PMG Employee Spotlight

Meet Our Creative Team

PMG supports American Manufacturing and we’re very proud of that. We care deeply about the people in this industry and those in the skilled trades. Our Creative Team tries their best to create and share content and stories that those people care about too!

This month, our PMG Employee Spotlight will turn things around to shine on the members of our Creative Team. We hope you all enjoy learning a bit more about the men and women behind the pen, who bring that content to you. You can check out what we’ve previously created on our blog page but, without further ado, here are the (short) stories of our storytellers!

Brenda L., Risk & Safety Manager, 4 months with PMG


What should we know about you?

I’m from central Minnesota and I graduated from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Community Health. I had several classes, during that time, on Occupational Safety and Compliance and I fell in love with the field. This year, my career is officially old enough to drink! So much has changed within manufacturing over the past 21 years and it has been wonderful to be a part of protecting the safety and health of workers in various capacities within the industry!

What else makes you interesting?

I was voted class clown of my graduating class in high school. I try to find a moment of laughter in each and every day. It’s good for the abs!

What is the best thing about being on the PMG Creative Team?

I love safety, so sharing stories that highlight the protection of people is my passion! Safety in the workplace, safety at home, and safety on the road!

Brent R., Senior Technical Solutions Coordinator,

3 years with PMG


What should we know about you?

Like most people on the team, I’m born and raised in Minnesota. Originally from Marshall, my father still farms the same land where my great-great grandpa “broke the prairie” when he came over from Norway. I graduated from Concordia College, in Moorhead, in 2013 and spent the next few years traveling abroad. I’ve been working with PMG, on and off, for the past seven years and was lucky enough to be brought on full time in May 2018. I enjoy learning about the wide range of skillsets and positions within manufacturing and being part of a company that has a finger on the pulse of manufacturing in America!

What else makes you interesting?

I’m in contention for the funniest person that I know; my dream is to live in a converted sprinter van or start a hostel in a tropical country (or a mixture of both). Like Josh, I’m a licensed officiant and get a lot of joy in performing the marriage ceremony for friends and family; and my dog, Ziggy (half coonhound, half border collie), is the most interesting thing about me.

What is the best thing about being on the PMG Creative Team?

I enjoy being able to step outside of my typical day-to-day job duties and work with members from other teams within PMG that I don’t normally get to interact with. It’s a chance to step back and look at the bigger picture of PMG, manufacturing and how we can further develop our relationships with our technicians and clients while being a cheerleader for the skilled trades.

Dave R., Senior Technical Solutions Coordinator,

5.5 years with PMG


What should we know about you?

I originally went to college to be an engineer, but switched to teaching social studies. After doing that for seven years, I changed careers and went into recruiting. I’ve not regretted the change for a day! My main role here is to recruit/find skilled contractors, clarify and hone in on their skillsets, complete interviews/reference checks, and get them placed into positions on PMG projects across the country. A lot of my work is juggling arrival dates with locations and positions. I’m also responsible for assisting in logistics, technical calls with new clients, and assorted other duties as they arise.

What else makes you interesting?

While you might not guess it by looking at me, I’m a huge lover of travel. My wife and I have spent many of our vacations abroad, and even spent our honeymoon in India (yeah, not everyone’s first OR 10th choice). I love to try food from all over the world as you never know what might be delicious! I have eaten guinea pig in Peru, camel in Egypt, snake in India, and I enjoyed all three. In the words of Andrew Zimmern, ‘If it looks good, eat it!’

What is the best thing about being on the PMG Creative Team?

I think it’s without question the ability to see other people’s perspective/ideas and how yours can work with that. The old ‘more than one way to skin a cat’ is a real thing, and collaborating and hearing other people’s ideas/remedies is amazing to me. I’m introduced to different ideas and perspectives in most meetings and leave each learning something new and valuable.

Elizabeth B., Human Resources Manager,

2.5 years with PMG


What should we know about you?

Minnesota is home! I grew-up in southwestern Minnesota and have moved around a bit since. My family and I landed in the Twin Cities, almost exactly 10 years ago, and we haven’t looked back since! I graduated from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois with a Bachelor’s in Management & Organizational Leadership. As the HR Manager, I get to take care of all the day-to-day responsibilities of an HR department as well as making sure we’re legally compliant with state laws and regulations, event planning, and lots of other behind-the-scenes pieces I’m hopeful people don’t see, because if they do, that usually means there’s a problem! ?

What else makes you interesting?

I love to sing but only in front of my children! Songs of choice when I’m singing to them: ‘If We Hold On Together’ from The Land Before Time, ‘Somewhere Out There’ from An American Tail, ‘Homeward Bound’ by Simon & Garfunkel, almost any Disney song, and Christmas music (even in April)!

What is the best thing about being on the PMG Creative Team?

It makes me nervous every month as we come together to determine what the next month will look like, because I really don’t consider myself that creative in my writing. With that said, my favorite thing is the challenge to step outside of my comfort zone. It feels really good to do something a little bit out of my typical realm.

Josh E., ReTool Public Relations & Engagement Specialist, 4 years with PMG

What should we know about you?

I’m a true son of the North. Born and bred in Minnesota, I’ve been to 47 countries and 48 states yet I keep coming home and love it more every time. I was raised on a farm and grew up in the skilled trades. Agriculture, Construction, Manufacturing – I’ve seen all those industries from almost every angle you can possibly imagine! Yet, somehow, I still went to school for Political Science and International Business at Augsburg College and MSU-Mankato. I’ve spent close to a quarter century using my hands, back, and/or mind to earn other peoples’ money and that career path finally led me to PMG early in 2017. We started PMG ReTool shortly thereafter and, now, I can’t even imagine working somewhere other than here ever again.

What else makes you interesting?

I love anything that gets me outside. Hunting, fishing, camping, farming, photography are all passions of mine. I own more than 1000 books, including every textbook I’ve ever purchased. I got ordained in 2015 because my best friends were getting married and didn’t have an officiant for their ceremony. I’ve been the celebrant at the weddings of more than 30 other couples since then! I love ugly Christmas sweaters and my collection has grown to the point where I can wear a different one for every “business” day in December. Someday, I hope to have enough to cover the weekends too!

What is the best thing about being on the PMG Creative Team?

Everything I’ve ever earned in life came to me because of something, normally information/wisdom based, that someone else freely gave to me first. My career and I are both true products of mentorship, continuous improvement mentality, and tribal knowledge exchange. This reality has made me an even bigger proponent of technical careers than most other tradespeople and I’m a huge believer in the value of ACTION-ism over activism. Being on the Creative Team here gives me a productive platform, and direction, in which to aim those actions for the benefit of others. I LOVE that part of the job. I’m proud of all the things we do and I can’t wait to see what awesome thing(s) all of us can bring to all of you next!

Kim M., Technical Manager & Coach, 10 years with PMG

What should we know about you?

I was born, raised, and continue to reside in Minnesota and am an alumnus of the U of M – Twin Cities (go Gophers!). I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business & Marketing Education. My career really took off when I started working with PMG in November 2010. Prior to that, I worked as a Business Coordinator in a variety of salons.

What else makes you interesting?

I have been promoted four times over my 10-year career with PMG. I’ve been skydiving, ziplining, and hot air ballooning. I’ve also recently adopted a 2-year old dog into my family, a responsibility I swore I would never take on!

What is the best thing about being on the PMG Creative Team?

Even though I’m a very analytical person, which is a major plus in my role at PMG, I’ve also always loved reading and writing. Reading, for me, is easy to squeeze into my personal life but the writing part gets difficult. Having the opportunity to write as an employee at PMG helps fulfill that desire, which is amazing. Additionally, it’s fantastic to be a part of a team, working together, to educate and entertain so many people from very diverse industries and backgrounds!

MacKenzie C., Senior Corporate Recruiter,

3 years with PMG


What should we know about you?

I grew up in Stillwater, Minnesota and attended Minnesota State University Mankato. I majored in Mass Media and Marketing. I wear a couple of hats at PMG. I oversee all internal hiring for PMG corporate positions. I write the job description, conduct the interviews, facilitate the hiring manager’s interview with the candidate and help make a final decision on who to make an offer to. Once an offer has been made, I also assist HR with the onboarding of that person to PMG. My other role at PMG is to lead recruiting efforts for our engineering line of business. I partner with our Sales Team and our Technical Manager, Kim, to provide highly skilled engineers to our Manufacturing clients. I run the full sales cycle of recruitment with our engineering placements.

What else makes you interesting?

My grandfather was a POW (prisoner of war) in WWII and a survivor of the Bataan Death March. When I was a kid, I was really interested in WWII and specifically his experiences and memories of that time. I started writing essays and submitting them to contests and ended up winning first place three years in a row, which for a middle schooler was pretty cool!

What is the best thing about being on the PMG Creative Team?

I love the ability to bounce ideas off of each other. We have come up with some really cool things over the years and I’m excited to see what comes next.

Mike F., Director of Client Solutions, 5 months with PMG


What should we know about you?

My background is in sales, operations, account management and service. I began my sales career as an individual contributor and progressed into leadership roles in the industries of corporate travel, animal health, logistics and manufacturing. I am passionate about all things sales and supporting the development of achievers who help customers find solutions and build long-term business relationships! Every day at PMG, I am amazed at the incredible work my teams do in their focus to help manufacturing companies overcome challenges.

What else makes you interesting?

I grew up on a ranch in northwest Missouri and moved to Houston, TX from Kansas City, MO in 2017 – trading snow for heat and tornados for hurricanes! Outside of work, I have three children and enjoy watching professional sports, movies and grilling up a tasty steak.

What is the best thing about being on the PMG Creative Team?

I really enjoy working for growing companies and believe innovation is fueled by the sharing of free-flowing creative ideas. The diversity of knowledge and experience at PMG, and on the creative team, is excellent!

Stacey J., ReTool Manager and Market & Innovation,

4.5 years with PMG


What should we know about you?

I was born and raised in good ol’ Minnesota and still reside there today. I graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics before working abroad for almost five years as an International Consultant. Returning to the U.S. in 2015, I completed my MBA from the University of St. Thomas and now manage our ReTool Department and Creative Team at PMG.

What else makes you interesting?

I’m a mom of four, three of which have paws – needless to say, I stay busy! I enjoy being outdoors, playing sports and board games, watching movies, reading and seeing new places. I’m also a wine and craft beer enthusiast.

What is the best thing about being on the PMG Creative Team?

The best part about being on the PMG Creative Team is being able to work with others at PMG that I typically don’t work with in my day-to-day tasks.

As a Technical Manager at PMG, I don’t work on the production or manufacturing floor, but I do work very closely with those who do. I love learning about the various production and manufacturing processes that directly affect my life as a consumer and user. With that said, there are two types of production and manufacturing: Discrete Manufacturing & Process Manufacturing. I’m here to tell you all about them!

Discrete Manufacturing

Discrete Manufacturing is the process of adding individual parts and components into one system or structure to create a final product. The parts and components can be individual in nature or a sub-assembly of the final product.

For example: Consider the manufacturing of a vehicle. Each section of a vehicle is individual in nature and created via machining, assembly, or welding operations (tire, engine, side panel, bumper, seats, steering wheel, wiring). These sections may come as one unit (side panel) or as an assembly (engine). These components or assemblies are then put together in a sequential manner to build the final product (vehicle). Additionally, we can easily disassemble the final product to determine and identify the individual components or assemblies used to create it.

Common job titles include: Warehouse Operators, Machine Operators, Machinists, Assemblers, Welders, Quality Inspectors.

[av_image src=’’ attachment=’8924′ attachment_size=’full’ align=’center’ animation=’no-animation’ link=” target=” styling=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” custom_class=”][/av_image]

Process Manufacturing

Process Manufacturing is manufacturing that occurs in bulk quantities, such as pharmaceuticals, paints, foods, and beverages. In this process, there is a chemical conversion occurring among ingredients rather than materials. This process is based on formulas and recipes. Unlike discrete manufacturing, it is difficult to identify the individual parts that make up the final product. Additionally, the ingredients that make up the product are difficult to disassemble and reuse.

For example: Consider the manufacturing of shampoo. There are a multitude of ingredients in shampoo including water, detergents, surfactants, polymers, silicones, a wide variety of preservatives, fragrances, dyes, and many other additives or preservatives. The average shampoo has 10-30 ingredients. This multitude of ingredients are poured into batch tanks, mixed and blended, heated and cooled in a formulaic and sequential manner, and then packaged. Unlike the vehicle in the example above, once the shampoo is blended, it’s difficult to separate the ingredients to determine the individual ingredients utilized to make it.

Common job titles include: Line Operators, Machine Operators, Warehouse Operators, Batch Makers, Process Technicians, Compounders, Mixers, Packers, Quality Control Inspectors.

[av_image src=’’ attachment=’8925′ attachment_size=’full’ align=’center’ animation=’no-animation’ link=” target=” styling=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” custom_class=”][/av_image]


As I said, I don’t work directly on a manufacturing floor, but manufacturing is great nonetheless. If you’re thinking about working in manufacturing, check out this video about Manufacturing Positions and Careers!

Additionally, if you’re looking to learn more, sign up here for access to a PMG Webinar outlining just what manufacturing is and how the sector breaks down!

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach

FAQs for PMG

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. 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. During that process, people ask us a fair amount of questions too. This blog is our effort to provide answers.

How do you bring contractors into union workforce environments?

That’s a great question! The short answer is that most, if not all, Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) between individual labor unions and employer companies generally have some kind of provisionary language regarding non-union labor in the unionized facility. This language can apply to temporary workers, third-party contractors, etc. and normally sets limits based on total employees, percentage of total workforce, or maximum project length. Thus, the legal and contractual hurdles are well-defined and straight-forward to successfully clear from an operational standpoint.

What do the best employers do to make certain they’re ensuring a successful project for everyone? Put simply, it all comes down to communication. PMG’s Project Management Team has some advice on the right (and wrong) ways to do that best.

Communication with Clients and Union Employees

Remember, we’re not just here to manage PMG’s techs; we’re here to help you ensure a successful project too! Communicating potential issues as (or even before) they happen can help us be able to prevent them to begin with.

Laura Y., Senior Manager Strategic Project Development

Notify your union(s) upfront about why we are there and what we will be doing. Having those conversations beforehand eliminates most, if not all, confusion and/or animosity that could occur before we ever actually arrive.

Jason H., Senior Manager of Ops & SPD

Make sure you’re familiar with your existing CBA. Knowing what terms we need to operate within, from the beginning, makes it much more likely to achieve a successful project in the end.

Steve A., Client Solutions Manager

Communication with Contract Employees


A lot of eyes will be on you to start, just like with any new employee. Remember to put your best foot forward. Show up with a good understanding of facility location and job expectations. Take notes frequently, especially during training or when given a lot of new information at once!

Laura Y.

Technicians need to understand that union environments operate differently than non-union environments. Sometimes, union employees may not be allowed to perform certain job functions outside of assigned duties due to work rules or contract language. Contractors who try to understand how these details play into the function of their personal jobs are at an advantage because they’re less likely to inadvertently break any of those rules and more likely to be appreciated by their union coworkers.

Jason H.

Don’t forget to communicate with your Project Manager! PMG’s PMs are there to support our technicians. If you run into any initial barriers or concerns, we have the experience to help navigate you through such situations with insight, advice, and direction as needed. The techs that remember this normally have very successful experiences onsite.

Laura Y.


Additional Resources

If you’d like to learn more about ways PMG can help your company, whether unionized or not, address your mission-critical manufacturing needs, read our previous article on Crisis Management & PMG.

Do you have questions? Send them to our Writing Team and keep an eye out for future FAQ’s. We can’t wait to share our next answer with you!

Josh Erickson, ReTool Public Relations & Engagement Specialist

“Going Paperless”

We hear it all the time thanks to advancements with technology and electronics. However, paper is still very much an important part of our everyday lives considering it’s many different uses. In fact, it has been an important part of our lives for a LONG time. Many historians conclude that paper was invented in China around 105 BC! As a result, we are highlighting the paper making process for this month’s How It’s Made article.

How It’s Made – Paper

[av_image src=’’ attachment=’8910′ attachment_size=’full’ align=’center’ animation=’no-animation’ link=” target=” styling=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” custom_class=”][/av_image]

Step 1: Log & Cut

First and foremost, trees must be logged and cut. Most trees used for papermaking are fast-growing, evergreen trees. However, due to a heavier focus on renewable resources and environmental impact, many papers are now made from other materials such as cotton, bamboo, hemp, and jute.

At the logging site, cut trees are debarked and made into wood chips by specialized equipment. Check that process out here! Once finished, the large trucks you can see in the video transport the chips to a paper making facility (or papermill).

Step 2: Pulping

Pulping is a process that breaks down the fiber from the wood. Pulping can occur in a variety of ways but there are two main processes: mechanical grinding and chemical pulping. The process used depends upon the type of paper product needed. Chemical pulping is common for containers, paper bags, and writing papers while mechanical pulping is more often performed for newspaper, paper tissues, and paper towels.

  • Pulping Process #1: Chemical Pulping
    • In chemical pulping, you can use either sulfate, sulfite, or soda to pulp the wood chips. The most common method is the sulfate (or kraft) method, in which sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfide are used. This process cooks wood chips with the chemicals in a pressure cooker, causing separation of the wood’s fibers, glue (lignin), and sugars. Once completed, the pulp is considered a slurry which will move onto additional processes including washing, bleaching, and screening for impurities.
  • Pulping Process #2: Mechanical Pulping
    • In mechanical pulping, wood chips are mechanically ground to much smaller, tinier wood chips. There is no cooking or pressure in this process like there is in the chemical pulping process. In this process, a machine with rotating discs breaks up the wood chips and separates the fibers. These smaller, tinier wood chips are then blended with water to create a slurry (just like chemical pulping does). From here, it will be washed, bleached, and screened for impurities.

Step 3: Beating

In this step, the pulp/slurry is pounded, squeezed, and beaten inside a large vat or tub. Filler materials and additives such as chalk, clay, or additional chemicals are also introduced in this stage. These materials and additives affect the paper’s opacity and final qualities. The end purpose of the paper determines what and how much additive is required.

Step 4: Drying

Pulp has a lot of liquid in it which must be removed. In the drying stage, pulp is sprayed onto large mesh screens creating a mat of pulp (or what can be considered water paper). When the wet pulp/paper mats are removed from the screens, they are pushed through a series of presses to squeeze the water out. At this point, about 50% of the water is removed from the mats of pulp. To remove an additional 40-45% of water, the mat is heated and then dried.

Step 5: Rolling

Depending upon the texture of the paper or end use, additional machinery and treatments can occur. However, in general, the dried mat of paper is pushed through a series of very large, industrial rolling machines and wound into rolls of paper. It’s these large rolls of paper that manufacturers further process to create a final product.

To see it live and in action (and also understand the sheer size of the process), check out this paper mill tour video! And, if you’re interested in more of our How It’s Made articles, you can find them on PMG’s Blog, including this one about recycling.

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach

It’s more than a #; it’s life or death!

According to the National Safety Council, more than 700 people are injured in distracted driving crashes each day!  We all know what distractions are behind the wheel. These include talking on the cell phone, texting and touching display screens while driving.  All of these actions take your attention aware from the road and make you less aware of pedestrians and other drivers.

#JustDrive isn’t just for cars and trucks driving the roadways; this message is also for forklift operators delivering the necessary materials to keep your business running!  Employees drive to and from work every day, sometimes after really long shifts or extra hours.  The message to drive attentive is extremely important.

By driving distracted, you are robbing yourself of the precious seconds you may need to avoid a close call or a deadly crash.  Find out more about the three major types of cognitive distractions facing drivers on this fact sheet.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and there’s no better time to remind drivers of the deadly dangers and the legal consequences of texting behind the wheel and driving distracted.  Take responsibility as a driver and follow these safety tips to avoid driving distractions:

  • If you’re in the driver’s seat, driving is the only thing you should be doing. No distractions!
  • As a passenger, if you see the driver texting or otherwise distracted, tell them to stop and focus on the road.
  • Ask your friends to join you in pledging not to drive distracted. You could save a life. Share your pledge on social media to spread the word — #JustDrive.

Want more safety tips? Check out our post on Window Safety.

Brenda Lovitz, Risk & Safety Manager

I write this article under pressure: I returned from vacation recently and still feel like I’m playing catch-up. Poor me, I know. I have several deadlines looming and even this article was due yesterday. Nothing like last minute, right?

In recognition of Stress Awareness Month, I’m taking a minute to breathe and asking you to do the same. I mean really bbbbrreeeeeeaaattthhhheeee – not just a quick breath, but one of those deep, shoulder relaxing, cheeks puffed out, mind cleansing kind of breaths.

Unfortunately, for almost all of us, stress is a normal part of the human existence. It’s not a laughing matter and, if left unchecked, can lead to much bigger issues. According to an done in 2017, the most common sources of stress among Americans were:

  • The future of our nation – 63% respondents mentioned
  • Money – 62%
  • Work – 61%
  • Political climate – 57%
  • Violence/crime – 51%

Now, look at the past year and imagine how those numbers have changed. You’re stressing out about it yourself, aren’t you?

As a parent, it’s surprising to me how early stress sneaks its way into our life’s. While researching for this article, I was grateful to find that the advice I recently gave my 10-year-old is one of the most common suggestions for overcoming stress: recognize that you don’t have control and let it go. I know that’s easier said than done in a lot of situations, but consistently reminding yourself could go a long way to improving your stress levels.

I hope as you deal with the stressors in your life, you have a trusted friend, family member, or counselor you are comfortable speaking with. If you’re a PMG employee, know that you have access to our Employee Assistance Program – free access to counseling for anything that might be causing you stress (see your manager for details).

For more expert advice on coping with stress, check out the CDC’s website: 

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager

Spring into action to stop window falls!

With the nice weather we’ve been experiencing, hopefully you’ve had the chance to open windows this spring There’s no better time to let in fresh air and learn how to safeguard against window falls.

Window Safety Week is the first full week in April. It raises awareness of the actions parents and homeowners can take to maintain window safety and prevent falls.

Falls from windows are more common than you might think.  According to a report by SafeKids Worldwide,  an average of eight children, age five and younger, die and more than 3,300 are injured every year from falls out of a window.

Window Safety Tips

Follow these tips to help protect the ones you love from accidental window falls:

  • Close and lock windows when young children are around.
  • Use windows high enough to be out of a child’s reach when opening a window for ventilation.
  • Supervise children and ensure they play away from windows, balconies and patio doors.
  • Avoid placing furniture near windows to prevent young children from climbing and gaining access to an open window.
  • Don’t allow children to jump on beds or other furniture.
  • Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent a window fall. Insect screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in the home.

The Window Safety Taskforce has partnered with the National Safety Council to promote greater awareness of window safety this week!  Windows rank as one of the top five hidden hazards in the home. Please practice window safety year-round and share the message with family members to protect the ones you love.

Happy Spring!

Want more safety tips? Check out our post on National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week.

Brenda Lovitz, Risk & Safety Manager