At FlexTrades, we take pride in supporting our employees’ passion for animals. Our commitment to their well-being goes beyond offering pet insurance as part of our benefits package. We understand that pets bring immense joy to our lives and are an integral part of many families. In this article, we celebrate National Dog Day by sharing some heartwarming stories about our favorite furry friends and how they’ve enriched our lives.

Meet Nevada:

National Dog Day The Pups of FlexTrades

In April 2020, during the peak of the pandemic, we welcomed Nevada (Ada) into our family. She’s often referred to as a “pandemic puppy” because she’s become accustomed to having her family around. Ada adores boat rides and treats from Starbucks. You can catch glimpses of her adventures on Instagram here.

– Bree S., LD Recruiter 

Introducing Tucker:

National Dog Day The Pups of FlexTrades (1)

Tucker, who will turn 11 in October, is proof that age is just a number. He’s a bundle of energy and enjoys playing fetch, going for walks, and spending hours by the shoreline, watching for fish. Sometimes, while I’m working, he lays under my desk and peeks out to keep an eye on me.

– Kathy M., Lead Gen & Sales Enablement Manager

Bruno’s Tale:

National Dog Day The Pups of FlexTrades (2)

Meet Bruno, my loyal furry companion. We share a special connection as we were both born on the same day. It’s a simple but meaningful bond.

– Terrena J., Administrative Manager

Penny’s Story:

National Dog Day The Pups of FlexTrades (3)

Penny is a rescue dog who entered my life last summer, bringing immense joy. She may have just one tooth, but her favorite toy is a squeaky, stuffed “White Paw” can.

– Colleen B., Lead Generation Associate

Gretchen’s Impact:

National Dog Day The Pups of FlexTrades (4)

Until a few years ago, I wasn’t particularly fond of dogs. However, my husband and kids managed to persuade me to consider getting a dog. That’s when we found Gretchen, a wonderful border terrier/chihuahua mix, and it changed our lives. She’s our therapy dog, exercise buddy, and source of endless affection. Gretchen even led me to safety after a fall into a river – a story that bonded us forever.

– Elizabeth B., Human Resources Manager

Casey’s Journey:

National Dog Day The Pups of FlexTrades (5)

Despite swearing never to have a pet at home, our family decided to adopt Casey. The decision not only brought a dog into our lives but also led to a major move from the Twin Cities to North Dakota. Casey is more than a pet; she’s an essential family member who brightens our days with long walks and unconditional love.

– Kim M., Technical Manager & Coach

Sindri & Loki’s Tale:

National Dog Day The Pups of FlexTrades (6)

As someone who grew up on a farm and continues to run one, I’ve always had dogs. I expect a lot from them, from hunting and herding to being great family members. In almost 40 years, Loki stands out as extra special. He’s a remarkable Heeler/Brittany mix who taught me countless life lessons. Then came Sindri, a Tri-Collie/Terrier mix, who enriched our lives further.

– Josh E., ReTool PR & Engagement Specialist

FlexTrades acknowledges the incredible bonds we share with our furry companions and the profound impact they have on our lives. We’re proud to have a team that cares deeply for their pets and understands the importance of celebrating these incredible animals on National Dog Day. They teach us patience, loyalty, and unconditional love. We invite you to explore more stories from our FlexTrades family and their cherished pets. If you’re considering adopting a dog, don’t hesitate. Your forever friend is waiting to join your journey.


Do you remember learning about the Industrial Revolution as a kid? The history books make it seem like there is just one major industrial revolution, starting in the 18th century, and that it changed everything about manufacturing in America and Europe. Furthermore, it changed economies and societies forever. Which isn’t false. However, major changes have been happening ever since, and are still happening. In fact, we’ve had four industrial revolutions – Industry 1.0 through Industry 4.0. We’re here to share them with you.

Industry 1.0

Industry 1.0 started in 1784, roughly, and is the one you read about in history books. The Mechanical Revolution. During this time, it was discovered that by heating up water you get steam. And steam can power things – like the steam engine. The invention of the steam engine goes back further than Industry 1.0 but it was nearly perfected during this time. With this new-found steam power, economies could move away from farming societies and into urbanization. Steam power meant powered tools, steamships, and railroads. With railroads came the opportunity to travel. With powered tools came factories. Put the two together and you’ll find workers clamoring to travel to the nearest (or not so nearest) factory for work.

Industry 2.0

This is the phase of manufacturing which started around 1870 and really pushed things along. Even though we had steam power, we didn’t have speed. Without speed, we couldn’t do as much. It was this notion for speed that changed the course of manufacturing forever.  In addition to this notion, more inventions came our way including gasoline engines, aircraft, radios, electric lighting, and telephones. This revolution ultimately brought us the idea of a very common fixture in manufacturing to this day – the assembly line. Industry 2.0 is the Mass Production Revolution. With the introduction of automobiles, the continued use of rail, increased forms of communication, and life changing inventions like electric lighting, change came more quickly. Thus, farming became a way of the old. In fact, some say that that another critical invention was made during Industry 2.0 – “the modern world”.

Industry 3.0

If you haven’t caught on yet, it’s inventions, inventions, inventions that drive the industrial train. Industry 3.0 was full of them. However, the inventions came in the form of digital technology. This is the Digital Revolution and started in 1969. What does this mean? With the invention of semiconductors, computers, and the Internet, things that used to be analog could now be digital. If you’re curious what that means, check out this comparison article on Analog vs. Digital Electronics. Digitizing technologies increases production and global supply chains and changes the way things are made, people work, and the world operates.

Industry 4.0

This is the industry you’re living in and it isn’t “over” yet. Therfore, we’ll keep this summary short and sweet. Our current industrial revolution centers around Artificial Intelligence (AI). What does that mean? It includes things like autonomous vehicles, materials science, 3D printing, a more robust Internet, robotics and automation, biotechnology, analytics, etc. You’ve seen it already with self-driving cars, autonomous vehicles for material handling, drones, your virtual assistant who talks through your phone, and robotics within manufacturing. Interested in hearing more? You can find a detailed description of Industry 4.0 (what it is, what the benefits are, and what will happen next) here!

Industry 5.0

Wait…this one doesn’t exist but I’m curious, what do you think 5.0 will bring?

If you follow our blog, you’ll know that we produce this Lunchbox Hack article on a monthly basis with the aim to share tips, tricks and recipes for eating well and feeling good, no matter what career you’ve chosen. Going back to our very first lunchbox hack, you’ll notice they are centered around lunch (well…of course!) but in this month’s article, I want to focus on breakfast. It’s something that is often forgotten, purposely ignored, and/or not possible thanks to time. But that doesn’t make it any less important. We’ll be talking about breakfast foods that you can make ahead of time, throw in your lunchbox (see what I did there? It’s still a Lunchbox Hack even if it’s not lunch), and eat upon arrival at the jobsite or within the first hour or two!


When we’re talking lunchbox breakfast, the most important thing is to ensure the breakfast item is ready-to-eat and ready to go. What’s my tip then? Make things ahead of time! Spending a couple of hours on your day off or before/after work to make a batch of ready-to-eat breakfasts is a small price to pay for a week or two of sustenance.


Bake, Bake, Bake! Turn your breakfast (no matter what the ingredients) into a muffin, cookie, or bread.

Like eggs in the morning? Bake them (and any other ingredient you like) as a muffin! Then, freeze or refrigerate. You can eat these cold, warmed up, or at room temperature and they are definitely easy to transport.

If eggs aren’t your thing, but pancakes or waffles are, you can make those in the shape of a muffin, too. Here’s a recipe for banana pancake muffins that are definitely ready to eat.

Muffin, cookie, or bread-based breakfast foods are not only easy to eat and easily transported, they are very interchangeable too. There are nearly unlimited options out there for you if you experiment with the ingredients you use.


Other to-go breakfast foods that you can make ahead of time include:


Keep in mind – we are always open to new ideas. If you have a recipe, tip, or trick of your own you’d like to share, we’d love to spread the word for you. Please send any and all of your own hacks to and keep an eye out for future hacks, too. Happy eating!

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach

The big Minnesota get together is almost here!

Here are 10 things you should put on your state fair list this year.

#1 Something on a stick

There are 60 food options that come on a stick and it is essential you try at least one. The Buckeye is a great option, located at the Spaghetti Eddie’s Stand on Cooper Street and Dan Patch Avenue!

#2 Look at the newborn animals

CHS Miracle of Birth Center showcases the new born animals and live births. It’s open from 9am to 9pm.

#3 Sweet Martha’s Cookies

Everyone knows that it’s practically impossible to go to the fair and not grab a bucket of Sweet Martha’s Cookies. This stand is a fan favorite at the fair.

#4 Be one with nature

Watch the beautiful butterflies at the Butterfly House and see if you can get one to land on your finger. It’s open from 8am to 10pm and is $3.50 per person.

#5 Eat a pronto pup

It would be a crime to not grab a pronto pup while you are at the fair. You can find these stands on almost every corner!

#6 Take a ride above the crowds

The Skyride has been around for almost as long as the fair. It’s a perfect activity to factor in to your day to give your legs a break from walking.

#7 New Food Alert: Jumbo Donut Sundae

Visit Fluffys Hand Cut Donuts stand to try this new item. Their stand is located Between West Dan Patch Avenue and Carnes Avenue as well as Liggett Street and Chambers Street.

#8 Attend a concert.

The Grand stand offers a variety of concerts every year. A few headliners this year include, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, and The Chainsmokers. Click here to purchase tickets.

#9 Specialty brews and beverages

The Minnesota State Fair announced 56 brand new beverages that will be available this year. These brews and cocktails are only found at the state fair. A few to look forward to: Aromatic Mike’s Hard Lemonade Slushy, Cotton Candy Hard Seltzer, Minnesota Mule Ale, and non-alcoholic Lake Storm Lemonade.

#10 Go down the giant slide

No one is ever too old to glide down this great attraction. Finish off your day at the fair with a joyride down the slide.

It is hard to know what to eat and what activities you should do because there are countless options! I hope that you get a chance to make it to a few of these this year. The fair begins on August 26 and goes through Labor Day. Tickets are only $13! Click here to purchase your state fair tickets.

Can’t get enough food on a stick at the state fair? Check out our Lunchbox Hack for some kabob tips, trick and recipes.

Bailey Braccini, Marketing Intern

International Lefthanders Day – Friday, August 13th

When I’m writing a piece for our blog, I often need to research to get a good understanding of the history behind the topic I’m writing about. For International Lefthanders Day (celebrated each year on August 13th), you get me and only me – no research required.

The Lefthanded vs Righthanded Debacle

I’ve been lefthanded since, well… since I wrapped my little fingers around the first object I grasped. Being the only lefthanded person in a family full of righthanded people, I can only imagine how my parents struggled to teach me things the lefthanded way:

  • I bat righthanded and throw a ball righthanded.
  • I never had to use a lefthanded scissors because I cut righthanded.
  • If I’m shooting a gun or doing archery, my right-eye dominance is strong (although it doesn’t seem to improve my shot).

But I’m lefthanded strong when it comes to writing, bowling, guitar playing, and sticking food in my mouth.

When my oldest daughter was born, I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was when she picked up her first cereal puff with her chubby little left hand. I’d been alone in my lefthanded-ness for so long, it felt empowering to have birthed another lefty into this wonderful world dominated by righthanded people.

The Struggles Are Real

Even as I crawl my way into my fifth decade on this earth, it surprises me sometimes how hard it can be to be lefthanded; I’ve been working with this for a long time, you’d think I’d have it figured out by now!

Just this past weekend, when my youngest daughter decided it was finally time for me to learn how to French braid, it dawned on me during the how-to videos that I braid hair lefthanded, and the how-to videos are all made by righthanded people. Who knew?

The struggle is real folks, but I don’t expect your sympathy.

I love the challenge that us lefties have to work though. The smudge on our hand as we’re learning to write. The stadium seating in our college lecture halls with the foldout desks made for righthanded people. Even notebooks with the spiral on the left side of the notebook – it’s a real pain in the butt but I wouldn’t change a thing. I love that I’m a bit unique, one of less than 12% of the world’s population, and being lefthanded allows me an opportunity to bond with other lefthanded people over the simplest of things.

In celebration of me and my fellow lefthanders on our international day of recognition, may we raise a toast with our left hand and cheer to another incredible day of being special just the way we are.

When it comes to industry-specific knowledge, there’s no replacement for experience. We all know that experience takes time to build.

At PMG ReTool, we’re big believers that anyone preparing for a career in the trades can reduce their learning curve by exposing themselves to a wider cross section of professional influences, regardless of experience level.

Use YouTube to Increase Your Exposure

The internet and video are great tools to help future technicians increase this exposure. Now, PMG even has an easy way to help the next generation of tradespeople learn to use these tools for their own benefit!

Our PMG ReTool YouTube Channel is full of example videos created or curated by our ReTool Team to help anyone, inexperienced or otherwise, grow their exposure to the trades and various sectors of the manufacturing industry.

Want to see facility tours at some of the world’s best producers? What about How-To’s from some of the industry’s best troubleshooters? This channel has a little bit of everything for anyone interested in technical education or skilled trades careers.

Top Videos on Our Channel

  • Interviews with some of our most experienced traveling technicians
  • Conversations with technical training partners
  • Playlists focused by process or industry
  • All of our free webinars

This channel has all the info you need. Learn how to best use your web time and make sure you can walk (and talk) like a duck when the time comes. Feel free to send ideas for future videos and playlists to our Writing Team and check out our channel today to get quacking!

Want to know more about PMG ReTool? Check out this introductory post about this department.

Josh Erickson, ReTool Public Relations & Engagement Specialist

How I Started

Maybe it’s because I’m old, but up until about six years ago, the idea of an audiobook made my eyes roll. I’d never been a big reader. It wasn’t something I made time for nor something I remembered my parents doing when I was a child. When people mentioned they listen to an audiobook, I giggled to myself because I thought the idea of listening to a book seemed so elementary (triggering flashbacks to Mrs. Davis’ kindergarten class, circa 1985).

Then I found myself with an eye infection in both eyes that left me unable to read for almost four months. I couldn’t drive or be outside for the first month because of light sensitivity. I couldn’t even put toothpaste on my own toothbrush for goodness sake. There wasn’t a point in watching TV since all I saw was a bright white fog when my eyes were open, but I didn’t want to sit around feeling sorry for myself all day. That’s when my husband contacted our local library and my world forever changed.

What Audiobooks I Listened to First

I spent that first month of blindness walking on a treadmill in our basement, listening to each of Jane Austen’s classics. Once I was able to, I moved my walks outside to my neighborhood where I devoured the Bronte sisters, Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, and Charles Dickens. I’d never read the classics before and I was suddenly obsessed. I did eventually expand my audio library to include autobiographies, some great how-to books, cheesy romance novels, and even young-adult fiction, and my world just kept getting bigger and bigger.

Where I am Today

Six years later, my eyes are still a bit tricky. Therefore, I’m not opening a lot of books, but I am still listening to audiobooks each and every day. I listen when I’m getting ready for work in the morning and as I drive anywhere I need to go in the car. When I’m working out, I’m listening. If I can’t sleep at night, I sit and listen. I find audiobooks help me destress when I’m having a particularly stressful day. They allow me to escape to worlds beyond my own reach. I’m inspired to think about history, to focus on current events, and to challenge my own thoughts from time-to-time. They make me laugh, cry, and sometimes, giggle like a schoolgirl (you should see the looks I get at the gym ?).

If you’re missing the opportunity to take some time away from work this month, may I suggest getting a library card from your local library and investing your time and energy in a good audiobook. My library offers it as a free service, so I get the pleasure of ‘reading’ all these books without ever having to pay a dime! Sure, you may miss the smell of the old-fashioned, library book every once and awhile, but you won’t miss out on the adventure that can take you to anywhere you want to go!

Happy listening!

Need reading recommendations? Check out PMG’s Summer Reading List here!

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager

Where it Originated

The Olympics. An event where athletes of all types gather together to prove who, among the best, is truly the best. The Olympics we know today are inspired by the ancient Olympic Games that were held every four years in Olympia, Greece. However,  the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held and governed the first official Olympics event in Athens in 1896. Since then, many changes have occurred including:

  • The Winter Olympics (holding ice hockey and figure skating events in the summer was a logistical nightmare).
  • The Paralympics (to promote the rehabilitation of soldiers after World War II).
  • The Youth Olympic Games.

Through it all though, one thing stands unchanged – The Olympic Flame.

Greek mythology considers fire and flame divine, representing the fire Prometheus stole from Zeus to give to humanity and influence civilization. This fire and flame is the same fire and flame incorporated into the Olympics since ancient times. It’s one of, if not THE, biggest symbols of the modern day Olympics. With that much fanfare and celebration over some flames, it’s important to acknowledge the torch that carries them. This article gives credit where credit is due.

How It’s Made – The Olympic Torch

Every Olympiad, experts design and craft the torch to represent the host country and that year’s Olympic theme. Aesthetics have changed a lot from past games but, for the most part, the torches are very much made the same year after year. The aluminum torch base has a small fuel tank inside, which releases pressurized fuel.

Torch Fuels

Torches were first fueled by gun powder, olive oil, or even a mixture of formaldehyde and ammonia. A dangerous mixture of aluminum and magnesium was once used too, dropping from the final torch and seared the runner’s arm. This event among other safety concerns changed the way designers thought about the torch.

As a result, Olympic torches have been using liquidized fuel since 1972. This fuel moves through a valve with thousands of tiny openings, dropping the pressure of the liquid.

When this happens, it turns the liquid into gas and it lights the flame. The flame stays lit through a continuous supply of  liquid fluid through the valve at a consistent rate. With this constant supply, the flame stays lit and torch carriers can “kiss” the flame to other torch carriers.

Other fuels used include propylene in the 1996 Olympics and a mixture of propane and butane (2000).

Depending upon the elements the torch will encounter on its journey, other mechanisms  include two-flame configuration- flares and various other aerodynamic design features.

Torch Timeline

It all sounds pretty simple but, in reality, it can take as long as two years to design and build a torch. Then, the torch goes through extensive testing to ensure it stays lit during its entire journey through wind, sleet, rain, snow, and/or sun. Soon after, approximately 15,000 more torches are made to fuel (pun intended) the very long Olympic Torch Relay.

If you’re interested in learning more about the relay, this History Channel write-up on the Olympic Torch relay’s surprising origins is a great source!

I’d also recommend you check out this article about 10 surprising Olympic facts as well as my other How It’s Made articles on PMG’s website.

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach