Rejoice fathers everywhere! Father’s Day is a day to celebrate ourselves and our own fathers! It’s times like this that we take time to ask ourselves what kind of father we are, and is that good? I figured I’d share a story about how I became a father, how it shapes the man I am today, and how I appreciate my father more as a result. 

As a young parent I said to myself, “I shouldn’t give my kids what I never had. Instead, I should teach them what I never knew.” Of course! Besides, I’m a millennial, what didn’t I have growing up?  

Our First Child 

A 2020 Christmas surprise, that my wife and I decided to keep secret from our family and friends, was that she was pregnant! 

  Becky's positive pregnancy test 2020 christmas

Already, we were planning the fun things we’d be doing with our kiddo. What would we name our son or daughter? “Brexley” was the strong contender for a girl name! Sweet, right? A few months passed, and we learned from the doctors that we were having a son! I’ll state for the record now, I was personally hoping for a girl. My wife was adorable as a kid, and anyone would love to have a miniature version of her running around in their life. Though, I will say, his ultrasounds pictured a darn handsome little guy! 

Ultrasound of Wyatt Ethan Schwarz

Our Lessons 

What parent doesn’t think of what they’ll teach their children? Our goal was to make sure our kid had the skills, in no particular order, to be self-sufficient in as many aspects of life as possible.  

  • Finances. Lord knows, I didn’t treat savings with any respect until well after college. He won’t have the luxury of making the same mistake. 
  • Home Maintenance. Most things that operate in your home are life, or at least lifestyle, sustaining. Our son should know how to fix them and have the tools and resources on-hand to do so. 
  • Social Skills. Emotional intelligence can take him further in life than intellect alone. I would want our son to observe and understand the qualities of people in his life whom he enjoys being around and emulate those qualities. Humility may be the most important. It is not just an understanding of what you AREN’T, but an understanding of what you ARE. 
  • Physical Health. The one thing no king can pay for, and any peasant can afford. There are too many opportunities in life that become unattainable if our son isn’t in good health. I don’t want those experiences robbed from my child because he couldn’t stay active in sports and eat healthy. My older brother taught me a great lesson in life by use of a simple spreadsheet. It became very clear to me that fast food is far more expensive to eat regularly than healthy store-bought foods. 
  • Mental & Spiritual Health. I’ll leave this broad, but faithfulness is the best relationship. As our son matures, life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, so he must become stronger and more resilient. Having faith, and awareness of his mental state, is what will give him that strength. There are times when he will need to lean on those around him. My hope is he will feel comfortable turning to us when we can help his circumstances and to God when we can’t. 

Reality Strikes 

Now for the piece of the story I haven’t told you yet. I was working from home during my wife’s 14-week ultrasound when she called me. In tears she said, “There’s something wrong with the baby.” I rushed out the door and drove 20 minutes down HWY 60 to the clinic, heart pounding.  

I entered the doctor’s office to greet my wife and was told there is a large omphalocele in our son’s umbilical cord. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s usually tied to a severe genetic disorder, often fatal. The doctor strongly suggested we consider terminating, but we, in unison, refused. The recurring theme you’ll find is that, if we had put ourselves in his shoes, we’d want our parents to give us every opportunity to fight. So that’s what we did. 

After transferring to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, we had frequent and expensive visits to monitor and plan for our child’s birth. A scheduled C-section was the route we took, set for August 5th, 2021. 

Born

That morning, as we checked into the hospital, I met a nice man who was sporting a Milwaukee Bucks 2021 championship t-shirt. I complimented him on it, and we got to talking about his day. Turns out, his son was welcoming a baby girl into the world… who passed away after 45 minutes of life. Devastating. I buried my own worries, for the remainder of our conversation, before departing with some kind words. 

The C-section went well. Becky was in recovery, and I followed our stable son to the NICU with his team of doctors and a ventilator. Wyatt on ventilator being carted to the NICU

I don’t think Becky or I left the hospital for 3 days. We spent every bit of time we could in our son’s room. Comforting him when nurses had to poke and prod for blood samples. Assisting with diaper changes (it was a delicate process due to the omphalocele.) Becky holding Wyatts hand in the NICU

Don’t get me wrong, amidst the worry and pain there were moments, even hours, of happiness and joy. Seeing my wife hold our creation and take a nap together invokes the greatest feeling as a husband and father. 

Becky cuddling our son Wyatt in the NICU while he is on ventilator

2 Weeks & 8 Minutes 

I can spare you the extensive details of the weeks to follow, but I’ll say we saw fluctuations in our son’s status. Day-by-day things became promising, then we’d take a step back. At around 12 days the doctors had a conference meeting with us. They sat us down and said they discovered an infection in his intestines. We had 3 options: Operate, administer antibiotics, or go palliative. We once again decided to give our son a fighting chance. We immediately administered antibiotics.  

I called Father Rick, from my church growing up, in hopes of having our son baptized. He was able to make a rush visit. That day was rough, but I felt confident Wyatt would pull through. We slept at the hospital that night. The next morning the doctors sat us down again in that same conference room. They needed to operate. We agreed.  

They removed over half of Wyatts intestines and, in doing so, had a successful surgery. As they were stitching him up though, a blood clot had let loose. They couldn’t maintain his blood pressure. Doctor Katie then called Becky and I in to hold our son for his final moments. He passed away in our arms at 2:13pm CST on August 19th. Being a father hit harder than I could have ever imagined that day. I would have given my entire life for this child that I’d only truly known for 2 weeks and 8 minutes.  

Our son Wyatt looking at us with his eyes wide open

A Happy Ending? 

All those lessons I’d hoped to impart to my son were dashed, but not wasted on me. They were essential in recovering from such a loss. Becky and I both had the Emotional Intelligence to support each other more than ourselves. We had Financial Responsibility to take care of bills and have a buffer during tough times. We took time to maintain our Physical Health and Home as we rebuilt our lives and regained a sense of normalcy. We reassured ourselves with Humility that we’d done everything a parent could be asked to do for their child. While we didn’t have the power to save him, we gave him everything we could. We turned to family and friends to vent our frustrations and, for anything they couldn’t understand, we turned to God. 

My own father, thankfully, never had to endure the loss of a child. I’m now seeing my experience as his son with a different lens. All the lectures, and the scolding, as a result of my wrongdoing growing up were the concerted efforts he made to prepare me for life and protect me from myself. In recognition of this day, I Say, “Thank you, dad, and thank you to ALL dads who prepare us for life. We owe you a great deal more than what you get on a daily basis.” 

With that said, I promised you all a happy ending. No, Wyatt Ethan Schwarz (believe me I fought for “Wyatt Earp Schwarz” and the wife wasn’t having it.) did not survive to come home with Becky and I. We did not get to raise him and teach him all these great values. There is, however, a favor he must have asked the big man upstairs. That favor was to have a little brother. Our Second Son in Ultrasound

There Is Another 

While Wyatt is the son that made me a father, his little brother is on the way to make me a tired one! At the moment, we have a running list of names and no idea which one to choose. Perhaps you can all help us out here! Go back to the social media post you likely found this article from and comment which of the names listed below you like most! 

Side note: A girl name would’ve been so much easier… 

  • Hudson
  • Declan
  • Boone
  • Graham
  • Garrison
  • Sawyer
  • Knox
  • Wade 
  • Barrett

According to the CDC, roughly 5.4 million adults in the U.S. are autistic. This April, celebrate differences in honor of Autism Acceptance Month. Here are five ways you can celebrate peoples’ differences: 

1. Learn About Autism 

Check out the Autism Society and learn about Autism and how everyone’s story is different. 

2. Read a Book  

Population One: Autism, Adversity, and the Will to Succeed with give you a deeper understanding of what life looks like from the eyes of a teenager who is autistic. Population One Autism Adversity and the Will to Succeed Tyler McNamer

3. Volunteer at an Event 

Use organizations like JustServe and volunteer at local or remote events that encourage and celebrate differences.  

4. Participate in a Run/Walk  

Promote awareness and acceptance of Autism by participating in this virtual run/walk from anywhere you’d like.  

Autism Acceptance Run Walk April 1-30 2022

5. Get Involved 

Advocates, Non-Profits, and various communities work daily to support the continued development around policies and programs that provide a positive impact on individuals and families with autism. Use Autism Speaks Resource Guide to see where you can get involved in your local community. 

As this not-so-seemingly-but-actually-super-short month comes to a close—many of us encounter a wide range of emotions. February, the month of heightened love and painful history, uplifting Black voices in new ways that truly allow us to reconnect with strangers nearby. Yet, one question still parades its way through our minds—Am I doing enough? How do I know? Where do I start? 

Let’s start with the basics 

And, as alarming as this may seem, there is no right answer. Diversity isn’t a right or wrong thing to celebrate, it simply exists and grows with us as we begin to grow ourselves. To acknowledge diversity is to acknowledge our unique individual qualities that make our communities so inspirational. It pushes us to grow through constant lessons of mindfulness and trials of social belonging. The celebration of this path is essential, and I am here to share a few ways (28 to be exact!) to continue celebrating, acknowledging, and challenging diversity in all aspects of life beyond Black History Month. 

One step at a time may seem tiring, but how else will you get there? Everyone starts somewhere, everyone—including me. 

Here are 28 practical ways to celebrate diversity  

  1. Consider utilizing the “Black-Owned” category on Etsy: This feature highlights and showcases Black artists within a wide range of crafts!
  2. Need a new podcast? Check out Black-Owned podcasts. Celisia Stanton is a Minnesota native who hosts the Truer Crime podcast for those of you who enjoy Criminal Minds and CSI! If you are hoping for something a little more focused on history, consider listening to Historically Black where they cover a variety of modern and past events.
  3. Brew another cup of coffee. Consider supporting a local or Black-owned shop! A simple Google search can show you a variety of places in your area. (Did you know Minneapolis has 10 in the metro alone?)
  4. Spice up your décor! This may seem like an obvious suggestion but stop at Target or HomeGoods. A vast majority of their original tags discuss the origin story. This is a great way to educate yourself about cultural objects (without the school lecture)!
  5. Uncover your family tree. Learn something new this year! Connect with a family member you don’t see often to ask about their favorite memories. If you are feeling adventurous, 23andMe has a deliverable DNA testing kit that allows you to learn more about your origins. They also tend to offer quite a discount if you refer your friends!
  6. Join a committee. Whether this is at work, at school, or in the community, committees highlight new perspectives and voices with a common goal: succeeding together!
  7. Take a workshop. One thing about diversity is that it never disappears or stops adapting. As we continue to grow and pursue our life goals, we always learn something new. Take employment, school, or community-based workshops to meet new people whenever you can.
  8. Conduct candid conversations. Don’t be afraid to get uncomfortable talking to different members of communities about difficult topics. Listen with the intent to understand and it can do wonders connecting you to others and creating a new relationship dynamic that is accepting and open. The key to doing this successfully is respect, not attacking one another personally and having an understanding that you each want the same goal. 
  9. Attend local events. Whether it be a food festival, football game, the Polar Plunge, or a craft fair, local events allow for you to learn and connect with others outside of the traditional environments the workplace and school can provide.
  10. Take in an art exhibition. Many art centers have culturally curated displays that are powerful, moving, and exciting to look at. They contain new pieces of artwork that may not be familiar to you and are available year-round.
  11. Take up some new history books. Apple offers frequent discounts on Black-Owned publications; alongside this learning about diversity today, varying levels of privilege can provide a new perspective.
  12. Use inclusive language. If you haven’t heard of it, please Google it. This is the key to having any candid conversation, constructive action, and you most likely use this in your work environments! If not, implementing inclusive language can strengthen any public space—professional or personal – by creating a base line of respect.
  13. Change your surroundings. Visit a new place. If you choose to utilize the resort life, take some time to explore nearby ruins or villages!
  14. Check your friendships! No, this doesn’t mean check out all of your friends and determine if they are inclusive and accepting—you choose your friends for a reason! This is about learning a bit more about their upbringing or traditions that you may not have thought to ask before.
  15. Research. Research. Research. Perhaps watching YouTube videos or looking up new events that happen in your day would be beneficial. Just today, I looked up a recipe from one of my favorite animes “Lucky Star,” where they discuss how to properly eat a Chocolate Coronet. For some reason, this is my absolute favorite episode and I ended up not only searching the recipes, but learning about how others eat it, how it is very hard to find premade in midwestern stores vs. the east coast, and just how many of us don’t know how to pronounce this Japanese treat!Lucky Star Chocolate Coronet Diversity Month

    Watch the full clip here: Lucky Star – Official Clip – How Do You Eat a Chocolate Coronet? 

    1. Revamp your holiday calendar! Our iPhones and Androids do a great job of creating world calendars, yet it’s impossible for them to grab everything. So why not get the family together, or friends, and create a calendar of events that are important to you? Even a fun Canva party to create the board over Zoom would be pandemic friendly!
    2. Test your language skills. Duolingo, a quick and convenient app that allows for you to take up a new language! If you want to learn a bit more about the history of the language, try Udemy. It has a variety of teachers and courses that can provide cultural knowledge as well as helping you enunciate!
    3. Provide support locally. Try your local farmers market, artisan shops and boutiques! Travel a few cities away and see what neat opportunities they may have. Partner up with a nonprofit organization and volunteer alone or with your family.
    4. Start a committee. Don’t have a committee nearby? Consider starting one! Nothing brings together classmates, coworkers, and friends better than a group with opportunities to think creatively and critically!
    5. Support advancement! Don’t hesitate to recognize others within the workplace for leadership positions and their hard work. Alongside this, offer your support or advice on how to run a diversity workshop or create a team.
    6. Find a new recipe! One of my favorite assignments in high school was to recreate a recipe based on the language course you were in. The twist with this was they had to be traditional recipes and not Americanized, which often led to exploring diverse markets for native ingredients. (I learned how to make flan!)
    7. Correct missteps. No one, and I mean absolutely no one, gets it right the first time. Maybe not even the 50th. The important thing to remember is that you are trying just like everyone else. Do your best to take accountability for an action that may be perceived as harmful and connect with various parties to find out what you can do to avoid future conflict.
    8. Check your world map. Let’s revisit an old game – spin the globe and wherever your finger lands, travel there! Not really, but in all honesty, pick a movie from the country, or find a news article, podcast, or YouTube video and add to your knowledge base!
    9. Host a potluck! In a community, school or work environment, have everyone create a dish they grew up with and share stories along the way!
    10. Take your Spotify playlist to a whole new level! Search a language you may be familiar with (or not) and select a random playlist. Give it a listen. You might find some new favorites. Mine happens to be Top Italia.
    11. Think globally. Day-to-day, we think of the small-scale events. Consider what it may be like to think on a larger scale! For years, my phone was set to military time, which helped me connect with my friends in Europe more frequently. You could do this, challenge yourself to a recipe without our standard measurements, or simply just let your curiosity Google new events for you!
    12. Assess your public spaces. Who do you see? What do you think is lacking? Do your friends or coworkers have the same concerns? Think of a way to “dress it up!” whether it’s by decorating, creating an accomplishment board, or having candid conversations to enhance the space.
    13. Understand cultural appropriation vs. appreciation. This is a huge conflict in tackling diversity. The moral of the story is, do your research, learn about cultures, and respect them. A growing trend recently is with African waist beads which brings up the issue that no one really knows where they are from and that they’re not just a beauty trend. The African waist beads were created by Nigerian women (dating all the way back to the 15th century) to show where they were from, as well as a promise to their bodies to pursue their intentional goal much like chakra healing. These traditions are meant to be worn until the day they break or fall off. 
     

    A final note to leave you with 

    Wise words from my younger self on what diversity is: The beams each become a new unique color, a new unique voice emerging and combining with others. As it grew, it would become a beautiful mesh of colors, the sphere lighting up the room as it continues to grow. It holds more warmth, surrounding the environment with a soft smell of lilacs, the feeling of the world and stresses would seem to melt away. It changed through acceptance, through learning and validation. To taking in the small appreciations we have in the world and worrying less about unrealistic expectations as we roam free…Most of all, I serve as a guide along this journey. This is not something I can do for you, this is not something I can tell you; you must do, this is something I merely supply for you to explore and will go along with you. 

The Great Resignation. The Great Renegotiation. The Great Repriotization. These are all terms we’ve heard often in the last year due to unprecedented levels of Americans quitting their jobs in 2021. Of the 68+ million workers who left their jobs, 47+ million of them voluntary quit. And those who voluntarily left their jobs did so for a wide variety of reasons. Some decided to retire early; some were secondary earners who decided to stay home; others were concerned with the consequences of working during a pandemic. However, many also decided to leave for greener pastures filled with better pay, perks, flexibility, autonomy, career growth, and treatment. The job market is strong, and workers are taking advantage of this. Some are new to job switching while others are not. For those that do this frequently, they are often called Career Nomads.

 

What is a Career Nomad?

Career Nomads are workers who move from opportunity to opportunity with the goal of learning and earning. They like to make an impact at one company and then move on to make an impact at another. And now is a prime time for this thanks to low unemployment and high turnover.

Who is a Career Nomad?

It’s a common belief that the Career Nomad workforce consists mainly of two generations: Millennials and Generation Z. This isn’t too far off since it’s been shown that Millennials stay at jobs for an average of 2.4 years before moving on while Gen Z stays for just over one year. However, that’s changing quickly. More and more Gen Xers and even Baby Boomers are finding that staying at one company isn’t for them either.

Why be a Career Nomad?

There are MANY reasons to turn to the Career Nomad lifestyle. These include:

  • A better compensation package, including benefits and PTO
  • A better work schedule
  • More autonomy
  • The ability to work remotely
  • Better management
  • Better company culture
  • More interesting work
  • More growth opportunity
  • Less boredom

How to become a Career Nomad?

If you currently work in Manufacturing and are interested in becoming a Career Nomad, look no further than PMG. We offer you all the perks of the Career Nomad lifestyle without the work of having to find the next job. With PMG, you will travel across the US, receive premium compensation and benefits, have a flexible work schedule, and work at a multitude of companies where you can share your knowledge while also learning.

Join our team of talented technicians here!

The process of melting metal, pouring it into a mold, and casting it into a specific shape (metal casting) is centuries old. In fact, scientists and archeologists have found relics all over the world. The oldest relic dates back to anywhere from 300 BC to 645 BC (2300 – 2600 years old), depending upon whom you ask. A large majority of relics are found in Mesopotamia. It’s in this area that clay castings and hot fire pits were used to shape copper, gold, and silver. The first alloy (bronze) was made here, when copper was combined with tin.  

Over the years, metal casting has changed due to a wide variety of reasons. The two largest factors include increased mining abilities and less nomadic lifestyles.  

Historical Moments for Foundries 

19th Century: During this time, developments include the open-hearth furnace, sandblasting for casting cleaning, and gear-tilted ladles. This greatly improved the safety of foundry workers. 

It was this during time that foundries really helped the US economy become industrialized, as well, with metal casters and foundries at the forefront for railroad tracks and iron-clad warships, as well as the first Naval submarine in 1881! 

Timeline of Historical Moments for Foundries

20th Century: This century brought the invention of the first coreless electric induction furnace in addition to new molding and casting processes, new metal composites and compounds including low carbon stainless steel.  

Additionally, metal casting was key to US manufacturing. It was introduced to a wide variety of industries including air conditioning, modern defense-related products, and even space exploration. Foundries sprang up everywhere in North America during the 20th century.  

Fun fact: the first American Foundry Society (AFS) meeting was held in 1896, but the first student chapter didn’t come until 1907, and was started in Minnesota. This was the same year that a patent was issued for high-pressure die casting machinery. 

Foundries Now  

Today, metal castings are a $33 billion dollar industry in the United States. There are nearly 1,900 foundries in the US with close to 200,000 employees. It’s the source of many things we use on a daily basis. Some say castings are found in 90% of durable manufactured goods, and yet they often take the background for popularity. However, castings hold a major role in so many things including clean water technologies, farm equipment, energy systems and components, and so much more. Foundries aren’t like they used to be, either. If you step into a foundry now, you’ll see many new adaptations and technology to make them not only safer but also efficient. These technologies include CAD design, casting analyses, 3D printing, and robots. It’s very expansive and very important.  

If you’re interested in hearing more, you can check out our article on how steel is made in addition to this great factory tour of the St. Paul Factory here in Minnesota. You’ll not only see molten metal, but you’ll see some of the up-to-date technology used to make castings. After that, take a moment to look around you. You’ll find castings everywhere!

Day one seems like a distant memory,
A leaf swept away by the icy breeze,
Distant—
—yet familiar.

A year ago, I was a leaf
Shaking in the cold air, pleading for the sun to rise;
Sweeping me up in its warm embrace.

Oh, the sweet wind carried me here.
Where pastel pink tulips dance under the breeze—
Blue jays warm the sun.

A year later I stay,
Within the comfort of my new home surrounded by light.
Each ray filled with adventure.

New leaves sprouting nearby,
Each whispering their own lovely tales
as I dance along the breeze
Eager to start again.

Inspired by the author’s first year working at PMG.

Jazmin Crittenden

Jazmin Crittenden

Technical Solutions Administrator