Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

Inquiring Mindsets:
“What’s your favorite back to school memory?”


For many, August/September equals back to school. So back in the day, what did Choice Oners look forward to about a new school year?

Luke Hemmelgarn’s favorite memory? Playing euchre on the bus. That’s a life skill, there. Wes Wolters remembers that in fourth grade, “the school finally got belts and flags for flag football. You had to eat your lunch quick and sprint out to the field at recess to get one of the cool belts.” Because fourth grade life happens at recess. And Casey Reichert? “New school supplies—who doesn’t love the smell of fresh pencils in August?!” Apparently Matt Hoying and Jake Bertke: “What was fun about going back to school?”

It’s no surprise with our hungry crowd that many school memories included lunchtime. Many of us who attended Marion Local Schools in Mercer County (such as Mitch Thobe, Kristi Moorman, Ryan Bruns, and Casey Reichert) all agreed that the best school cafeteria lunch was  “chicken noodle soup and cinnamon rolls.” Apparently this soup and roll combo was a thing back in the day at Marion Local. The rest of us all would have bet the farm that the companywide consensus on “best school lunch” would have been rectangle pizza…

Whether they’re excited or not, here’s to a successful year for all the kids out there. May they not fall and skin their knees on the walk to school like Holly Fannon, may the Salisbury steak not be as rubbery as it was for most (except for Dane Sommer who claims it was amazing), and may they love their new backpack (and fresh late-80s perm) as much as Brittany Clinehens did.

Brittany Clinehens:
“Jack just told Megan that he scares easily.”

There are very few things we keep to ourselves here at Choice One, but one thing co-op Jack Poeppelman may regret sharing is that he scares easily… literally 60 seconds before this photos was taken.


Jack certainly isn’t the first person to experience a spirited scare at Choice One. Some of us have been known to jump out of closets, hide between cars in our parking lot, or even seal ourselves in a shipping box to surprise a variety of unsuspecting targets including the UPS man. We startle people in other ways as well—who can forget Nick Selhorst as Cousin Eddie or the terrifying idea of two Kayes?


Jack, thanks for sharing, even to your detriment. Since we already share our doughnuts (over the phone), names (we just hired our third Max), and passionate opinions on traffic engineering, it follows that we can’t help but share the “joy” of a scare-induced racing heart with you. And your reaction, wonderfully captured in the photo, certainly allowed us all to share in a laugh

Adam Gill:
“Luckily the ants are dumb enough to just fly right into it. It surprisingly works.”


Welcome to an installment of Choice Mindsets we’ll call “Choice One-genuity.” Because, hey, we’re engineers and we get really excited about fixing problems. Think of it as Shark Tank meets The Big Bang Theory with fewer celebrity investors and slightly more awkwardness.


Our first example of Choice One-genuity was developed by traffic engineer Adam Gill. Upon arrival at our Loveland office one morning, Adam and the rest of the crew discovered that a swarm of flying ants had moved in likely hoping to take advantage of the  free Flaming Cheetos from the Canteen  and a chance to hear some John Denver and Kenny Rogers. Without any formal tools or calculations, our engineers quickly MacGyver’ed a plan to thwart the insects with what they had on-hand: packing tape. Wait, what’s that ringing? Is that Mark Cuban on the phone ready to invest?


Whether Mr. Cuban or the other Sharks make an offer for the Packing Tape Fly Trap or not, well done, Adam. Your resourcefulness in the face of a cunning opponent is admirable. And as you kick them out, be sure to let those flying ants know that we ALWAYS pay for food from the Canteen and that no one can love John Denver and Kenny Rogers as much as Dane Sommer and Nick Sanders, respectively.
P.S. If you’re curious, the “Me” in the photo above is Matt Hoying.

Adam Gill:
“Check out the two dinosaurs out surveying in Russia.”

If you don’t recognize the two relics in the photo volunteering their time to provide field work for a new playground in Russia, Ohio, that’s Ryan Francis on the left and Wes Goubeaux on the right. Both have been with the company for about 20 years, making them knowledgeable, experienced, and, of course, ripe for picking on about their grey hairs.

Ok, so Ryan and Wes aren’t really that old, it’s more about the fact that they don’t operate in the field as often as they used to. With a larger sum of capable field surveyors on our team these days, Wes and Ryan spend most of the time in the [climate-controlled] office as they lay out property lines, perform research, schedule field crews, and create right-of-way plans and plats. And while that work is quite important, some may suggest it makes them a little rusty when it’s time to swing a sledgehammer, work in the sun all day, or navigate rough terrain on foot to get the perfect topographic shot.

Ryan and Wes, we certainly appreciate your willingness to volunteer your time to a great local cause. The students of Russia Local Schools will certainly have an accurately laid-out playground thanks to you. We just hope you don’t dry up and fossilize in the hot sun from being so out of practice in the field.

Mitch Thobe:
“Kecia, your positive talk with the plant worked!”

We forget to water this lovely plant from time to time, and it droops sadly when it gets dry. Kecia, who claims skills as a positive plant talking specialist, volunteered to encourage the plant with a few helpful words—that it was a “strong, healthy plant” and it could rise above this latest [unintentional] drought. Lo and behold, the next morning we were delighted to find that the leaves were a little more lifted and the green a little brighter (you know, more Choice One green and less dead plant green).

There are a few other office fixtures we plan to ask Kecia to encourage. When the printer is slow and not doing what we expect (which is never user error), Kecia could remind it that it’s a good printer and that we provide a roof over its head and it better work now please. Sometimes the coffeemaker overflows (especially since Tony did the plumbing), so Kecia could tell the coffeemaker how much we need it and that we promise to give it a much deserved break… someday. And when our network server is working at full capacity and starts to make a whining noise, Kecia could tell it that we appreciate it’s hard work. (However, when Ryan Francis whines, we suggest Kecia offer a different kind of “encouragement.”)

Since Kecia’s positivity can rub off on the likes of plants and printers, it certainly rubs off on the rest of us at Choice One. So when folks like Not Nick need a smile or positive word first thing in the morning (especially if the coffeepot isn’t working), we can count on Kecia to provide a bright smile and cheerful greeting to perk us right up. Now if we could just use that smile to somehow remind us to water that plant…

Matt Hoying:
“The many uses of a Choice One pen.”

It’s been man versus chipmunk this past week in our Sidney office. Home for the summer, our favorite Spanish basketball star Ryan Bruns has been playing Wile E. Coyote to some chipmunks playing the parts of Roadrunner. In true Looney Tunes fashion, the feisty chipmunks, who have been tearing up our landscaping, have been taking the bait but not getting caught in the trap. Ryan has accused some of us of setting off the trap to tease him, but the likely suspects around here swear the chipmunks are doing the stealing.

Ryan has devised some alterations to his trap in hopes of preventing the chipmunks from stealing his sunflower seeds (and as Matt noticed, used Choice One pens to do so), but his modifications haven’t worked…yet. And while we feel Choice One pens are very useful (unless you don’t have anywhere to keep them), they are apparently not useful in the trapping of rodents.

We’re sorry about your frustration Ryan, but we’re so glad you volunteered to live-trap and safely release the varmints in the wild. There’s no question that the comic value of a frustrated professional basketball player being outmaneuvered by four-ounce chipmunks again and again provides more entertainment than Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan in Space Jam. And in the end, we wonder which destruction is greater: the chipmunks’ moderate destruction of our landscaping or their severe destruction of Ryan’s ego.