Q&A with Arethea G., PMG Machinist

How long have you been working in manufacturing?

I’ve been in manufacturing since 2006.

What drew you to the trade?

I was working in warehousing when my employer went out of business and then I was looking for a new job. I found an ad for a CNC operator position and I’ve been doing that kind of work ever since.

Have you had any formal training?

Nothing formal, just on-the-job training with lots of work shadowing. The hardest thing to learn on my own was how to make fine adjustments to my machine, but I learned. If you pay close attention and ask good questions, you can learn anything.

Before working at PMG, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

I had a part-time job in a small machine shop running a Hurco and it didn’t have a set fixture. I’d have to set up every part before I ran it again. That might not be that interesting, but it was unusual.

What do you like most about working for PMG?

Being able to travel is my favorite part. You get to go to different places, see different companies and how they work, and meet lots of different people.

What is one thing you miss or wish you had with you while on the road?

Mostly, I just miss time with friends and family. When I was in Texas, on an assignment, I lost my mom and that was hard.

How do you balance your career at PMG and family?

I try to stay in contact as much as possible. I use a lot of phone time and FaceTime.

What are some career lessons you’ve learned thus far?

It’s a good experience to work in the trades and learn different things. You’re always learning as a machinist and when you do project work and travel, you learn even more, even faster.

When you’re not working, what sort of hobbies do you like to do in your free time?

I like to sight-see when I’m off-shift, but COVID restrictions have really reduced that in the last year. I like to ask the locals what’s worth seeing and then I go see it. When I was on my way back to Iowa, for a project, I stopped in St. Louis to see the Gateway Arch and that was cool.

What is something fun you’re looking forward to in 2021?

Not much really. It’s kind of hard to plan things when you don’t know how COVID is going to change them. I guess I’m looking forward to COVID not being such a concern.

How did you first learn about PMG?

I wasn’t happy at the job where I was at and I saw a job posting on Indeed. I didn’t know anything about PMG, but I applied and found out how good of a deal it was. Ten projects later, I’m still here and very happy about that!

What would you say to a young woman that might be considering a career in the trades today?

You can do it and you’ll like it too! Learn as much as you can, go to a trade school, and you’ll find a lot that is more interesting about the trades than you think. And then you’ll have a good career AND an interesting one!