Gate Dispatch

The Top 10 Business Risks Facing Mining & Metals

Posted by Abby Meister on Jul 21, 2015 1:31:00 PM


With an extended period of lower and volatile commodity prices globally, the mining and metals sector is currently going through a "super correction" to the super-cycle, resulting in unparalleled impacts on earnings, balance sheets, and investor perceptions for the sector. Understandably, mining and metals companies are more focused on their margin, cash flow, and capital returns than anything else right now. Though steps to recovery were set into motion in the past few years with mine closures and major capex reductions, it would be premature to say that the majority of mining and metals companies are free to take the risks that they would have during the “production at any cost” boom years. From the Ernst & Young paper, the “Business risks facing mining and metals 2015-2016”, we highlight the first five of the Top 10 Business Risks Facing Mining and Metals.

1. Switch to Growth

In the mining and metals sector, most companies are in a short-term mindset, focused on consolidation and capital returns in a low-growth environment. According to Ernst & Young the time to invest in future growth is now, though most companies are finding it hard to make that switch. Whether building or buying, preparation and execution are critical to prepare for the future upswing.

2. Productivity Improvement

Productivity improvement is always vital to survival for any industry and while there have been steps in the right direction, there’s still room for significant changes in the mining and metals industry. Innovation and productivity go hand in hand and to the early adopters, productivity has proven time and again to give a competitive edge. It’s important to keep in mind that productivity needs to remain a priority - even when commodity prices improve.20150821_-_Risks

3. Access to Capital

With the cyclical downturn, fundraising options for the mining and metals industry have been slim at best. Market conditions have brought about the rise of alternative sources of financing for the mid-tier and junior companies in the industry, but those sources generally bring with them their own set of complexity, costs and risks. At this point, Ernst & Young believe it is critical to maintain a long-term strategic focus of project fundraising (rather than concentrating on short-term funding), which can be achieved through preparation, knowledge, risk mitigation, and market awareness.

4. Resource Nationalism

The fight against corruption in the mining and metals industry is going strong and, along with the sentiment that companies are still not paying their “fair share” to host nations, has resulted in new transparency laws requiring companies to start reporting taxes and other government payments. Organizations should be taking advantage of these reports to truly show the value they are adding back into the host nations. 

5. Social License to Operate

To maintain SLTO there are a complex array of relationships that must be negotiated. Recently this risk has increased under the burden of tougher global economic conditions. With the huge investments put into operations at stake, continued engagement, collaboration, and communication with all of these stake holders is imperative.


If you would like to check out the remaining top five business risks (Price and Currency Volatility, Capital Projects Execution Risk, Access to Energy, Cybersecurity, and Innovation [new]) and the rest of the Ernst & Young paper that also goes into the top ten below-the-radar risks, you can find the link here.


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Topics: Industry News

LeRoy Hagenbuch and Danette Swank interviewed by Dick Smith of Playmakers Radio Show

Posted by Josh Swank on Jun 25, 2015 11:59:00 AM

In early June, Dick Smith, the host of "Playmakers Radio Show" sat down with Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc. co-founder and Chief-Engineer LeRoy Hagenbuch and his daughter, PHIL's current President, Danette Swank to discuss the company, sucession, and more.




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Topics: Podcast

Danette Swank Receives STEP Award

Posted by Abby Meister on Apr 16, 2015 10:00:00 AM

On March 26, our president, Danette Swank, received the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Award from The Manufacturing Institute. A total of 130 women were recipients of the award that represents the honorees' leadership and accomplishments in the manufacturing industry.

The STEP Awards are a part of The Manufacturing Institute's larger STEP Ahead Initiative, which promotes the role of women in the manufacturing industry.

"These 130 women are the faces of exciting careers in manufacturing," said Jennifer McNelly, president of The Manufacturing Institute (pictured below with Danette). "We chose to honor these women because they each made significant achievements in manufacturing through positive impact on their company and the industry as a whole."


Photo by David Bhorer / National Assoc. of Manufacturers

"Being an honoree at the 3rd annual STEP Ahead Awards was such a wonderful experience," said Danette. "To be in the midst of 129 other female manufacturing professionals was very inspiring. It opened my eyes to the ways I can help others in my community and the industries I'm involved in to be aware of the many solid career paths manufacturing can take someone. I am truly grateful for this opportunity and honor."

We are extremely proud of all that Danette has accomplished here at PHIL and look forward to seeing what the future holds.

Congratulations, Danette!

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Topics: Danette Swank

Top 4 Ways an Engineer In Training Can Grow Professionally Working under a P.E.

Posted by Luke Tolley on Mar 5, 2015 11:59:06 AM

PHIL Engineering provides the DNA that makes every Philippi-Hagenbuch product unique. Based on 46 years of product research and development, coupled with PHIL standards, an engineer is able to thrive at PHIL from an exploratory standpoint, while learning and developing their skills by working with a talented Professional Engineer (PE).


Below are four of the ways an engineer can grow professionally at PHIL:

Setting Goals

An individual is able to achieve a lot in a career. Working under a Professional Engineer, especially one with passion and experience, helps an engineer in training (EIT) to see what can be accomplished in a career.  A young engineer should set lofty goals – short, medium, and long term – and then strive toward them.


Discipline and thoroughness of an individual’s work can be practiced at any point in one’s career, but engineering experience can only come with time.  Working under a PE helps provide a knowledge base to answer questions.  A seasoned PE has a careers worth of experience and having the ability to ask questions to one is very beneficial.   By understanding and absorbing the answers, an engineer in training has the opportunity to rapidly advance his/her expertise.

People and Business Skills

College is great for teaching engineers the math, physics, and science needed to receive a degree, but it often fails to prepare engineers for the social and business skills necessary for the job.  Attending business meetings with a PE aids an EIT in addressing questions that may arise from clients and prospective clients.  It is an engineer’s responsibility to know every single component of their design and be able to justify even the smallest parts.


The code of ethics for the National Society of Professional Engineers states that “Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public” and “Perform services only in areas of their competence.” By being mentored under a Professional Engineer, an EIT is reassured that they are learning the safest practices and are receiving accurate knowledge.


For information on engineering careers available at Philippi-Hagenbuch, click here.

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Topics: Employment, Engineering, PHIL Employment

3 Reasons You Should Be Packing For AGG1 2015

Posted by Abby Meister on Feb 12, 2015 10:00:00 AM

We’ve come up to the trade show time of year again and AGG1 Aggregates & Academy 2015 and the co-located World of Asphalt Conference & Show are right around the corner. Obviously, the best reason for heading to AGG1 2015 would be to see us (duh), but for those of you who aren’t convinced that seeing our smiling faces is enough of a reason to attend AGG1 2015, we’ve thought up the top 3 reasons your person should be located in the Baltimore Convention Center when March 17-19 rolls around.


A snapshot from AGG1 2013.

3. Keeping Up with the Cutting Edge

Trade shows, like World of Asphalt and AGG1, are great for letting you see all the new ideas and technologies that have been happening throughout your industry in one location. It might not be difficult to keep up on a few key players in the industry for a year or two, but trying to keep track of every new innovation in the industry can be difficult. With 400 exhibitors, AGG1 2015 will have the leading aggregates and asphalt equipment manufacturers and suppliers in one location for three days! As the AGG1 website says, “It’s an unprecedented opportunity for you to experience all that is new in technology and equipment under one roof!” Amen to that.

2. Academic, my dear Watson

The AGG1 Aggregates Academy & Expo title doesn’t have ‘academy’ in it just to make the name of the show seem learned, AGG1 has great learning opportunities for attendees. AGG1 Academy will feature 48 educational sessions hosted by professionals from every aspect of the aggregates industry. The 48 sessions are separated into five main categories: Operations & Production; Environment, Safety & Health; Automation, Tech & Software; Leadership; and Business Management. An opportunity to join the Bluegrass Materials Quarry Tour to visit the quarry that has been in operation for more than 150 years and provided stone for the Washington Monument will also be available on March 16th.

1. Plug into the Network

Thousands of people attend AGG1 – correction, thousands of industry leading professionals attend AGG1, the aggregates industry’s leading exposition and educational event. The AGG1 Aggregates Academy and Expo co-located with World of Asphalt is the best place for anyone in the aggregates industry to expand their network of contacts and potential suppliers and clients. AGG1 and World of Asphalt draw a domestic and international audience of professionals that run in the thousands, making it ideal for expanding your network of people.

So there you have it. If seeing all of us from PHIL wasn't enough to convince you to start packing for 2015 AGG1 Aggregates Academy and Expo, our top three reasons should definitely convince you to start making your packing list. We can't wait to see you in Baltimore on St. Paddy's Day!


Got questions? Comments?? Feel free to leave us a comment below, or contact us through social media on Facebook or Twitter!



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Topics: AGG1 2015

3 Easy Ways Your Resolutions Can Set You Up For Success

Posted by Abby Meister on Jan 2, 2015 11:00:00 AM

It's that time of year again - and no, I don't mean Bowl season. It's time to set some resolutions for the New Year! Wahoo! From my own observation and personal experience, New Year's Resolutions are considered a blow-off goals that usually gets shuffled aside pretty quickly. If you find it hard to achieve the resolutions you set at the beginning of each year, don't worry, you're not alone. According to Harvard social phycologist, Amy Cuddy, we break our resolutions because we're setting ourselves up for failure. Here are three simple ways to make sure your resolutions are setting you up for success!



One common issue that can keep us from successfully stick to our resolutions is setting so many resolutions it would be impossible to be able to stick to all of them. The best course of action for successful resolution setting is to set a small number of goals and stick to those. Another goal can always be added on when one is achieved.


Vague goals leave room for loopholes and procrastination - at least they have in my experience. A review in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that success is more likely when your goal is specific. Make your resolutions concise and actionable and your more likely to stick with them.


Probably the biggest reason New Year's Resolutions fail is because the goals being set are not realistic. Setting a goal to lose 20 lbs. in a day is probably not going to happen - especially not during the holidays. Amy Cuddy points out that "we're really bad at setting reasonable goals." Setting a reasonable goal - one that can actually be accomplished in a timely and healthy manner - will definitely make it easier to stick to your resolutions!

So there you have it. Three simple ways to set yourself up for success with your New Year's Resolutions. No longer will our resolutions be a "To Do" List for the first week in January. Go forth and set goals - and have a successful 2015! Happy New Year!!

 Do you have any questions for us? Do you have a specific topic you want to know about?? Drop us a note - in the comments area, on our Facebook page (Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc.), or on Twitter (@PHILsystems). We'd love to hear from you!

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Topics: Current Events, Resolutions, New Year

Equipment Decisions that Decrease Carryback

Posted by Abby Meister on Nov 13, 2014 7:46:00 AM

Whether it's time spent cleaning out the bodies of off-highway haul trucks, or bodies that aren't reaching their full capacity potential on each load, carryback costs mining operations around the world millions of dollars in lost opportunities each year. Now, washing your hands of all sticky materials you haul in favor of new non-sticky materials is neither a viable option nor very practical. The good news is, there are ways to cut-down on the carryback and time spent scraping out the bodies! The right equipment can be the difference in millions of dollars in lost opportunities or millions of dollars in your operation's pocket. Here's are some things to consider when making a decision on equipment for operations hauling sticky or homogenous materials.


Trying to decide on a body for a haul truck in an operation where sticky materials are being hauled can be one giant haul-truck sized headache. Not all bodies are created equal, which is especially true in operations with highly homogenous materials. Customized bodies for your operation are an option to consider wisely. With a body engineered specifically for the sticky materials in your operation, the walls of the body could be tapered with an outward angle to help the sticky material move out of the body, rather than get stuck.

Rear Eject Bodies are ideal for sticky material that clings to the off-highway haul truck and begins building up. The ejector blade pushes the hauled material out of the body, pushing out even the most adhesive of the homogenous materials. Rear Eject Bodies are unique in that they are useful in the most difficult of operations. Low overhead clearance, operating in areas without stable or consistent ground footings, sticky materials, hilly terrain - all of these are applications where a Rear Eject Body excell.


Nemesis to many an operation: Carryback 


Additions to your existing equipment can also help combat hard to get out materials. Since most carryback starts building up where the walls intersect and cohesive material can cline on several surfaces at once , hydrophobic steel lining problem areas (like corners) can cut down on the amount of material that sticks to the walls without compromising the capacity of the body

Load Ejectors are another addition you can make to an existing body. Load Ejectors are a simple, mechanical way to minimize material sticking to the front slope and floor within truck bodies. In the dump cycle, the Load Ejector pulls away from the body floor, hanging vertically or nearly vertically, to dislodge sticky material. Load Ejectors can also be used in conjunction with Tailgates and Sideboards boost productivity even farther.

Carryback is a problem that persists in mining operations worldwide, but the right equipment decisions for your operation can definitely cut down on the sticky materials clinging to your off-highway truck bodies. Be it a special body engineered for your specific operation, or the equipment you can add to your existing off-highway haul truck bodies, these options can save your operation many lost opportunities.

Download Tailgate Literature

 Do you have questions for us? Do you have a specific topic you want to know about?? If you do, drop us a note in the comments area, dfon our Facebook page (Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc.) or on Twitter (@PHILsystems). We'd love to hear from you

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Topics: HiVol(R) Bodies, Off-Highway Truck Body, Rear Eject, Load Ejector, Tailgates, Sideboards, Carryback, Customized Bodies, Hydrophobic Steel, Rear Eject Bodies

Top 5 Reasons We Love Coming to Work

Posted by Abby Meister on Nov 10, 2014 7:43:00 AM

Sure – we can tell you over and over that PHIL is an awesome place to work, with great benefits and great people: Do we offer 401(k)? Of course. Have Paid Time Off? You bet. Can someone grow their skill set with us? We wouldn’t want it any other way.

But what about the stuff you wouldn’t think to even ask about in an interview? The kind of stuff that sets us apart from the other guys? Well that’s a long list, but here are just the Top 5 Reasons We Love Coming to Work:

1. PHIL is Family Owned

Working for a family-owned company has always been more desirable to me than working for a big corporation. I’ve worked for both ends, and the middle, of the spectrum, and the smaller family-owned environment takes the cake with its family-friendly and flexible environment. The last thing you are at PHIL is a number; we feel cared for when the Co-Founder and President not only know our name and our responsibilities, but our interests and families. Human Resources runs a monthly associate newsletter that includes pictures and stories of recent events, spotlights on new associates, dates of upcoming events, service anniversaries, wedding anniversaries, and birthdays- even of our spouses and children. Heck, the kids of PHIL even get birthday cards each year with a special gift certificate!



2. Tight-Knit Group of Associates

Considering the family-owned aspect, it’s not really all that shocking that the associates here are a very tight-knit bunch.  We celebrate holidays and employment anniversaries together and have fun parties. I care about my fellow associates more than I do my cousin Jake! (To be fair, Jake did tell me that I had a boy haircut, the jerk!) We operate lean to avoid lay-offs and downsizing in the ever changing economy, which means we also make a group effort to pitch in and help out wherever needed.

3. Opportunities to Grow

Within a lean organization, each associate’s position encompasses a lot of responsibility and provides a unique opportunity for them to truly define their role and allow them to take the reins in developing and improving their position and department. This not only expands our skill set, but allows PHIL to continue to foster an environment of learning so that our associates don’t become stagnant and bored in their roles. We can cross-train and take on a more diverse role as we go.


4. Comparative to Working for “Global Leader”

But we still have the same regular advantages of working for the big guys. Competitive wages are offered along with excellent, affordable health insurance with many options. Each fulltime associate is given a dental, vision, and hearing fund. Paid time off is provided for holidays, jury duty, bereavement, vacations, personal days, and sick time. A 401(K) plan and profit-sharing are offered to help with retirement. PHIL also provides an employee assistance program to help associates cope with life issues and provide free counseling. We have travel insurance, life insurance, short term and long term disability, and a flexible spending account. We offer AFLAC, identity protection, and prepaid legal services. Clearly, working at the family-owned PHIL doesn’t mean you have to give up all the perks of working for a “global leader”.

5. Unique Benefits

The absolute best benefit we have at PHIL, is the milestone reward program. To honor an associate’s commitment to PHIL, every ten years you work with us, the Company pays for FORTY extra vacation hours outside of the vacation hours you already get. PHIL also provides you with a bonus of $1,000 for travel expenses, PLUS a wee at a timeshare of your choosing anywhere in the work, with MORE money as an anniversary bonus. Think that’s awesome?? We also have a ping pong table. BOOM.


We love where we work and we think you would too! To keep up on what positions PHIL is currently looking to fill, take a look at our job openings online. Follow the links to the job descriptions and see if you think you’d be a good fit for those positions. We can’t wait to hear from you!


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Topics: Employment

Happy Anniversary PHIL!

Posted by Abby Meister on Nov 4, 2014 7:39:00 AM

Today is the day that PHIL turns 45 and celebrates 45 years of innovation and excellence! Many things have changed over the course of nearly a half-century, but what hasn't changed is our devotion to creating quality products that set industry safety standards while outlasting the competition. How did PHIL begin, you wonder? Here's the inside scoop:

Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc. started in the basement of LeRoy and Pat Hagenbuch's home after being founded by LeRoy and his father-in-law L.B. (Phil) Philippi. Phil had worked many years selling off-highway trucks through various dealers and brands before retiring through Caterpillar. During his career, PHIL had come up with the idea for tailgates in order to help customers get more our of their trucks (more on this story Thursday!).


The very first PHIL office started here November 4, 1969!

Meanwhile, while LeRoy was serving in the US Army, he and Pat were married. Right around the time Phil was retiring from Caterpillar, LeRoy was leaving the army and they decided it was a good time to start their own business designing and building equipment for off-highway trucks. From there PHIL grew from simply making tailgates to making custom bodies, water tanks, rear ejects, and more!

As with any business for any stretch of time, PHIL has had it's share ups and downs, mainly in line with the economy. However, through good times and not so good times the quality of our products and our desire to help customers create a solution for their operation has not wavered. It's been 45 awesome years, and we're proud to just be getting started!


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Topics: Company Events

Why Your Operation Needs a Pink PHIL Tailgate

Posted by Abby Meister on Oct 21, 2014 9:30:00 AM

Tailgates are a pretty much the caped crusaders of any industry that uses off-highway haul trucks. You bring them into your operation and suddenly they're saving the day in more ways than you could have imagined whether it's through increased capacity or a reduction of operation-wide maintenance. We've discussed the virtues of the PHIL Autogate® Tailgate several times before, so you already know how a tailgate can benefit your operation.

We've also talked about the PHIL Pink Tailgate Initiative and our partnership with Susan G. Komen® in the fight against breast cancer. The Pink Tailgate Initiative started in July 2014 and will run through December 2014. Anyone who purchases a tailgate has the option to participate and have 5% of the sale go to Susan G. Komen to help in the fight against cancer. Since we're halfway through National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), here are the two best reasons (in our opinion) to opt into the PHIL Pink Tailgate Initiative.


"What is is going to cost me?" is always a big concern when donating through a purchase, and in most situations you do end up paying an additional amount over your intitial purchase price. That is not true with the PHIL Pink Tailgate Initiative. Participating doesn't cost you any more than you were already planning to spend. This has to be the best donation situation you could have. Your operation already needs a tailgate, you're already purchasing one. Opting to go pink doesn't change the price of the tailgate(s) you're purchasing. 5% of the sale gets donated to Susan G. Komen Memorial Fund, which provides funding for breast cancer research, community health outreach, advocacy, and awareness and preventative programs. Today, Komen has invested more than $2.5 billion in the fight against breast cancer in more than 30 countries. While that number is both astounding and amazing, we want to help - and to do that we need you to opt in!



1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, making breast cancer the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women - and the second leading cause of death in women. While not as prevalent in men, 2,150 men are estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer as well. Susan G. Komen has been working tirelessly since 1982 to increase research funding and prevention awareness and every little bit helps. Currently, there are over 3 million breast cancer survivors alive in the United States. That's 3 million lives funding from Susan G. Komen has saved. Continuing that legacy is as easy as opting into PHIL's Pink Tailgate Initiative.

Bonus Reason:

You never know when brownie points can come in handy, so let's take a moment to consider all the brownie points you could get with your mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, granddaughters, nieces, female cousins and coworkers if they know about your pink tailgate and the action your operation took to fight breast cancer and spread awareness. You'd be in brownie points for years to come!

Thirty-two years ago when Susan G. Komen began, breast cancer was hardly acknowledged and most women diagnosed with breast cancer suffered in silence because they'd caught the cancer too late. Most women didn't even know what to watch out for and when to go to the doctor because the subject of breast cancer was considered taboo. Fast forward to 2014 and the story is entirely different. Awareness of preventative measures is now known and accessed by women in over 30 all thanks to the efforts of the Komen foundation. 

All that being said, there are over 100 countries that Susan G. Komen could spread awareness and preventative measures into. That's over 100 countries that we have the opportunity help with the PHIL Pink Tailgate Initiative and our partnership with Susan G. Komen. Help us out and opt in to the Pink Tailgate Initiative!

Download Tailgate Literature

 Do you have questions for us? Is there a specific topic you want to know about, or would like to hear our thoughts on?? Drop us a note in the comments section, message use on Facebook (Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc.) or on Twitter (@PHILsystems). We can't wait to hear from you!

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Topics: Autogate, PHILanthropy, Susan G. Komen, Pink Tailgate, Pink Initiative, Tailgates

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