Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

Kurt Barhorst, President, Air Handling Equipment:
“Watching all the Choice One employees exit that conference room brings up childhood memories of 20 circus clowns coming out of one car!”

CLOWNS?! How could anyone compare us to clowns?!

Ok, so when the Loveland and Portland staff visit the Sidney office for companywide meetings, our conference room admittedly gets a little… full. But as long as everyone showers regularly, it’s not really a problem. Nevertheless, when we all spill out of the doorway after the meeting concludes (and rush for the bathroom), it isn’t hard to make the same association Kurt does.

We’d like to think that Kurt’s clown car comparison is based on the fact that we sometimes squeeze many highly intelligent geniuses into a relatively small space. However, we’re a realistic bunch, and we are well aware that, given his comfortable relationship with us, Kurt might be implying that we’re similar to a certain variety of slapstick jesters. (Indeed, we’ve recently been known to throw impromptu dance parties in our conference rooms.)

We don’t mind spending a little “together time” by cramming into our clown car, conference room, etc., once in a while (especially if there’s free lunch involved). And if you ignore our big feet, we’re pretty normal people. We’ll just assume Kurt was complementing our willingness to pack the place with smiling faces and not pointing out our inordinate love of pie, unique fashion sense, and occasional clumsiness.

Casey Heitkamp:
“Every girl’s favorite accessory… a hard hat.”

We’ve covered how Choice One employees are more about function than fashion. So it’s no surprise that engineer Casey Heitkamp and co-op Kristi Moorman were delighted to don their hard hats the other day to visit a project site.

We at Choice One tote typical accessories engineers and surveyors couldn’t live without—tape measures, clipboards, cold patch—the usual stuff. But as Choice One engineers and surveyors, we have a few unique accessories on hand:

  • Eric Kuck carries the “best NFL team cup, every day, even at home.” We’ll assume “best” is just one person’s opinion…
  • Kecia Flaute tows her giant purse daily, which her husband Kent has dubbed her “luggage.” Hey, you never know when you might need a week-old banana and a month’s worth of crumpled receipts, right?
  • Brittany Clinehens typically has a sippy cup of milk (which she says is her son’s…) that she forgot to leave with the sitter. Perhaps she could loan the cup to Nick Selhorst…

Whether our accessories be a hard hat on a job site, a daily green shirt, or a “briefcase” filled with soft tacos, we aim for practicality and simplicity at Choice One. Our accessories help us be safe, recognizable, and always in the mood for salsa.

Craig Frilling:
“I can actually take the keys out of my van’s ignition while it’s running and lock the doors.”
Michael Seeger:
“Because you think someone really wants to steal that piece of junk?”
How could Michael think that Craig’s exquisite, 1989 GMC Safari van with 236,000 miles on it is a piece of junk?! Just look at that [nearly] rust-free Light Quasar Blue Metallic paint job! And to hear that baby purr! If only this picture could transmit the remarkable roar it makes when Craig fires it up…
We have a few other relics hanging around Choice One. There’s a 5.25″ floppy disk from a sanitary sewer job in West Milton designed in 1996, kept just for looking at. Jeff Puthoff and Tony Schroeder still use their first mechanical pencils from when Choice One opened back in 1994. Heck, even a few clients–Jon Crusey (City of Vandalia) and Bob Bender (Developmental Disabilities of Clark County)–still use the Choice One pocket calculators we passed out circa 2002.
So Craig, don’t let anyone tell you that your aged automobile isn’t anything but amasterpiece of preservation and love. Sometimes the old is worth holding onto, even if it isn’t cutting-edge, maintenance free, or glamorous anymore. Why do you think we keep Tony and Jeff around?

Brian Schmidt:
“I brought doughnuts in for you, Brittany, since it’s Administrative Professional’s Day. Unfortunately, I don’t have a way to get one to you.”

Brittany Clinehens:
“Maybe you could just eat one over the phone very loudly?”

This past Wednesday was Administrative Professionals Day, and it was very thoughtful of Brian “Schmidty” Schmidt to buy doughnuts for Brittany and Megan, our indispensable Administrative Professionals. Now, Schmidty is in Loveland, while Brittany and Megan are in Sidney. Therefore Schmidty’s thoughtfulness leads to his stomach’s fullness, since he will get the doughnuts Brittany and Megan can’t actually eat. Coincidence? Or payback?

Doughnuts aside, we try to keep our three locations feeling like one (pun intended). We email each other to discuss the latest Cleveland Browns debacle… er, “management strategy.” We page each other to debate the minutia of traffic engineering. We video conference over lunch to watch old episodes of The A-Team. And we’ve been known to mail all of our least favorite Jolly Ranchers to another office as a “treat” (no one in Sidney likes Blue Raspberry, apparently).

So happy belated Administrative Professional’s Day to of the all administrative professionals out there, and of course to our own Brittany and Megan! Without you, our three offices would have way less organization, efficiency, laughter, Doritos, and delightful reasons to buy doughnuts. Perhaps someone in Sidney will buy you doughnuts next time, or at least share a few of their coveted Cherry and Watermelon Jolly Ranchers.

Nick Sanders:

“Gonna have to buy a second fridge to post all of my papers!”

It was company meeting quiz time again at Choice One this past Monday. As usual, Nick Sanders, always the over-achiever, had a perfect score. He’s not keeping count or anything, but this is probably his billionth perfect score in a row. And since he likes to hang his good grades on the refrigerator like any proud student, he’s realized he’s going to need a second fridge at home to post each and every company meeting quiz A+.

Now that we know Nick’s refrigerator(s) are full of Choice One quizzes, one might ask what is on the Choice One office refrigerators? Well, in Portland we can assume there are Arby’s coupons held by a Cleveland Browns magnet. In Sidney there’s this delegation poster, which memorializes the one instance of Tony looking like a genius. And in Loveland there is a list of prices for the Loveland Canteen. Ironically, Pop-Tarts are listed under both “Candy/Sweets” and “Healthy Food”, which Loveland Canteen manager Brian Schmidt explains as “the crust is healthy but the inside is sweet.”

Indeed, since Nick Sanders always scores 100%, we now have Not Nick and Obviously Nick—as in “Obviously, Nick Sanders got a perfect score.” Since there’s room on the Loveland fridge, perhaps we can send those perfect quizzes there. As long as the oldest ones aren’t too crusty, Brian Schmidt can post them under “Sweets.”

“Oh, and as you can see, I believe I found an appropriate spot for the trophy.”
Duane Puckett, City of Troy

With another Choice One Charity Cup in the books, the Charity Cup trophy is again displayed in a place of royal prominence, as is only appropriate for such a distinctive prize. For the next year, this majestic traveling masterpiece will be housed at the offices of the City of Troy, this year’s Charity Cup champion.

The tournament was grueling. Submersed for hours in the unforgiving world of 1970s disco, Team Troy Grey (l-r Paul Bryant, Duane Puckett, Choice One’s Tyler Thobe, and Scott Frazier) battled with the likes of Team Garmann-Miller Associates Grey in the final game of the ruthless 10-round cornhole tournament. Disco balls flew like Nick Sanders over a gas pump hose, and shag carpet was ruffled like Flat Tony’s leisure suit shirt, but Troy Grey emerged victorious.

All of the efforts were worth it, as the champions from Troy along with all of our incredibly generous clients and friends raised an amazing $5,104.00 for the Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU to all of those who donated and participated. We are completely humbled by and grateful for your contribution to help this wonderful organization bring joy to these wonderful families!

P.S. Check out a few photos on Choice One’s Facebook page, and stay tuned for the 70s photo contest and more fun from the Charity Cup at!