Fun Fact: The world’s largest pool is 14 times larger than Gillette Stadium’s field…this saltwater pool in Chile is 19.77 acres long…that’s almost 15 football fields put together! Check it out: here. 

Celebrate with a splash! Not sure where to start? Grab your swimsuits, snorkels, and towels—I’ve got you covered. 

  1. Pick the perfect spot. The National Waterpark Association has EVERY registered waterpark listed on their site! With this tool, you can easily find new (and old!) exciting waterparks near you. 
  1. Prepare all the snacks. Water bottles, pop cans, sandwiches and chips all go best in coolers…Don’t have one handy? Target has a wide variety of coolers available-you can do a curbside pickup, or even have it delivered to your location! 
  1. Get the best deal. Don’t stress about funds! Groupon has a dedicated Waterpark section that can have you and the entire family covered for the day…maybe even the entire weekend. 
  1. Setup a meeting space. Identify where you and your family will meet if you get separated, this will help keep anxiety levels to a minimum and make it easier for you to reconnect! 
  1. Make a splash! Enjoy your time with family and friends, oh, and don’t forget, you will want sunscreen! 

Let’s Get Together – Maybe? 

Timing used to be of the essence, now with the introduction of COVID we are constantly re-evaluating and shifting our prior arrangements. Work events get pushed back, cancelled, or re-invented depending on mask requirements.  As a an ambivert remote worker, I find myself anxious and excited for each new event I attend. 

Getting over the awkward stage 

Growing up, I always had a fear of new events. I spent numerous summers at the YMCA forced to go through hours of orientation and ice breakers—finding a descriptor for yourself when your name starts with the letter “J” isn’t easy. The idea of going into a work environment starts with battling these preconceived notions and the feeling of “meeting everyone that’s new” and icebreakers. Really, once I remember that I am joining an event with people I communicate with daily through the screen that anxiety fades and is replaced with excitement. 

Embracing the opportunity to develop existing relationships 

That Teams group chat takes a new turn, without screens and easily accessible celebratory gifs. My favorite part of these gatherings are the genuine conversations you have. Nothing can beat hearing someone greeting you excitedly while asking about your life outside of work emails.  Each time we have a group outing I check who is going and excitedly make note to touch base with them. The opportunity to further connect with a team that already inspires you daily is indescribable.  

Weighing potential COVID exposure 

To go or not to go…that is the question I ask myself leading up to and after any event. The morning starts off with a COVID test just to ensure that I have no symptoms prior to leaving my house, the drive there consists of thoughts of concern: Should I wear a mask? What will I do if I do end up with covid? What if I was asymptomatic? Did I use enough hand sanitizer? These thoughts are a constant concern of mine and once I get home, they return the next morning. A few days later I check in with myself, my symptoms, and take another test, just to be sure.  

Realigning your work values or motivators  

After hours of conversation, connection, and anxiety—I find myself with a new take on my day-to-day life and work duties. One thing I’ve thoroughly believed in is that if it scares you, it’s something you need to do. While work events aren’t scary, the thoughts leading up to them can be—yet the minute I step out of my car and see the first familiar face, I know this is where I am meant to be. Clocking into work following this, I remember each fun moment as varying names pop up in my inbox—I feel connected and inspired by our team and mission. Most importantly, I am inspired and ready to create based off these encounters. 

Join Us!

Looking to become a part of OUR work events?

Office party laser tag crew for FlexTrades

We’re always hiring for great talent at our corporate office. Learn more here!

You scream, I scream, we all scream for Ice Cream! Today, Sunday July 17th, is National ice cream Day! This classic summer treat is a fan favorite. There are a few places that are giving some special deals for customers to celebrate this yummy day! 

Places to Celebrate Ice Cream Day: 

Baskin-Robbins: Offering $5 off any purchase of $15 or more! Use promo code BECOOLER for online orders or scan your app in the store.  


Dairy Queen: Download the DQ app and get $1 off any dipped cone!  


Cold Stone Creamery: Download the app for a sweet surprise & you will get free deliveries on any orders from July 15th– July 17th 


Dippin’ Dots: Giving away free mini cups on July 17th during a two-hour window. Click here to find your nearest Dippin’ Dot location to get your free treat.  


Whole Foods: Now through July 19th, Whole Foods is marking their frozen novelties are 25% off, Amazon Prime members will save an addition 10% off!  


Door Dash: From July 15 to 18, ice cream lovers can get a FREE pint of ice cream on any order totaling $20 or more 


Insomnia Cookies: From July 12th to July 18th, get a FREE scoop of ice cream with any purchase in-store or online! 


Make your own: Click here for an easy at home recipe! 


** Reminder this day is best enjoyed with family and friends sitting outside in the sunshine! Happy Summer! **

It’s been less than a month since spring officially turned to summer and most of America is already sizzling. Here in Minnesota, we have more than 10,000 lakes, streams, and rivers we can jump in to cool off in our spare time. But what is a person supposed to do when the temperatures start to rise at work, especially if you work outside or in a facility without climate-control? 

There isn’t a magic answer to that question and heatstroke, or heat-exhaustion are real risks for those who make their living exposed to the elements. But after almost 40 years of working in all kinds of environments from farms to jobsites to factories, in all kinds of weather, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks that can help you beat the heat as well. 

Know the Signs 

Before we get to tips and tricks, it’s important you know what you’re trying to avoid. Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are both heat-related illnesses and exist on the same spectrum of symptoms. However, heat exhaustion can be treated with basic first aid while heatstroke requires immediate medical attention, so being aware of the difference between the two can be all that separates an uncomfortable condition from a very scary one. 

The clearest indicators to watch out for between heatstroke and heat exhaustion are the change in skin condition and cognitive function. If you or a coworker go from excessive sweating with cool, clammy skin to no sweating with hot, dry skin, that is a huge red flag. If mental confusion and slurred speech are also occurring, then you need to call 911 immediately and take emergency steps to begin cooling the affected person down. 

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure 

Knowing what to look for, and what to do if you find it, is always important. However, the goal is to avoid these situations completely whenever possible. The good news is that’s relatively simple with just a little extra planning and effort. Here’s what’s worked for me and my crews over the years. I promise, whether you work in the field or a facility, there’s something in this list that will help you too! 

1 Hydrate – Your body is an amazing machine, and it already has a great cooling system. You just need to keep it fully functional. Sweating may be gross but it’s how your body cools itself, and it works. If you’re starting to feel thirsty, you’re already underhydrated. The trick is to take a preventive maintenance approach. Drink lots of water and drink it on a schedule. Tell yourself one bottle before work, one during work before break, one at break time, etc. This will make sure you’re always replacing what you’re losing so your body can keep sweating. If multiple bottles are a bother, something with measurements can really help keep you on track. 

2 Clothes – It’s important to dress appropriately for the weather but this doesn’t just mean what you wear. How, and how long, you wear your clothes matters too. When working outside, wearing material that is both lightweight and light-colored can help you. Lightweight clothing helps you shed heat more easily and light-colored clothing absorbs less solar energy to create heat in the first place. But even the most perfect clothing will still leave you sweating if it’s hot enough, so bring a spare (or two). Having dry socks and shirts to change into at break times is a great heat hack. This doesn’t just keep you feeling drier and more comfortable, it allows your sweat cycle to continue more efficiently too. 

3 Cover up – Suns out, guns out. Right? Wrong! It may sound counter-intuitive but the more skin you cover when working in the heat the better, especially outside. Long sleeves and long pants in lightweight materials keep the sun off your skin. This helps to hold moisture in to avoid dehydration and prevents direct contact with rays, so you keep extra heat out and extra moisture in. Hats with wide brims are great add-ons to protect typically uncovered areas like your face and neck. Clothing made with UV-resistant materials add an extra layer of protection too. 

4 Cooling Towels – Cooling towels, neck wraps, and headbands are essentials for anyone working in high heat environments. Basically, they help amplify your body’s ability to cool itself by causing increased evaporation. A bonus is that they feel great on a hot day, especially if you store extras in your cooler or soak them in cold water.


5 Avoid Bad Stuff – Alcohol and caffeine are both natural diuretics. This means they will advance dehydration (dry you out faster) so drinking a cold beer or pop on a hot day is a bad idea. They might taste good and feel good but they’re doing bad things to your cooling system. Save these beverages for off-hours spent in AC and focus on water or liquids with electrolytes. Avoid sugars when possible also. 

6 Points of Relief – It might sound new age but applying pressure to certain points of your body can help lower blood pressure, reducing internal heat creation and causing a full body cooling effect. Apply pressure to the back of your neck, shoulders, or bottom of your feet next time you take a break, and you’ll see what I mean. 

7 Pair Off – The heat can sneak up on you when you’re distracted at work and sometimes it’s hardest to “see” yourself. Because of this you should always work in pairs when working in extremely hot conditions. Keep an eye on each other while working and remind each other to drink water and take breaks according to the schedule you agree to before starting your day. Make sure you have a plan in place, ahead of time, for what to do if signs of heat illness are noticed! 

More Tips & Tricks 

I hope you found value in this list. I learned most of these lessons the hard way and I don’t want you to have to do the same. If you’d like more tips & tricks to take with you to work, read our previous blog with advice on how to survive a 12-hour shift. Got tips or tricks of your own to share? We’d love to help you do that! Send them to our Writing Team and we’ll be happy to share them in a future blog. Stay cool and be safe this summer!

Have you had a time when you are with a group of people at dinner and one of your friends can’t seem to put their phone down? It is not a fun situation.  


One time I was sitting at dinner with my dad and had responded to a few text messages. He pointed out that I should be in the moment when I am with him and not worried about my phone. I felt bad, but I was grateful he reminded me that there’s a time to be in the moment, and not tied to my phone. 


In the spirit of national cell phone courtesy month here are a few behaviors to be aware of regarding cell phone use. 


Tips to stay in the moment and courteous of your phone use:  


  1. Turn it on do not disturb. Focus on who you are with or the task at hand. The person you’re with is the priority, not whoever DM’d you the latest viral TikTok video. 
  2. Tuck it away. If your phone is out of sight, you will be less likely to use it. “Out of sight, out of mind” as they say! 
  3. Communicate! If you must use your phone to respond or answer a call, apologize for the interruption.  
  4. Respect the people you are with. Stay involved in the conversation and make sure that you make them feel valued. Remain engaged with the conversation even if you must reply to a quick text from family. 
  5. Keep the noise down. Pay attention to the volume you have your phone on and if it’s appropriate to have calls on speaker or not. Everyone hates watching their favorite TV show next to someone who can’t seem to get off YouTube on their phone. 
  6. Eyes on the road. No phone call, text, or snapchat are as important as your safety! Click here for a refresh on how to practice safe driving with a phone in the vehicle.  

This week Americans celebrated the 246th birthday of our country. We wanted to pile on by celebrating the 10 greatest inventions our nation has contributed to the world in that time. Some are big and some are small, but life changed for us all after these 10 ideas (in no particular order) hit the mainstream! 

  1. Bread Slicing Machine 
    1. America may not have invented sliced bread but the bread slicing machine was invented by an Iowan. Otto Frederick Rodwedder was a jeweler by trade but an inventor at heart. It took him more than a decade to perfect his invention, but it eventually went into commercial use in 1928 and quickly took the world by storm. Today, the merits of all subsequent inventions are compared against it as we continue to look for “the best thing since sliced bread.” 
  2.  The Internet
    1. The IT Crowd the Internet JenIn 1969, researchers working for the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency sent the first host-to-host message between laboratories at UCLA and Stanford. This marked the birth of the internet as we know it, but it still took decades for it to become commonplace. Once it did though, it took off in a big way! Today more than half of Earth’s total population is online, and the Internet contributes TRILLIONS of dollars to the global economy. 
  3.  Global Positioning System (GPS) 
    1. In 1973 the United States Department of Defense approved a project to synthesize the best aspects of various satellite navigation programs already in existence. The result of this effort was the Global Positioning System as we know it today. GPS may not have changed the world when it reached fully operational status in 1993 but it has continued to change the way we navigate it via land, sea, and air ever since! 
  4. Post-It Notes 
    1. Romy and Michelle Post-it notes3M chemist, Spencer Silver, stumbled upon a revolutionary type of adhesive during research that could stick and re-stick without leaving residue behind. But he didn’t know what to do with it until inspiration struck his colleague, Art Fry, while struggling through a choir practice with bookmarks that wouldn’t “stick”. By 1974 the Post-It Note hit the market. Offices, calendars, and refrigerator doors have never been the same. 
  5.  The Telephone 
    1. Alexander Graham Bell was born in Scotland, and many scientists worked to develop technology for transmitting sound. But it was Bell, already living and working in Massachusetts at the time, who was first awarded a patent for the electric telephone on March 7, 1876. It was also Bell who first made his device produce intelligible speech when he called his assistant, Thomas Watson, three days later on March 10 to complete the first ever phone call. “Mr. Watson – come here – I want you.”, were the words that brought Watson from the next room and made the world a little smaller for the rest of history. 
  6.  The Airplane 
    1. Wilbur and Orville Wright were bicycle mechanics who became intrigued by the concept of aeronautics in 1899. Despite struggles and setbacks their experiments led to the first successful flight of a powered aircraft in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. The basic design elements of the 1903 Wright Flyer have been incorporated in ALL successful aircraft since produced.  
  7. The Light Bulb  
    1. Few things are more disputed than the credit Thomas Edison receives for inventing the light bulb. While it’s true that many inventors were essential to developing the technology, Edison’s contributions are generally seen as primary. This consideration is due mainly to the fact that he created a fully functioning system, rather than just components, as well as the first commercially successful carbon filament bulb in 1879. This invention didn’t just light up the night, it actually changed sleep patterns for most of humankind! 
  8.  Interchangeable Parts 
    1. Henry Ford gets more credit for creating the moving assembly line, but it was Eli Whitney’s practical application of the concept of interchangeable parts that made “Fordism” possible. While others went on to perfect the concept, Whitney did it on a large scale first when he accepted (and eventually delivered on) a contract with the U.S. Congress for 10,000 muskets in the early 1800s. This changed the world, effectively eradicating the skilled artisan class, AND how the world makes things. 
  9. Plastic 
    1. Early plastics were invented in Europe but it was an American, Charles Goodyear, who invented the vulcanization process that made commercial plastics truly possible. After receiving a patent for his process in 1844, Goodyear went on to spend most of the rest of his life (and fortune) fighting patent infringement cases in various courts. Commercial plastics, on the other hand, went on to change or affect every industry we now know today. 
  10.  Moving Pictures 
    1. The Kinetograph, an early motion picture camera, was first introduced by William Dickson in 1890. Dickson was the British assistant of Thomas Edison but he developed the Kinetograph with Edison in New York City. In 1892, he announced the Kinetoscope (the first movie projector) and two years after that Edison started public film screenings in his new “Kinetograph Parlors”. This began America’s reign as the Motion Picture Capital of the World and forever changed how the world tells and consumes stories. 

G&M Code vs. Conversational Programming  

When you get down to the nitty gritty, there are MANY ways to program a CNC machine. Deciding which one is the best for you depends on a wide variety of factors. The following options are available.  

  1. CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) software programming (such as Mastercam) 
  2. G&M Code programming  
  3. Conversational programming  
  4. Macro programming  

 So, what are all of these?  

CAM Software Programming 

 Having CAM software such as Mastercam is very helpful. Oftentimes, you can use 3D models and blueprints to not only create the program but also simulate and verify the program. CNC programmers access CAM software through a computer (either at the machine or in an engineering/programming office). 

G&M Code Programming 

List of G&M Codes for machining

G&M Code programming is done on the machine. Rather than working on a computer or laptop, CNC programming occurs within the controller screen. 

G&M Code programming uses a series of codes, either G-codes or M-codes.  

  • G-code stands for Geometric Code.  
  • These codes direct a CNC machine to perform the operations needed to create geometries and profiles in the material.  
  • An example of a G-code is G84 which directs the machine toward a tapping cycle.  
  • M-code stands for Machine Code or Miscellaneous Code. 
  • These codes direct the functions of the actual machine rather than the geometry or feature requirements.  
  • An example of an M-code is M05 which directs the machine to stop the spindle.  

Conversational Programming 

Conversational programming is a type of programming that uses prompts. The prompts are questions asked of the programmer or machinist. These prompts gather answers regarding part geometry, type of material or metal, as well as the tooling needed to complete the desired features. In summary, someone performing conversational programming is answering questions which allows the machine to create a program from which the machine will operate.  

G&M Code Programming vs. Conversational Programming 

So, what’s the difference between the two? A fitting example is the process of giving someone directions to an agreed upon location.  

  • In G&M code programming, directions are given in a step-by-step nature. If someone needs to get to the local grocery store, as a direction teller you will share all the lefts and rights that need to be taken, the stores that you’ll pass by, the miles to travel, etc.  
  • In conversational programming, directions are less specific. In this example, as a direction teller you will tell someone the cross streets at which the grocery store is located (I.e., Main Street and First Avenue). However, the traveler will determine the best route needed to get to Main Street and First Avenue. 

Macro Programming 

metal drill bit make holes in aluminium radiator on industrial drilling machine. Metal work industry.

Macro programming is done when there are repetitive operations on a part but different variables for each operation. In this type of programming, the main operation (or repetitive operation) is programmed via CAM, G&M, or Conversational programming. Macro programming creates a “sub program” to alter that main program.  

  • An example would be a part that needs multiple holes drilled but the holes are of different depths. Typically, feed rates change according to depth. Therefore, you program the machine to “drill a hole” as your main operation but the macro programming within that program details the depth and the feed rate for each individual hole. 

You now have a tight grasp on what differentiates these types of programming. It’s easy to see why they were all created. Each programming style lends itself to greater job efficiency depending on the task at hand. Perhaps you’ve been searching for a better way to program the task of hole drilling in a project you have. You now know that Macro may be the way to go. 

If you find that you have a propensity for any of these programming styles, and need employment, don’t hesitate to reach out to our hiring team via this website! We’d love to have you join our team of talented technicians. 

Happy National Postage Stamp Day!

The first postage stamp was used in 1847. Before this, the U.S. mail traveled “postage due. This meant that the recipient of the letter or postcard was the one that had to pay the fee. Now, with the requirement of the U.S. stamp, the person sending the letter, package, or postcard is responsible for the cost.  


July 1, 1847, the day stamps first went on sale. The first two stamps on the market showcased Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.  


The picture above is the newly released U.S. Flag Forever Stamp. These are available for purchase at every post office location.  


Ideas on how to celebrate Postage Stamp Day: 

  • Send someone you know a letter or postcard 
  • Begin a stamp collection 
  • Create your own stamp at
  • Buy a new roll of stamps online at the US Post shop