Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

“Believe it or not, you guys, gray isn’t our natural hair color.”
– Jeff Puthoff

history

Next Friday, October 24th, marks the 20th anniversary of Choice One Engineering. It also marks the 20th anniversary of Jeff Puthoff’s awesome African safari tie (or are those eagles, Jeff?). Some of the “young punks” here, as Jeff would call them, don’t know a Choice One without Jeff’s gray hair, everyday green shirts, and afternoon coffee. Heck, they don’t even remember the typewriter and the fax machine.

A few other things have changed since 1994 besides the graying of Tony’s and Jeff’s hair (sorry Tom, if you’re reading this from retirement, there’s no denying your hair was already gray). For instance:

  • The Sidney/Shelby County area code was 513 and not 937. Those of us old enough to remember 513 can probably recall what a big deal the change was, especially when dialing on a rotary phone. Dialing “937” took so much longer!
  • Brian “Barney” Barhorst was still a humble resident of Fort Loramie and not Minster.
  • Our Loveland office space was a Clermont County branch of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
  • Some Choice One employees (such as summer help Camille and co-op Lexi) weren’t even born yet.

If you’d like to take a walk down the Choice One memory lane with us, check out more photos here. You’ll see a little less gray hair and a few more eagle/safari ties, but we hope you notice that the spirit of Choice One in place in 1994 has only grown in the past 20 years. Thanks to everyone–clients, spouses, families, advisers, and friends–who has helped us along the way. Here’s to another 20 years of enjoyment.
Happy birthday Choice One!

“Geez, give her one compliment and she thinks she runs the place!”
-Tony Schroeder

kaf
Meet Kecia, our digital media gal. Meet Kecia, our digital media gal, commandeering Tony’s office. Meet Kecia, our digital media gal, commandeering Tony’s office her third week on the job. Brave? Or crazy?

Truth be told, Kecia shouldn’t worry. Tony’s office has had numerous inhabitants and uses over the years. You may recall that Tony took two months to cross the USA on a bicycle several years ago (you can relive that “magic” at Tony Chasing Wade), and while he was gone we hijacked his office for all sorts of entertaining activities, such as ping-pong (Kaye won, of course), naps, and miniature farming. Come to think of it, it’s fair to assume that Tony’s office is actually far more productive and functional when used as a pizza buffet or executive bathroom.

With all of that in mind, and in a moment of weakness, Tony decided to let Kecia stay despite the fact that she hijacked his office when he wasn’t looking. But the minute she blocks access to the snacks, steals Schmidty’s dessert, or interrupts Kaye’s daily nap, she’s gone.

Ryan Lefeld: Breadsticks? There were breadsticks?!

Casey Heitkamp: I didn’t see any breadsticks. Did you know there were breadsticks?

Brian Goubeaux: I knew there were breadsticks. They were right next to me so I didn’t mention them to anyone else.

Michael Seeger: Mention what?

Brian Goubeaux: That there were breadsticks.

Tyler Thobe: There were breadsticks?

breadsticks
This was just a sampling of the hubbub that trickled down the line of designers and engineers here this week as they left the conference room after a supplier provided pizza (and breadsticks!?) during a lunch and learn. It’s like “The Song that Never Ends”—the same basic conversation just went on and on, my friend.

A free lunch (especially pizza) is serious business here. Just as serious is missing even a portion of a free lunch (especially, apparently, if it’s breadsticks). We hate to miss things at Choice One. It’s why Mitch and Allen Heitbrink stand on the corner to watch a new traffic signal cycle through its timings late into the evening (NERDS!). It’s why Jeff Kunk never takes his birthday off, lest he miss his yearly delivery of flowers (but never doughnuts. NEVER!). And it’s why Caray never missed a three-point shot in high school basketball.

The conversation that wasn’t supposed to end did the next morning. A devious individual (described by onlookers as “wearing a safety yellow shirt”) ate the leftover pizza before most of us got to the office. The never-ending conversation trickling down the line quickly turned from “Breadsticks?” to “Justice!” But it will change again—probably by the time we’re looking for free lunch.

“Wait… Not so fast. Not so fast! NOT SO FAST! I can only type so fast!”
– Tony Schroeder

typist
Imagine Tony taking dictation from Brian Barhorst. Yes, let that scene sink in.

For those of you who don’t know them, Tony is a slow typist, and Brian is not a slow anything. So watching such a scene unfold in person may have led to a few stifled laughs.

Slowing down is challenging when there are plans to draw up, layout stakes to drive, and Cincinnati-area traffic to beat. Furthermore, we have prided ourselves on being timely and responsive since Choice One was created 20 years ago in the “Batcave” (otherwise known as Tony’s basement). Indeed, some here reminisce on those times, visualizing themselves as prompt, nimble superheroes, quick to respond to the villains of storm water runoff and intersection congestion who mercilessly destroy helpless infrastructure.

(We hate to burst your bubble, guys, but you probably looked more like Gomer Pyle than Batman. Although come to think of it, some at Choice One were still in diapers 20 years ago and have no idea who Gomer Pyle is.)

Nonetheless, Tony, as long as you’re timely and responsive to clients, don’t worry about typing slow. Use that typing time to take a deep breath and focus. You and Brian may not communicate at the same speed, but at least you have one thing in common: you’re both old enough to know who Gomer Pyle is. Shazam.

“Caray left her lights on. It took two cars to jump her. Again.”
–  Brittany Clinehens and Kaye Borchers

cars
There are three lessons in today’s Choice Mindset:

  1. Caray needs a vehicle with automatic lights.
  2. If Brian Barhorst’s car is unable to jump-start Caray’s van nine months ago because it’s “too fancy,” it’s not going to jump-start Caray’s van today, either.
  3. It’s a good thing Caray has at least TWO people who pretend to be her friends here at Choice One so she can get herself home.

To address Item 1:
Not only should Caray’s replacement vehicle have automatic lights, but maybe a place for her children’s unwanted food as well. And it definitely should have the power NOT to get stuck in the mud in the middle of a major metropolis.

To address Item 2:
Since Brian’s car is “too fancy” to jump-start another car, we can assume that profits from The Canteen are not only going towards lavish vacations, but “fancy” vehicles as well. In fact, we bet Brian’s “fancy” vehicle has automatic lights, a trash can, AND four-wheel drive.

To address Item 3:
We really are pretty lucky to work with friends here at Choice One (both coworkers and clients). Except for Kaye. She makes NO friends within Choice One writing these Mindsets, for obvious reasons.

To conclude, Caray, if you need another jump-start, you know there are plenty of friends to help. Just don’t ask Brian Barhorst a third time, because that kind of forgetfulness will land you in (yet another) Mindset.

“Matt, I thought we were a family here at Choice One. Why did I have to find out you and your wife are having a baby through Facebook?!”
– Greg Albers

baby

Choice One has a pretty “uncommon” family atmosphere. And it’s pretty obvious from the photo that we’re probably that one really weird family in your neighborhood.

See, several months ago, Matt announced his wife’s pregnancy on Facebook rather than in person, prompting Greg to make the statement above. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when Greg announced the actual BIRTH of his son to everyone at Choice One on Facebook rather than in a private call or message. Pot calling the kettle black, much?

This prompts us to compare Choice One to a stereotypical pregnancy and see many correlations: we love to eat ice cream, snacks, pizza, and pickles. We often feel awkward and ungraceful. We can get frustrated and be grumpy with each other. And when it’s all said and done, we are willing to put in hours of painstaking labor to deliver something we love and can all be proud of.

Matt, when you and your wife Amanda have your little girl this December, we hope you don’t just inform us via Facebook. And for the baby’s future sanity, we hope she likes green and purple.