Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

Mitch Thobe:
“How young do you think we can start recruiting traffic engineers?”

On a recent Safe Routes to School Walk Audit, the young man in the photo (not Choice One’s Brad Walterbush on the right and definitely not Craig Eley in the middle) helped us understand how he and other kids walk to school each day. Considering the way this student fits in with our traffic engineers in this photo, it’s no wonder that Mitch asked the quoted question.


How young is too young to be an engineer? We know that a two-year-old is just about qualified to be a surveyor. And we know that a nine-year-old is probably smart enough to write the super long MS Excel equations required to be an engineer (or the equally important pizza consumption calculator). Yet our 12-year-old friend isn’t old enough to drive yet, which means he can’t circle roundabouts again and again and AGAIN just for pure fun, and therefore can’t be a traffic engineer yet. (Seriously, avoid roundabouts if Craig Eley is driving.)


While he may be a little too young to be a full-fledged engineer, hopefully our student friend knows he’s getting a head start in engineering by learning from a traffic legend like Craig. And regardless of his education or age, he has the first and most important aspect of being a pretty cool engineer well in-hand: he’s wearing green!

Kaye Borchers:
“I love that the popcorn machine always has an assigned place here. Our priorities are well in line.”


Every once in a while, we change desks here at Choice One. In our typical engineering fashion, there is a to-scale schematic of the office’s layout, and to Kaye’s point, there is ALWAYS a special, dedicated place for the popcorn machine. Because, priorities.


So why the new seat and popcorn machine assignments? First, if you hadn’t heard, we’re breaking ground on a building expansion at our Sidney office today and need to move folks to accommodate the gaping hole about to be cut in our building. Second, on the surface, this movement helps us get to know and learn from our coworkers. But in reality? We figure everyone should have to suffer sitting next to Mitch or Jeff Puthoff for some extended period of time.


No matter the office layout, our beloved popcorn machine will always be a star here at Choice One. It was featured in one of the first Choice One videos. It’s an indispensable resource shared generously by all, as exemplified by the shoving and elbowing that happens when fresh popcorn is on the line. And no matter the number or placement of employees in our office, we will always be darn sure that our popcorn machine receives a designated place of honor. (And for the record, the popcorn machine doesn’t want to be next to Jeff or Mitch, either.)

Dane Sommer:
“I may have accepted the ordering of a plaque or trophy. Guy was a heck of the salesman.”

A few weeks back, we put engineer Dane Sommer in charge of the entirety of Choice One for ONE DAY, including answering the phones, during which he unintentionally agreed to the purchase of a commemorative plaque highlighting a recent award. The decorative wall-hanging arrived this week, and, as you can see, Dane is VERY proud of it. (And we thought transportation engineers only got excited about designing roundabouts and traffic signals.)

It’s our own fault. Most of us had traveled to Cleveland for Choice One’s biennial company trip. We guess Dane owed us out of spite—as a huge Cleveland Browns and Indians fan, he was just a little bummed that he was not able to join us for a ton of fun* in one of his favorite cities.

Don’t worry Dane, we promise we didn’t go through ANY roundabouts in Cleveland without you. Plus, your accidental purchase marks our first Dayton-region “Best Places to Work” win. So since you’ve created a constant reminder that we’re a “Best Place to Work,” we should probably believe in second chances. Especially if your second chance makes us laugh as much as the first one!

*For the record, Dane was having fun too: he and his wife Heather had just welcomed daughter Tatum into the Choice One family!

Barry Tiffany, Brad Vath, & Scott Vagedes:
“I can’t believe we didn’t win the Longest Beard Contest. Our beards are clearly the longest.”

Sorry guys, while your beards are impressive, we awarded our Charity Cup Longest Beard trophy to “Sir” Lewie Pickering of Jackson Center. While we appreciate your effort in “growing” this fine crop of beards, we’re pretty sure that Lewie logged a little more time to grow his!

All of this beard talk was sparked by our annual Sidney Choice One Charity Cup. This year’s theme was lumberjack-inspired, which meant there was no shortage of flannel, pine cones, and beard measuring, both real and fake. And while our beard-fakers were a little stumped as to why they didn’t win that incredible-looking Longest Beard trophy, they can’t be disappointed in the generosity of everyone who attended this year’s event. Thanks to your contributions, we were able to raise $7,538.00 for the Miami Valley Down Syndrome Assocation and Jerry and Charlie’s Helping Hands!

With a great beard comes great responsibility, and we are positive that we saw both our bearded and unbearded friends step up to the plate for this year’s event. We can’t thank everyone enough for your support and participation, and we hope you had a wood… er… good time. We’re plaid you came, and hope to see you next year!

P.S. If you want to join Choice One and the MVDSA on July 20, 2019, for the Family Picnic funded by our Charity Cup, let us know!

Allan Heitbrink:
“This is really the only way I’ll ever have a beard.”

It may look like engineer Allan Heitbrink is easily beating surveyor Wes Goubeaux in a beard growing contest, but, believe it or not, Allan’s beard is fake! You had no idea, right?

Beards have come up a lot lately here at Choice One thanks to the upcoming lumberjack-themed Sidney Charity Cup (March 27!) that includes, among other ridiculousness, a beard growing contest. Some here, like Wes, are working on the real thing, while others, like Allan, are looking for ways to make facial hair happen.  While Allan is very good at some things, like highway lighting, traffic engineering, and ignoring Matt and Mitch, he admittedly says he’s never been “skilled” at beard growth. Try harder, Allan.

Have a cool beard (real or fake)? Want to have fun? Come to the Sidney Charity Cup—no RSVP needed! We promise you won’t go hungry, thirsty, or be lacking in beard-inspired entertainment. (And we’ll do the same for the Loveland Charity Cup this upcoming November, although we’re pretty sure we know who might win that beard growing contest…)

Amanda Partika:
“I-275: it’s a gift to the people.”

Christmas is here and gone, as is our co-op Amanda Partika, who is back at UC this semester. When Amanda started working at Choice One, she struggled to find the fastest route from UC’s campus to our Loveland office. Turns out she was unaware of the Cincinnati bypass, Interstate-275. Once she found this handy bit of infrastructure, she dropped her daily, one-way commute from 45 minutes to about 25 minutes. As you can imagine, she may have been “gently” ribbed about her lack of infrastructure awareness. Repeatedly.

Amanda, you’re right: highways, not to mention all things infrastructure, are gifts to us at Choice One. Without traffic engineering, Craig Eley wouldn’t be even remotely famous. If there were no roundabouts, what would Dane dream about?  And without sanitary sewer, we would never get to make “effluent” jokes (c’mon, who didn’t enjoy those “Drink more coffee, build more sewers” mugs we passed out a few years back?!).

It’s time we ignore Amanda’s lack of direction and appreciate her love for infrastructure. So what if she only just learned about a major interstate just 15 miles from her hometown despite living in the Cincinnati area for 20+ years? The gift of I-275 has 84 miles to explore. Get out there and… don’t get lost!

P.S. Did you know today is the last day to register your team for the 2019 Sidney Charity Cup? Get ready to “chop til you drop” and sign up your team here!