Mining & Heavy Industrial

Our team of experienced mining & heavy industrial recruiters play in this space all day.

Looking for industry on the industry, hiring, & what’s to come? Check back often for posts from our experts!

Six Sigma

Why Manufacturers Want Candidates with Six Sigma Experience

As a Mining and Heavy Industrial recruiter, my team and I are all working with dozens of manufacturing organizations across the country. Over the first three quarters of 2019, we have noticed several hiring trends throughout the manufacturing industry. Many of our clients are creating a massive push for candidates with Six Sigma experience.

But what is Six Sigma, and why are employers searching for candidates with these qualifications?

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is the methodology that helps organizations improve the performance, production, and efficiency in their business processes. It decreases variation, reduces defects, and improves your organizations’ quality. Essentially, Six Sigma “views all work as processes that can be defined, measured, analyzed, improved, and controlled,” according to the American Society for Quality.

Six Sigma was the brainchild of Motorola engineer Bill Smith in 1980. Six Sigma was Bill’s statistical approach designed to increase profitability and reduce defects. These manufacturing principals generated billions of dollars for Motorola. By 1995, Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, made this philosophy central to his business strategy at GE and this philosophy soon spread throughout the manufacturing industry like a wildfire.

Why is it so valuable to employers?

Six Sigma saves manufacturers money by improving processes throughout the company. Thus, if a candidate holds one of these certifications, they are a hot commodity in today’s labor market. These certifications validate a candidate’s skills necessary to identify errors in a given process and find solutions to eliminate them. In other words, candidates with these certifications can improve your operations by eliminating inefficiencies and reducing waste.

So, whether your organization needs engineers, technicians, or QC/QA professionals, candidates with these certifications are highly desirable. If your operations require candidates with such Six Sigma qualifications, reach out to me. Our team here at Johnson Search Group has a pipeline of professionals with these certifications that are looking to make an immediate impact within a new company.

What Would Happen If The World Stopped Mining?

What Would Happen If The World Stopped Mining?

No matter what side of the fence you are on, one must agree that mining is a necessity in our modern world. Without it, we would not be capable of new technologies that allow us to advance; nor would we be able to maintain our current standard of living. So, what would happen if the world suddenly stopped mining tomorrow?

  • Automobiles, both gas and electric would disappear.
  • 27 States would lose 25% of their electricity output.
  • No nails to hammer projects home.
  • No more high rises, bridges, airplanes, trains, or space exploration.
  • Granite, marble, and anything steel in homes would be gone. Formica would make a huge comeback! Oops… it uses a white crystalline compound (borax). No Formica, either!
  • Anything plastic; molded or otherwise.
  • Nuclear energy?
  • Renewables? Well, that can’t happen without mining!
  • Like that Fitbit?
  • No more Televisions.
  • No more smartphones – or phones – period.
  • Computers, unfortunately, also gone
  • Not my Alexa??!!!??
  • No more going to the gym… phew! (at least one good thing would come of it)
  • Some medicines would disappear, and the medical advancements over hundreds of years would disappear. Need a knee replacement? Pacemaker? Dialysis? Surgery? Sorry.
  • Gold and Silver used in pretty much all technology out there – poof! A historical form of money throughout millennium – gone.

The World Cannot Do Away With Mining

We are too far advanced and too accustomed to our lifestyles for that to happen. The recruiting team here at JSG is privileged to work with some of the best clients and candidates out there. These companies and men and women of mining are responsible for the comfort in your life and the advancements in our technology. Instead of complaining about how destructive mining is; think about how deconstructed your world would be.

Is there a story out there in there in mining that you would like to see in my next blog? Please reach out to me and let’s talk! I love to hear personal stories and mining history from the mining family out there!

hiring challenges

Hiring Challenges in the Mining Industry

Over the past decade, the mining industry has faced many challenges. But probably one of the most significant challenges employers are facing today is pitfalls in hiring. Sure, every industry is experiencing difficulties finding the talent they need with a near 50-year low unemployment rate and a record-setting quit rate of 2.4 percent. However, the mining industry is having a particularly difficult time finding candidates to fill their jobs – some of which have vacant positions open for months. Here are three hiring challenges the mining industry is struggling within today’s tight market.

Skills gap

There are tens of thousands of skilled trade job openings in the mining industry. Whether it be electricians, I&E technicians, millwrights, or maintenance mechanics, there are not as many people entering careers in these skilled trade fields. In fact, by 2020, approximately 31 million Baby Boomers will retire from skilled trade positions. As a result of this gap, many employers in this industry will continue to struggle to fill their essential skilled trade positions. So, when you do find a candidate with the skillsets your team needs, you will have to offer them competitive compensation to attract (and retain) them to your organization.

Remote communities

Many mining operations are in remote communities with smaller populations. As a result, it can be challenging to find fresh talent to fill your vacant roles in the mining world. Many of the qualified workers in your community already worked for your operation and may not be interested in returning. Since the skills gap keeps growing, you may need to look outside of your local community to find the talent you need. And that means considering offering relocation packages.

If you are genuinely in need of talent, it may be time to offer a relocation package to those talented workers outside of your community. It may be bringing someone in from another part of your state or across the country. Unfortunately, in this tight market, employers often must look outside their local market to source skilled laborers.

Good candidates are a diamond in the rough

Mining professionals don’t sit at a desk and computer all day – they are out in the field working with their hands. Some of these individuals are working second and third shift, and thus, working odd hours. Sometimes, these individuals are working underground or deep in rural America, where they don’t have access to the internet or technology. Therefore, they may be more challenging to reach on a day-to-day basis. It’s more than likely you won’t find these skilled workers on job boards, LinkedIn, or their resumes floating around online.

Mining professionals are difficult to find. If your operation requires some assistance to find these elusive professionals, reach out to Johnson Search Group. Our Mining & Heavy Industrial division specializes in sourcing talented mining professionals throughout the United States. Partner with one of our expert recruiters, and let’s find the talent you need to keep your production fluid.

10 Interesting Facts About The Steel Industry

10 Interesting Facts About The Steel Industry

10 Interesting Facts About The Steel Industry

The NFL season is in full swing, leaving us thinking about the steel industry. While you may be thinking that’s a stretch (see fact #!1), we work to place experienced candidates with historically significant steel clients every day. Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon and sometimes includes other elements. According to Wikipedia, because of it’s high tensile strength and low cost, steel is a major component used in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons.

Here are a few more interesting facts you should know about steel:

1. Many people might not know that the logo on the helmet of the Pittsburgh Steelers helmet is actually the AISI (American Iron and Steel Institute) Steelmark. It was created by U.S. Steel in the 1950s and in 1962 a steel exec suggested the Pittsburgh Steelers use it. The three hypocycloids represent the materials used to make steel: Yellow for coal, orange for iron ore and blue for steel scrap.

2. More than 85% of the iron ore mined in the U.S. is mined in northeastern Minnesota. Nearly all of that passes through the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie annually, connecting Lake Superior to Lake Huron.

3. In 2017, the American Iron and Steel industry accounted for more than $520 billion in economic output. Additionally, it supported nearly 2 million jobs and industry-supported workers earned more than $130 billion in wages and benefits.

4. From national defense to the transportation of the power grid, American produced steel is essential to our national security.

5. Steelmaking using Electric Arc Furnaces accounts for two-thirds of steel production in the U.S. It was introduced in the late 19th century. This method uses electric arcs to melt scrap before the steel is sent to a refining station to finalize the chemistry. Finally, it is sent to the caster to form the final shape.

6. According to the Department of Energy, the United States is recognized as the most energy-efficient of any major steel producing country. Through revolutionary developments and technology, the industry has reduced it’s greenhouse gas emissions by 37% since 1990.

7. AISI is looking at a project to build a plant to pilot Flash Ironmaking technology. In fact, this new technology will increase energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.

8. Each year, more steel is recycled than paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass combined.

9. In one year, the steel industry conserves enough energy through recycling to power Los Angeles for 8 months.

10. There are more than 200 different grades of steel. Some of them are as much as 6 times stronger than the steel in 2009 and 3-4 times stronger than the latest aluminum alloys.

On the hunt for your next great steel employee?

The steel industry makes a huge impact on our everyday lives. We specialize in helping steel companies find the talent they need to run a successful operation. Reach out to me to start a conversation about how we can help your team get the edge up on your competition!

Recycling & It's Impact On Mining & Heavy Industrial

Recycling And The Impact On Mining & Heavy Industrial

Recycling & It's Impact On Mining & Heavy Industrial

Everyone is familiar with recycling. Whether you have a bin at home, reuse your grocery bags, or even just print documents at work double-sided. But today I encourage you to look at the bigger picture. How is recycling impacting the mining and heavy industrial world?

Recycling Nickel

Tesla has recently noted that the global supply of nickel is potentially a limiting factor in growth for battery production. Assuming the majority of my readers are in the United States, what does that mean? Where does the US even get its nickel (Ni)? There has only been one active Ni mine in the US in recent years, with a large amount of the world’s Ni production based in Canada.

There are, however, hundreds of recycling companies that pull valuable materials from used batteries. Every time you recycle a battery, you are preventing a potential environmental hazard from leaking into the environment. Additionally, you could be helping the advancement of one of the most innovative companies of our time.

Speaking to the environmental impact, I work to place candidates with one of the major recyclers in this space. I know firsthand that they stick to the strictest environmental standards, going above and beyond the regulations placed on them. In partnering with them to find top talent, I work directly to find the highest caliber of candidates who not only meet but exceed environmental standards.

Paper Recycling

Another industry I recruit in regularly is papermaking. I think most people can count on one hand the number of handwritten letters they have composed recently, but that doesn’t mean that paper is on the way out! Consider print advertising, packaging for consumables (food), and shipping. When you recycle that box from your favorite online retailer, it’s broken down for the production of more paper.

In addition to reducing the raw fiber materials (trees), you can help reduce the volume it would take in a landfill. When organic material breaks down, it creates gasses, something that landfills have had to learn to manage and utilize. Paper and wood mills alike use waste to generate their own utilities. This further saves a drain on solid-state fuels and natural gas. I worked with a gentleman who was able to generate more recovery power than a primary power generator at a major paper mill.

Additional High-Impact Areas

The list of mining and heavy industrial components impacted by recycling is long. Asphalt is recycled and reused. The fly ash from power generation contributes to the manufacturing of cement. The dust from certain types of steel manufacturing can be recycled to recover materials. I have worked with mining companies that create their own water collection and treatment facilities. They then design beautiful habitats for wildlife. Some of the country’s top engineers and specialists remain on staff to maintain a healthy environment.

For consumers and companies alike, there is plenty of room to make an impact. Whether on the environment, industry, or simply the availability of products you use every day. For employers in the mining & heavy industrial space, finding the best possible talent is not quite so easy. If you have found it challenging to recruit and hire talented candidates who share your passion and commitment to the environment, let’s talk. I can connect you with people who will help you achieve production goals, equipment availability, environmental commitment, or financial control and forecasting. Reach out to me so I can learn how to help your company discover the talent you need to continue making an impact.

coal industry

Open for Discussion: The Fate of the Coal Industry

coal industry

Here we go again; or maybe not? The latest round of bankruptcies and closures came as a shock to many of the miners in the industry. At the beginning of July, Blackjewel Mine abruptly closed two of its operations in Wyoming, immediately displacing 600 workers and filed for emergency bankruptcy. Although some are saying that the mines closed due to poor management, it still has a devastating effect on the industry psyche.

U.S. coal mines were making a resurgence from the pre-2015 coal downturn, fueling feelings of optimism and hope. As a recruiter specializing in the mining industry, I witnessed first-hand, and with a heavy heart, the devastation of the last downturn and the mass exodus of coal miners from the industry. That incredible talent left the mining industry to pursue new careers, with no intention of returning.

The coal industry produces more than just energy

Coal is vital to our world. I personally do not see coal permanently going away, despite the talk. Natural gas has pushed coal out of the power plant business, but they too have their issues. Solar and wind power (green energies) take up too much valuable real estate; both of these are also scrutinized for harming the environment. Nuclear energy, also touted as green energy, has already proven just how much more devastating it can be to the environment; much more so than coal.

The good news is that data predicts global coal will continue to grow into 2022, even though the major players are scaling down. The coal industry shows just how resilient the people of mining are. The Mining team here at JSG is looking for mining professionals. If you are one of these displaced workers or just looking to further your career, contact us! We have dozens of job opportunities in the mining & heavy industrial industry.

skilled labor gap

Skilled Trades Gap in Mining and Heavy Industrial

skilled trades gap

As the year goes on, it’s interesting to see what today’s competitive job market will dictate. While recruiting day in and day out for my mining and heavy industrial clients, I have a relatively diverse blend of job orders. Usually, there are several management positions, always a Mechanical Reliability Engineer and Chemical Process Engineer, then the elusive “Process Control Engineer.” I am typically working on at least one EHS position at all times and a handful of skilled trades: electricians, mechanics, welders, and millwrights. And then there’s always just a completely random technical off-the-wall job order.

The skilled trades gap

This year, I have noticed a common theme with my clients: each one has numerous skilled trades job openings. Mostly electricians and millwrights, with some I&E Techs mixed in there. Needless to say, I have spent the majority of my year filling these roles, and there seems to be no end in sight. But I am not complaining! Clients are moving fast and candidates are getting great new opportunities.

As candidates get more selective about opportunities and hourly rates rise, clients who are not paying top-dollar and have a poor hiring process will continue to lose out. I believe this is due to the lack of candidates with entry-level skilled trades entering the labor market. For example, a senior electrician can demand top dollar – and get it. A recent study estimates that by 2020, nearly 31 million Baby Boomers will retire from skilled trade positions. As a result of this gap, many employers are struggling to fill their essential skilled trade positions.

Let us find your skilled trade candidates

Although I cannot personally solve the labor gap that skills trades face, I can provide a solution to your operation. If your company that is facing the common challenge of not being able to hire skilled trades positions, please get in contact with me. My team and I at Johnson Search Group are successfully sourcing these critical roles in today’s tight job market. And, if you have a background in skilled trades, at any experience level, get connected with me. You will want to hear about the opportunities I am currently working on!


Increased Sustainability in the Corrugated Packaging Industry

corrugated packaging

Environmental consciousness is a buzz word that we hear more and more. And with that, sustainability plays a huge part. In a previous article, I discuss that paper is one of the easiest and most inexpensive consumer products to recycle. In this article, I wanted to take a deeper dive into a big part of the paper industry, corrugated packaging.

We are seeing some trends in the paper industry that illustrate the commitment corrugated packaging companies are making to increase the sustainability of their products and protect the environment through their design, manufacturing, and sourcing.


Recyclable Materials:

The majority of corrugated packaging is comprised of between 70-100% recycled material. This is actually higher than the paper industry as a whole! Great packaging companies throughout the Midwest have been committed to sustainability long before it became mainstream. Green Bay Packaging, for example, “recycles old corrugated containers and mixed paper for reuse in the papermaking process for sustainable savings.” This not only maximizes cost savings for their partners, but it’s also a great use of renewable materials.

Right-Sized Packaging:

How many times have you received a package in the mail and asked yourself, “why did they ship this small item in such a massive box?” Many manufacturers nowadays are encouraging their customers to design smaller, right-sized packaging that reduces material waste.


So, you open that massive box, and you’re inundated with those annoying packing peanuts. Why did they pack a water bottle in a box big enough to hold a flat-screen tv? Who knows? Nowadays, companies are making those packing peanuts out of corn starch, thus making them biodegradable!


Wastewater Management:

From installing rain gardens to feed plants that absorb pollutants, to using a “closed-loop” treatment system, to developing site-specific strategies to improve the quality of stormwater discharge, these are just a few ways companies are successfully reducing the wastewater that enters into the sewer system.

Eco-Friendly Ink:

Over the last 50 years, the industry has made great strides in the advancement of eco-friendly ink. Although significant progress has been made with the introductions of vegetable, soy, and water-based inks, they are still not 100% renewable. However, in 2017, we saw the introduction of algae-based ink, which is renewable and biodegradable.

Energy Conservation:

Corrugated packaging contains a large percentage of recycled components, requiring significantly less energy to manufacture, compared to virgin pulp. Also, the advanced use of heat recovery hoods, steam recovery, and heat exchangers continues to reduce the amount of energy needed in the corrugated packaging industry.


Sustainable Forestry:

Through establishing protected areas, responsible harvesting, improved logging techniques, and proper training, companies are able to meet the demand of their customers while balancing the needs of the environment, wildlife, and forest communities.


With more and more companies creating right-sized packaging for their products, it not only significantly cuts back the amount of material waste, but also their carbon footprint by reducing the number of vehicles required to transport their products.

If you’re in the paper industry, give me a shout!

By 2020, the packaging industry will reach an estimated market value of $1 trillion. And in 2016 alone, the global production of paper and cardboard was 411 million metric tons. The production of paper and cardboard products will only increase as E-commerce continues to grow.

As a result, the need for employers to hire top talent is escalating. If you have a pulp and paper background, especially on the paper machine side, give me a shout! I have several exciting opportunities that you don’t want to miss! Whether you are fresh out of school or you’re an industry vet, reach out to me today to discuss some of these hot positions.

skills gap

Misconceptions Are Powering the Skills Gap

skills gap

I was recently at an event and started discussing my role as a recruiter and today’s labor market. We were talking about some of the positions I regularly recruit for, the industries, and what types of degrees are most beneficial. This tied very well into a number of recent conversations I’ve had with hiring managers on the skills gap. I have been tasked by my clients to find the next generation of workers within the building materials, mining, and the pulp and paper industries.

It was a very interesting turn of events, as I just had conversations with both a major hydraulic fracking company and an industry-leading specialty paper company about some of their struggles. They both expressed concern that young professionals do not seem as interested in gaining a degree towards becoming a mining engineer or entering the paper company to support the industry’s growth.

Misconceptions fuel the skills gap

One of the people I was speaking to at this event made a comment that the mining industry would soon go away, likely within the next ten years. Another mentioned that the paper industry was going to go completely under, and it was good for the trees. We talked about whether these industries were solid career pursuits, and if it was worth getting a degree or if these career paths might just be adding debt they could never escape from. However, these claims are certainly not true.

As a recruiter in the mining and heavy industrial industries, it’s my responsibility to understand these misconceptions. To do my job effectively, I must understand how young professionals feel about my industries and help them develop a better understanding of how these industries are going strong and great career pursuits.

Mining and Heavy Industrial are evolving

The mining and heavy industrial industries are changing. Many of the items in our everyday lives are manufactured from raw materials extracted and processed from a mine. And a solid environmental engineer can help companies to mine more responsibly. Look around you. Your phone, computer, car, bedroom light, and the latest Amazon package are all things that aren’t going anywhere. Additionally, the amount of paper for publication has gone down, yet packaging for online shopping and food has skyrocketed. In other words, misconceptions like the ones detailed above are sometimes preventing young, talented professionals from seeking careers in these industries.

Do a little digging

Choosing to pursue your passion and learn more about the sustainable initiatives companies have in place could change your mind. For example, the Sustainable Forrest Initiative does a great job promoting healthy forests for timber and paper. The funds generated by businesses even subsidize private landowners to maintain the natural property; this ensures the land is responsibly planted and harvested. These same landowners might otherwise decide to sell to make another parking lot. Therefore, don’t let a misconception keep you from looking into a career of any sorts.

Battle the skills gap with a professional

Is the skills gap hurting your recruiting efforts? Don’t fret, you’re not alone. But that doesn’t mean you have to tackle this tight labor market on your own. Partner with me and my talented team. We will help you find the candidates your organization needs and help bridge this skills gap.

5 Mining Tragedies – Not Forgotten

Mining Tragedies

Mining has come a long way with regards to safety. But sadly, we still lose too many of our mining family to tragedies. These men and women of mining put their lives on the line daily. All to provide vital minerals, hard rock, metals, and rare earth metals that have become vital to our lives.

Because I specialize recruiting into mining, I know that safety is synonymous with mining. Some of these disasters were caused by a pure accident; some alleged negligence, and others by safety violations.

This is a somber post, but a very important one to remind us that our lives can change in the blink of an eye.

Here are 5 mining tragedies that the world has not forgotten:

  1. The Vale Tailings Dam Collapse – Brazil

Vale Mining is the world’s largest iron ore producer. They burst into the headlines in January of 2019, with reports of catastrophic failure of one of their tailings dams. 154 people were buried alive in toxic mud and a total of 243 lost their lives, as the sludge flowed 5 miles downhill traveling through neighborhoods and covering farmland. This was the second dam break within three years for Vale. As a result, their stock price plummetted and it set the stage for Brazilian Prosecutors to consider filing criminal charges against them.

  1. Sago Mine Collapse – Sago, WV

On January 2, 2006, the town of Sago, West Virginia was changed forever. On that fateful day, 12 Miners lost their lives when a blast ripped through the mine trapping 13 employees in the 2 Left Parallel Section. The ventilation controls were damaged by the explosion and the men attempted to barricade the No. 3 Face. The incident garnered worldwide attention and became worse when officials at the mine released incorrect information. Subsequently, news outlets reported incorrectly that there were 12 survivors. When in fact, there was one survivor and twelve fatalities.

  1. The Hillcrest Mine – Canada

The town of Hillcrest experienced the world’s third worst mining disaster of the time on June 19, 1914. Unfortunately, 235 men entered the mine that fateful morning and 189 would not return home; about half the workforce. The blast ripped through the mine a little after 9 AM. Only 17 of the 189 men who lost their lives were born in Canada; the remainder were immigrants who were looking to make new lives for themselves and their families. Many of the miners were buried in a mass grave at the Hillcrest Cemetery and 9 days later World War I began. After that, attention quickly shifted from the disaster in Hillcrest.

  1. The Sunshine Mine – Kellogg, ID

Deep in the heart of Silver Valley of Kellogg, ID lies the Sunshine Mine, one of the most prosperous mines in the Silver Valley. On the fated day of May 2, 1972, 173 workers headed out to start work approximately 3,700 feet underground. A few hours into the shift, two employees noticed smoke and shouted out a warning to the other miners. Soon after, the toxic smoke overtook the miners. While many were able to make it out safely, 91 did not.

The small community was devastated at the loss of their friends, family, and neighbors. The cause of the fire was never found. Every year on May 2nd, people gather for the Miner’s Day Ceremony to honor and remember those who lost their lives that fateful day.

  1. Granite Mountain – Butte, MT

On the eve of June 8, 1917, 410 men were underground working their night shift at Granite Mountain. In an unfortunate chain of events, a carbide lamp set fire to an armored power cable, which quickly spread to a flammable oiled fabric. Then, the blaze caught the shaft timbers on fire. As a result, the mine rapidly filled with smoke and gas as the workers scrambled to escape. Out of the 410 men, 247 were able to escape, while sadly 163 perished. In the end, it took 8 days of concentrated efforts to contain the fire and rescue the victims.

The first priority and concern of all in the mining industry must be the health and safety of our most precious resource, the miner. Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969.

The People of Mining have heart and soul. I know, because I talk to them every single day in my line of work. Memorials are to honor the fallen and recognize the risks that these brave men and women make every day. In recognition, Congress has designated December 6th as National Miner’s Day to honor the sacrifices of miners past and present.