Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

Eric Kuck:
“I’m a protégé following in the steps of my mentor.”

On the left is Choice One surveying “mentor” Allen Bertke in May 2009. On the right is surveying “protégé” Eric Kuck, nearly 10 years later in October 2018. Same tree, same senior-picture-style pose, same safety-green surveyor getup. We’ll wait to comment on who wore it best…

So what’s changed in the ten years between photos? Let’s see, Choice One has gained about 25 new employees (112% of which are named Ryan, Brian, Jeff, or Michael). We opened the Loveland and Portland offices, thereby infiltrating more of Ohio and Indiana with our green shirts and bad singing. And we finally got Tony to semi-retire, meaning he’s out of the office more permanently than just the occasional two-month bike trip.

We can’t count the rings on this magnificent tree (it’s located near the Ohio River in Middleport, Ohio), but it’s definitely older than Choice One itself and most likely older than all of our surveyors combined. It has surely seen a lot of changes in its life, including the growth of Choice One and its employees. So who really wore it best? That’s easy: the tree.

Brittany Clinehens:
“I’m pretty sure Kyle was previously in a boy band.”

If you haven’t seen it, check out the Choice One music video inspired by the 1993 Boyz II Men R&B video “End of the Road.” Featured in our spin on this slow jam are COEC’s very own (l-r) Dane Sommer, Luke Hemmelgarn, Jake Bertke, and Kyle Siegrist. And yes, Kyle definitely had that sweet 90s swagger down a little more than the rest of COEC’s naturally awkward engineers.

Some have asked how we compelled these four gentlemen (not to mention the band of green shirts attempting to clap on the beat in the background) into providing such soulful vocals and striking, emotional on-screen moves. There is really no solid answer for this, although misunderstood promises of free lunch and pure gullibility do come to mind.

With Kyle, however, we’re pretty sure no bribe was needed—it’s clear he has been dying for the occasion to let out his inner *NSYNC. We sure appreciate your smooth moves, Kyle, and we’re pretty sure those who suffered through the awkwardness of both the making and viewing of this video appreciate your effort as well. You may not be quite as famous as Justin Timberlake (yet!), but you’re a hit with… well, somebody, we’re sure…

Ryan Francis:
“Someone did a pretty good job photo-shopping a bicep onto Dan’s arm.”

If you aren’t sure, that’s Dan in the sunglasses and blue headband, buying tickets to the gun show during Choice One’s Christmas card photo shoot. Dan, we’re fairly confident that your bicep (and therefore rest of the photo) is NOT legit, because we’re absolutely positive Jeff Puthoff would never be caught in a hot pink sequined hat in real life.

If you missed it, this Christmas card photo (and the full version here) speaks volumes, both in 80s hair and old school boom-box beats. From the spandex to the neon, we took Christmas to a new, totally rad level of ridiculousness by “pa-rum-pum-pum-PUMPING” up the ante on outrageous Choice One Christmas photos. (We had to out-do Cousin Eddie from last year.)

We do truly hope that our card, and the Christmas wishes that come with it, brightened your holiday season. From all of us at Choice One, may your holiday be pa-rum-pum-pum-pumped full of merry and glowing fluorescent bright!

Kaye Borchers:
“I’m already practicing writing ‘Frizz’ in my mind.”

It’s Christmas card signing time again, and surveyor Craig Frilling thought of switching things up this year and signing his nickname “Frizz” instead of “Craig” on the COEC Christmas card. Sounds like a simple thing to do, but when you’re signing your name 1,000 times, it’s important to pick the simplest, shortest version (to hurry along this most anticipated task) and internalize it for great speed and accuracy.


If you’re new to the world of Choice One, you’re likely to find that we have a few unexpected traditions. Yes, every single one of us hand-signs every Christmas card we send. (If you missed the card this year, it’s worth checking out here.) New employees are required to buy doughnuts with their first paycheck. We don’t have bosses–although we use Bosses’ Day an excuse to eat pie. And we have a tireless, long-standing tradition of giving each other a hard time evidenced by this: the official 200th Mindset!


Frizz, we don’t want you to spend too much effort working on your new signature. Especially since “Craig” and “Frizz” technically have the same number of letters if you didn’t notice. Besides, you’ll get PLENTY of practice signing your nickname 1,000 times next year.

Kaye Borchers:
“I think Kecia and Kyle should “race” down the hall.”

We’re not sure who’s going to win this crutch-assisted footrace down the Sidney office’s hallway: Kyle on a newly repaired knee, or Kecia on a newly repaired ankle. Whether there will be post-race repairs needed to their pride remains to be seen.

We’re pretty competitive around here, in case you haven’t noticed. Mitch has been deemed faster than electricity (but not the tallest). Andy is typically competing for the first snacks. Mike G. is the first to the thermostat. And if you missed the Loveland Charity Cup two weeks back, you can witness the highlight video featuring our typical, ultra-competitive nature (not to mention our obvious need for speed!).

We hate to see anyone injured, but if these two would knock each other down, perhaps it will knock some sense into them. Plus, if Kyle and Kecia are on the ground, the rest of us have a better chance of winning whatever it is we’re racing towards!

Amy Butler, Utility Clerk, Village of South Lebanon:
“When you add me to your phone contacts, just label me “Wonder Water Woman.”

Our friend Amy from South Lebanon offered to text this selfie to us, and she wanted her name in our phone’s contact list to be memorable. And we agree: when you’re a municipal utilities clerk, you really are a kind of superhero, keeping track of all of those thousands of gallons of water day in and day out.


The selfie, in case you were wondering, was taken during our annual Loveland Charity Cup event. The theme? Top Gun. The winners? Deerfield Township/MSA Design. The generosity of our clients and friends? AMAZING. At the end of the night, our clients and friends blew our goal out of any utilities clerk’s water by raising $8,210.68 for Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank. That means Sweet Cheeks can provide about 63,160 diapers to help keep over 1,200 children in the Cincinnati area in clean, dry diapers. We think everyone can agree that those are some incredible superhero stats!


Amy, we agree you’re a “Wonder Water Woman.” Without great utility clerks, we’d guess a lot of our communities would be like ducks out of water, up a creek without a paddle, and in deep water all at once. And without watering anything down, our great clients and friends like all of you have truly helped a wonderful organization do great things. For that, thank you!