Whether we like it or not, Artificial Intelligence is starting to change the landscape of modern life. If you’ve read a few emails or blogs from your favorite companies, there’s a good chance some of that content was written using AI. In fact, in a recent survey, 57% of enterprise marketers reported using AI in email campaigns. A whopping 99% of those respondents reported that the results were either extremely or somewhat positive.

Why are you seeing this from a manufacturing services provider? Because every company out there needs to communicate with their target audience. Whether you’re a manufacturer who’s bidding to build components for a commercial airline, or a dog groomer looking for furry clients, you should always be looking for new ways to communicate.

There are AI tools for creating video and images, too, but this blog is intended to be a basic guide on how to get started and use ChatGPT for written communication.

Limitations With AI

Before you get started, it’s important to understand that there are limitations to these tools.

For instance, in ChatGPT, the data and knowledge are only as current as 2021. Any output should be thoroughly reviewed for technical accuracy before being used.

You will still need to create a prompt and tell the AI what type of content you are looking for. This part of human creativity may never be replaced.

Advantages to Using AI

AI can help you refresh or transform old content. For example, you could prompt AI to update your summer themed email campaign to instead have a winter or holiday theme.

If you need to target multiple audiences, AI can quickly help you rewrite content that is more appropriate and appealing to each audience.

If you experience “writer’s block,” ChatGPT could be used to generate new ideas or help write a tricky part of your content.

Getting Started

All you need to do is create a username and password on the ChatGPT website: chat.openai.com

The Prompt

This is the fun part! You can enter as much, or as little, information in your prompt as you want. If you add more details, context and specifics, the output will be closer to what you’re looking for. With each AI response, you can enter a new prompt to either continue a conversation or modify what was already generated.

I recommend you experiment with all sorts of prompts to get an idea of what you get out of it.

  • Ask a question: “How do I write the best email?”
  • Copy/paste content you already made and ask AI to change it: “Re-write this email with a Christmas theme” – or – “Re-write this blog in the voice of Stephen King.”
  • Request new content: “Write a safety-first post about pool parties on the 4th of July.”
  • Rewrite a prior response: “Rewrite that, but change X to Y and add Z.”

Below is a prompt that I entered in ChatGPT followed by the output that was generated. Before (or after) you read what ChatGPT generated, check out the original Top 7 Travel Essentials blog written without AI. Who did it better?

Example Prompt:

Write a blog about the “Top 7 Travel Essentials” for a FlexTrades technician. There should be a short introduction, a brief explanation of each of the 7 items and a short conclusion. Write in the voice of Eddie Murphy.

  1. Sleep essentials and comfy clothes
  2. Cooking Supplies
  3. Video Games
  4. Entertainment, Streaming, Movies, Music
  5. Laptop or Personal Computer
  6. Tools
  7. Pets

Unedited Output from ChatGPT Based on The Example Prompt

Eddie’s Guide to FlexTrades: The Top 7 Travel Must-Haves, Baby!

Hey, all you FlexTrades road warriors out there! It’s your main man Eddie, and I’m here to drop some knowledge on the essentials you gotta have in your arsenal for a smooth ride. We’re talking about the things that’ll make your travels as fly as a Saturday night in a leather suit. So buckle up, and let’s dive into the top 7 must-haves for every FlexTrades technician!

Sleep Essentials and Comfy Clothes:

First things first – you gotta catch those Zs in style! Get yourself a pillow that’s so plush, it’s like resting your head on clouds. Toss in some cozy blankets and comfy PJs, and you’ll be sleeping like a baby. Remember, a well-rested tech is a top-notch tech!

Cooking Supplies:

Ain’t nothing beats home-cooked goodness, even when you’re on the road. Pack yourself some pots and pans, like you’re the chef in a five-star kitchen. Whip up your own grub, and you’ll be living large while everyone else is stuck with fast food.

Video Games:

When the job’s done, it’s time to unwind, and what better way than with some video game action? Grab a console or load up your laptop with your favorite games. It’s like having your personal arcade wherever you go. Game on, baby!

Entertainment: Streaming, Movies, Music:

Keep the good times rolling with your own entertainment lineup. Subscribe to all the streaming services, stack up your favorite movies, and cue up the tunes that make you groove. Your downtime is your showtime, so make it count!

Laptop or Personal Computer:

In the tech world, your laptop is like your sidekick. Manage your projects, keep in touch with your peeps, and dive into the digital universe whenever you want. It’s your go-to gadget for both work and play – versatility at its finest!


Now, we’re talking serious business. Every FlexTrades tech needs their tools. Don’t get caught slippin’ without your basic hand tools and whatever gear you need for the job. It’s your toolkit – the stuff that makes you the hero of the job site.


Last but not least, bring in the squad – your furry companions. Pets ain’t just pets; they’re your ride-or-die buddies. Whether it’s a dog, a cat, or even a parrot, having your homie by your side makes every place feel like home sweet home.


There you have it, FlexTrades family – Eddie’s rundown of the top 7 travel essentials. Load up on these goodies, and you’ll be hitting the road like a rockstar. Life’s an adventure, and with the right gear, you’ll be cruising through it in style. Stay cool, stay fly, and keep on FlexTradin’, my friends! 

At the dawn of 2023, I found myself in the position of so many Americans – being laid off and facing unemployment. This juncture brought with it a mix of apprehension about the unknown, hope for a brighter future and a myriad of questions: Could I have done something differently? What lies ahead? Is my hard-earned success at risk?

As a single-income household, the full weight of life’s challenges suddenly bore down on me. In the weeks after my layoff, I channeled my energy into alleviating my mental and emotional strain. I sought solace and strength in the support of friends, family, and neighbors, who uplifted me with their presence and reminded me of my greatness.

Realizing the importance of a clear and positive mindset, I embarked on a journey to discover the endless opportunities ahead of me. To fully embrace this new chapter, it was essential to be in a mindset of abundance and readiness for growth, both personally and professionally. Rather than hastily applying to numerous jobs in a state of panic, I chose to reflect deeply on myself. This introspective journey led me to identify my core personal values – the fundamental principles that have steered my life’s course.

These values became the foundation of my job search, ultimately guiding me to a role that resonated deeply with my core beliefs. Just 67 days post-layoff, I found myself in an interview, engaging in discussions deeply rooted in the prospective company’s values.

Now, having been part of the FlexTrades Team for nearly eight months, I’ve observed how the company’s ethos is intricately integrated into every facet of our work – from emails and events to projects and daily interactions. Here, values are more than mere words. They are the essence of our collective spirit. I am both grateful and proud to contribute to a team that earnestly lives its principles.

Let me share a snapshot of FlexTrades’ Values and how they manifest in our everyday operations – a source of inspiration for both individuals and businesses. 

Move the Line 

We challenge ourselves and move the line every day, in everything we do. We push your own boundaries by focusing on outcomes and incremental improvement. We are forward-thinking. We embrace change and innovation. We make mistakes. We deliver results.  

From finding new and better ways to amplify the FlexTrades message to offering incentivized referral programs to our technicians, all teams have the opportunity to move the line at FlexTrades. We embrace change and innovation by using available tools and technology, like AI, to support our greatest efforts in moving the company forward.  

Be the Next 

We strive to set the highest standard of quality in everything we do. We always want to drive towards “the NEXT” great thing by constantly challenging ourselves to improve and break new ground. We pursue growth.  

FlexTrades invested in updating its tech stack to provide the team with the latest tools and technologies that support growth. This includes Bullhorn, an applicant tracking system and operations software; and HubSpot, a contact relationship management software. Various teams use AI to push their projects to the next level and Microsoft Teams helps us be a highly collaborative virtual workforce. 

Elevate Others 

We lift up our teammates, technicians, customers and neighbors, with confidence, positivity, and graciousness. We respect others.  

From thank you’s and shoutouts through our company shared Teams channel to how we communicate with our client partners and technicians, elevating others is an everyday occurrence at FlexTrades. On a bigger scale, every quarter FlexTrades employees have the opportunity to nominate their colleagues for the Employee of the Quarter Award. Each quarter, six winners are selected representing each of FlexTrades’ Values and are given a celebration package thoughtfully curated by HR. 

Pull the Wagon  

Winning takes teamwork, ambition and diligence, not egos. We pitch in and do whatever it takes to move the company forward. Our leaders pull the wagon alongside the team. We promote teamwork.  

Everyone from the newest member of the team to FlexTrades’ CEO, Amy Grussing, who has been a part of the team for nearly 20 years is dedicated to moving the company forward together. From quarterly Town Hall meetings to cross-functional collaborative projects, leadership at FlexTrades has created an open environment, where all ideas and feedback are welcome and encouraged.  

Enjoy the Journey 

We take the time to stop and acknowledge where we came from so that we don’t miss how impressive the climb has been. We never turn down a reason to celebrate. We get a lot done and have fun along the way. We have fun, seriously.  

FlexTrades holds a Summer Picnic in July where we gather to align on company goals, participate in teambuilding activities and celebrate our hard work. We put our game-faces on for weekly and holiday themed virtual Trivia Games, and there’s dedicated time spent in our quarterly town halls to celebrate individual and collective accomplishments. 

Give Back 

We give back to the communities where we live and work through volunteering and charitable donations. We believe that when we do good, we feel good and make our world a better place. We give back.  

There is a dedicated Give Back Committee that supports the FlexTrades team in participating in charitable events, making company backed donations to local charities, and partnering with our clients on charitable endeavors close to their hearts. For the last 5 years (and counting), FlexTrades employees have donated and participated in the annual Polar Plunge® for Special Olympics.  At this year’s Summer Picnic we partnered with Wine to Water, a non-profit charity organization that helps provide clean water resources for areas in need, to make hundreds of care packages. 

Join the FlexTrades Team

Are you seeking a workplace that truly reflects its values? If FlexTrades’ ethos resonates with you, explore our current openings and find where you fit in our vibrant team.

Whenever you travel, whether it’s for a long weekend or an extended three-month job assignment, the question always arises: “What do I bring?” FlexTrades’ technicians, who typically work on projects for three months at a time, have honed the art of packing over the years. To shed light on this, we recently conducted a survey of nearly 300 employees, asking them about their travel essentials.

Here’s a breakdown of the top seven travel essentials that our dedicated tradespeople never leave home without:

Sleep Essentials & Comfy Clothes

A good night’s sleep is the cornerstone of a safe and productive workday. Many of our technicians prioritize comfort and bring along familiar pillows, blankets, and sheets. Additionally, they pack cozy clothes like sweatpants, pajamas, and slippers to unwind and relax after a long day on the job.

Cooking Supplies

Whenever possible, we arrange extended stay suites for our technicians, complete with kitchenettes equipped with stoves, microwaves, and full-size refrigerators. Survey respondents seize the opportunity to cook their own meals by packing pots, pans, and utensils. Some even bring handy indoor grills like the Ninja or George Foreman, with a notable mention of the versatile Air Fryer.

Video Games

For leisure and relaxation, many of our technicians enjoy playing video games. They bring their gaming consoles or laptops to ensure they can pursue their favorite hobby while on the road. Compact devices like the Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck allow them to enjoy top-notch gaming experiences.

Entertainment, Streaming, Movies, Music

Having access to their preferred movies, TV shows, and music is another fantastic way to unwind. Technicians often bring devices like the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku to access their streaming services anywhere. Some opt to bring a Bluetooth speaker to enhance their music experience.

Laptop or Personal Computer

While smartphones are handy, sometimes a larger screen and keyboard come in handy. A laptop or personal computer offers versatility, allowing them to get work done, stay connected with loved ones, and enjoy video games and streaming.


All our technicians carry a small toolbox to perform their job, but some also bring tools for general maintenance of their equipment or for vehicle repairs in case of a roadside emergency. For instance, one respondent mentioned, “Enough tools to disassemble my truck if I need to.” Tradespeople are often mechanically inclined, and even if you’re not, basic maintenance skills can be a lifesaver, especially on the road.


Pets are a cherished part of our technicians’ lives. Coming home to their furry companions at the end of a long workday is a source of joy and comfort. Interacting with pets, whether it’s playing with a cat or walking a dog, is a wonderful stress reliever and morale booster. At FlexTrades, we recognize the importance of pets in our employees’ lives and offer pet insurance as one of our most popular benefits. Whenever possible, we also book pet-friendly accommodations for our technicians.


While these are the top seven travel essentials, there were numerous other items mentioned in the survey, including fishing and camping gear, musical instruments, and even 3D printers. The key takeaway is that traveling for work doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold. Depending on your interests and hobbies, it can be an opportunity to experience them in new and exciting places.

Whether you’re just beginning your journey as a traveling worker or have been a seasoned road warrior for years, we hope this list provides you with ideas to enhance your time on the road.

In a world where heroes don capes and masks, there exists a different kind of hero, one who wears the uniform of courage, commitment, and selflessness. They are the valiant men and women who have served in the United States military. On Veterans Day 2023, we pause to express our deepest gratitude to these extraordinary individuals. They are our veterans, and their sacrifice and dedication have shaped the very essence of our nation.

A History of Service:

From the American Revolution to the present day, our veterans have stood at the front lines, defending our freedom and preserving our way of life. The legacy of their service is a testament to the unwavering spirit of the American people. The sacrifices they’ve made have allowed the rest of us to live our lives in relative peace and security.

Courage in the Face of Adversity:

The life of a military veteran is one marked by sacrifice, bravery, and the ability to remain resolute in the face of adversity. They have been deployed to foreign lands, separated from their families, and placed in situations where their lives are on the line daily. Through it all, they have upheld the values of duty, honor, and country.

Support at Home:

Supporting every courageous service member is a network of families, friends, and communities who play a pivotal role in the lives of our veterans. The sacrifices made by those on the home front are of immense significance. These unsung heroes bear the weight of concern, keep the home fires burning, and offer the steadfast support that veterans rely on, both during their service and in the years that follow.

The Gift of Freedom:

The price of freedom is steep, but veterans have paid it with courage and honor. Every time we enjoy the liberties and opportunities that our nation offers, we owe a debt of gratitude to those who have served. Their unwavering dedication ensures that the ideals of liberty and justice continue to shine brightly.

A Nation’s Debt:

Our nation’s debt to its veterans is one that can never be fully repaid. However, what we can do is express our heartfelt thanks. To every veteran, we salute your bravery, your service, and your sacrifice. You are the embodiment of valor, and our nation is forever in your debt.

Honoring Veterans:

As Veterans Day 2023 unfolds, let it serve as a reminder that the heroes among us are not confined to the pages of a comic book. They are the men and women who have answered the call of duty to protect our homeland. We honor their contributions, not only on this day but every day, by offering our heartfelt thanks and unwavering support.

A Shared Responsibility:

As we express our gratitude, let us also remember our shared responsibility to support and uplift our veterans. Through employment opportunities, healthcare access, and community engagement, we can honor our veterans by ensuring they are provided for as they have provided for us.

Our Heartfelt Thanks:

On Veterans Day 2023, let us come together as a nation to express our heartfelt thanks to the heroes who have sacrificed so much for our great nation. Our veterans represent the best of America, and their unwavering courage and commitment inspire us all.

As we reflect on their sacrifices, let us remember that the debt we owe them can never truly be repaid. Our gratitude is just the beginning of the recognition and appreciation they so richly deserve.

To all veterans and their families, thank you! We salute you and stand with you… today and always. 

Recently, nearly 300 of our technicians took a survey to share some of their favorite things about summer. At FlexTrades, one of our core values is to “Enjoy the Journey,” which encourages us to appreciate the moments during those warmer months. We believe that celebrating successes is essential, and celebrations usually involve great food and beverages.

Let’s explore some of the most popular summer foods and beverages based on that survey. We apologize in advance if this article triggers cravings for a backyard BBQ!

Favorite Summer Foods

We asked, “What are your favorite summer foods?”

Grilling, a timeless tradition, was the resounding favorite among our respondents, with 88% expressing their love for it. This comes as no surprise, as in a previous blog, I highlighted some of our technicians’ favorite summer activities, where grilling took the top spot. Grilling is incredibly versatile; you can have hot dogs ready to eat in under 10 minutes or slow-cook ribs all day until the meat falls off the bone. Personally, I enjoy grilling most of my sides as well. Have you ever tried grilling corn in the husk or large portobello mushrooms? It’s a culinary delight!

Fruits ranked second, with 44% of respondents savoring them during summer. Enjoying a cool, sweet fruit on a hot day can be incredibly refreshing. One favorite trick is freezing grapes for that extra chill and a touch of crunch.

Speaking of chill, frozen treats like ice cream and popsicles brought out a wave of nostalgia for almost 40% of our respondents. It’s great to have an excuse as a parent to chase down the ice cream truck again. I admit, I still go for the Ninja Turtle popsicle every time. Did you know there’s a National Ice Cream Day each year in July?

No summer barbeque is complete without potato salad and corn on the cob, each having about 29% of respondents’ votes. To this day, I have yet to find a better potato salad than the one my grandma makes during the summer.

Finally, an honorable mention goes to seafood, which had the most write-in responses. Some of the responses included fried fish, crab legs, and seafood boils. The most unique seafood dish mentioned was Banku with Tilapia, a traditional Ghanaian dish. I found this recipe. I think I need to give that a try.

Favorite Summer Beverages

We inquired, “On a hot summer day, after work or on a day off, what are your favorite things to drink?”

Water was the clear favorite, with almost 74% of respondents choosing it. Water is essential, and our technicians, being some of the top skilled tradespeople in America, understand the importance of staying hydrated. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluid, while women should drink 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluid daily.

Iced tea secured the second spot with 38% of respondents. Considering many of our technicians come from southern states, I was somewhat surprised that this number wasn’t higher! Nonetheless, one of my favorite written responses was, “My famous summer tea.”

Beer came in third, with 31% of respondents enjoying it. A cold brew after a long day at work or on a warm summer evening just feels right. If you’re into craft breweries, our traveling work can take you all over the country where you might find your new favorite pint!

Sodas, referred to as “pop” by some and “coke” by others, had about 23% of respondents’ preferences. These sugary drinks count towards your daily fluid intake, but they aren’t as healthy as water, tea, or coffee.


So, here’s to the joys of grilling, the sweetness of fruits, the coolness of frozen treats, and the myriad of beverages that quench our thirst. Our technicians have spoken, and their rankings encompass the essence of what they love about summer.

Keep an eye out for at least one more blog based on this survey in the coming weeks. Enjoy your summer to the fullest! 

Core Value: Enjoy the Journey – Favorite Summer Activities

At FlexTrades, we hold our Core Values dear. We strive to embody these values in our daily lives, both during work hours and off the clock. One of our cherished core values is “embrace the journey,” a reminder to pause and appreciate our roots and the remarkable progress we’ve made on our journey. We welcome any reason to celebrate, and we’re committed to having a great time throughout.

We recently reached out to our skilled technicians, seeking insights into how they “embrace the journey” during the hot summer months. We received nearly 300 responses to the question: “What are your favorite summer activities on your day off or during vacations?” Here’s a glimpse into the summer pastimes that our FlexTrades technicians hold close to their hearts.

Favorite Summer Activities

Grilling was the top response with 61% of respondents. That makes sense, we all need to eat! I love hearing the grill sizzle with a cool drink in one hand, and my trusty tongs in the other. It’s even better when I’m cooking for a group of friends or family, and I can fill every square inch of that grill with meats and veggies!

Road trips were a close second with 57% of respondents saying this is one of their favorite activities. There’s something special about driving across the country. Visiting new towns, taking a detour for an attraction, and meeting new people along the way can make a lot of great memories. In fact, many FlexTrades technicians see our project-based work as a bonus; it gives them a chance to take a road trip to a new place on our dime.

Fishing came in third place with nearly 50% of respondents. I know we have at least one technician who is a serious fisherman. He’ll pick and choose his next project based on what bodies of water are nearby. On at least one occasion he turned down a higher paying project to be closer to a body of water he just had to cast into. Now that’s dedication!

About one-third of our technicians called hiking, camping, or concerts one of their favorite summer activities. As with fishing above, many of our techs choose to work at FlexTrades because they can travel on our dime and enjoy their favorite pastime in places they’ve never been.

We also had 20% of respondents write in answers. Here are some of the most common answers:

  • Motorsports, which isn’t surprising since most technicians have a much higher mechanical aptitude than the average person! This included off-roading with rock crawlers and ATVs, drag racing, demolition derbies, riding motorcycles, and working on project cars.
  • Playing outdoor sports, specifically golf, and indoor sports like billiards, poker, or video games.
  • Spending time with family, friends, and beloved pets.
  • Being on or in the water including boating, beach days, and even scuba diving.


The summer activities our technicians cherish are incredibly diverse, and this blog post only scratches the surface. Stay tuned because our survey explored additional questions and gathered responses that we’re eager to delve into in future blogs.

No matter what you’re up to or where your summer journey takes you, always make room to “embrace the journey” along the way.

Make Traveling More Like Home This Thanksgiving Holiday

Thanksgiving is a time for gathering together with the people near and dear to your heart. But if you’re traveling you may feel their absence even more so than usual. November 23rd is right around the corner and, for those of you who are on the road and away from family, know there are still so many ways you can celebrate and feel the warmth of the holiday.

6 Alternative Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving

  1. For those like me who don’t cook that much – mostly because I don’t want to inflict my cooking on others – there are a number of restaurants open on Thanksgiving that have special Thanksgiving feast options available for one or more people.
  2. In this age of ‘Dave, you’re on mute’ we are all familiar with facetiming or hopping on Zoom or Teams. If you have people in your life celebrating, but you won’t be able to make it, try attending virtually! You get all the warmth and connection of your loved ones without having to worry about your yearly cheek pinching from Great Aunt Gladys!
  3. If you really want to go somewhere and be with people, but aren’t picky about who they are, please consider sites like Meetup and Eventbrite. I found numerous gatherings already scheduled for Thanksgiving 2023 that allow strangers to come together for everything from a home cooked meal to community craft fairs, to live music!
  4. If you have the day off, it may be one of your few chances to have a chance to decompress and focus on yourself. With that in mind, you can bundle up with one or four blankets and watch Steve Martin struggle to make his way home for the holiday with John Candy in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
  5. At the heart of the holiday is gratitude and giving thanks. What better way to do that than by taking the time to give back to those less fortunate? Volunteering opportunities are available everywhere and such organizations are always in need of help. Consider joining in with the community to help others celebrate during a time in their life where celebrations are rare.
  6. I am of the opinion that running is not a hobby to partake in for fun. I have said on more than one occasion that if you see me running you should also be doing so because something is chasing me with the intent to do bodily harm. Nevertheless, for those who enjoy the dreaded activity, there’s always the Turkey Trot!

If you found this advice helpful, you’ll find more great tips on how to make a holiday away from home easier by reading Not Home for the Holidays too. And if you’d like to learn about more reasons to celebrate read our blog on Winter Holidays and Celebrations Around the World.


“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

No, we’re not talking about Christmas, although you might think so if you’ve ventured into Costco lately. It’s spooky season! Halloween kicks off on the 1st of October and lasts the entire month. With that in mind, let’s delve into the crème de la crème of Halloween movies for those of you who don’t start obsessing about them until July.

Disclaimer: I have zero tolerance for horror movies, so you’ll find that this list leans towards the PG side. I won’t be sacrificing my peaceful nights for the sake of journalism. Sorry, not sorry.

To kick things off, we have a somewhat controversial choice, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Some might argue that it’s a Christmas movie because the story builds up to Christmas Eve. However, I contend that since the majority of the film unfolds in Halloween Town and stars the Pumpkin King, it rightfully earns a place on this Halloween movie list. With its unforgettable musical numbers and exquisite stop-motion animation, this film is a must-see.

Speaking of Halloween Town, it’s not just a location; it’s also the setting of a beloved original Disney Channel film! “Halloweentown” is perfect for fans of the TV show “Grimm.” It’s one of the most light-hearted Halloween-themed movies I’ve ever seen, and it even boasts two sequels!

Next up is the one and only “horror” movie I can handle without experiencing weeks of sleepless, terrifying nights. “A Quiet Place” presents a unique take on what would happen if aliens invaded Earth. Stephen Hawking once likened it to Christopher Columbus arriving in the Americas, and the director of this film clearly agreed. Except in this case, Earth’s inhabitants face an alien race that ruthlessly hunts down anything or anyone that makes a sound.

Last but certainly not least, we have an iconic film celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, “Hocus Pocus.” I had the pleasure of attending a screening on October 6th, and it was everything I remembered and more. Boasting a star-studded cast, an unbeatable script, and a timeless tale that encapsulates the spirit of the season, “Hocus Pocus” is, in my humble and entirely correct opinion, a Halloween classic! For those who adore this lovable film, there’s good news… “Hocus Pocus 2” is now available on Disney+!

If you enjoyed this blog, feel free to explore my post featuring an assortment of fantastic reads. There’s something on there for everyone! 

Each year, we eagerly anticipate the arrival of Manufacturing Day (MFG Day), which takes place on the first Friday of October. Often, this celebration extends throughout the entire month, highlighting the significance of the manufacturing industry.

What is Manufacturing Day?

The inception of Manufacturing Day dates back to 2012 when the Fabricators and Manufacturers’ Association (FMA) joined hands with leaders from the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP). The brainchild behind this initiative was Ed Youdell, the President & CEO of FMA. Beginning as a modest concept, they conducted a pilot effort in the Midwest on the first Friday of October in 2012. As the years went by, the success of this day prompted them to collaborate with the National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) in 2016, who took the helm of the initiative. Thanks to NAM’s extensive network through The Manufacturing Institute, the event flourished. In just seven years, it expanded from around 240 events primarily in the Midwest to encompass more than 325,000 students, teachers, and parents participating in over 3,000 events across all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

How Can You Celebrate Manufacturing Day?

For Manufacturers:

  • Conduct Manufacturing Tours: Organize manufacturing tours within your facility. These tours can be in-person or virtual, making them accessible to individuals of all ages.
  • Educational Fair or Expo: Collaborate with other manufacturers in your area to host an educational fair or expo. Create informative displays, offer hands-on activities or demonstrations, and promote the event with giveaways.
  • Engage with Local Schools: Reach out to local schools, whether they are elementary, middle, high school, or technical colleges. Deliver presentations on the advantages of a career in manufacturing, highlighting earning opportunities, advancement prospects, and more. Foster enthusiasm among students.
  • Employee Appreciation: Celebrate your dedicated workforce. Show your gratitude by providing donuts, a pizza lunch, or a cookout for your employees. Express your thanks through cards, gift cards, or small tokens that convey your appreciation.
  • Social Media Acknowledgment: Share your appreciation on social media. Celebrate the manufacturing industry and your workforce with a heartfelt message of gratitude for their daily contributions that drive American manufacturing forward.

For Individuals:

  • Attend Manufacturing Tours: Attend manufacturing tours in your local area, whether in-person or virtual. These tours provide a valuable glimpse into the world of manufacturing.
  • Job Exploration: Approach your employer and inquire about participating in Manufacturing Day activities. Explore different areas of your workplace and spend the day learning about roles you may not have encountered before.
  • Educational Videos: Watch informative “How It Works” videos related to manufacturing processes. Share your favorite videos with friends and colleagues to spread awareness.
  • Engage the Next Generation: If you have children in your life, engage in meaningful conversations about manufacturing while enjoying ice cream. Show them videos and emphasize that it offers a viable career path with substantial earning potential and room for growth.
  • Educational Games: Introduce youngsters to educational games like the Manufacturing Institute’s Smart MFG 2 App, where kids can design and manufacture a drone. Additionally, consider playing board games like “The Manufacturing Game.” You can also explore a variety of factory simulation games.

There are numerous ways to celebrate Manufacturing Day, and the ones mentioned here are just a few examples. As you celebrate the manufacturing industry, its dedicated professionals, and those working tirelessly to drive it forward, remember that you can promote and celebrate it not only on one designated day but throughout the entire year!

There are a lot of winter celebrations and holiday cheer this time of the year. As a result, I thought it might be fun to share how cultures throughout the world celebrate during the winter months.

Winter Solstice

  • The shortest day of the year.
  • Falls in mid-December for those in the Northern Hemisphere and June for those in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • At this time, half of the Earth is tilted furthest from the sun at this exact moment.
  • Fun Fact: Did you know that if you stand outside at noon on winter solstice and look at your shadow, it will be the longest shadow you cast the entire year?
  • Other similar celebrations include:
    • The Yalda festival in Iran marking the day when Mithra, an angel of light, was thought to have been born.
    • China’s Dongzhi festival celebrates winter’s darkness beginning to give way to light.
    • Scandinavians gather for Juul, or Yule, a multi-day feast when ancient people would welcome the return of the sun god.


  • A Jewish holiday honoring the Maccabee’s victory over King Antiochus in 165 B.C., a victory seen as a miracle of God.
  • Hanukkah is celebrated for eight nights with prayer, the lighting of the menorah, food, games, sing-a-longs, and gift exchanges.
  • The dates of Hanukkah change due to the lunar cycle but typically occur in late November or early December.


  • A Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.
  • Traditions around the world include decorating a tree with lights and ornaments, hanging mistletoe, attending church services on Christmas Eve, and waiting for Santa Clause to arrive from the North Pole in time for Christmas morning (December 25th).
  • Fun Fact: Santa’s arrival is different in many cultures: in Hawaii he arrives by boat, in Australia on water skies, and in Ghana he finds his way out of the jungle to leave gifts for children.


  • Commemorates African heritage, during which family and friends gather to exchange gifts and light a series of candles.
  • The candles symbolize the basic values of African American family life: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith
  • Kwanzaa occurs from December 26th through January 1st.

New Years Day

  • Takes place on January 1st each year
  • The count down starts the night before and often fireworks are on display as the clock strikes midnight on the first day of the new year in the Gregorian calendar.
  • Black-eyed peas, collard greens and pork are commonly served on New Years Day in the southern United States.
  • Black-eyed peas are thought to bring luck and prosperity for the new year. Greens are considered a sign of wealth for the new year. Pork is a symbol of moving forward.

Epiphany, or Three Kings Day

  • Celebrated as the day the three wise men first see Jesus, bringing him their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
  • This celebration occurs in many different ways 12 days after Christmas. Examples include:
    • In Puerto Rico, children leave a box with hay under their beds at night so the kings will leave presents.
    • In France, kings’ cakes have hidden toys, jewels, or coins inside. The person who finds the trinket in their cake gets to wear a crown.

Chinese New Year

  • Considered the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays.
  • This holiday falls between January 21st and February 20th.
  • Family and friends celebrate together during this time to usher out the old year and bring forth the luck and prosperity of the new year.
  • Legend has it that thousands of years ago, a monster named Nian would attack villages at the beginning of each year. Loud noises, bright lights, and the color red scare the monster away. Today, the celebration uses fireworks, red clothes, and red decorations.

Las Posadas

  • Primarily celebrated in Mexico, Guatemala, and parts of the southwestern United States, Las Posadas is a 9-day celebration.
  • During this celebration, a procession of people moves from home to home with a candle inside a paper lamp, stopping at each home to sing and pray.
  • Eventually, the procession ends but the celebration continues with more singing, delicious food, and the breaking of a piñata.


  • Celebrated worldwide in honor of the willingness of the prophet Abraham to sacrifice his first-born at God’s command.
  • Celebrated near the end of the calendar year but dates vary based on the Islamic lunar calendar.
  • Families gather together in a large congregation, dressed in their finest, and sacrifice their best halal domestic animals as a symbol of Abraham’s sacrifice. Friends, neighbors, and the poor share the meat to ensure no one goes without during the holiday feast.


  • A five-day Hindu festival and official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.
  • Diwali celebrates the attainment of nirvana by Mahavira (an Indian Sage), as well as the death of Swami Dayanand (a Hindu religious leader).
  • The holiday involves the lighting of small clay lamps to symbolize the victory of good over evil.

For visuals of these holidays, check out the following video:

This list doesn’t come close to covering all of the winter holidays celebrated around the world. There are others such as Boxing Day, Omisoka, St. Lucia Day, St. Nicholas Day, Ramadan, etc. However, we hope that no matter how you celebrate this winter, you’re able to safely celebrate with the people that matter most to you and remember the traditions that keep your spirit up from year to year.

Happy Holidays from your friends at FlexTrades!