Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

Megan Bornhorst:
“Congrats on the engagement, Casey! Will this be the first time we change someone’s initials here?”
Jeff Puthoff:
“No. We changed Nick Selhorst’s when he married Choice One.”

Backstory: everything we do at Choice One involves our initials, from official email addresses to hand-jotted notes. Using our unique initials is so commonplace we often refer to each other as AJB, CCE, WDG, and so on. Then, four years ago, the unthinkable happened. Two people had the same initials: Nicholas Jerome Sanders and Nicholas John Selhorst. Since Nick Sanders was already established as our official “NJS,” the newly employed Nick Selhorst became NNS, short for “Not Nick Sanders.”

Indeed, some clients actually call in and ask for “Not Nick” on a regular basis. And we’re pretty sure that’s ok with NNS, as he often refers to himself as “Not Nick” as well. Because let’s be real–being mistaken as Nick Sanders would mean endless hours of listening to Kenny Rogers.

Soon, the newly engaged Casey Heitkamp (CCH) will become Casey Reichert. And at Not Nick’s request, in honor of Casey’s engagement, we will be listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival (you know, CCR) all day at Choice One. Sorry Nick Sanders, it’s not a Kenny Rogers day.

Congrats Casey. Your bridesmaids will be wearing purple and green, right?

P.S. Save the date (sorry, not for Casey’s wedding): the Choice One Charity Cup is
March 30, 2016!

Jeff Puthoff:

“I am a trendsetter once again: ‘Grinch Green’ will be the next hot fashion color.”

Boy, look at all of that holiday cheer. Developer Jessica Minesinger and the City of Troy’s Christy Butera were right when they told Jeff Puthoff that his shirt is “Grinch Green,” not Choice One Green. At least he’s in one of the Christmas colors—we all know he won’t wear red.

It’s not that Jeff actually dislikes Christmas, it’s more that all of that jolly, merrymaking stuff gets in the way of a few of his favorite winter activities, such as working cattle, wrenching on machinery, and complaining about the weather. Look on the bright side, Jeff, maybe Santa will bring you a shiny new John Deere tractor and minimal snow plowing this year. Or at least a market increase to $12.00 per bushel of soybeans.

From all of us at Choice One Engineering (including our resident Grinch): Thanks for a fantastic 2015, and we triple dog dare you to have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Andy Shuman:
“So… are we taking turns eating lunch in Tony’s office?”

He tried to close the blinds and shut the door, but we noticed a certain someone with quite the evil grin eating lunch at Tony’s desk. Despite sweeping away the crumbs and putting things back in order (although Tony’s desk ever being “orderly” is a stretch), Tony knew someone had been in his space. And like Papa Bear, he sensed a tall stranger had been sitting in his chair, and Nick “Goldilocks” Sanders was caught.

Of course, it’s no secret here at Choice One that Tony’s office is free game when he’s not around (since he’s never here anyway), be it for naps, ping pong, or miniature farming. And that’s really how we roll here at Choice One—what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine, from computers and desks to salad dressing, Doritos (from Megan), and, yes, even offices. We’ve borrowed spouses to help run our annual Charity Cup, kids to help stuff our Christmas cards, and, of course, snacks from The Canteen. We promise we’re going to pay for it all someday, Barney!

Nick claims he was using the office to attend a storm water related webinar, but we wouldn’t be surprised if he was really watching some kind of pet bird self-defense video on YouTube. Either way, next time, Nick, readjust Tony’s chair height when you’re finished with it. And for Pete’s sake, leave him some potato chips.

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.