Choice One Engineering | Choice Mindsets
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Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

Craig Eley:
“They weren’t this mean at ODOT.”

Josh Craig:
“Come to think of it, they weren’t this mean at INDOT, either.”

It happens every year: a new Choice One employee assumes we’re joking about the annual Signing of the Christmas Cards. Since Craig and Josh were hired after last year’s Signing, it’s clear these two former Department of Transportation employees didn’t have to sign holiday cards while working for their states’ DOTs. It’s also clear that we waited until now to tell them that we hand sign every single card, every single year. That’s where said “meanness” may have been pointed out…

Each year there is the initial hesitation that comes with signing hundreds of cards, but then we actually get started. First, we block out Craig Eley’s whining. Then we get in a groove–chatting, laughing, and enjoying the holiday spirit. Heck, Brian Barhorst may have even been dancing in his chair this year. (Hey, we have to celebrate getting engi-nerds to show spirit for anything other than traffic counts, storm calcs, and The Big Bang Theory).

Someone inevitably signs in the wrong place. One of our lefties ends up smudging a signature (Caray claims she’s left-footed, but that’s no excuse for right-handed smudges). And somehow after you sign your name 700 times, it starts to look misspelled. Thankfully we have enough Jeffs, Mikes, Nicks, Brians, Craigs, etc., that we can double check each other’s work. 700 times.

P.S. Strategically, new engineer Casey Heitkamp starts at Choice One on December 28. Don’t tell her about the cards yet, ok everyone?

Kaye: “I could use someone to help build my patio. Mike, are you for hire?”
Mike Sovinski: “Nah, I’m more into watching OTHER people work.”

If you don’t recognize Choice One’s Mike Sovinski in the photo (in a stylin’ laser tag vest, since you asked), it might be because he rarely physically comes to work in the Sidney, Loveland, or Portland offices like the rest of us. Mike is one of our resident project representatives. He literally watches other people work and then documents that work to ensure quality and conformance with the construction plans and specifications.

Don’t be fooled, watching others work isn’t as easy as it sounds. While one might imagine Mike kicked back in a lawn chair, sipping lemonade, watching others toil in the heat, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, Mike is “in the trenches,” seeing a project come together, helping the contractor with urgent questions, considering things from the project owner’s point of view, and, as always, being a helpful, happy guy.

Indeed, Mike is so good at watching the beauty of a well-laid plan come together he moonlights as a flower deliveryman for his wife’s business and watches other’s delight in his beautiful deliveries. Sheesh, does this guy’s eyes ever get tired?! We’ll let Mike tell us what he enjoys watching more of: butterfly valves or butterfly flowers.

Matt Hoying:
“Did you have Schmidty review the plans?”
Mike Goettemoeller:
“Yeah, and he Schmidty’d all over them.”

“Googled.” “Skyped.” “FedExed.” When your name becomes a verb, you know you’ve made your mark. Case and point: Brian Schimdt, whose detailed, in-house plan reviews chock full of mark-ups have become a verb. To “Schmidty” something is to review drawings thoroughly, and heavily question, correct, and/or suggest revisions that produce a better project.

This leads us to wonder what it might mean someday if “Choice One” became a verb. Perhaps it could mean “always choose green,” as in “When Kaye went shopping for new running shoes, she Choice Oned it and bought the green and purple pair.” Or maybe “to always focus on the delights of pizza,” as in “Andy was impressed by the variety at the buffet. Despite the selection, he was happy to Choice One it and chose pepperoni pizza.” Or, finally, it might mean “to do what you can to make someone else’s day better,” as in “Tony wasn’t keen on taking the Mindset photo, but he Choice Oned it and posed anyhow.”

You may not be able to see it in the photo above, but half of the text in the pictured plans are Brian’s red notes, carefully inserted in the PDF to send back to the designer in one of our three offices. Come to think of it, if Brian would make his corrections in green, perhaps we could say he both Schmidty’d it AND Choice
Oned it.

Jessica Minesinger, Troy Land Development, Inc.:

“Is Tony like Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s?” You just pose him in photos occasionally?”

We’ve touched on the fact that retired Choice One-ian Tom Coverstone can never catch Tony in the office. Apparently developer Jessica Minesinger has the same problem.

These days, it may seem like Tony is like the Queen of England: just a ceremonial figurehead (not to mention equally as old…). He shows up for ribbon-cuttings, co-op Welcome Lunches (as long as Subway is being served) and when it’s time to put the hammer down at Company Meeting quiz time. But don’t be fooled. Unlike Bernie, Tony is alive and well, passionately leading Choice One towards happy clients, happy employees, and better lives all around. In fact, Tony is SO intuitive about making lives better, he knows that best way he can make our lives WAY better at Choice One is to simply leave the office!

Tony is happy to pose for photos even as goofy as the one above. We didn’t even have to offer a decaf hazelnut coffee bribery. Although, to make sure he looked a little more like Bernie from the movie, we did consider knocking him out. But that would have kept him in the office–even unconscious–for far too long.

Kecia Flaute:
“It’s so weird seeing everyone in red. I don’t recognize anyone in a color other than green.”

Don’t we look odd? Ok, so we always look a little odd. What we mean is: don’t we look different NOT in green?

Last Friday, the Choice One gang headed into the Loveland office’s backyard to take in a Cincinnati Reds game, complete with tailgating and non-green clothing. It does exist! (Although it’s clearly less awesome.) We took the afternoon off to celebrate a recent award that named us the Best Civil Engineering Firm to Work For in the Nation. We’re pretty proud of this one, and we hope the enjoyment we experience in our work spills over into your worlds. And if it doesn’t spill over, let us know what we can do better—we can always send another smiling green shirt your way. Or literally spill something.

Those of you who follow baseball will be shocked to know that the Reds lost handily that night. Thankfully the disappointing play on the field was lifted by a shared helmet full of super-cheesy nachos and the requisite Choice One wagering that leads to the lucky winner having to buy food for the rest of us. That’s a reminder, Nick Selhorst: you still owe us doughnuts out of your $23 jackpot.

Brittany Clinehens:
“It’s like sending him off to his first day of school. I’m just so proud!”

It’s official! Brittany is back from maternity leave.

Oh, and we cut the ribbon on our new Indiana office, with Vice President Ryan Lefeld at the helm.

With the opening of the Portland office on Tuesday, Mr. Vice President is going to have a few new opportunities. Obviously, when he leaves his home in St. Henry, Ohio, he’ll need to remember to drive west to Portland and not east to Sidney. He’ll also get to delight in making Brian Schmidt “jealously hungry” each time he visits the Arby’s literally 50 steps from the office door. And of course we’ll assume that he will immediately convert from a devout Browns fan (like Mitch) to an Indianapolis Colts fan. You finally have the chance to root for a winner, Ryan. 

Really, though, Brittany couldn’t be more right–we’re all proud of Ryan’s willingness to lead us green shirts into eastern Indiana. Good luck, Ryan. Don’t forget to double-knot your shoelaces so you don’t trip on the walk to Arby’s, and no matter how tempting, don’t eat any paste.