Not Our Fathers’ Factories: Manufacturing Truths

It’s no secret that manufacturing has an image problem that is preventing younger generations from not only pursuing, but even considering a career in manufacturing. At times, it can be an uphill battle to get the current generation to see the opportunities available to them. With Father’s Day right around the corner, I thought now would be a perfect time to address some of these myths and misconceptions and shine some light on manufacturing truths.

Watch our webinar Myths & Misconceptions in Manufacturing to learn more!

Jobs in Manufacturing are unsafe

Safety ratings for careers in this industry improved throughout the last century and that focus and improvement will continue throughout the next for several reasons:

  • Uunsafe factories are unprofitable factories and profit drives improvement.
  • OSHA, MSHA, and other regulatory bodies. There is a greater focus, and enforcement, placed on safety in the workplace than ever before and it shows.
  • Robots aren’t going to take your jobs but they are already taking the dangerous ones.

Jobs in Manufacturing are dirty

Dirty Jobs is a TV show, not the reality of American production facilities.

  • The focus on safety from within the industry and governmental bodies naturally leads to a cleaner workplace. Clean factories are safe factories.
  • Modern production methods and materials often require clean room type environments by necessity.
  • The realities of modern hiring often require a clean environment to show. Everyone has to keep up with the Jones in the fight for new talent – even manufacturers.

Jobs in Manufacturing are low-skill, low-paying, and boring

Hello, have you heard of the Skills Gap? Its very existence refutes the unskilled point.

  • High skill equals high pay. This sector is seeing growth in demand AND wages and we have the skills gap to thank for that.
  • There is no industry where you are more likely to receive on the job training or continuing education opportunities from your employer than this one. Workforce reinvestment is a continuous driver of both wage and skill growth.
  • Remember robots? Their presence in the industry may be making our jobs safer and physically easier, but they are doing that primarily by replacing the LOW skilled jobs. This means, the positions requiring higher skill sets make up a disproportionately higher percentage of all sector jobs than they did in previous generations where automation was less prevalent.

Jobs in Manufacturing are unfriendly to female and minority employees

To put it plainly, manufacturing is still an industry dominated in America by white males, but that is changing.

  • 29 percent of women in 2017 (compared to 12 percent in 2015) think the school system actively/somewhat encourages female students to pursue a career in the manufacturing industry.
  • 42 percent of women in 2017 (compared to 24 percent in 2015) are now ready to encourage their daughter or female family member to pursue a career in their industry.
  • More than half of women (58 percent) have observed some positive changes in their industry’s attitude towards female professional employees, over the last five years.
  • Minority representation in the workforce has doubled since 1980 (from 18% to almost 40%) and Hispanic/Latino representation specifically has nearly tripled during that same time period.

Robots are going to take all the jobs

Robots will not take away all positions in manufacturing, but the ever-increasing prevalence of automation, IoT, predictive analytics, additive manufacturing, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, will change them consistently and continuously throughout your career by making those jobs

  • Safer
  • More Productive
  • More Interesting
  • Higher Paying

To learn more about the impact technology will have on manufacturing, check out our webinar Manufacturing in the future: the changes yet to come

About the Author

Josh Erickson, ReTool & Technical Solutions Associate

May Employee Spotlight

Meet Vanessa!

Vanessa is a Business Development Representative and joined the PMG Team about two months ago.

About me

I’m originally from California.  I moved to Nashville for a softball scholarship and a chance to play at the D1 level. I absolutely fell in love with the city.  Moved up to Minneapolis for about 2.5 years to work for the Twins. After three winters, I decided to fly South again!  I have a yellow lab and love him more than most things. He’s the cutest little monster around and makes my days so happy!

What are your main responsibilities as a Business Development Representative?

I make phone calls and qualify leads for the Client Solutions Managers.

How did you learn about the opportunity with PMG?

MacKenzie reached out on LinkedIn. I remember I wasn’t really looking to leave my last company, but she sold me on the first call!

What do you like most about your job?

My team.  We get rejected a few times a day, but I love being able to laugh with them about it and share our wins.  I love a sales team that celebrates everybody’s victories!

What do you like most about working for PMG?

I love the small company feel.  I’ve worked in a lot of different types of companies and, in the past two months, I’ve definitely felt like I’m at home.

What are some hobbies you do in your free time?

I like to explore Nashville. I’ve lived here for about seven years and it’s amazing how many things I haven’t done. The city keeps growing so quickly and more gets added.  I also have a great group of friends who are in the know and keep inviting me to things.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled and why?

Northern Ireland.  Belfast is one of my favorite cities. I love the history of Ireland and the UK. I love going to the museums and learning more each visit, plus the castles and views are incredible. The people are also incredibly nice and welcoming.

What celebrity/inspirational person do you admire the most?

I admire a lot of people, but growing up, I admired Mia Hamm and Sue Bird. They were such fierce athletes that I always wanted to play like that.

What did you want to be when growing up?

A sports broadcaster…which is hilarious because I realized after doing color commentary for my college’s volleyball team that I absolutely hated being on camera!

You’re happiest when…

…I have a margarita in one hand and my dog on the patio with me.

What advice would you give to a recent new hire at PMG?

Ask all the questions!! We have a great support system and there is not one question that will shock anybody.

What animal describes the “work you”?

An elephant. I have a pretty good memory when it comes to names, accounts and past calls.

Meet James

Meet James J., a Manufacturing Technician at PMG. James has worked for PMG for almost one year and recently completed his second PMG project. Learn more about him in the Q&A session below!

Q&A with James

How long have you been working in manufacturing?

Approximately 15 years on and off.

What drew you to the trade?

I enjoy keeping busy and working with my hands.

Have you had any formal training?

On the job training.

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

The most interesting and memorable job that I had was working in North Pole, Alaska on an oil field.

What do you like most about working for PMG?

The recruiters and project managers are very helpful. I enjoy working long hours, keeping busy and learning new trades.

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

The one thing that I miss the most is my wife.

How do you balance your career at PMG and family?

I talk to my family daily and make sure to take a small break after my project ends to spend time with my family.

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

Everything is different, pay attention and learn as much as you can.

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

I like to visit my parents in Alabama and go mud riding in my big truck.

What is something fun you’re looking forward to in 2019?

I am looking forward to buying our first home.

PMG’s 2019 Q1 in Review

As we hopefully wrap up this Minnesota winter season, PMG has closed out Q1 on a positive note.

PMG continued to meet and exceed quarterly performance goals for all departments and has no plans of slowing down. Rather, we continue to put plans in place to continue and sustain our growth, both in the field and the corporate office. This quarter, PMG added new hires in the Client Solutions and Business Development teams (both in office and remote) and added new team members to the support staffs for the Technical Solutions, Operations, Accounting, and PMG Energy teams. In addition, our Technical Solutions team continues to grow our onsite rosters of technicians. It’s exciting to see so many new faces in the office and at client sites and it has been beyond satisfying to see so many of these technicians hit the ground running early in their PMG careers. All of us here at PMG look forward to seeing the myriad of ways these new team members will help us continue to maintain and build upon the growth of recent years.

The first quarter of this year was not only successful in a business sense, as PMG finalized highly anticipated upgrades to corporate office infrastructure. This occurred with the installation of upgraded video and telecommunications packages in the office. This will continue to allow PMG to offer the opportunity for current employees and prospective new hires to work remotely. These upgrades included hardware and/or software changes to improve our ability to screen share, teleconference, and video conference from any and all parts of our office. It should also help bolster our in-house training, meeting, and presentation capabilities as well as streamlining our remote work capabilities.

PMG also continued to grow its benefits for employees both in the office and on-site. Some of the most noticeable changes resulted from the addition of a Mamava nursing station in the office to make the transition back to work from maternity leave as easy as possible. Non-monetary employee benefits also continue to grow because of the continued growth of our Employee Wellness program that, among other things, has started a monthly competition to inspire greater activity levels among in-office team members trying to earn various rewards. This program has been so successful in its early stages that we are seeing our Operations department start to implement similar concepts for onsite technicians.

PMG’s ReTool division has also had a successful Q1 in its effort to grow awareness of opportunities at PMG and in the manufacturing sector. This year, ReTool has already attended career fairs and employer events in nine different states and has held more than 30 onsite or virtual presentations to adult technical programs around the country. These numbers are already hitting what ReTool hoped to do in the first half of 2019.

Meanwhile, in out of office activities, PMG chose to partner with the Polar Plunge in Prior Lake, Minnesota.  This year’s team doubled in participants from last year and raised over $5000.

In addition, PMG held its annual corporate holiday party, a murder mystery dinner at Wabasha Caves in St. Paul and organized several team building events for various departments.

Finally, we can’t celebrate a successful quarter here at PMG without celebrating the people who help create that success. Our Corporate Employee and Technician of the Quarter were both announced two weeks ago- Jessica B., Client Solutions Manager, and Dan O., PMG Welder. Thank you to both Jessica and Dan for everything they did this quarter (and every quarter) to help PMG stand out from the rest of this industry as a truly unique company. We couldn’t do it without you!

 

About the Author

Josh Erickson, ReTool & Technical Solutions Associate

Employee Spotlight

Meet Samantha!

Samantha is a Remote Project Management Administrator and joined the PMG Team about seven months ago.

About me

I am originally from St. Paul. I spent a couple of years living in Salt Lake City. I have a Bachelor or Science in Gender Studies (the study of people with an emphasis on gender, class and race).

What are your main responsibilities as a Remote Project Management Administrator?

I find hotels for new client projects and during existing projects if need be. I book all project lodging for PMG technicians and conduct exit interviews with PMG technicians once they finish a project. I also send safety quizzes to new PMG technicians.

How did you learn about the opportunity with PMG?

Linked In. I was looking for a job and every morning I would look through positions on the site.

What do you like most about your job?

I like that I’m able to do the same thing every day but, at the same time, I find I’m also challenged with something new every day. I also like how our team is small, confident and works well together. I like how I can ask questions at any time and I will be able to get an answer. I also like that my boss is confident in me because it makes me feel confident in myself.

What do you like most about working for PMG?

I like how PMG takes the time to talk with their employees, makes them feel safe and offers growth opportunities. I like all of the fun events and how the company feels like a family.

What are some hobbies you do in your free time?

I love baking. My chocolate cake is amazing, but I really like my Hummingbird cake. I also like hanging out with my family especially for dinner at my parents on Sundays.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled and why?

Salt Lake City. I lived there for four years and while there, I was able to discover who I was. I was able to explore my interests and challenge myself. I ended up lobbying on Capital Hill and got a bill passed. I was able to get free feminine hygiene products on my college campus. I was really able to explore who I was.

What celebrity/inspirational person do you admire the most?

Audrey Hepburn. I find it intriguing that there isn’t anything out there that makes her sound like she was a bad person. She was always willing to help people out and had the best intentions. She always took on people’s responsibilities and lead by example. She loved love and always wanted people to be happy.

What did you want to be when growing up?

A dolphin trainer because I really liked dolphins. When I was 9, I went to the zoo with my dad and I remember watching the dolphin show. I told him I wanted to be a dolphin trainer and for the next 4-5 years, everything in my life was about dolphins and figuring out how I could become a dolphin trainer.

You’re happiest when…

…when I’m with my sister because she laughs at all my jokes and always has my back.

What advice would you give to a recent new hire at PMG?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and write everything down. Even if you don’t think it’s necessary, write it down.

What animal describes the “work you”?

Maybe a Husky because huskies are team players, hard workers and goofy.

Meet GianCarlo

Meet GianCarlo B., a Quality Inspector at PMG. GianCarlo has been with PMG since October and is currently working on his first PMG project. Learn more about him in the Q&A session below!

Q&A with GianCarlo

How long have you been working in manufacturing?

I have been working in manufacturing for 11 years now. I started when I was just 15 years old.

What drew you to the trade?

Colleagues inspired and encouraged me to pick it up, due to it being a career that can be used in many industries. I’ve always enjoyed challenges and problem solving so having a career that tested my mentality was something that I liked

Have you had any formal training?

I have taken a shop math and GD&T course to further my knowledge on the trade.

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

I was a Marketing President for a Health company, did that for about 2 years. I built an organization of close to 1k people from scratch.

What do you like most about working for PMG?

Outside of the support team, I’m very thankful for the benefits and security I’ve been given. By just following the guidelines and meeting expectations, this has been able to take care of myself and others without worry.

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

Friends from my hometown. Thankfully it’s easy to visit them, but having them within arm’s reach is always beneficial.

How do you balance your career at PMG and family?

By adopting a philosophy of “don’t miss anything”. Once I’m done with work and I get back home, I’m ready to go. It’d be unfair to my family if I allowed the day to ware me out before doing anything with them. The “don’t miss anything” philosophy means to do as much as you can, when you can. If there’s a new movie that comes out, go see it. If an artist is performing in a neighboring city, go attend the concert. If a restaurant has awesome reviews, go indulge and see what it’s about. I do my absolute best to get the most out of my time with my family during the work week so it doesn’t feel like I’m “always gone/working”.

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

I’ll share one because I feel it’s the most important that has helped me. We get paid for the value we bring to the market place. If you want more, you must first become more. Continuing to work on your trade/craft to better yourself will always help keep you ahead.

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

I’m a hip-hop dancer. It’s been my passion since I was child. Fortunately, I was able to take it to the next level and perform all over doing shows and competitions. Now I do it for pure fun.

What is something fun you’re looking forward to in 2019?

2019 is the year I’ve dedicated to rebuilding and reshaping my life. The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is seeing my results at the end of the year and comparing them to where I was when I ended 2018. Progress is the key to happiness, so I can’t wait to see where my family and I end up!

Employee Spotlight

Meet Kellen!

Kellen is a Pipeline Development Coordinator and joined PMG 10 months ago. He first started in a temporary capacity and assisted our Technical Solutions team in the recruitment of new technicians.

About Me

My name is Kellen and I am a recent college grad who has been working at PMG for just under a year! In my free time I like to travel and hang out with friends and family. I also enjoy playing and watching pretty much any sport.

What are your main responsibilities as a Pipeline Development Coordinator?

Lots of cold and “warm” calling of manufacturing candidates. I conduct phone interviews with candidates and update our database with their resume and interview information.

This is the first time I’ve ever done a job like this. In fact, this was my first job after graduating college. It didn’t take long until it was second nature. PMG offers a really great training program that brought me up to speed quickly.

How did you learn about the opportunity with PMG?

Networking! It is all about who you know.

What do you like most about your job?

I love calling and speaking with people. It makes every day really fun and interesting. I recruit for a variety of positions so I get to learn a little bit about a lot of things.

What do you like most about working for PMG?

The office culture. Everyone is very friendly and my team is very easy to work with. I also love that the dress code is casual.

What are some hobbies you do in your free time?

I love to hang out with my friends and play soccer. On the weekends, I like to visit breweries and local dive bars. My favorite place to grab a beer is Dangerous Man Brewing. My favorite restaurant is Lagos Tacos- you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu!

What celebrity/inspirational person do you admire the most?

Lionel Messi. He plays soccer for Barcelona. I’ve looked up to him since childhood.

What did you want to be when growing up?

I always wanted to be a professional soccer player.

What advice would you give to a recent new hires at PMG?

Don’t’ be afraid to ask questions, you will have a lot! And always keep a positive attitude- that will go a long way.

What animal describes the “work you”?

Probably a parrot because I talk to so many people in a day I have gotten really good at adjusting my communication style to the people I am speaking with.

PMG ReTool Visits HTC

Spring is in the air and for employers and job-seekers across America that can only mean one thing – Career Fair Season!

Here at PMG, we already have a handful of booths under our belt, but a recent event at a local tech school couldn’t help but catch our attention with the unique spin one of their programs put on an old standard.

PMG ReTool attended an employer event at Hennepin Technical College in February and while the school had a traditional career fair scheduled for the afternoon, the Robotics, Mechatronics and Automation Engineering program rolled out their Reverse Career Fair in the morning. Automation instructors Brad Thorpe and Jeff Thorstad came up with this idea to help connect their students with employers. The main goal was to have students set out their semester class projects, science fair style, and individually present them to employers. This allowed those seeking to hire the ability to connect with prospective employees in a much more personal manner than a traditional employer’s table. It also provided the opportunity for employers to connect with the actual hands on classwork in a far more direct way than they typically do. However, the real benefit was how it also gave the students an opportunity to give their class work the most “real world emphasis” possible.

While PMG ReTool observed several student projects, there were a few that stood out the most. One student used their project to win a $10,000 grant from the manufacturer for best alternative use of a PLC that is already utilized in production facilities. Another student, who already has industry experience, decided to trouble-shoot a trouble-shooting module.

In addition, many used their projects to simulate systems they’d be maintaining in a production environment. For example, a student used his previous experience as an extrusion mold operator to simulate the maintenance of larger systems associated with such a facility. Some students even considered recording their presentations and including a hyperlink to the video in their resumes so they could speak to the inevitable “lack of experience” push back they would encounter during the application and interview processes.

Overall, ReTool was not only impressed with the quality of training, preparation, and projects, but with the way students and instructors used these projects to present their class time as being far more applicable to in-production experience than it is generally considered. If you are preparing to enter the manufacturing industry, or are in the position of training those who are, you may want to consider adding a Reverse Career Fair component to your next employer event to give your classwork the best chance to shine in the real world.

 

About the Author

Josh Erickson, ReTool Associate

Employee Spotlight

Meet See!

See is an Accounting Assistant and joined the PMG team almost seven months ago.

About Me

I was born in a small town in Thailand and was 12 months old when we moved to Wausau, WI. I grew up there and then moved to MN in 2004. I met my husband in 2004 and we married in 2009. We now have three kids – 2 boys and a girl. Interesting fact- I am the third oldest of seven kids!

What are your job responsibilities as an Accounting Assistant?

Lots of data entering, scanning and filing invoices, printing and mailing checks, generating payroll reports and putting together master payroll spreadsheet.

What do you like most about your job?

I like learning new things and gaining knowledge, especially in the accounting field. Every day, I feel like I learn something new as different situations pop up.

What do you like most about working for PMG?

Definitely the food! The people are also great and I like the flexibility PMG offers.

What did you do prior to working at PMG?

Before PMG, I worked as a loan servicing specialist in the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage department. I was there for almost three years. I did a lot of data entry, data verification and helped with checks and mailing.

What are some hobbies you like to do in your free time?

Number one thing is watching movies. I could watch movies every day. One of my favorite things to watch is Game of Thrones and I can’t wait until season eight comes out!

I also like to paint. I find it really soothing and calming.

Lastly, taking my kids out to explore Minnesota.

What’s your favorite restaurant to eat at and what’s a must order there?

Ichiddo. It’s a Japanese restaurant with amazing ramen noodles. My favorite dish is the char siu ramen noodle.

What celebrity/inspirational person do you most admire?

Susan Pha. She is the first Hmong woman in my community to hold a government position. She opened a new world for Hmong women in our community and she’s an inspiration to these women.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled and why?

The only places I’ve been are Wisconsin, Minnesota and California. In California, I went to Fresno and I wouldn’t consider that “The best place ever.” However, I would like to travel to Hawaii some day and see the ocean, see the Hawaiian flowers and try some local food.

What did you want to be when growing up?

When I was younger, I wanted to be a singer, actress or a teacher.

You’re happiest when…?

I have my favorite foods in front of me and when I get to adventure out and see places such as gardens, waterfalls and events.

What advice would you give to recent new hires at PMG?

My advice is to be open to learning new ways to tackle different situations that might come up.  Also, prepare to have fun at PMG’s team building events and volunteering opportunities. Lastly, take advantage of PMG’s growth opportunities that will help you reach your next career milestone.

 

Did You Know?

How much do American manufacturers love Valentine’s Day?

Everybody knows that Valentine’s Day is the holiday of love, but did you know how much American manufacturers love the holiday? Valentine’s Day is the third biggest holiday/season for the $22 billion U.S. chocolate candy industry, behind only Easter and Christmas and surprisingly ahead of Halloween.

Overall, Valentine’s Day contributed about $19.6 billion to the national economy in 2018. Those are easy numbers for confectionery producers to fall in love with, especially considering American’s dietary choices continue to avoid the candy aisle more and more often throughout the non-holiday calendar.

Fun Numbers:

1,364
Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced primarily chocolate and cocoa products in 2014, employing 42,043 people. California led the nation with 151 of these establishments, followed by New York with 119.[1]

$16.0 billion
The estimated value of chocolate and confectionary product shipments for manufacturing establishments in 2015.[2]

2,143
The number of jewelry and silverware manufacturing establishments.[3]

493
Number of U.S. establishments that manufactured primarily non-chocolate confectionary products in 2014. These establishments employed 19,213 people. California led the nation in this category with 58 establishments.[4]

[1] Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns: 2014, NAICS code (31135)

[2] Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 Annual Survey of Manufactures, Products and Service Codes (311351 and 311352)

[3] Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns: 2014, NAICS code (339910)

[4] Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns: 2014, NAICS code (31134)