Artwork for podcast The Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie
Stacy "Spider" Henson with Azo
8th January 2024 • The Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie • The Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie
00:00:00 00:31:31

Share Episode


Industrial Talk is chatting with Stacy "Spider" Henson, Sr. Field Service Technician at Azo Inc. about “Skilled Trades - Attracting and Retaining.”  The following is a summary of our conversation:
  • Skilled trades and industry professionals. 0:00
    • Spider discusses the skilled trades on Industrial Talk with Scott MacKenzie.
    • Scott MacKenzie discusses Industrial Talk platform for professionals to communicate and create content.
    • Scott MacKenzie invites Stacey (spider) to discuss opportunities in the skilled trades industry.
  • Powder conveyance system for dog food manufacturer. 5:52
    • Speaker 3 discusses their work on a powder conveyance system for Royal Canin in South Dakota, mentioning their previous projects for Hills pet care in Kansas City.
    • Scott MacKenzie and Spider discuss work in the construction industry, with Spider sharing their passion for tours of facilities and Scott expressing excitement about the latest technology and improvements.
  • Engineering, installation, and quality control in pneumatic conveyance systems. 9:32
    • Senior field service technician describes work installing pneumatic conveyance systems in national forests.
    • Spider explains how they manage the installation process for clients, including staging parts and problem-solving any issues that arise.
    • Spider highlights the advantages of using 3D modeling and iPads for visualization during the installation process.
    • Spider explains the process of installing and commissioning a powder transfer system, including installation supervision, checking and tuning the system, and ensuring optimal transfer rates.
    • Scott MacKenzie highlights the challenge of finding skilled individuals to work on complex projects, particularly in the context of resource constraints and the need for specialized tech expertise.
  • Challenges in finding skilled field service technicians. 16:14
    • Spider discusses the challenges of finding field service technicians who can handle both electrical and mechanical work, as well as travel and problem-solving.
    • The speaker notes that it's difficult to train someone in these skills on the job, and that finding someone with the right combination of electrical, industrial, and mechanical knowledge is nearly impossible.
    • Spider shares his experience as an old-school electrician, emphasizing the importance of treating electrical systems as live until proven dead.
    • Spider and Scott MacKenzie discuss the differences between their generation and current electricians, with a focus on the shift towards bubble wrapping and prioritizing safety.
  • Hiring and retaining skilled talent in the industrial sector. 22:09
    • Spider discusses the challenges of finding skilled talent in the marketplace, particularly in industries like electrical and mechanical work.
    • Spider suggests that apprenticeship programs or on-the-job training may be necessary to bridge the knowledge gap in the workforce.
    • Spider discusses their background as an industrial electrician and their desire for a change of pace, mentioning their previous experience with rodeoing and traveling.
    • Spider highlights the importance of finding the right personality type for the job, citing their own enjoyment of the work despite its challenges.
  • Skilled trades and career opportunities. 27:02
    • Spider shares their experience working in the food industry for 30+ years, including seeing the evolution of technology and processes.
    • Spider provides their contact information (cell phone number and email address) for those interested in learning more.
    • Spider Hanson shares insights on skilled trades and how to get more involved in the industry.
Finally, get your exclusive free access to the Industrial Academy and a series on “Why You Need To Podcast” for Greater Success in 2024. All links designed for keeping you current in this rapidly changing Industrial Market. Learn! Grow! Enjoy!


Personal LinkedIn: Company LinkedIn: Company Website:



NEOM Fictiv: Hexagon Palo Alto Networks: Hitachi Vantara: CAP Logistics: Armis: Saviant Consulting: Industrial Marketing Solutions: Industrial Academy: Industrial Dojo: We the 15:


LifterLMS: Get One Month Free for $1 – Active Campaign: Active Campaign Link Social Jukebox:

Industrial Academy (One Month Free Access And One Free License For Future Industrial Leader):

Business Beatitude the Book

Do you desire a more joy-filled, deeply-enduring sense of accomplishment and success? Live your business the way you want to live with the BUSINESS BEATITUDES...The Bridge connecting sacrifice to success. YOU NEED THE BUSINESS BEATITUDES!


Reserve My Copy and My 25% Discount



work, spider, industrial, put, electrician, parts, palo alto networks, world, conversation, solution, equipment, years, learn, nowadays, installation, challenge, teach, pneumatic, people, trenches


tworks solution provides over:


Welcome to the Industrial Talk podcast with Scott Mackenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots. And let's go


all right. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening, wherever you're at Welcome to Industrial Talk. Thank you very much for joining us the number one industrial related podcast in the universe, backed up by data and celebrates industry professionals all around the world. You are bold, you are brave, you dare greatly you innovate. You collaborate, you solve problems, and you make the world a better place. We have a great conversation on the show today. His name is Stacey Henson, but he goes by the name of spider. So don't you're not going to hear me call him Stacy. In the interview, you're going to hear me call them spider. Because that's a cool, cool nickname. And we're going to be talking about the skilled trades. And what does it take to get, you know, to fill that funnel of skilled trade professionals that we need to be successful? Let's get cracking. Spider spiders in the house. Great conversation. And you know what, if you if you have an individual that is nicknamed spider, he would be yet just because he's just got a lot of spunk tillable. There's a lot of real passionate in his heart and brings a tremendous amount of insights and skills to the conversation spiders in the house. I just like saying that. All right. Couple of points of work. It does Real Talk is there for you. Industrial Talk is a platform and ecosystem and expanding ecosystem of industrial professionals, such as yourself that need to well communicate and need to amplify your voice and need to create the content that is necessary to help the industrial community. And that's what Industrial Talk is all about. Just go out to Industrial And you say, Scott, I want to be a part of it. Okay, click let's chat. There's a but since it's less chat, and you'll be talking to me, and then we can just figure out, Okay, let's get you on the podcast. Let's, let's think about getting you in a webcast. Let's do that. Let's expand the conversation. And then let's see about getting you in the LMS. And being an instructor being one of those professional instructors that are out on the LMS. Because the way it sort of works here on an Industrial Talk you got, you've got the podcast, which has, which is great, don't get me wrong, but you can only go so deep in a podcast. And then you got the webcast, which you can go deeper from a content perspective deeper. And they'll be able to do some handouts and things like that. But the LMS you go as deep as that is truly learning management system. It's the industrial Academy. That's where we just you know, take your time, rewind, do it. Do it again, download and learn right now we have a number of courses out there in marketing and sales, business development, leadership, we're getting more for operations, and technology, because technology is a big deal because I always talk about innovation. And technology is a part of that. But it's it's all geared toward you and your success. And that's what's important. We need you to succeed. We need industry to succeed. Because you're that important. You just are and to do that you got to get your your message out there. So go out to Industrial Talk, say, Scott, let's connect let's talk let's have a conversation. And I'm good. It's me. You know, you go on my website. And it's not uncommon for me to get on the instant messaging and be prepared. It's me. Can I help you? Right there cheesy technology right there at Your fingertips. All right. Spiders in the house. A zo is the company. Material Handling is what they do best. They're a leader in a material handling. And this is really a great conversation around the skilled trades and what is expected the opportunities that exist out there. And spider does a great job at the you know, communicating that. So enjoy the conversation with spider. All right, Stacy, welcome to Industrial Talk his he goes by spider so I just had to start out with Stacey now I have to go it by spider. So from this point on, he's spider GET TO KNOW spider. Very good. Well, how you doing?


I'm good. Scott. Thanks for having me.


Now. Thanks for being have have been, you know, and you're up in South Dakota,


currently in South Dakota on a project doing a powder conveyance system for a dog food manufacturer. Putting the season in there.


No kidding. Really? Yes. Pretty cool.


Yeah. Yeah, that's one of the aspects I really like about this job is, is being able to see the new technology and type stuff and answers a lot of questions of how did that happen? Who put who puts that in there? You know,


the first thing that came to mind is like, how do you come up with a flavor profile for a dog to eat with a test market? This has X amount of other flavors in it, and then they liked it. And I don't know how you do that


recipe we've got, they create the recipe and I put the system in and whenever the recipe calls for five different ingredients, we send five different ingredients over scaled up


yeah, in in the amount that is necessary in the proportions that are required to, to know ensure quality. And it's just it's what's the name of the dog food company? Is it somebody that I would know? It's a


Royal Canin company.


Okay, let's just see, I'm already I haven't even asked what you do. Or the or give the later on. And I'm already off on. That's pretty cool.


Yeah, it's, this is my fourth project up here. It's the fourth phase. We just wrapped up another competitor actually Hills pet care in Kansas City. We just finished that project up back in the summertime. And it was basically the same. It's another powder seasoning system for that company.


So it's an expansion, or is it a retro? Like,


Kansas City was a new facility from the ground up?


No kidding, Greenfield?


The current project that I'm on now is we're adding on to an existing plant that they built maybe four or five years ago. So we're just adding on this is the fourth phase of this project. See?


And then again, I'm always thinking about now feedstock. Like, what's the feedstock? We're What do you get that who? Who makes that? Right? Yeah, we're gonna I don't know. I don't know. But I want to know, you


know, my kids, I get two small kids, and we'll go somewhere. And and I'll tell them things that I do and products. And you know, if they see a Hershey chocolate bar, my dad worked at that company that


chocolate Hey, yes. See, my kids just said, whatever. That train left the station long ago.


My kids love it. Have


you? Have you taken them on tours of facilities?


Um, I have not, not had anything close enough to the house that I could get them to it because, you know, most of my work is six to 12 hours away. I do have a couple of customers that's within an hour and a half. But I've not had an opportunity with one of those customers here in the last couple of years to get my kids there. But


because that's what I would give them out somewhere. Yeah, I would give my kids tours of facilities that I was at, and, you know, I'll geek out. They start over getting overwhelmed, but I still geek out about that stuff. You know,


you when you're in the construction world, it doesn't matter where you go, I go to Las Vegas, and I'm just blown away with the craftsmanship and the type of work and the technology that's coming down the pipeline. And you know, you see that stuff when you work in these trades about everybody.


I don't know how you keep up with it. I mean, and it's all an improvement and it's all focused on optimization and quality and it's just better and better and better. See, still haven't had the conversation about who's spider is whose spider give us a breakdown of whose spider is


well. Spider is a 55 year old 33 year master electrician originally from Benton, Kentucky. I'll read that now in Gore Ville, Illinois, Southern Illinois. Alright the age of the Shawnee National Forest. I work for Azo incorporated on a mission It's Tennessee. Now we do pneumatic conveyance. I'm a senior field service technician. So my job consists of installation, supervision, troubleshooting, training. In sometimes even putting stuff together with just the mechanical aspect and electrical aspect of some of the parks that we do install,


you're in the trenches, I'm in the trenches, you're in the trenches, you're not, you're not hovering around from a macro perspective saying, Hey, this is great strategy, you, you actually are in the trenches doing the work. Yeah,


we're out here slaving getting it? Yeah. Yeah, kind of like, we jokingly say, we're kind of like SEAL Team Six, we're the ones that come out, and we take whatever boxes they see in and whatever parts and we make it work, somehow, some way. So


see, again, we're gonna we're gonna have a conversation. But again, I'm I'm a little add action here, just because I've gotten more intrigued with the. So when a when a customer says esos, the provider of our solution, we we've gone through the RFP, we've done our due diligence, and we've selected a so and for handling our material and all that whatever you know, you do, do you put it in,


I do not actually physically put it in. Typically we've got a contractor or the plant has their own contractors that's lined up to do the work. So I'll come in with a set of drawings. And we'll lay it all out and come up with a game plan of where to start with an installation. And then we'll start working our way through pulling the parts, I tried to stage all the parts. So with the construction guys are working on putting the back to putting together a big bag station, then I'll spend a day or two beforehand and try to pull all those parts and have them staged, or when they get ready to do it. I have everything laid out. And all they got to do is pick the parts up and put it together and they don't have to go around looking for anything. It's all there. So that


sort of project manage that. Yes. Yeah. Do you do you in that project management mode? Do you QC it, saying, Yeah, you did it? No, you didn't do that. Right. That


is part of that. Some of that is could be some engineering aspects of problem shooting, because just because it looks good in AutoCAD doesn't necessarily mean that the real world is going to play nice. So there's there's always challenges, there's always hurdles that we've got to jump through and fix and problem solve any issues that come up or get another team that that would tackle it from a deeper aspect. So


where do you get it? Let's say in AutoCAD just you sit there, and you talk to the client, and you're saying it needs to look like this. And here's the drawing. So the everything that you need to have associated, where are those manufactured?


In the new days, I'll say we have, we have the convenience of 3d modeling. Nowadays, we've got iPads that we can take out and you can function with a 3d just as an animation. And that really helps the guys get a picture a visual of what it's supposed to look like when it goes together. And that helps them from the installation phase of you know, whenever they go to piece a piece of equipment together to know what it's supposed to look like. So that's that's the advantages of the things that we do nowadays. And in the old school, we just had maybe two sheets of a drawing a 2d drawing and, and even from my aesthetic, sometimes I would even struggle trying to figure out how that stuff goes together, but


manufactures those parts per the specifications on your AutoCAD. So


I guess from the purchasing side, once the company comes up with an idea, they want to, we want to put in some equipment to transfer products A, B, C, and D and from a rate of however how many pounds down, right, then we'll get together with the engineering team. They'll develop the equipment, engineer with all the rights and so forth and submit the quote, and if we get the quote cut, it's a PIO, then they'll start building all of our equipment in Germany, we we are a German based company. So all of our equipment is built in Germany. Awesome quality of workmanship over there. Most of the time, the stuff that comes in, we just put it together. There's a lot of a lot of times that we have the minor hiccups. They do happen but they're just not that often


anymore. Once you install the the equipment or the specifications for the client. You go in and test the system and then you tweak it to get it to are dialed in the right way. And that's where you you and your team you know delivers the quality


correct so I'll do installation supervision most of the time. Depends on how my services are sold throughout the project. But if I'm there For full time for installation supervision as soon as the electric is done, and then the pneumatics, then we'll go into the checkout and commissioning pay. So then we'll go through and tap in with a computer and make sure that this limit switch works and it's the right address, then check that motor, make sure it rotates the right direction, all the vowels that need to align up to it to do a transfer pneumatically. So we do all of that check out, we'll do the dry runs. And then once the dry runs are complete, I'm ready to put some powder in, we'll start moving some powder slowly, and then we'll tweak those settings in download speeds up until we get to an optimal transfer rate. And that usually matches what the transfer rates that we originally quote quoted, so that that's part of the commissioning phase. And then once we kind of finished up a convention, and we're ready to turn it over to the production team and start running production, and then we'll probably sit and watch it for a couple weeks just to see if there's any tweaks or what Grambling. So


this brings up an interesting challenge. You can't, let's put it this way, a lot of people are dealing with resources and finding the right tech, skilled individuals. And this is a classic example of how you can't automate what you just described. You can't it's, you know, its arms and elbows and all of that stuff, getting into the trenches and doing what needs to happen to ensure that system is operating properly. Now, it might be automated, and but you


still, but still, that that guy that's in the trench, he has to have a tool bag full of talents, you know, to do the position that I'm in, you need to have an electrical background, industrial, you need to know pneumatics, mechanical, you need to know how to problem solve, and, and all of those bells and whistles that come with the trades. And then on the other hand, you need your travel for live and you're going every week, you're out holidays, and anniversaries and you missing the kids ballgames and this kind of stuff, and eat at restaurants every night. But to find and marry those all into one guy is nearly impossible to find that individual anymore. The times have changed, the workforce is changing. You know, we can find electricians we can find mechanics, but do they like to travel to the next stay gone? Do they like to work, you know, a boatload of hours because in this position, I don't have the luxury of of eight to five, you know, I'm, I have to do my work whenever a plan is shut down, or whenever they can give us time to go down. And it could be three o'clock in the morning, Christmas Eve not, you know, we're that we are the people that has to do the stuff that no one else wants to do. And so


with that, with that challenge, you're really trying to find this unicorn, this unicorn that exists out there. And that's, that's, that's a tall order. So what


was a tall order? Like 10 years ago, it's nearly impossible in this day and time.


So how does how does a CIO address that? I mean, because you still need them. You need people, you need individuals, you need the human inner interaction, how do you how do you approach that? Do you? Do you say, Hey, we cannot


stop. It's a nonstop issue. So I've been with AES over 17 years, and we are constantly trying to find the next field service guy, it's nonstop. Yeah. So you know, there's, there's a few out there. And, you know, they may jump on board. And sometimes they laugh, sometimes they don't sometimes it's really not their cup of tea, which is okay. But yeah, that that's getting to be a harder task to find an individual to do this type of work.


But you could you theoretically, find the individual that's willing to travel and train the other side. Well, that's kind of, but


it's hard to teach. It's hard to teach a guy to be an industrial electrician out here on the road, trying to do this type of work, he really needs to have that kind of background, he needs to have that kind of knowledge and how to how to already rig switch gear and run a fork truck and lift stuff up and how to, you know, do all that stuff and do it safely. is another thing you know, and that brings on a whole nother chat in safe and then trying to do this job as well. You know, I'm an old school guy I came through the safety wasn't as big a concern as it is nowadays. And, and I believe that, that that type of training is essential to know how to work in unsafe environments but safely. Meaning you know, nowadays we have arc flash protection and we're supposed to be suited up with the goggles and the helmet. If you're going to open an electrical cabinet, so now we're teaching today's electricians, that subconsciously, that panel is already dead, you know, you're gonna open it up, you're gonna go in and work, it's dead. I come from a world, you open it up, you treat it live until you know otherwise. And I don't know that we're teaching those kinds of talents anymore about treating everything as it is a hazard, you know, when you start given the safeties, and if you're going to work on it, you don't have to, if as long as it's dead, but yeah, you


can, you can theoretically bubble wrap everything. I mean, it's just you got to pass a lineman, you know, you're climbing towers, and you, you understood the dangerous and that's a Don't touch. And that, you know, and and you just knew it, and we didn't have people just falling out of the sky off the towers.


I think it is a big part of society today is everything is just kind of bubble wrapped, and people's feelings, and you know, all of that jazz, but it Luckily, I was fortunate enough to come through a time when I got to work with the old timers from the old school days. You


don't you had to you had to drink black coffee. Yeah. Cream and that, you know,


I never did smoke. But you know, I work around a ton of guys that used to smoke the non filtered Camel cigarettes when I worked in the river industry, you know, and I picked up language and habits that were not very good. So it's never good times.


Yeah, it's easy. I have the same fond memories of the, of the individuals that I worked with as a lineman. Yeah, they yelled at me, because I deserved it. Yes,


yeah. That needs to happen. You know, when you're out here, and you're trying to tiptoe. You don't want to get in trouble for hurting somebody's feelings. But, you know, when you come through the world that I came through in those years, you needed to be yelled at. That's, that's an attention getter. And you don't forget those lessons when you have to pay that price, you know? So I was fortunate enough to come through the time that I did. Yeah.


So what do you do? What how do you address the realities that exist out there in the marketplace? For skilled talent. I mean, what I mean, outside of the fact that you never stop looking, you know, just, it's, it's like our analogy of the washing machine, you just buy parts, you just put them on the, the shelf, because that that washing machine is gonna break, eventually, you just have an inventory, you just keep


it, it's a constant, it's a constant challenge looking for the next gap. Or the next person, I'll say, you know, nowadays, I work around females that are just as qualified as any guy. And there's no reason that I'm not doing anything that a female couldn't do. I mean, most of ways as much as I do, maybe even a little more on some cases, but it's not strenuous work. But it's work that that takes a little brain thought, some problems. And you need to have some electrical background, mechanical background in order to figure out how things work or why it's not working. So do you guys?


Yeah, do you ever consider an apprentice program like, you know, come work with spider and let them yell at you for a little while,


I think they have entertained that idea. Again, it's, this is the type of job you really need to know that stuff coming into it, like the industrial side, or the like, you know, electrical or mechanical, that stuff they don't teach in college, you know, you can go to school to learn how to bend a piece of conduit or realize that that's too many wires to go in a conduit, you know, there's things that only the jobs that can teach. And it's best to have that background coming into this now, one of these days, and I am afraid that these days are coming with the type of workforce and the type of people that's in the workforce are these coming into it. We're going to have to adapt to a to a degree I think of the knowledge base and either start teaching it ourselves or hoping the next guy or you know, or we're picking employees, it's going to be on the up in years, you know, we might have to be 50 year plus people as opposed to somebody that's in their mid to late 20s. You know, you'd love to find those guys and you know, you can teach them it's one thing to know about electrical, mechanical and all that. But there's a whole nother world when you get into my company equipment, the Azo equipment on this specific types of equipment and how to pneumatic conveyance and troubleshooting pneumatic conveyance, you know, that's, I didn't learn that as being electrician. I had to learn that when I went to work for AES though, so there's just a ton of stuff that you need to know Steve's


like there's a portfolio approach of finding the right people. Yeah, I mean, you've got the the technical colleges that are teaching something, right Technical College, and they're there, there's a pool there that probably has a desire to learn more. And then you talk about the apprenticeship program, if you had something doesn't have to be big, you know, it could be something. And then finally, you know, the approach of just constantly looking just here, there's a new person, let me stick them on the shelf. Yeah, we'll use them. That's great. That type of thing?


Well, currently, we've got four Field Service Guys. And we're always on the job, sat listening to the next electrician that's ready for a change or see the world. So we're not opposed to trying to track down somebody else and maybe offer them a better position. Otherwise,


cannibalize your customers a little bit. Electrician there.


d from that back in the early:


Yeah. All right. All right, I hear you spider and if the name like spider, of course you're writing Broncos, or whatever you're doing. You have to it's it's I think it's a law. It shouldn't be a business should be it should like, if you name your name, spider, you need to be writing Broncos. Yeah, if I could say that. But no, I agree with you. But that's a challenge. But today's is the kind of company that can attract top talent just because we've got people like you and others within ASIO. That makes sense. I mean,


yeah, it's it's, it really is an awesome job. It's a good living, it's, it's a good package. I get to work one of the parks. For me, I feel like it's a part. But one of the big parts for me is, is I get to work with the newest technology and stuff that's in my mind. And not only do I get to work with my stuff, but even on this job site, I'm around probably 20 other different vendors that are doing the same thing that I do in their field, they've got the new technology. So I get to see the new canners in the new process of how they sterilize the cans, and the mix. And the whenever they bring the frozen meat in to mix it up for the dog food, I get to see that process and how that's transpired throughout the years because I have been in this business in the food industry for 30 plus years. So I've seen a lot of things in the food industry and it's really evolved. So I was cool. That's really interesting to


see. I could see like, how it works or what's that? Yeah, how it works. lifestyle I could, if I could make money just traveling around and seeing how things work. Well, I'd be in my element. Absolutely. Yeah. So fun. Okay, so somebody's listening to you. They're saying, I like what spider saying. How does somebody get a hold of the spider?




Do you do LinkedIn?


I do do LinkedIn kinda I haven't dug too deep into this you do page in the resume list at the bottom of all my accomplishments and so forth but I don't do a lot with that.


Okay. All right listeners. His name is Spider aka Stacey know, his name is Stacey aka spider that's the way it's supposed to roll off and you need to reach out to him if you have any interest in having a conversation with spider I highly recommend great company so great individuals like spider working for the company. So make it happen, Captain reach out. It'll all be out. They're on Industrial Talk. So fear not, you'll be able to get a hold of Stacey. You were wonderful. Thanks, guys. Thank you spider appreciate the time and energy and effort. Yeah, it was a lot of fun. All right, let's do this. We're gonna wrap it up on the other side. So stay tuned, we will be right back.


You're listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network.


All right, Spider Hanson. Did I tell you, he delivered? He delivered on on the topic of skilled trade? And how do we how do we get them more involved? What do we do? How do we fill that funnel solutions? And Yan has, as you could tell, it's a challenge. But he's up to the task. ASIO is the company material handling. And I highly encourage you to say that really spoke to me, reach out, get a hold of spider, figure that out. Because there's great opportunities that exist out there. It does real talk is that platform, that platform that needs you, to amplify your voice create that opportunity for you to create and to be successful going forward. That's all we do. That's what we're all about. We want you to succeed. Engage with me go out to Industrial and say let's talk I'm there. That's me to be talking to me. Be bold, be brave dare greatly hanging out with spider changed the world. We're gonna have another great conversation shortly on Industrial Talk, so stay tuned.



More from YouTube