FABTECH is the North American metal fabricating industry’s premier event every year. It is run in partnership by some of the biggest trade associations in the sector. The intent of the show is to bring buyers and sellers into a convenient venue to conduct business, make connections, share ideas, AND learn. The event occurs annually in the US rotating between Chicago, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. An identical event takes place in Mexico annually on a rotation between Monterrey and Mexico City. FABTECH Canada is a biennial event exclusive to Toronto. You can learn more about FABTECH at your convenience. FlexTrades was in Atlanta for the entire event last week. We wanted to share some of our biggest takeaways with you. 



Lead times were such a giant part of so many conversations at FABTECH 2022 that they almost got their own place on this list. The concern with how to deal with long lead times from suppliers and reduce lead times for customers is one of many primary drivers for the prevalence of automation at FABTECH this year. From reducing injuries to improving workflows to increasing efficiency, it seems most exhibitors and attendees consider a robot or cobot to be at least a partial solution for their problems. Automation of every kind was on abundant display. This great highlight video does a fantastic job of showing you as many of them as possible in 90 seconds! 



It’s no secret that consumer taste is changing. No longer is it enough to deliver the best product or the best price. The market has evolved. Manufacturers still need to deliver on quality and price point, but people buy for the story now too. At least part of that story has become focused on sustainability. Mainly, end users want to know how you’re improving the environment of your facility for employees and how you’re maintaining the environment for your communities and consumers. FABTECH 2022 taught us that producers who don’t already have a focus on sustainability need to develop one quickly or they’ll be left behind. Meanwhile, companies who have been early adopters of processes with an ESG and sustainability focus are already reaping the benefits. 



We’ve been saying for years that today’s facilities are no longer our fathers factories. The image of the dark, dirty, dangerous facility that news reels from the 50s and 60s accustomed us to are just no longer accurate. That doesn’t mean our current workforce doesn’t want manufacturers to continue to move the line forward regarding safety. Filtration systems to improve air quality, lighting advances to improve visibility, lift assist systems of all kinds, and even drones to inspect confined spaces were evident in displays or conversations at FABTECH this year. This prevalence indicates that an improved safety focus is something that all generations currently represented in the workforce agree upon. COVID protocols and practices brought safety front of mind for all of us (finally), and that’s here to stay. 


3D Printing 

Recent studies tell us that a full third of manufacturers are putting additive manufacturing on their short lists for investment. FABTECH 2022 echoed these findings in a big way. Additive was everywhere across this year’s expo. There were new powders to create metals, new machines to layer them, and everything in between. This expo made a point of teaching the industry that additive processes are much more than just 3D printing these days. 



The lack of available talent in the skilled trades pipeline to manufacturing was as big a topic as it has been in recent years. That has traditionally been a huge driver for interest in automation. This year, especially among keynote speaker panels, we’ve heard a bigger emphasis placed on the role we play as employers in developing the workforce. These presentations are intended to make deciders across the industry aware that younger employees want the same things previous generations wanted. Millennial and Gen Z jobseekers are just willing to ask for it up front, and they’re capable of doing their own research to know if your competition is offering it. Panelist Will Healy III put it best when he said, “If you’re hiring a welder for $15 base rate and you offer full benefits but McDonalds down the street is hiring people for $15 base rate and full benefits AND a free cheeseburger at lunch – what you’re really competing with is a cheeseburger. You need to think differently and bring more to the table than the competition if you want to win.” 



The next FABTECH happens in Mexico this coming March. But we don’t want you to wait until then to see and learn more! If you found this content interesting and informative, we put out new industry content all the time. Check out our YouTube page for yet to be released interviews we captured in Atlanta. You can always follow FlexTrades on your social media platform of choice or check out our blog page to make sure you don’t miss out. And, of course, if you have other ideas for topics you’d like to know more about, or questions for FlexTrades, just send them to our Writing Team and we’ll be happy to cover them in a future article or video.

The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) occurs in Chicago every two years. It is normally one of the biggest events worldwide in all of manufacturing but, after a 4-year gap due to COVID concerns in 2020, this year was even bigger. IMTS 2022 didn’t just represent a symbolic return to “normal” for our industry or a chance to reconnect with friends and colleagues. Rather, it was a celebration of all we’ve missed in the last couple years AND everything new we get to look forward to in the years to come. FlexTrades was there last week, and we had so many amazing experiences, interactions, and takeaways that we can’t possibly share them all. However, we do have some highlights we want to make sure you didn’t miss. 

By the numbers 

IMTS, even for veteran attendees, is overwhelming. It takes up all McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America, and an entire week of the calendar. The raw size and scale of the venue and exhibits creates a sense of shock and awe for first time attendees. Meanwhile, the sheer number of people creates not just a crowd but an energy that can be felt physically. A great way to start wrapping your mind around IMTS is to begin with the numbers. 


  • 2.6 million Square feet of exhibit space utilized by vendors and conferences 
  • 1.3 million Square feet taken up by display booths alone 
  • 86,307 Total individuals who attended at least one day this year 
  • 33 Number of times IMTS has been held in Chicago 
  • 2,000+ Total exhibitors displaying products and solutions 
  • 117 Number of countries with exhibitors or visitors in attendance 
  • 57 million Total weight (in pounds) of equipment and material on display 
  • 9 Number of pavilions featuring displays (each a trade show unto itself) for different specialties 
  • 12 Total conferences occurring during the week 
  • 9 Specialty attractions, including a demo of a JET SUIT! 
  • Countless Number of demonstrations, conversations, and ideas that occurred 


By the images 

Words can say a lot about IMTS, but pictures and videos say even more. Here are links to some from the Association of Manufacturing Technology (AMT), the host of IMTS, and FlexTrades. 


T-minus two years 

The star of IMTS 2022 was all of us, our excitement to reconnect, and our hunger to tell the stories of our industry like never before. The increase in media and content creators in attendance was noticeable this year. We expect that number to grow even more by the time IMTS 2024 arrives. But we don’t want you to wait years to see and learn more! If you found this content interesting and informative, we put out new industry content all the time. Follow FlexTrades on your social media platform of choice or check out our blog page to make sure you don’t miss out. And, of course, if you have other ideas for topics you’d like to know more about, or questions for FlexTrades, just send them to our Writing Team and we’ll be happy to cover them in a future article or video.  

Personnel Management Group Inc. 



PMG, Inc. Announces Rebrand to FlexTrades 

PMG built our reputation on the flexibility of our skilled trades technicians and the solutions they help us provide to the American manufacturing industry. Now we want that flexibility to be evident from the first time you hear our name – FlexTrades! 


Minneapolis, MN July 25, 2022. PMG, Inc., a premier traveling workforce solutions provider serving companies across all industries of manufacturing, announced today that it has completed a major rebranding. This rebrand will allow the company to more clearly represent who they are and what they do while also reflecting the flexibility of the solutions they offer clients and the employment they provide their skilled tradespeople. 

Established in 2004, PMG is a leader in deploying skilled industrial and engineering talent to clients in need of creative solutions to address production gaps. PMG leans on its nationwide workforce while managing all associated details, big and small, to deliver the right talent match for each client project. The rebranding to FlexTrades is comprehensive across all platforms. A new logo, colors, documents, branded materials, and website will launch in coordination with the name change.  

While much of what they “look like” will change along with the name – nothing else will. FlexTrades will continue to provide the same highly skilled resources they always have to production-focused facilities across the nation with the same level of service and satisfaction their clients and technicians alike have come to expect. 

“Our name and logo may be changing,” said Dave Jacobsen, FlexTrades CEO & Founder, “but what we do and how we do it won’t change in the slightest. The mission of PMG is to make a difference every day through its impact on American production. That will continue to be the FlexTrades mission today, tomorrow and into the future.” 

Visit www.flextrades.com to explore the new website, brand, logo and more to learn how FlexTrades can make a difference for you. 

About FlexTrades 

FlexTrades is a premier traveling workforce solutions provider offering bespoke services to manufacturing, logistics and distribution companies across all sectors of the industry coast to coast. Established in 2004, FlexTrades is a leader in deploying skilled industrial and engineering talent to client facilities experiencing production shortfalls, skill gaps or operational backlogs. FlexTrades leverages its vast network of skilled trade technicians while seamlessly handling all travel logistics, administration, and personnel management to ensure the right talent for each project. The FlexTrades mission is to make a difference every day through its impact on American production. The success of this commitment is evident in the thousands of individuals annually provided with work that matters and by the ever-growing satisfaction of clients, technicians, corporate team members, partners, and communities. 

Media Contact: 

Josh Erickson 

Public Relations & Engagement Specialist 



We all have odd habits and silly traditions. These things are different for all of us. Some seek fun or nostalgia. Others are after comfort or excitement. The truly great traditions in life seem to check all those boxes though and many here at PMG have found just such a thing with the Polar Plunge! Our participation started on a whim – coworkers supporting coworkers, looking to have some fun, do some good, and check off an essential bucket list item of life in the North. By our second year, in 2019, Team PMG had officially become a thing and an annual event had been born. This year marked a milestone for us, with our 5th consecutive event, and we wanted to celebrate it appropriately. How though? Well, by doing what PMG always does – setting a goal and smashing it! Polar Plunge Team

What is the Polar Plunge? 

The Polar Plunge is an annual event that occurs in many states across the northern US. Some places it’s called the Polar Bear Plunge. Regardless of what it’s called or where it happens, the plunge supports Special Olympics. These events normally happen with the assistance of local law enforcement associations to coordinate, prepare sites, and run events. Money raised is then directed to local Special Olympics organizations to help fund all their activities throughout the year. The financial impact of these events is more than significant – they’re outright critical. For example, all plunges in Minnesota this year have already raised almost $3.5 MILLION for Special Olympics Minnesota! 

What do you actually do? 

An event can get elaborate, depending on location, but the act of plunging itself is straight-forward. First, volunteers cut a giant hole in a frozen lake then setup a giant inflatable polar bear tunnel and some grandstands. Next a local radio or TV station sends out someone to act as MC and host to guide the spectators (which can be anywhere from dozens to hundreds depending on the event) through the day’s activities. Finally, people with very warm hearts jump into very cold water for a great cause. Then they get out as quickly as they can and head for heated tents to change and celebrate! If this sounds like something you’d like to see or do, there are still events scheduled throughout the month of March and they’re totally free to attend! Polar Plunge Swimming

How did Team PMG do? 

In our first four years our plunge team raised over $16,000 dollars total and was consistently among the top fundraising corporations at our event – despite being a very small team in comparison to most others. This made us want to shoot big, so we did. We pushed hard to grow our team and ended up with our largest group of participants, 24 plungers, ever! We had some team members that had participated in every plunge and some who were going to their first. We even had some attend in their first year with PMG. Current PMGers, former coworkers, parents, children – this year was a collective representation of a true “work family”. Then we started raising funds. Based on the commitments individual team participants made at registration, Team PMG was aiming to raise $4k but we set a stretch goal of $5k and a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) of $6,000. By plunge day we had exceeded all of them! Raising a final total of $6,087 made this our best plunge yet! When it was all said and done, we had our most fundraisers ever, most individual donations ever, highest number of plungers into the water ever, most kids participating ever, raised our annual average to over $5k per year, AND had a great time! 

What happens to all that money? 

This Special Olympics Minnesota makes a little go a long way and every dollar raised via a Polar Plunge is redirected back to SOMN organizations to do just that! From providing medals for athletes to paying for meals to forming new SOMN delegations and covering travel expenses to state, national, and international games – plunge dollars help fund everything that’s necessary for the Special Olympics. Team PMG couldn’t be prouder to be a small part of that!  

Polar Plunge Water

More Information 

If you want to learn more about the when and why behind the start of Team PMG and our Polar Plunge participation, read our previous blog about it. If you have questions about the plunge, Special Olympics, donating/participating, or PMG’s involvement please send them to our Writing Team to get answers! And never forget the creed all Special Olympic Athletes live and compete by, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”.