Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

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.

Mindy McInturf, Ohio Parks and Recreation Association:
“You know it’s bad when engineers miss people!”

Working remotely is a challenge for many reasons, but an unforeseen challenge for Choice One was that many of us surly, introverted engineers and surveyors sorely missed each other and our office. And believe it or not, we aren’t too proud to admit that we didn’t just miss the office because we no longer had opportunities to bring in doughnuts to share (except Jeff Kunk) or suddenly had to remember long division while homeschooling.

Ms. McInturf hit the nail on the head, though, and put the situation into perfect perspective. Thankfully for those who’ve missed each other, Choice One is mostly back in the office and can rejoice, albeit with a little more distance between each desk. Thankfully, that space certainly won’t stop us from our usual bantering or rocking out to Kenny Rogers and John Denver—we just have to speak and sing a little louder to compensate for distance and masks. (Until our office dad Brian Barhorst reminds us to keep it down…)

Kyle “Sports” Siegrist (Designer and Sports Analyst for the Sports for Choice One’s Sports):
“My favorite sports player right now would be the lead sporter on the sports team owned by the sports owner who doesn’t play sports.”

While Kyle loves to participate in sports, watching and talking about sports is just not a pastime of his unlike a couple dozen of us at Choice One. Even without live sports and only replays of random events like the European Tram Driving Championships to watch on ESPN, many of our conversations at Choice One still revolve around sports (or the lack thereof), and Kyle recently told us his true feelings about sports talk.

We have initiated a few new pastimes here at Choice One that have filled the gap of typical sports chatter in recent days. We’ve been comparing masks and working out whose face covering is cooler (those with Cleveland Browns masks think they have some kind of leg up here, but we all know who has the best mask). Thanks to our Fast Food Bracket Challenge, we figured out that Raising Cane’s and Chick-Fil-A are our favorite restaurants (even though they don’t rely heavily on cheese). And most recently we’ve been making bets on whether or not Brian Goubeaux will remember to unmute himself on Zoom before he launches into a detailed description of his day in our regular morning meetings.

Kyle, we hope you find at least a little more enjoyment in the mask-comparison dialog or fast food chicken debate than in our endless sports talk. Because even though you told us that you “miss the sports fans sporting the sports and talking the sports” we’re preeeeetty sure you’re being sarcastic. We’ll be sure to get some Skyline Chili talk in when we’re all together again to make you less annoyed and feel more appreciated. Until then feel free to mute everyone (except Brian Goubeaux) when the sports talk takes over the conversation.