At some point, a mining node aggregates several dozen or hundred transaction requests into a potential block, in a way that maximizes the transaction fees they earn while still staying under the block gas limit. The mining node then:
a) Verifies the validity of each transaction request (i.e. no one is trying to transfer ether out of an account they haven’t produced a signature for, the request is not malformed, etc.), and then executes the code of the request, altering the state of their local copy of the EVM. The miner awards the transaction fee for each such transaction request to their own account. b) Begins the process of producing the Proof-of-Work “certificate of legitimacy” for the potential block, once all transaction requests in the block have been verified and executed on the local EVM copy.