Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

Nick Selhorst:
“Reed, why did you take a selfie on the job site?”

Reed Hemelgarn:
“I’m six feet tall. I was showing you the height of the culvert!”

We’ve covered that we prefer function to fashion. So despite the amusing self-portrait, Loveland-based co-op Reed is just being resourceful, not selfie-ish. We’ll blame Nick Selhorst for not giving him a tape measure; if you send an engineer to investigate a jobsite and he doesn’t have a tape measure, he’ll literally use his head!

In a pinch, Choice One folks are rather creative. If you’ll recall, Caray transformed an inexpensive coffee box into a lush, stylish, easy-to-replace briefcase. And our survey crews have been known to use a hardhat to cover an instrument in the rain, build a staircase out of stakes to get over a fence, and use a cell phone screen to reflect light into a manhole. (Was the cell phone then dropped into said manhole? We won’t say.)

Of course, we should admit our mistake here and learn to better equip those visiting a jobsite with the right tools. Nevertheless, Nick, next time you send Reed out without a tape measure, have him measure the width AND depth of a nice, muddy creek, will you?

Tom Coverstone:
“Geez, I think I’m here more than Tony.”

In case you don’t know him, Tom helped found Choice One aaaaall the way back in 1994, long before Jeff Puthoff’s hair was gray. Tom retired at the end of 2008, but still stops at the Sidney office to catch up and harass us. And each time he stops, Tony is coincidentally not around. (We’re starting to wonder if it’s coincidence: Tony recently relayed a request that Tom should stop in. But suspiciously, when Tom stopped, Tony was absent. Mysterious…)

Tom taught us a lot during his tenure at Choice One. He knows how to hit a hole-in-one on a par three with a driver. He knows how to pick a winner at Eldora. And he knows how to spend thousands of dollars on one plate of cookies at the Shelby County Fair.

Most importantly, Tom showed us how to be hard workers and exceptional leaders-having him around is certainly never a bad thing. Perhaps we should invite him to stop in more, since it clearly keeps Tony out of the office.

P.S. Tom just celebrated his birthday on July 4th. Happy birthday Tom! Oh, and you owe us lunch for not wearing green into the office.

 “The next person who touches the new drinking fountain has to install it.”
– Tony Schroeder

Clearly Tony does not want a repeat of the coffee machine fiasco. He kept a healthy distance from the new drinking fountain, and who can blame him? The coffee machine plumbing embarrassment gets brought up on a regular basis (as does any chance to pick on Tony). But more significantly, your eyes do not deceive you: pictured above, the person to take Tony’s challenge is Brian Goubeaux, who is feeling well and is back to work after his kidney transplant on April 17.

Thanks to donor Mark, “Goub” is back to his typical Choice One duties like fixing the computer that Kaye accidentally downloaded a virus on (the author of these Mindsets hears Kaye is REALLY sorry) and, well, installing new drinking fountains. If you add in the roadway and utility design he does as his actual job around here, he’s a pretty important guy.

Needless to say, Brian wears many hats here at Choice One, and we are all glad to have him back. Tony is glad that someone stepped up to install the drinking fountain so that he didn’t have to struggle for three weeks with “the easy connection” again. Kaye is glad he fixed her computer. And from the looks of those smiles, Cole, Toby, and Jaci are glad to have their dad back, too.

Out of Office Interoffice Email Response: Ryan J. Lefeld:

“I have made the ill-advised decision to take the plunge into the married life. As a result, I will be grieving and out of the office from March 20th to March 30th. In my absence, please forward all condolences and project related questions to Mitch Thobe, mjt@choiceoneengineering.com.”  

Ryan forgot to set his “Out of Office” message before leaving on his honeymoon a few months back… which left a ripe opportunity for us to tell everyone how he REALLY feels about his recent nuptials.

Ryan really is going to be “out of the office” in the very near future—as in out of the Sidney office. Don’t worry, he’s not fired (yet). Choice One Engineering is opening a third office manned by the newlywed himself in Portland, Indiana. Hook up the oxen and stock up the covered wagon—Choice One is expanding westward!

Based on his smile above, Ryan looks pretty happy. Not only does he have a lovely new bride (although her hands DO seem to be closing suspiciously around his neck), he’s encircled by delightful Choice One ladies*. Encircled, entrapped… to-may-toe, to-mah-toe. Best wishes with all that, Ryan.

*In case you’re interested, from left to right meet Becky (Jeff) Puthoff, Amanda (Matt) Hoying, Brittany Clinehens, Megan Bornhorst, Kaye Borchers, the new Mrs. Diana Lefeld, Lauren Fogt (Allan Heitbrink’s fiancé), Andrea Holthaus (Michael Seeger’s fiancé), Kecia Flaute, and Jayme (Wes) Goubeaux.

Holly Fannon:
“Today is Hug Your Boss Day, Megan.”

Tony Schroeder:
“Good thing we go by ‘leaders’ here and not ‘bosses.’ I would hug you, Megan, if it was Hug Your Leaders Day.”

It’s true, we don’t have “bosses” at Choice One. We are all “leaders” rather than “bosses” for lots of reasons. Being bossy conjures images of Lucy from Peanuts pulling the football out from under Charlie Brown, while being a leader conjures images of George Washington (wearing green in our imaginations, of course) crossing the Potomac.

Ok, so for real, we really do work hard to create a company of leaders and not bosses. Craig Eley leads in electrical engineering, traffic and safety studies, and conveniently forgetting his wallet when it’s time for lunch. And Megan leads on topics like construction bidding procedures, processes, and random bags of Doritos, which earns her hugs from loyal followers like Michael Seeger and Brian Barhorst (not even on Hug Your Leader Day, ahem, Tony).

Yet in closing, we must concede that the word “boss” has it’s uses. For instance, it’s helpful when discussing Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazardor when referring to the Pointy-Haired Boss in  Dilbert cartoons that pick on Wes Goubeaux. And, of course, when trying to trick Tony into a hug he’d rather avoid.

“Brian Schmidt and Nick Selhorst got perfect scores on April’s quiz. Matt you didn’t: you got your opinion wrong.”
– Tony Schroeder

Once a month, the entirety of Choice One convenes early in the morning at the Sidney office for a company-wide meeting. We talk about how the business is doing and our future workload, plus other common topics here like what’s for lunch. Then we take a quiz, Tony grades it, and stickers are awarded for perfect scores. Unfortunately, Matt’s opinion of who won the Whirlyball tournament on the recent company trip to Ann Arbor was clearly wrong in Tony’s mind. [Matt, is that the “opinion” you got wrong?]

Thankfully, all of the quiz questions are not reliant on “alleged” Whirlyball championships. Instead, they focus on our Mission, Vision, Strategic Plan, and associated concepts. Many of us study, a few try suspiciously-planned trips to the bathroom at quiz time, and Brittany and Megan even performed the now legendary “Strategic Plan Rap.”

Tony is a strict grader, so it’s not uncommon that someone (even those as nerdy as Matt) doesn’t always get 100% correct and the associated stickers. But Tony’s hard grading has worked: we can all speak readily about what Choice One Engineering is all about and what it means to us. Spoiler alert: it’s not just the green shirts and free lunches.