Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

Holly Fannon:
“Today is Hug Your Boss Day, Megan.”

Tony Schroeder:
“Good thing we go by ‘leaders’ here and not ‘bosses.’ I would hug you, Megan, if it was Hug Your Leaders Day.”

It’s true, we don’t have “bosses” at Choice One. We are all “leaders” rather than “bosses” for lots of reasons. Being bossy conjures images of Lucy from Peanuts pulling the football out from under Charlie Brown, while being a leader conjures images of George Washington (wearing green in our imaginations, of course) crossing the Potomac.

Ok, so for real, we really do work hard to create a company of leaders and not bosses. Craig Eley leads in electrical engineering, traffic and safety studies, and conveniently forgetting his wallet when it’s time for lunch. And Megan leads on topics like construction bidding procedures, processes, and random bags of Doritos, which earns her hugs from loyal followers like Michael Seeger and Brian Barhorst (not even on Hug Your Leader Day, ahem, Tony).

Yet in closing, we must concede that the word “boss” has it’s uses. For instance, it’s helpful when discussing Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazardor when referring to the Pointy-Haired Boss in  Dilbert cartoons that pick on Wes Goubeaux. And, of course, when trying to trick Tony into a hug he’d rather avoid.

“Brian Schmidt and Nick Selhorst got perfect scores on April’s quiz. Matt you didn’t: you got your opinion wrong.”
– Tony Schroeder

Once a month, the entirety of Choice One convenes early in the morning at the Sidney office for a company-wide meeting. We talk about how the business is doing and our future workload, plus other common topics here like what’s for lunch. Then we take a quiz, Tony grades it, and stickers are awarded for perfect scores. Unfortunately, Matt’s opinion of who won the Whirlyball tournament on the recent company trip to Ann Arbor was clearly wrong in Tony’s mind. [Matt, is that the “opinion” you got wrong?]

Thankfully, all of the quiz questions are not reliant on “alleged” Whirlyball championships. Instead, they focus on our Mission, Vision, Strategic Plan, and associated concepts. Many of us study, a few try suspiciously-planned trips to the bathroom at quiz time, and Brittany and Megan even performed the now legendary “Strategic Plan Rap.”

Tony is a strict grader, so it’s not uncommon that someone (even those as nerdy as Matt) doesn’t always get 100% correct and the associated stickers. But Tony’s hard grading has worked: we can all speak readily about what Choice One Engineering is all about and what it means to us. Spoiler alert: it’s not just the green shirts and free lunches.

“Tell Jeff Puthoff I appreciate him lending his big shoes for the Clowning Around for Charity costumes.”
– Kari Egbert, City of Sidney

Anyone who knows Jeff Puthoff knows that you can hear him coming from a mile away. Maybe it’s the cowboy boots, maybe it’s his unique stride, or maybe he’s just repeatedly trying not to fall down

Jeff, don’t take offense at Kari’s comment. What she’s really saying is that someday, many years from now, when you retire from Choice One, we’ll have big shoes to fill. Geez, just think! We’ll have to find someone else who can nap at the drop of a hat, has the ten-day weather forecast memorized by 4:00am each morning, and who wears green every day (even on the weekends!) with such pride. Oh, AND be that one guy who handles all those residential, commercial, and industrial land development projects—with a few utility and roadway projects on the side.

There’s an old saying that goes something like, “A good house needs a good foundation. An outhouse can stand on anything.” So don’t think of your feet as big, Jeff, just bask in the revelation that someone who isn’t a socially clumsy engineer was caught staring at the floor to manage conversation, too.

Oh, and by the way, we hope those of you who attended the Charity Cup in March had a good time—big shoes, clown outfits, rubber ducks and all. We can’t thank all who donated enough. The Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association thanks you all, too in the letter linked here.


“[Mark] wants to help a dad be able to be a dad.”
Jenny Goubeaux, Brian Goubeaux’s wife

We hope you don’t mind the lack of silliness today, but we have something more powerful on our minds. Right now, literally as you may be reading this, Choice One’s Brian “Goub” Goubeaux (right photo, on left) is receiving an incredible gift from a complete stranger: a kidney. Moreover, Brian is regaining the ability to be a father to those three smiling little Goubeauxs above (left to right that’s Jaci, Toby, and Cole).

Some time ago, Brian discovered his kidneys were failing. His only option was to receive a new kidney, and the waiting list is years long—too long for his condition. But a complete stranger named Mark (far right, above) saw Brian’s story and was compelled to respond because, as Brian’s wife Jenny paraphrases it “ [Mark] wants to give Brian his life back… He wants to help a dad be able to be a dad.”

From all of us at Choice One, thank you, Mark, for your remarkable, selfless gift. Without a healthy Goub around Choice One, we wouldn’t have a Steelers fan to grumble about, we’d forget how to push Ctl + Alt + Delete to fix our computers, and we’d be sorely missing a warm smile, an easygoing chuckle, and a helpful heart.

Toby, Cole, and Jaci supporting Daddy and Mark last night.

If you want to pass along a message to Brian, Mark, and their families, please feel free to reply this email or post on Choice One’s Facebook page and we’ll be sure that he gets it (we’ll be updating Facebook with Brian’s progress, too). And if you still have a couple more seconds, here are some more words of appreciation from the Goubeaux family over the past few months.

“Thank you God for hearing our prayers: we officially have a donor and he has been cleared for surgery! We are so blessed to have Brian’s donor become a part of our life. He and his wife saw our story and wanted to help. He went to church and prayed about our situation and knew that he could help Brian. We have never met this family, but he still felt the need to help. He wants to help a dad be able to be a dad. He wants to give Brian his life back, all because of his love for God. We are blessed to be on this journey with this very special family who, because of a love of God that we share, has now become a part of us and our family. We will be forever grateful for him and his family and will never know how to show them how thankful we are. God bless them for changing our life! We are also blessed for our family and friends for their support, love, and prayers. Please pray for Brian and Mark as they are having surgery Friday! God is good!”

Tony: “Dan, is Barney having you topo the whole office?”
Dan: “Yeah, I told him it wasn’t level and he needed to reconstruct the whole thing.”

Topographically surveying the entire Sidney office to ensure it’s perfectly level isn’t a stretch for a details person like Brian “Barney” Barhorst. In fact, Barney has a to-scale AutoCAD drawing of both offices, complete with desk assignments, filing cabinets, and, of course, Canteen snack storage*. (Yet we’d be darned if those drawings don’t come in handy when we want to rearrange furniture or provide a “map” for new hires.)

AutoCAD isn’t the only software we’ve uncommonly employed. Our traffic engineers daydream of laying out the traffic counting tubes indoors to transfer interoffice “traffic counts” into Synchro software*. Then we could predict when Jeff Puthoff is coming to harass the Michigan fans (oh wait, the clunky cowboy boots give that away) and analyze the optimal times to find an open restroom by avoiding peak hours (like after Tony’s long meetings).

Like a lot of engineers, we use fancy MS Excel spreadsheets for the NCAA pool* and the large format printer to display embarrassing photos on birthdays*, but we like to imagine that our particular use of engineering technology borders on engineering creativity. (Yes, we just used “creativity” and “engineering” in the same sentence.) And if that means Ryan Lefeld can use HEC-RAS software to calculate the forecasted Lake Erie water temperature for Ty Thobe’s upcoming bachelor party to Put-in-Bay, we’re all for it.

*Not an exaggeration.

Office Supply Deliveryman: “Looks like you hired someone new?”

We sure get them started young around here, don’t we?

Meet Ryann, Megan Bornhorst’s delightful baby girl. She stopped in the office to visit and we didn’t miss the opportunity to put her to work. Apparently she’s not impressed with filing—it’s put her to sleep.

Whether she knows it or not, Ryann is now a part of the Choice One family. (Poor thing!) Before long, she’ll understand the finer points of traffic signal timing and intersection safety, be able to command three computer monitors right from her crib, and be tying tiny shopping bags over her tiny feet to keep her tiny shoes dry just like her mom. But all joking aside, Ryann’s pretty lucky, as we feel the Choice One family includes not just us here in Sidney and Loveland, but all of you who have become our extended family and friends over the past 20+ years. Just remember to ignore our crazy Uncle Tony.

Oh! One last thing, Ryann. Your mom must have forgotten to tell you: you’re not in mandatory Choice One green while in the office. Soooooo, you owe us all lunch.

P.S. Only 5 more days until the 2015 Choice One Charity Cup. Come help us support a great cause!