We know that running is not always everyone’s favorite activity but if you choose to hit the trails, track, or treadmill here is a list of the top running shoes.   

Top Running Shoe brands according to Runner’s World:  

  • Hokas
  • Asics
  • Brooks
  • Nike
  • On Cloud

Top Running Shoes according to Runner’s World:  

Runners’ world tested these running shoes with more than 250 local runners. The test editors used the data to identify the top shoes to wear for the ultimate comfort, performance, and support when running. These shoes would also be stellar for anyone who is on their feet for long intervals of time each day.  

This history of Memorial Day is long but not complicated and dates back to the Civil War. The Civil War ended on April 5th, 1865, but the suffering and the pain of loss didn’t end, even in 1868. The Civil War left the US with a high number of casualty rates for soldiers not provided personal identification which left family members without any idea of what happened to their loved ones. As a result, former U.S. Army Major General John A. Logan (also an Illinois congressional representative and the commander-in-chief for the GAR – Grand Army of the Republic – the nation’s largest organization of Union veterans) designated May 30th as a day of national remembrance and called it “Decoration Day”.  

Shortly after, in 1873, construction of an amphitheater was completed near the Arlington House with its intended use for Decoration Day remembrance and commemoration. This amphitheater drew in large crowds every year resulting in a 1903 proposal by Judge Ivory Kimball (also a civil war veteran) to expand the amphitheater. The expansion was approved in 1913 with construction beginning in 1915. In 1920, the Memorial Amphitheater was formally dedicated and opened to the public. Over the years changes have been made to the amphitheater and Decoration Day has become better known as Memorial Day but the purpose is still the same, a space given to share in the reflection of the lives given by Americans at wartime and to grieve for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  

Located in the Memorial Amphitheater is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also known as the Tomb of the Unknowns. The tomb is located atop a hill and is nearly perfectly geographically centered in the Arlington National Cemetery. This majestic marble tomb dates back to December of 1920, when New York Congressman and World War I veteran Hamilton Fish Jr. proposed legislation that would provide a place of rest for one Unknown American Soldier from World War I, in the plaza at Arlington National Cemetery.  This idea was likely based off France and Great Britain’s Armistice Day (November 11, 1921) in which one unknown warrior was buried at the Arc de Triomphe and another inside Westminster Abbey. Congress moved forward with the legislation and an Unknown Soldier was buried in memorial, in the plaza, on November 11, 1921.  

That wasn’t enough though, it was always meant that the memorial be larger than it already was. As a result, the United States congress held a design competition. This competition delivered 73 total applicants with the wining designers being Architect Lorimer Rich and Sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones.  

Lorimer Rich’s design was approved and shortly thereafter, the search for marble began. It was a long process to find the perfect marble but when found, it came from the Colorado Yule Marble Quarry and the Vermont Marble company quarried it with the help of 75 men. Fun fact: this quarry is the same quarry that provided the marble for the Lincoln Memorial and due to metamorphic factors geographically in the area, this quarry created some of the best marble in the country. 

To pull this block of marble from a quarry 10,000 feet above sea level would be complicated today, let alone in 1931. The pure white marble block when pulled from the mountain weighted 124tons and was cut down with a wire saw to a weight of 56 tons.  

Once quarried, the marble was sent to the marble mill in the town of Marble, Colorado which although only 2.8 miles away took an entirety of 4 days to complete. The marble mill crated the block and then shipped it to Procter, Vermont. Upon arrival in Vermont, the architect, sculptor, a representative from the Quartermaster General’s Department, and a contractor inspected the piece and approved that work could begin. 

The tomb was partially sculpted in Procter, Virginia by Thomas Hudson Jones. From Procter, it was shipped by rail to the Arlington National Cemetery for final sculpting. In all, it was a total of seven months to move the marble from the quarry and land it in its final resting place. The last of the sculpting was completed onsite by the Piccirilli Brothers under the direction of Thomas Jones. Fun fact: the Piccirilli brothers also carved the Abraham Lincoln statue as well as the lions you see outside of the New York Public Library.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier early in the morning at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, August 7, 2018. (U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery / released)

About The Tomb

  • A formal ceremony was held on April 9, 1932, to commemorate the finished tomb.  
  • The tomb honors and remembers those who died at war without any witnesses beared. 
  • The tomb has four levels (cap, die, base, and sub-base) with the die being the largest block of marble and in which you can see the design. It is 11’ high, 8’ wide at the base, 6’8” wide at the top, with a total length of 13’11” at the base and 12’7” at the top.  
  • The North and South panels are sculpted with inverted wreaths. These wreathes represent a “World of Memories”. Each wreath has 38 leaves and 12 berries.  
  • The East Panel has three Greek figures sculpted which represent Peace, Victory, and Valor. 
    • The female figure of Peace is holding a dove to symbolize peace and friendship. 
    • The center figure is that of Victory, who is extending an olive branch towards the male figure while holding the hand of Peace.  
    • The male figure on the right is holding a broken sword and represents Valor. 
  • The budget for the tomb was approved at $50,000 but in the end, it was completed for $48,000. That’s approximately $860,000 in today’s money. 
  • It was Mr. Jones who sculpted the wreaths and the Greek figures while the Piccirilli brothers completed all other sculpting tasks.  
  • The memorial is placed in such a place that a visitor’s first view is from 20’ below, which is considered to be the most impressive angle. 
  • Every president since 1921 has stood in this spot to commemorate Memorial Day.  
  • There has been a total of four unknown soldiers buried at the tomb, all from different wars. World War I, World War II, The Korean War and the Vietnam War.  
    • The last soldier buried at the tomb (from the Vietnam War) was disinterred from the tomb in 1998 and his identity was determined with help of a DNA test. Where this soldier used to be, there is now a crypt cover inscribed with “Honoring and Keeping Faith with America’s Missing Serviceman 1958-1975”.  
  • Over 250,000 US flags adorn the Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, with one small flag at each headstone and along the bottom row. This takes 4 hours to accomplish. 
  • Since April 6, 1948, the tomb has been guarded by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) for 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, with absolutely no exceptions. These military members are called The Sentinels of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and undergo extensive interviews, trainings, and tests.  
    • This regiment is called The Old Guard because it is the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army, serving the nation since 1784. 
    • All Sentinels must be in “ superb physical condition” and be within a certain heights  
      • Men: 5’10” – 6’4”  
      • Women: 5’8” and 6’2” 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month – a time to really stop and check in with yourself, with the people you love, and with the people you surround yourself with. 

We hear about mental health in the news each and every day. 

  • The negative: shootings, suicides, and bullying. 
  • The positive: simple acts of kindness and an understanding and appreciation that you don’t know what other people are going through, so grant them the grace you wish for yourself. 

This list from a New York school district’s website shares ways you can reduce the stigma against mental health  

  1. Treat people equally. 
  2. Acknowledge that words have power – be careful how you speak to people. 
  3. Don’t use mental health terms lightly. 
  4. See the person, not the illness. 
  5. Be a positive mental health role model. 
  6. Get the facts right. 
  7. Educate yourself about mental health. 
  8. Don’t be afraid to seek help. 
  9. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. 
  10. Show care and compassion to those who are suffering with mental illness. 

While we may not be young students in a classroom (the audience this list was intended for), we will always have the capacity for learning, just as long as we’re willing to acknowledge there’s room for growth. 

If you are looking to educate yourself on mental health or get involved in mental health advocacy, here are a couple great resources for you: 

Female friend or family sitting and hold hands during cheer up to mental depress man, Psychologist provides mental aid to patient. PTSD Mental health conceptIf you’re looking for help and don’t know where to turn, you can call NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, at 800-950-NAMI or text ‘NAMI’ to 741741. 

If you are considering suicide or know someone who is, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by simply dialing 988 and your call will be directed straight to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also check out their website at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. 

If nothing else, while we give mental health the time it absolutely deserves, please know that you are loved, that you HAVE made a positive difference in someone’s life, and that you absolutely have the power to make a positive impact on even more people. Every story has its own purpose – it’s never too late to discover yours. 

If you are a CNC Programmer or would like to become a CNC Programmer, you’ve likely heard of or read about Mastercam. Mastercam is just one many computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software packages available for use when CNC programming, but Mastercam is the most common. Whether it’s the best programming software is a topic for another time, for CNC Programmers. I won’t get into that here, but the prevalence of Mastercam in manufacturing cannot be denied. As of 2020, there were 274,096 installed seats of Mastercam in manufacturing, with the closest competitor at just under 150,000 installed seats. Mastercam has shaped the past and will continue to shape the future of manufacturing but how did it get here and why?  

One Tool for Every Machine 

  • With Mastercam, you can program a wide variety of machines including CNC mills, lathes, routers mill turns and multi-axis machinery, and wire EDM. The ability to program so many machines with one universal software is of great benefit for manufacturers across multiple industries.CNC Mastercam Machine-operator-programming

Leading CAM Package in Education  

  • Not only is Mastercam the leader in manufacturing, but they are also the leading CAM software in Machine Tool Technology programs throughout technical and trade school in the US. As of 2020, there are 142,969 seats installed for educational purposes with the next competitor at just under 75,000 seats.  

A Long History  

  • Mastercam was founded in 1983 and is one of the very first PC-based cam software in manufacturing. Mastercam started as a 2D cam tool and over time, has evolved into a 3D CAD/CAM package. With 39 years in the industry, it’s hard to deny the reason for Mastercam’s dominance in CNC programming.  

Interested in learning Mastercam? Check out local trade or technical schools for available opportunities or learn from the comfort of your own home with incredibly helpful online courses from Titans of CNC Academy, a free CAD/CAM and CNC Machine Training program by Titan Gilroy.  

May is the month of flowers, endless blooms in a multitude of colors delivering on all the promises made by April’s showers during grayer days. With that in mind, it’s hard not to appreciate a beautiful blossom this time of year. Many places around the world, think Holland and tulips, are famous for their flowers. But here in Minnesota a different kind of flour put us on the world map. We’d like to celebrate this May by taking a deeper look at the history of flour milling – worldwide and in the home state of PMG. 

First Seeds 

Archeologists can date the first tools used by man as far back as 250,000 years ago but those tools were primarily weapons used for hunting and protection. History didn’t see humans turn their tool-crafting talents towards agriculture until relatively recently, 10 to 15 thousand years ago. This transition in tooling, and the many conveniences of grain compared to “fresher” fare, led to commerce and that led to the first form of city living as we know it today. 

Many advances in tool technology focused on planting, reaping, and threshing crops. But the ability to mill, and continued improvement of this ability, is what really unlocked the power of grain – by making it easier to swallow.  

The point of milling has always been the separation of the outer parts (bran and germ) from the more digestible inner parts (endosperm) of the wheat berry. This happens through grinding between hard surfaces. The earliest examples were simply two stones that ground kernels into flour between them. Even the oldest villages excavated show, through dental records, that people dating back to 6,700 BC already knew to use stones to mill wheat. 

Early Advances in Milling 

Early Egyptians used saddle stones to grind flour. Later millers added levers to their millstones to create greater power which allowed them to grind greater quantities of wheat. The Greeks created the “hourglass mill” by extending the top stone to make a hopper to hold extra grain. Fabric or mesh was used to sift, in combination with grinding, to produce white flour. Milling has operated essentially unchanged in principle for thousands of years since, other than being continuously modified to harness ever-increasing power (men, animals, wind, and water) to turn the stones. It’s believed that the Romans were the first to use waterpower for milling around 100 B.C. Ancient Turkish water mill for grinding, flour grinding device, Rize, Turkey

By the 19th century industrial development made possible the invention of machines, like reapers and threshers, that greatly increased production of grains like wheat. This industrial revolution was also reflected in the design and construction of mills themselves. Shafts, belts, and gears helped carry more power farther from sources than ever before, allowing greater amounts of flour to be milled faster than ever. Next, stones were replaced by rollers in many mills. An American millwright named Oliver Evans then introduced screw conveyors to move grain and flour horizontally and bucket elevators for vertical movement. He assembled these machines, together with sifters or bolters, into the first continuous system in which wheat was milled into flour as a single uninterrupted operation. Equipment to clean the wheat to produce purer flour were also added and, with it, American milling was set to boom again. 

Mid-Century Milling 

The advances brought about by such industrial techniques, coupled with improvements in barge and rail transportation, as well as the westward expansion of wheat lands, forced milling centers to shift west as well. The center of milling is represented by the place that produces the largest output of flour. Continuous change in the cost of transportation for product and power for milling meant that the center of milling moved often to wherever wheat was most readily available, and shipment of finished flour was most economical. Following this equation, the center of milling migrated west from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and St. Louis before eventually landing in Minneapolis in the late 19th Century. 

This shifting prominence occurred at the same time a “New Process” was becoming standard in milling. This process used a harder wheat from Canada, slower milling speeds, and wider spacing of mill stones. These advancements, coupled together, created a finer quality flour that could be produced much more efficiently. By 1870, the average mill employed fewer than three people and could achieve extraction rates of 72% flour compared to 28% millfeed. This dramatic improvement in process made milling not only one of the oldest industries in history but also the first to be fully automated! 

What really made the “New Process” of milling able to exceed the quality standards of the best European flours though was the invention of a Minnesota man. In 1865, Edmund La Croix constructed his first middlings purifier which greatly improved the typical yields of “highest grade” flour. This allowed for the continuous improvement of the flour stream all the way through the mill to final product and set the stage for advancements throughout the second half of the 1800s. This made possible the modern mill as we know it today. 

Minneapolis Millers 

The many technological advancements in mill technology, partnered with a convenient location relative to America’s heartland and its emerging position as a rail hub, allowed Minneapolis to surpass St. Louis as the nation’s center of milling by 1880. That year the city produced 2 million barrels of flour. By 1910, production had risen to 15.4 million barrels and Minneapolis had ascended to “Flour-Milling Capital of the World.”Minneapolis, MN - June 2, 2019: Mill Ruins Park in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District in downtown Minneapolis

World War I caused a spike in demand that peaked in 1916 when Minneapolis mills produced 18.5 million barrels – representing more than 20% of America’s total flour output. 90% of daily milling capacity was controlled by just three firms. They were the Washburn-Crosby Company (eight mills and 37,300 barrels), the Pillsbury Company (six mills and 29,300 barrels), and the Northwestern Consolidated Milling Company (six mills and 15,960 barrels). Pillsbury’s “A” Mill – the world’s largest – boasted a daily capacity of 12,000 barrels! 

This capacity for quality and quantity led to Minneapolis being known as the “Mill City”, a boom in state industrial wealth, and the rise of several large companies that still dominate the industry today. Washburn-Crosby was best known for it’s Gold Medal Flour brand, a name that is still eponymous to Minnesotans. By 1921, Washburn-Crosby introduced the Betty Crocker brand and, in 1928, they combined with 28 other mills to form General Mills. In 2001, General Mills acquired Pillsbury and finally united Minnesota’s two largest and best-known flour producers. 

Today’s Breadwinners 

The original Washburn Mill was destroyed in an explosion in 1878. You can still see the ruins of that mill, and the famous Gold Medal Flour sign on the “new” mill (built in 1880) if you visit Minneapolis today. But the Mill City is no longer tops in flour production. China, India, and Russia all produce more wheat annually than the United States. America is also beat when it comes to milled flour exports, finishing in fourth behind Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Germany. 

If this blog gave you something to chew on, and you’d like to learn more about how things are made, check out our article about how fireworks are made. Or you can watch this great video showing the process of modern flour production. And remember, the next time you cook up a question, we’re always happy to answer those too! Just send them to our writing team and we’ll try our best to answer them in a future blog.

Summer is still more than a month away, but people in many parts of the country are already starting to feel the heat. Maintenance managers aren’t any different than the rest of us when it comes to considering the needs of their HVAC/R equipment and facilities. They don’t want to be caught unprepared when the weather is at its worst. Creating and following a checklist can greatly simplify maintenance of an industrial or commercial facility. We’ve covered prepping for winter weather before. Now we have a checklist that can help you prepare your facilities for the warmer weather ahead too. 

Facility Exteriors 

Areas of a building that could suffer wear and tear from exposure to the elements. 

  • Roofing – The integrity of a building starts with its roof. Inspect vents and drains for blockages. Remove debris from drainage systems and gutters. Identify and record any damage or corrosion present and repair/replace as necessary. man standing on ladder and cleaning roof rain gutter from dirt
  • Parking lots & Garages – Review and test functionality of electrical components like automatic gates and light fixtures. Ensure pedestrian and traffic signage are easily visible and legible. Track damage to pavement such as cracks and potholes, repair as necessary. 
  • Windows & Doors – Anywhere that allows people to enter and exit a building can do the same for heat or cold. Inspecting windows, doors, frames, and locks every season maximizes efficiency AND safety for your facility. 

Facility Interiors 

Areas of a building that could suffer wear and tear from seasonal downtime. 

  • Electricity & Energy Use – Cold weather use can strain electrical systems and force rodents inside to cause problems. Check wiring for signs of damage or corrosion and test surge suppressors for functionality. Review energy consumption reports to identify areas of concern or opportunities for savings. 
  • Plumbing – Hot weather can put very different demands on plumbing compared to winter months. Inspect all piping and couplings for leaks. Check water heating and cooling systems for functionality as well as sewage pumps. 
  • HVAC – Proper winterization through cold weather will do much to make sure your cooling systems are ready for the heat of summer. But you still need to inspect blowers and condensers to make sure they’re working properly. You should also replace filters and refill fluids as necessary too. Finally, make sure all ductwork and exhaust fans are cleaned and inspected as well. Hvac technician wearing safety gear inspecting an air conditioner
  • Machinery & Equipment – Any production machinery or material handling equipment that has sat dormant through winter for any reason should get a full inspection and tune up, especially if it’s been stored in a facility that isn’t climate-controlled. Be prepared for inactivity to have caused settling that may require recalibration too. 

Facility Grounds 

Non-building areas of a facility whose maintenance needs change with the season 

  • Parking Lots & Garages – Ice can cause damage to parking areas such as cracks and potholes. Filling, patching, or resurfacing may be required. Also check any signage (painted or posted) that may have weathered, faded, or been knocked down by snowplows. 
  • Lawns, Gardens & Planters – There is seasonal planting and care, such as mowing, to think about in preparation for summer. But make sure to properly inspect less visible items such as irrigation lines and valves too.  
  • Pest Treatment & Removal – Winter can cause problems with pests sheltering inside your facility, but summer is all about the outside. Scheduling a pest control company for regular service is a great way to prevent problems with varmints that can damage your grounds (think moles) or your people (wasps) before they ever occur! 

These aren’t the only steps required to prepare a facility for summer, but they are some of the most important ones. If you’re swamped and need help checking some items off your building’s list, contact us now to see if our HVAC/R or Facility Maintenance techs can help you out. If you’re experienced preparing industrial and commercial properties for seasonal changes, send us your resume to learn more about work on our projects. Either way, we hope all of you stay cool, safe, and productive this summer. 

Happy Cinco De Mayo! It is important to remember what this day is all about. celebrating the true Mexican culture. Here are some ideas on how you can immerse yourself! 

  • Head to a local family-owned Mexican Restaurant
  • Listen to Mexican corridos
  • Whip up some homemade guacamole! (Recipe at bottom of the page)
  • Drink a cervezaPacifico Beer 24 pack. Cerveza Pacifico Clara, better known as Pacifico, is a Mexican pilsner-style beer, brewed in in the Pacific Ocean port city of Mazatlan.

What is the meaning behind Cinco De Mayo? It is the holiday celebrated in parts of Mexico and the US in honor of the Military victory that occurred in 1862 over the French forces of Napoleon III. Also referred to as the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla. Cinco De Mayo is often mistaken as Mexican Independence Day but that falls on September 16th.  

We hope that you can celebrate the holiday with family and friends! Below is a recipe to get you in the Cinco De Mayo spirit!  

Recipe for Guacamole:


3 Avocados
½ onion, finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes diced
3 tbs freshly chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed & finely chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 lime juiced
½ tsp salt

Directions: Cut and peel avocados. Mash them in a bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir and serve with fresh vegetables & tortilla chips!

A favorite unofficial holiday in my home each year is ‘May the 4th Be with You’ day, as we’re big Star Wars fans! In honor of this special day, I hope you don your favorite Star Wars gear, whether that be a simple t-shirt, some Leia buns, or a giant Jar Jar Binks head! 

Recreation of a scene from Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope aboard the Death Star with Grand Moff Tarkin, Princess Leia and Darth Vader using Hasbro Black Series action figures with Leia's Buns

For fun, a few Star Wars quotes that seem relevant in our everyday working lives at PMG as you celebrate: 

  • “The greatest teacher, failure is.” – Yoda 
  • “You’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi 
  • “Remember, concentrate on the moment. Feel – don’t think. Use your instincts.” – Qui-Gon Jinn 
  • “Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is essential to a Jedi’s life. So, you might say that we are encouraged to love.” – Anakin Skywalker 

We’d love to see your love for the resistance (or the dark side for that matter)! Share a picture of you and/or your family in Star Wars gear on our Facebook page in honor of ‘May the 4th Be with You’ day.  

And on that note, May the Force be with you!