Choice One Engineering | Choice Mindsets
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Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

Greg: “You have a random bag of Doritos in your car right now?”
Megan: “There’s no such thing as a random bag of Doritos.”

chips

We take our snacks seriously here, if you haven’t noticed. But as our resident Eagle Scout Brian Barhorst can tell us, the point here is that of the Boy Scouts: “Always be prepared.”

Lots of us here have random (and non-random) items in our cars. There are lots of practical items, like a manhole hook, a safety vest, or jumper cables. But there are seemingly less practical items, too, until their convenience is linked to the driver of the vehicle:

  • Brittany keeps a feather bed in the back of her minivan, and Kaye keeps a pillow and blanket right there on-hand in the backseat. You never know when the opportunity may arise for a good nap.
  • Jeff Puthoff maintains a fine coating of soybean dust in his car. You know, for farmer purposes.
  • Tony keeps two- and three-year-old Choice One Christmas gifts in his trunk in case he needs an emergency snack. Nothing like three-year old Oreos and Twizzlers to avoid diabetic shock.
  • Allen Bertke reports that he has a half-bag of cold patch (for asphalt repair) in his car. Apparently he’s taking this winter’s pothole situation into his own hands…

Whether it’s a bag of popsicle sticks and a funnel (Michael Seeger) or a four-foot level (Brian Schmidt), all of us at Choice One maintain a healthy ration of randomness. And Megan’s right, there is no such thing as a random bag of Doritos; in this office, we don’t let those delicious, cheesy delicacies randomly sit around for long.

“Casey, I would consider sitting in a different area. At least until we know this thing will stay up there.”
– Jeff Puthoff

tv1

This is one of those “how many engineers does it take to screw in a light bulb” jokes just waiting to happen. Allen Bertke (left) and Michael Seeger (right) hung  a TV monitor over co-op Casey’s desk a few weeks back. If the strange map of blue tape on the wall and the intensity of the measuring going on is any indication, it will probably fall down before the end of the month. Measure once, cut twice… Or something like that, right guys?

Many of us have specialties here. Allen is our floor-layer and wall-builder (although he could have added a little more insulation so that the Loveland guys didn’t have to listen to beginner clarinet practice next door each day). Tony is our perpetual delegator. And Matt makes sure all of the professional licenses are level and equally spaced on the wall in both offices. (Oh, and he cleans and maintains toilets.)

It may take a few tries to use our extra “talents” since they’re not about the surveying and engineering education and experience we have. Shoot, clearly no amount of experience can prepare someone to hook up a coffee machine. For Casey’s sake, let’s hope the TV stays on the wall.

“Tony, thanks for the new briefcase. I just found a half- eaten piece of toast in my current one.”
– Caray Schmiesing

briefcase

Some might call it strange, but we call it practical: our controller Caray often works from home, and she transports her most precious possessions (calculator, highlighter, Diet Coke) with… a coffee box.

Don’t laugh! This is practical for many reasons:

  • Every time we finish a box of coffee? New briefcase!
  • White and brown are fashionable neutrals that match everything. Want a splash of color? Take the decaf box, with its bright orange packing tape.
  • Traveling for business? There’s no way that box is getting confused in a sea of black and brown bags.
  • Have an emergency shipping (or toast-eating) situation? No problem! There’s always a box on hand.

What it really comes down to is that Caray isn’t concerned about looking fashionable, she’s more about getting the work done and done with accuracy, right down to the last cent. (Which is certainly an important trait of a controller.) And when every cent matters, she’s awfully lucky that Tony offers her a new, FREE briefcase every week!

“Spelling Dan’s last name is like spelling ‘Mississippi:’ P-RR-E-RR-I-RR-A.”
– Kaye Borchers

dan

So someone may have accidentally slipped an extra ‘R’ into Dan Perreira’s name on some shirts we had made. We won’t mention any names, but it starts with an “M” and ends with a “egan.”

Hopefully Dan wasn’t too offended. Come to think of it, if we would add an extra letter or two to some of our other last names here, we could make some improvements:

  • Brian and Wes Goubeaux could become Brian and Wes Goubeauxi. Because really, the only vowel missing in their last names is ‘i.’
  • Ryan Lefeld could become Ryan “Leftfield.” You know, ’cause he’s pretty out there…
  • Mike Goettemoeller could become Mike “Geoetetemeoelelere.” That way there’s an ‘e’ after EVERY letter instead of after just every THIRD letter.

Of course, Megan feels terrible about the extra ‘R.’ To make it up to him, Megan offered Dan a hug. He declined by walking VERY quickly in the other direction.

P.S. The shirt above is a little preview for next week’s Hog Roast and Charity Cup. Hope to see you there on the 26th!

“I told her not to this year.”
– Jeff Kunk

flowers

Did you get flowers for your last birthday? Neither did Jeff Kunk. He got flowers for this last TWO birthdays.

Jeff may sound lucky, but as evidenced by his comment above, having good fortune while at Choice One rarely pays off. For instance, should a young man here get engaged to be married, he will promptly be teased about the “mistake” he’s just made. Any kind of cash award (a door prize, an NCAA bracket pool win, etc.) means buying lunch for everyone else, which is AWESOME when you’ve won $20 and the pizza costs $70. First paycheck? Doughnuts. And that beautifully-wrapped Christmas gift with your name on it? Probably a box full of good-natured harassment.

Jeff Kunk probably is pretty lucky–he has a wife who thinks enough of him to send him flowers for his birthday two years straight. Yet we will all assume the truth: she’s just helping the rest of us give him crap for turning 29.  AGAIN.

“You guys apparently only hire people with certain names: Nick, Jeff, Dan, Ryan, Brian, Allan, and Michael.”

– Douglass Degen, Drainage Engineer, Allen County Engineering

names

Indeed, Mr. Degen, indeed.

Of our 30 employees, 46% of them have the same name as someone else in the company. And if you count our part-time construction inspectors Mike Sovinski and Dan Durham, that number goes up to 50%.

This phenomenon certainly wasn’t intentional (and to be honest, we wouldn’t mind getting rid of a couple of those Jeffs–we won’t say which two). However, there are good things about having double and triple names here:

  • If something is “Brian’s fault,” well, heck, it can always be one of the other Brians, right?
  • Buying name-embossed Christmas gifts for each other is simpler. You know, because the guys here TOTALLY buy each other name–embossed Christmas gifts each year.
  • We get to come up with all kinds of fun nicknames to tell them apart: Nick and Not Nick; Puthoff, Kunkles, and Shorty; Barney, Goub, and Schmitty; Dumb and Dumber. Oh wait, that last one could apply to more than just two people around here…

The bottom line? If you have an emergency engineering question, then call and ask for Brian or Jeff-one of the six is bound to be in.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, left to right, one seated in front of one (or two) standing, pictured above are: Michael Goettemoeller and Michael Seeger; Nick Selhorst and Nick Sanders; Jeff Kunk, Jeff North, and Jeff Puthoff; Allan Heitbrink and Allen Bertke (yes, that counts even though it’s spelled differently); Ryan Lefeld and Ryan Francis; Brian Barhorst and Brian Goubeaux (Brian Schmidt, absent). Not pictured? Dan Durham, Dan Perreira, and Mike Sovinski.