired of the same old same old), read on to find delicious ways to improve your lunch packing process.


Snacks aren’t just to help satisfy your cravings. They are an important source of nutrition to maintain your energy between meals. To make sure you have enough fuel to power through your day before or after lunch, choose snacks high in protein and complex carbs. A few handfuls of mixed nuts or trail mix is always a good choice. Packing separately from the rest of your lunch and at the top of your lunchbox, reduces mess and improves access at breaktime too!


Follow a formula. A lot of the trouble in packing your own lunch comes with deciding what to pack in the first place. The easy way around this is to take the deciding out of it. This is the same reason why Mark Zuckerberg wears the same kind of hoodie and pants every day. The fewer choices available, the less time spent choosing. Pack your lunches according to a formula like the one below and then just choose based on pre-listed options in each category. A great example of this method can be found in this article.


A great way to follow a simple lunch formula like PROTEIN + CARB + FRUIT/VEG + SOMETHING FUN is to pack an adult lunchable. They’re easy, healthy, low-mess, and fun to eat so they’re definitely not just for kids. You don’t have to opt for an expensive, pre-packaged version either. Try this recipe for a DIY Starbucks Protein Bistro Box on your next lunch break.

How is recycling done?

A reader of our How It’s Made articles asked if we could share our knowledge about recycling. As a result, we adapted our How It’s Made article this month to an article titled “How It’s Done”. In recognition of National Recycling Day on November 15, this edition will focus on what happens in a recycling facility.  Before (or after) you read on, check out an earlier article we posted to help you understand just What Can Be Recycled.

As you read through the process below, keep in mind that states and cities vary in their abilities to recycle. However, the general process outlined here can be followed for mixed material recycling centers.

Step 1: Collection

  • Recyclables are collected from curbside or drop-off locations then delivered to the recycling/recovery facility.

Step 2: Facility Arrival

  • The trucks unload recyclables into a yard or storage area. [av_image src=’×180.jpg’ attachment=’8605′ attachment_size=’square’ align=’right’ animation=’no-animation’ link=” target=” styling=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” custom_class=”][/av_image]

Heavy equipment pushes the material onto a conveyor belt or into a hopper which then feeds a conveyor belt.

Step 3: Presort

  • In this area, workers manually remove materials that are not recyclable or would damage the facility equipment.
    • Examples include: dirty paper/cardboard, scrap metal, plastic bags, bulky & oversized plastics, e-waste, hoses, toys etc.

Step 4: Screening

  • Throughout the entire process, large rollers screen out materials.  These rollers are essentially augers with blades. The build, size, and spacing of the blades pushes forward desired recyclable materials and undesired materials downward.
    • Often, the first material screened is large cardboard. These screens can also filter out materials considered too small for recycling.

Step 5: Sorting

  • Workers manually sort non-recyclable products from mixed materials. Workers will also pull out any materials that are difficult for equipment operations.

[av_image src=’×180.jpg’ attachment=’8604′ attachment_size=’square’ align=’right’ animation=’no-animation’ link=” target=” styling=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” custom_class=”][/av_image]

As a result, we have sorted various products into specific materials. These products are now moving on a series of conveyors to specific places within the facility. Those products include:

  1. Newsprint
  2. Mixed Paper
  3. Cardboard
  4. Plastic

So, what else is left? Glass and Metals.

Step 7: Metal Magnification

  • Giant magnets pull tin cans, iron containers, or steel containers from the conveyor belt. After this, another conveyor belt takes these containers to a specific area of the plant. Plastic, aluminum, and glass containers continue down the line.

Step 8: Screening

  • In this step, screens break the glass and separate it from plastic. A conveyor takes the broken glass to the glass processing department. This department breaks the glass down even further for additional processing or shipment out.

Step 9: Eddy Current Separator

  • This sorts aluminum from the mixed product through the use of an electric current. In addition, a conveyor takes the aluminum product to another area of the plant for processing.

Step 10: Sorting

  • More manual sorting by operators within the facility occurs here to gather any other products which are not recyclable.

At this point, plastic containers and small pieces of paper or film are all we have left.

[av_image src=’×180.jpg’ attachment=’8603′ attachment_size=’square’ align=’right’ animation=’no-animation’ link=” target=” styling=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” custom_class=”][/av_image]

Step 11: Optical Sorting

  • In this area, machines determine different types of unsorted materials. The machines identify different materials based on how light reflects from the material’s surface. This step determines the material type, color, and shape. Air pulls recognized material downward (or upward) onto another conveyor belt.
    • This step uses optical sorting machinery. One sorter will target paper. Another sorter will target plastic film. Upon completion of optical sorting, we should be left with just plastic containers. Therefore, each type of product or material has been sent to its own storage area. For instance, plastic bottles and containers are in one area. Similarly, cardboard is in another area.

So, what happens next?

Step 12: Baling

  • Baling machines operate with very high levels of pressure to compact materials into bales. Yes, like hay bales but made of different materials and square in shape. Wire wrapped around ensures the bales stay together.
    1. Fun fact: these bales can weigh as much as 1 ton!

[av_image src=’×180.jpg’ attachment=’8601′ attachment_size=’square’ align=’right’ animation=’no-animation’ link=” target=” styling=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” custom_class=”][/av_image]

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach

PMG has a PSA!

We are introducing a new payroll vendor, effective 1/1/2021. It is our goal to put as much information possible at your fingertips.

So, what does a new payroll vendor mean for you?

Below are some exciting features you can look forward to:

  1. Upon starting a new assignment with PMG, onboarding will be done electronically. You will not need to complete paper forms or drop anything in the mail
  2. Easily viewing your paystubs and benefits in one location
  3. Enrolling in your benefits on-line
  4. Making changes to your own personal information online: address change, direct deposit change, tax withholding adjustments, etc.
  5. Staying abreast of new information through the self-service portal
  6. Accessing software that is compatible on mobile devices as well as computers

The new year brings lots of excitement and we’re excited to share this new communication platform with you!

Watch for more details in the coming weeks. Until then, check out our blog for more news from PMG!

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager