How It’s Made – Olympic Torch

Where it Originated

The Olympics. An event where athletes of all types gather together to prove who, among the best, is truly the best. The Olympics we know today are inspired by the ancient Olympic Games that were held every four years in Olympia, Greece. However,  the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held and governed the first official Olympics event in Athens in 1896. Since then, many changes have occurred including the addition of the Winter Olympics (because holding ice hockey and figure skating events in the summer was a logistical nightmare), the creation of the Paralympics (to promote the rehabilitation of soldiers after World War II), and the Youth Olympic Games.

Through it all though, one thing stands unchanged – The Olympic Flame.

Greek mythology considers fire and flame divine, representing the fire Prometheus stole from Zeus to give to humanity and influence civilization. As a result, it’s been incorporated into the Olympics since ancient times and is one of the (if not THE) biggest symbols of the modern day Olympics. With that much fanfare and celebration over some flames, it’s important to acknowledge the torch that carries them too. With that said, this month’s How It’s Made article gives credit where credit is due.

How It’s Made – The Olympic Torch

Every Olympiad, experts design and craft the torch to represent the host country and that year’s Olympic theme. Aesthetics have changed a lot from past games but, for the most part, the torches are very much made the same year after year. The torch base is made of aluminum with a small fuel tank inside, which releases pressurized fuel.

In the early years, torches were fueled by gun powder or olive oil. Other torches were fueled with a mixture of formaldehyde and ammonia. In 1956, the torches were fueled with a dangerous mixture of aluminum and magnesium, which fell from the final torch and seared the runner’s arm. This event among other safety concerns changed the way designers thought about the torch.

As a result, Olympic torches have been using liquidized fuel since 1972. This fuel moves through a valve with thousands of tiny openings and, by doing so, drops the pressure of the liquid.

When this happens, it turns the liquid into gas and it lights the flame. The fuel tank continues to supply liquid fuel through the valve at a consistent rate after the flame is lit, thus constantly providing gas to ensure the flame stays lit and torch carriers can “kiss” the flame to other torch carriers.

Other fuels used include propylene in the 1996 Olympics and a mixture of propane and butane (2000), a much lighter in weight and more environmentally friendly fuel source.

Depending upon the elements the torch will encounter on its journey, other mechanisms within the torch include a two-flame configuration- flares and various other aerodynamic design features.

It all sounds pretty simple but, in reality, it can take as long as two years to design and build a torch. Once built, the prototype torch is put through very demanding testing procedures to ensure it stays lit during its entire journey through wind, sleet, rain, snow, and/or sun. Once testing is completed, another 15,000 or so torches are made to fuel (pun intended) the very long Olympic Torch Relay.

If you’re interested in learning more about the relay, this History Channel write-up on the Olympic Torch relay’s surprising origins is a great source!

I’d also recommend you check out this article about 10 surprising Olympic facts as well as my other How It’s Made articles on PMG’s website.

 

About the Author

Kim M

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach

 

 

National Aunt & Uncle Day

My nieces

Josh and nieces

People say it takes a village to raise a child. We’ve all heard that phrase before and National Aunt and Uncle’s Day is a great time to think about what it truly means.

Celebrated every year on July 26, this unofficial holiday has been around for quite a while. Its origins and history though are literally impossible to determine. Even in today’s easy-to-research, internet age there aren’t many details to be found. There’s not much information regarding how to observe the day either. Most sites just suggest a visit or call to spend some quality time together. However, I’d like to make my own suggestion as to how you can celebrate the often-unsung supporting actors in your family – tell their story. Here’s mine.

The Early Years

I was raised in a village. Now we have a couple thousand residents but, four decades ago, it was only a couple hundred people. It was small, so small in fact, that there wasn’t even daycare available for me as an infant. Not to worry though because I have uncles. They helped my grandma, around their regular jobs, start a daycare. Their sacrifices allowed her to care for me (and a generation of other country kids as well). Today, I know well over 50 fully grown men and women that still call them uncle too!

My Aunts

My maternal grandparents raised their own niece, in their home, because of addiction issues present in hers. She’s technically my cousin, but for almost 40 years, I’ve called her my aunt. She taught me how to use a globe, dominate at Scrabble, and appreciate a good book. Every single nursery rhyme I sing to my own nieces today can be credited to her as well. Another aunt made sure I got on the bus every morning throughout elementary and middle school. She taught me you don’t have to be a football expert to love the Vikings. She also bought me my first suit when I finally decided to pursue a career path that no longer required wearing a Hi-Vis shirt to work. It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be writing this article today if it weren’t for that suit!

My Uncles

My oldest uncle and youngest niece, learning things together

uncle and niece

I learned all about construction from my mom’s oldest brother. Her youngest is one of my greatest agricultural influences. And her middle brother taught me that there’s still a place in the trades for an artistic eye. Not always gentle, but ever kind, I never learned an unnecessary lesson from any of them. They are some of my best friends, greatest allies, and the ones that still get the tough questions first from me.

Next Generations

My aunts and uncles taught me to farm, hunt and fish. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to braid my own girls’ hair, frame a house, finish concrete, weld, operate a lathe, drive a stick, or a host of other things. They showed me how to work tirelessly, try unashamedly, and love unconditionally. It’s undebatable to say I would not be the man, or uncle, I am today without them.

That’s important too because, 12 years ago, my oldest niece was born into a situation that required more from me than the “typical” uncle. Two years later, her sister arrived. Life didn’t prepare me to raise girls, that’s for sure. It did prepare me to raise people though. Mostly because my own aunts and uncles were a major part of that preparation. I wish the lessons I’m passing along from them today serve my girls just as well in their own lives tomorrow. I’m pretty sure they will.

I hope you read this and take the time to reach out to your own aunts and uncles today. Tell them what you remember, what you can’t forget, what you appreciate; tell them anything you want, but make sure you tell them thank you. Then share their story too.

 

About the Author

Josh E

Josh Erickson, ReTool Public Relations & Engagement Specialist

 

National Tattoo Day

In honor of National Tattoo Day on July 17th, I thought I’d share some history with you rather than suggest you run out and get a tattoo commemorating a potentially made-up holiday. 😊

History would have it that tattoos were originally introduced as a pain management or therapeutic technique and were a safeguard for women during pregnancy and child birth. More recent discoveries have shown tattoos randomly distributed on body parts that corresponded with areas of strain-induced degeneration, implying tattoos were applied to alleviate joint pain.

According to Greek writer Herodotus c. 450 B.C., amongst certain people, “tattoos were a mark of nobility and not to have them was a testimony of low birth,” that is until Christianity emerged and tattoos were banned because they tarnished one of God’s creations.

If I think back 35 years to my early childhood, tattoos were rare. My Uncle Kevin had a couple on his forearms but he always seemed like a bit of a rebel to me, so that made sense. Other than him, I’d only seen tattoos on sailors in the movies or in Popeye cartoons (and considering he was a sailorman, I guess that makes sense too).

Today, tattoos are everywhere and you’ll find them on teenagers, middle-aged business men and women, even grandmas and grandpas. I asked some of PMG’s employees recently to share the story behind their tattoos and there were three common themes:

  • I’m old enough to get a tattoo so I’m getting one (happy 18th birthday to me)
  • In honor or in remembrance on someone or something special
  • “I’ve been through a tough journey and I’m going to commemorate the stronger person I’ve become on the other side of that journey!”

My own tattoos fall into two of these categories!

  • A week after my 18th birthday, I went with a friend to a tattoo shop (with my parents’ approval I should add) with a page ripped out of a coloring book and got myself the cutest little snowflake tattoo in honor of my love of Minnesota and all things winter.
  • After the birth of my first child and while on vacation with family, we each got a tattoo – three autumn leaves for me, representing my love of all things fall and each member of our young family at the time.

Two years ago, my husband got me a gift card for my next tattoo and that baby has been burning a hole in my wallet since. Knowing what I want to put on my body and where is such a personal decision, and not one to take lightly I’ll figure it out one day (thank goodness gift cards don’t expire)!

In the unlikeliness this article has inspired you to get some ink, how incredibly cool is that (words are power). If it peaked your interest and you want to know more about the beginnings of tattoos from over 5,000 years ago, take a peek at this article from Smithsonian Magazine: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/tattoos-144038580/

Whatever you do next, put some thought behind it. Know there’s no going back, no pressure, and love your ink with all your heart; it represents a little piece of who you are at that moment in time.

 

About the Author

Beth B.

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety Apps

There’s An App For That

How many times have we been instructed to “download the app here.”  The word “app” is an abbreviation for “application.”  Applications are software programs meant to keep us connected to friends and family, perform a function in our lives and be fun!  If your home screen looks anything like mine, the apps I use each day are front and center.

In this monthly special, we’ll spend time finding the apps that make your life easier and highlight how, when you have a need, there’s probably an app for that!

SAFETY APPS

If you work in manufacturing, then you know the focus is more than just getting products out the door.  You also need to be keenly committed to keeping your workforce safe and preventing injuries on the job.

What makes safety apps so effective is that, just like your employees, they go everywhere!  These apps provide specific information in a short amount of time and are designed to be user-friendly and value-added.

Here are 10 of the top safety workplace apps that provide safety information for smart manufacturers whenever and wherever needed.

#1 First Aid App

first aid safety app

The official First Aid app, by the American Red Cross, puts expert information in the palm of your hand. Easy-to-digest, step-by-step instruction lets workers and managers quickly and efficiently address an array of mishaps, accidents, and serious injuries.

Key Features:

  • Use in English or Spanish
  • Integrated with 911
  • Assisted video learning

Cost: Free

Get on iTunes

Get on Google Play

#2 Heat Safety Tool

heat safety app

While many things are within your company’s control, hazardous weather isn’t one of them. That’s why having accurate and up-to-date information on current weather conditions is important.

Workers and supervisors calculate weather conditions and make educated decisions using OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool. The app will compute health risk levels; prompt users on wearing and using protective gear; remind workers to take breaks, drink water, etc. It’s an all-in-one guide for all industries and related tasks.

Key Features:

  • Calculate the heat index of a work area
  • Provides heat illness signs and symptoms
  • Displays warnings of possible threats for workers

Cost: Free

Get on iTunes

Get on Google Play

#3 Ladder Safety App

Many ladder-related accidents are preventable. Aside from taking risks and lacking spotters, workers may wrongly angle ladders, which leads to injury and health hazards. The Ladder Safety app uses visual and sound signals to position the ladder in the safest position.

Key Features:

  • Suited with multimodal indicator
  • Offers interactive reference material

Cost: Free

Get on iTunes

Get on Google Play

#4 Ergonomic App

ergonomic safety app

For many workers, the day offers limited or no field work, yet, ironically, sitting for long periods poses health risks. The Ergonomics app is full of equipment advice, workplace specific stretch exercises, and prompts that remind users to take breaks. Stretches feature original illustrations and succinct instruction.

Key Feature:

  • Provides workplace specific exercises
  • Features original illustrations
  • Includes a countdown timer

Price: $0.99

Get on iTunes

Get on Google Play

#5 iAuditor Checklist

iAuditor is used by thousands of inspection workers each day, all across the globe. Users build forms according to industry. The automatic sync feature allows managers to self-audit teams in real time as data loads to office computers. Use the checklist to manage risk and avoid costly penalties and violations.

Key Features:

  • Customize reports
  • Drag and drop interface
  • Export preferred report format

Price: Free

Get on iTunes

Get on Google Play

#6 Sling Calculator

How can you aid in avoiding catastrophe? Through methodical calculation. The Sling Calculator avoids mishaps by helping to select rigging while considering the shape of the load. Sling tension measurements can be determined and sent via a PDF to cohorts and managers for confirmation and redirection.

Key Features:

  • Specify desired unit of measurement
  • Compute volume and weight to avoid hazards
  • Choose among one of four bridle configurations

Price: $24.99

Get on iTunes

Get on Google Play

#7 Noise Sniffer

The Noise Sniffer is not multi-functional. It’s a simple tool with one mission: save workers from dangerous noise levels. Once a user hits start, the app measures noise levels in the immediate area and provides a decibel readout. Levels above 60 dB are considered very-to-extremely loud and require resolution.

Key Features:

  • Features start/stop button
  • Calculate the decibel level of immediate area
  • Warns of potentially hazardous noise levels

Price: $0.99

Get on iTunes

Get on Google Play

#8 Chemical Hazards Pocket Guide

The Chemical Hazards Pocket Guide helps first responders identify and protect others in the wake of a chemical-related accident. Each chemical is aligned with its aliases and trade names along with a physical description advising whether it’s dangerous to inhale, if it’s flammable, etc.

Key Features:

  • Provides concise industrial hygiene information
  • Helps first responders provide aid
  • Provides offline access

Cost: $7.99

Get on iTunes

Not Available on Google Play

#9 Safety Compass

compass safety app

The Safety Compass leverages augmented reality to relay information about potentially hazardous conditions and materials out in the field. Rather than bulky and lengthy physical manuals, workers and managers access the Safety Compass with ease. You can tailor it to comply with your workplace and conditions.

Key Features:

  • Remotely add hazard tags
  • Use camera to relay visual information
  • Provides integral safety information straight to worker’s phone

Price: Free

Get on iTunes

Get on Google Plus

#10 Super Bright Flashlight

flashlight safety app

The Super Bright Flashlight app makes a worker’s phone into a powerful source of light. This is an app that is not likely to get a lot of use in the field since workers are equipped with tools. However, it’s incredibly convenient, and in worst cases, can save a worker from a serious injury in dire situations.

Key Features:

  • Use on/off switch
  • Use strobe/blinking mode to signal emergency
  • Leverage app when flashlight is unavailable or forgotten

Price: Free

Get on iTunes

Get on Google Play

#11 Hazard Scout

Hazard Scout is popular with managers because it allows for streamlined reporting. Managers write reports, add pictures and videos, and take notes while in the field. Help resolve past and present issues and avoid future violations and obstructions to workflow. Get trends, graphs, and summary reports.

Key Features:

  • Receive push notifications
  • Scan QR codes for personnel and equipment
  • Submit reports offline

Price: Free

 

 

What’s the app that YOU find most helpful on a day-to-day basis? Send your thoughts to WritingTeam@pmgservices.com.

Have a safe day!

 

About the Author

Brenda L

Brenda Lovitz, Risk & Safety Manager

 

Free Slurpee on July 11

Beat the heat with a Free Slurpee on 7/11! 

July is known for its steamy temperatures and the beautiful summer days. The air may be warm but you can cool down with a free slurpee on July 11 at your local 7/11 gas station. 7/11 started celebrating this holiday in 2002, but peoples’ love for slurpees started in 1959. The chain of stores hands out approximately five million slurpees on July 11 every year.

Did you know? 

Omar Knedlik created these summer afternoon masterpieces by accidentally leaving his sodas in the cooler for too long and still selling them. Customers at the Dairy Queen he owned in Kentucky were crazy about his mistake. People began requesting the frozen sodas and Omar knew there was an opportunity in front of him, so he created the ICEE. The craze about the tasty treat has continued ever since. There is proof that North Americans sip about 13 million slurpees every single month!

Slurpee > ICEE

At the start 7/11 had ICEE machines in their stores, then created their own twist by naming their slurpee after the sound you make when you drink it. Not only did they rebrand the frozen drink, the slurpee created a new straw. In 1968 Arthur Aykanians spoon straw debuted, which had a small scoop on the end to get every drop of frozen flavor. Speaking of flavors, there have been over 300 different slurpee flavors sold worldwide but the most popular ones are Coca-Cola and wild cherry.

Mark Your Calendar

Due to COVID-19, the national holiday was cancelled last year, but it’s making a return this summer! July 11 will be here before you know it. Start brainstorming what flavor(s) will be going into your cup this year!

 

About the Author

Bailey Braccini, Marketing Intern

Pride Month

There’s a lot of thought that goes into my writing here at PMG. Before publishing any content, I always ask myself, am I adding value to this conversation or topic, what are my motivations in writing this article, and what do I hope to gain?

Of course this is what I did when writing this article, as well.

Every year, June is celebrated as Pride month. What does that mean for employers and employees? Let’s start at the beginning.

Why Do We Celebrate Pride Month in June?

Pride Month is celebrated in honor of the Stonewall Uprising (also known as the Stonewall Riots). In the 1960s, police raids at gay bars were not uncommon and tensions were high. On June 28th, 1969, an early police raid occurred at Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn, which was a popular gathering spot for those who identified as gay. Riots broke out in response to the raid. As a result of the riots, and the very visible need for more acceptance and services for the gay community, individual activists convened into groups, demanding the right to live openly and without fear of persecution or arrest. This was considered a major event in the Gay Liberation Movement. However, it did not end discrimination.

As recently as October 2020, The Center for American Progress reported that:

  • “More than 1 in 3 LGBTQ Americans faced discrimination of some kind in the past year, including more than 3 in 5 transgender Americans.”
  • “Discrimination adversely affects the mental and economic well-being of many LGBTQ Americans, including 1 in 2 who report moderate or significant negative psychological impacts.”
  • “To avoid the experience of discrimination, more than half of LGBTQ Americans report hiding a personal relationship, and about one-fifth to one-third have altered other aspects of their personal or work lives.”
  • “15 percent of LGBTQ Americans report postponing or avoiding medical treatment due to discrimination, including nearly 3 in 10 transgender individuals.”
  • “Transgender individuals faced unique obstacles to accessing health care, including 1 in 3 who had to teach their doctor about transgender individuals in order to receive appropriate care.”

What Can Employers Do?

First and foremost, look internally. Are you an ally? Do you provide a safe space? Or do you just talk a big game? It’s important that you do not utilize Pride Month as an opportunity to simply “rainbow-fy” your company logo or social media pages. You also need to take actionable steps to ensure that internal policy promotes equality and emphasizes fair employment for LGBTQ+ employees. Need suggestions? Here’s a few:

  1. Provide training on diversity and inclusion.
  2. Within your mission statement and internal goals, emphasize your support of LGBTQ+ people among other disenfranchised groups.
  3. Check your benefits package. Does it include things like adoption leave, maternity AND paternity leave, and health benefits for partners, not just spouses?
  4. Read through your anti-discrimination policy. Does it clearly state your anti-discrimination expectations and the consequences for those who don’t comply?
  5. Allow your employees to use non-binary pronouns and make a concerted effort to use the chosen pronoun(s).
  6. Create and offer employee resource groups (ERGs) or committees that act as support systems for LGBTQ+ employees and/or who provide guidance for your organization.
  7. Support LGBTQ+ people in your local area by actively participating, sponsoring, and/or emphasizing events and resources to those within your organization.

When doing this, remember that “your actions speak louder than your words”. It’s not just about positive press but about a diverse, inclusive workforce. It also needs to be all year round, not just for one month. Your audience will know whether your authentic or not!

What Can Co-Workers Do?

 As an employee, you can do the following to show support for your LGBTQ+ coworkers:

  1. Pay attention to subtle (or not-so-subtle) acts of bias, whether it be comments, memes, jokes, or actions. Call out the transgressor in a respectful way or report what you’ve seen or heard to your HR department.
    1. Not 100% confident in your ability to communicate this? You can check out PMG’s blog post about communicating at work or read many other online articles for tips & tricks.
  2. Validate the feelings of LGBTQ+ co-workers after you notice acts of bias.
  3. Use the preferred non-binary pronoun(s) of your coworker(s). Many employees identify with non-conforming genders so rather than “he” or “she”, it is preferred that you use “they” or “them”.
  4. Educate yourself. Learn the history, the definitions, the struggles, the facts, and the fiction!
  5. Review your company’s policies. Are there clear anti-discrimination policies? If so, great but are they being followed? If not, then it’s your job to speak to HR and other higher-level executives to push for change.
  6. Participate in events that celebrate and promote diversity and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ people within your local community.
  7. Donate to charities directly affecting and working to change the lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ people. The Trevor Project is a leading organization across the United States, but it’s just one of many!

 

With all that said, whether you’re an employer or an employee, keep in mind that although Pride Month is a celebration of and a fight for the freedom of LGBTQ+ people, it can’t go without saying we can celebrate love and freedom always.

 

About the Author

Kim M

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Father’s Day

An Ode to My Dad

With a quick Google search on the significance of Father’s Day, you’ll find it took 58 years AFTER Mother’s Day became an official holiday for fathers to get a similar day of honor.

I get that things were different back in the early-to mid-1900’s; that a father’s place was at work every day, to make money so the family could have a nice car, maintain a beautiful yard, and put food on the table (not literally since mom was the one expected to put food on the table – que the eye roll). But what a crazy and awesome turn for dads in the past 50 years.

The Early Years

I think of how my own dad grew up, with his dad as the ultimate disciplinarian when he was home, but so often away serving his country, working for the US government as the sole provider for the family. There was an expectation that my dad and his brothers be tough, manly men, who stood as head of the household at all costs.

For my early years, my dad hopped on his bike each morning and peddled his way to his office at an industrial park, where he spent his days as a graphic designer. Then, he peddled home in the evening to stand over his easel, drawing cars for the local car club and airbrushing that nostalgic marker smell over each detail of his drawing.

While my dad was also the disciplinarian in our family (“Just wait until your dad gets home” was the scariest thing my mom would say to us all summer), he was also the one who played basketball with us in the parking lot. He played ‘sock-it-to-ya’ getting dressed for work in the mornings. Dad taught us how to pitch/catch on our front sidewalk. He took us to car shows and air shows to share his love of old cars and cool planes.

When my parents divorced when I was 9 years old, my mom moved out. Dad was suddenly responsible for everything – for waking us up every morning to get ready for school and for making our dinner every night. He took the phone calls at work like, ‘Bonnie is so annoying’ or ‘Barbie made chocolate frosting and won’t share’ or ‘Becky’s freckles smell’ (don’t ask – sorry Becca)! Dad had to deal with the insecurities of tweenage girls, the daily arguments between my sisters and I, and the constant fear that something horrible might happen to any one of us at any point in time. My love, admiration, and respect for my dad grew during that time, but I was too young to have the slightest idea of what he was going through as a single father of four.

 

The  Best Father a Girl Could Ask For

While my dad never was and still isn’t perfect, and he has his own insecurities as a father that even after 40 years I can’t get out of his head, his hugs are like medicine to my soul and his ridiculously contagious laugh makes my heart smile. What I’ve grown to realize, is that the unconditional love that dads have for their children easily morphs into an unconditional love that children have for their dads. We can look past any flaws, any challenges, any disagreements, and just love the man who loves us without fail.

To all the dads who put everything into raising their little people to be better versions of themselves – biological dad’s, step-dad’s, uncles playing the role of dad, older brothers forced to step in when dad can’t be there – enjoy your day of honor. While it may have come later than it should have, you still deserve to celebrate you and all that you do!

Happy Father’s Day!

About the Author

Beth B.

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager

 

 

 

 

What is Juneteenth?

FAQs for PMG

PMG is all about manufacturing and this industry is all about making things. However, we try to remember the people doing the making, and all the things that are important to them. Our families, careers, and histories deserve recognition beyond what we do, when we’re “on the clock”. In that light, this month’s PMG FAQ will gladly answer a question we’re hearing more often every year.

What is Juneteenth?

We’re thrilled to see awareness of this holiday growing every year and we’re very happy to answer. Juneteenth is observed every year on June 19th, and has been since 1865. It began in Galveston, Texas, following the Civil War, as African American Emancipation Day. In the 156 years since, the celebration has grown and spread beyond the United States and, sometimes, beyond the date. Today, Juneteenth is a day, a week, and in some areas even a month that commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement.

History

Juneteenth originated  when Major General Gordon Granger landed with his regiment and brought news to Texas of Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and General Robert E. Lee’s April 1865 surrender. This announcement “officially” freed the enslaved population of Texas with Granger’s General Order Number 3.

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

Why is it important today?

Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. But, as historian Henry Gates Jr says, today the day is “not only an opportunity to celebrate, but to speak out.” As it grows in national, and even global, perspective, Juneteenth is becoming an increasingly symbolic event to not only recognize the achievements of the past, but to also advocate for societal improvements in the future. In essence, we’re all collectively remembering where we came from while recommitting to what we want our future to be. How can you not celebrate that?

juneteenth

How can I celebrate?

In the Workplace

Recognizing Juneteenth in the workplace doesn’t just support corporate diversity; it shows a true commitment to creating a diverse workforce and recognition of an increasingly diverse society. There are many ways this can be done, but bringing in a guest speaker is a great one. If you don’t know how to start this conversation with your employer, read our previous blog for some resources regarding racism, and how to talk about it, in the workplace.

In the Community

If your community doesn’t already have a Juneteenth committee, forming one is a great first step. However, if it does, participating in events is all you really need to do. Whether attending a block party, hosting guest speakers, or watching a parade; the aim of the day is to remember, celebrate, encourage, and support freedom, unity, and improvement among all of us. There isn’t a wrong way to participate in that!

In the Home

Plan a special meal and gather the family together to acknowledge Juneteenth. Decorate your table and/or door with a Juneteenth theme and discuss what the celebration of the day means. Emphasize the mandates of responsibility and striving to be the best you can be. Make specific pledges for the remainder of the year, ask for support in accomplishing your goals, and commit to supporting the goals of another.

Additional Resources

We hope this FAQ didn’t just answer your question but inspires you to more actively engage with Juneteenth this year. If you still have questions, there’s a lot more to learn about the holiday. You can always get other answers from us too. Just send your questions to our Writing Team and keep an eye out for future FAQ’s. We can’t wait to share our next answer with you!

 

About the Author

Josh E

Josh Erickson, ReTool Public Relations & Engagement Specialist

Macarons Vs. Macaroons

Macarons & Macaroons: What’s the Difference?

Potato, Potahto. Tomato, Tomahto…. Macaron, Macaroon? Don’t call the whole thing off! Let’s figure this out.

May 31, 2021 is National Macaron Day while Macaroons had their national day on March 20, 2021. Some will ask, “Why different days? Aren’t they the same thing?” and the answer to that is, “no, they are different”.

History & Origination

Before I get into those differences though, it’s important to note that both sweet treats ultimately started from the same place. Where that place is, is a question not yet answered.

Some say the origination goes back to the Arab empire in the years 600-700. During this time, it’s said that the cookies were made with honey and ground up nut flour (likely pistachio nuts) and their presence was expanding north as the empire expanded.

Some say these cookies originated in France. Others believe French monks in Renaissance Venice initially baked them in Italy. Depending upon who you ask though, some say the cookies originated when two Benedictine nuns baked these cookies to pay for their housing while seeking asylum during the French Revolution.

Others say, there were no changes to the original cookie until a prominent Italian woman married into French royalty and required that French chefs must make her favorite Italian cookies.

I’ll let you decide.

Recipe

What we do know, is that the cookies were single and dome-shaped with a crumbly top. After some adaptations, the ingredients were fairly simple: sugar, almonds, and egg. Without flour, the egg provided the leavening agent.

However, over the centuries, the recipe changed (and ingredients) resulting in two different cookies and thus, Macaron vs. Macaroon. The main changes include:

  • Hand-ground almond flour mixed with powdered sugar rather than ground almond, likely occurring in the mid-1600s.
  • Replacing almond meal with ground coconut when newly planted coconut palms were all the craze in the late 1800s.

Now getting to the big question – what’s the difference between Macarons and Macaroons?

  1. Macaron is pronounced mac-a-rohn while Macaroon is pronounced mack-a-roon.
  2. Most agree that Macarons are French pastries and Macaroons are Italian pastries.
  3. Macarons are sandwich-like desserts with a ganache filling while Macaroons look like messes of coconut.

In fact, Macarons weren’t always sandwich-like cookies. French bakery and tearoom Ladurée is credited with making Macarons what they are today by serving two cookies together with a ganache in the middle, starting sometime in the 1930s.

With all that said, there is no need to travel to France or anywhere else for that matter to secure some of these delectable baked goods. Many bakeries offer both treats or you can make some of your own, with these highly-rated recipes:

Don’t forget. If you’re interested in more recipes or food tips & tricks, check out PMG’s Blog!

Happy Eating!

 

About the Author

Kim M

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach

 

How It’s Made – Sunscreen

There is an old saying that here in Minnesota, we have 11 seasons rather than the typical four. Those are:

  1. Winter
  2. Fool’s Spring
  3. Second Winter
  4. Spring of Deception
  5. Third Winter
  6. Mud Season
  7. Actual Spring
  8. Summer
  9. False Fall
  10. Second Summer
  11. Actual Fall

If you asked me, I’d say that right now, Minnesota has emerged from the Third Winter as well as Mud Season, is currently in Actual Spring, and getting closer to Summer with every day. With summer comes outdoor activities, mosquitos and sunshine so store shelves are full of bug spray and sunscreen which is how we got to wondering how sunscreen is made? We’ve got the answer for this month’s How It’s Made article!

How Is Sunscreen Made?

First and foremost, let’s outline just what sunscreen does. The sun emits three types of light: infrared, visible, and ultraviolet. Of the three, ultraviolet is the worst for humans. There are two types of ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB). Depending upon which one, they will either penetrate the skin to cause damage to our cells and immune system, damage our eyes’ corneas and lenses, and/or cause skin cancer. Therefore, sunscreen does two things. It will either block these ultraviolet rays or  absorb the rays before they can penetrate our skin. To do this, sunscreen contains one or more of the following ingredients:

  1. Titanium Dioxide
  2. Avobenzone
  3. Zinc Oxide
  4. Octisalate
  5. Oxybenzone
  6. Homosalate

These ingredients are considered sunscreen actives which are combined with many other ingredients including liquids (purified water), functional ingredients (synthetics, emulsifiers, and preservatives), and skin-nourishing ingredients (Vitamin E). You can see the general percentages of each in this graph!

Sunscreen Ingredient Percentages

So, what happens next? What do we do with all these ingredients? Read on below to find out!

Four Steps to Making Sunscreen

Step 1: Water is purified through the use of reverse osmosis.

Step 2: Mix Purified water with all other ingredients.

  • The other ingredients will come in solid, powder, or flake form.
  • Ingredients are mixed in large vats or kettles. Mixing follows a recipe which outlines the exact measurements of each ingredient as well as the time, speed, and temperatures needed for mixing operations.

Step 3: Mixed ingredients are moved through stainless steel piping to stainless steel tanks and into a sterile room.

  • These tanks can have capacities of as much as 1,000 gallons.

Step 4: From these stainless steel tanks, the product then moves through more stainless steel piping to pressurized filling machines.

  • A conveyor brings the mottles into a sterile room and also to these machines.
  • The amount dispensed depends upon the bottle size and is controlled by machine programs.
  • Nozzles on the machinery extend and retract over and over into the bottles for filling operations.
  • Filled bottles are capped and packaged automatically by the equipment.
  • Once boxed, then palletized, and wrapped, it’s ready to ship!

Now, this summary of sunscreen manufacturing is simplified. However, buying sunscreen can be anything but simple. If you’re like me, and many others standing in sunscreen aisles, you don’t know what to buy! Check out this helpful article from the American Academy of Dermatology outlining answers for all the common Sunscreen FAQs including which sunscreens to use and when to use them. Additionally, here’s a great article explaining SPF -Sun Protection Factor!

And remember, regardless of how many real “seasons” your state may have, it’s important to wear sunscreen year-round!

Happy (and SAFE) Sunning!

 

About the Author

Kim M

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kim Mooney – Technical Manager & Coach