Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

“Can I get a gift receipt for this, Megan? I’d like to return it.”

– Wes Goubeaux

This year, during the Choice One Engineering Christmas party, we were all so fortunate to receive the gift voucher above. Since we all LOVE hugs so much, Megan wanted to make sure that we all knew her arms are open for hugs whenever, wherever.

Based on the typical subjects of our Choice Mindsets (which are just the tip of the silliness iceberg here at Choice One) you can probably guess that there were a lot of ridiculous gifts passed out this year. Jeff Puthoff finally received the purple sport coat he’s been dreaming of (to dress up with all of those green shirts he wears to Christmas mass). Mitch received a children’s toy car and road signage play set, to help visualize his traffic studies and plot out his arguments with Matt. And Jeff Kunk received a single doughnut, since he clearly has a hard time finding them in the grocery store, seeing as he hasn’t bought doughnuts for the company in 20 years.

With all of these awesome gifts, it’s no surprise that Wes was disappointed with a lousy free hug coupon. Which begs the question: what is the cash value of unlimited hugs from Megan? $1.76? Maybe $2.05?

Happy New Year from everyone at Choice One Engineering!


“Looks like I’m faster than electricity.”

– Mitch Thobe

We don’t think it would be a stretch to say that every one of us has been angered by a printer sometime in recent memory. The printers here at Choice One have been threatened, kicked, and cursed at. In response to what is surely not user error, we have thrown our hands in the air, stomped about, and hurled things at the printers. (All of which has been soooooo successful at fixing the problem…)

Mitch, however, has taken a more positive view of this problem with printers. Rather than complain about a slow printer, Mitch has chosen to believe that he is actually faster than the electronic signals between his computer and the printer. This modest reverse of an irritating situation makes this problem with printers a little more bearable.

A positive, “faster than electricity” attitude and making the best of challenging conditions is pretty useful, especially for Mitch. As a loyal Cleveland Browns fan, Mitch has a lot of experience making the best of a frustrating situation. Plus, if his outlook saves the printer from a beating, it’s a win for all of us. Except the Browns.

“When I played basketball in high school, we didn’t even have a three-point line.”

– Caray Schmiesing


Happy birthday to our beloved controller, Caray Schmiesing. We would have never guessed that she’s older than the basketball three-point line. Caray’s husband, Rogel, surprised her with a trip to Las Vegas for the momentous occasion. As much crap as she gives us for losing track of one penny, we would hate to see her keeping tabs on her pocket change in a casino. Hope you actually got to gamble, Rogel…

Getting older, for most of us, means taking fewer gambles. If you’re Nick Sanders, that means walking AROUND the gas pump line rather than OVER the gas pump line (lest he break an elbow). If you’re Brittany that means NOT trying to plow through that snowdrift in the parking lot with everyone watching (in hindsight, at least they were available to help push her out). And if you’re Caray, that means no long shots from behind the three-point line. Oh, wait, there WAS no three-point line for you…

With the stress of life these days, we figure it’s ok to occasionally cut loose to feel young again (like when Tony gets crazy and stays up past 9:00pm). Thankfully Caray didn’t cut TOO loose in Vegas (betting on basketball, no doubt) and get stuck there—we need her to watch our dollars and sense… er, cents.

“How many green shirts does it take to move one desk?”

– Megan Bornhorst


Believe it or not, it’s getting greener around here. Over the past week, the Sidney office has been repainted. You will no doubt be shocked to hear the new paint is blue and orange.

Just kidding, it’s all painted the best colors in the world: purple and green.

Having Brian Barhorst boss us all around (just like every other day…) to get stuff out of the way to paint means a lot of heavy lifting. Since some of the weak, er, “lucky” ones are able to observe (we know Brittany and Kaye can’t successfully lift something together), we have compiled the following:

  • At five, Tony’s desk (pictured) requires the most green shirts to move. Note that Tony is not one of the five. Coincidental? We think not. (Hey, he built that desk, so he knows how heavy it is.)
  • There’s been surprisingly little bellyaching. Until the heavy desk is actually in the air. And Ryan Lefeld has the heavy end.
  • It takes a lot of cooperation, coordination, and timing to make a challenging task go smoothly. And since no one’s developed a hernia yet, we must have that part down.

Based on Mitch’s grimace (far right, above), we’re glad that the painting is completed and are enjoying the finished product. But don’t tell the guys–they have to move it all again (twice!) when the new carpet comes next week.

(via email)
Tony Schroeder: On a side note, Lonnie Cain came up to me at [soccer] practice last night and was laughing about how excited Tricia got; He gave me all these ideas on how to defend myself if she showed up at Lehman.

Tricia Bishop, ODOT DIST. 7: Like I told Lonnie – you name the parking lot!… I’m still scrappy!

Matt Parrill, ODOT DIST. 7: My money is on Tricia in a cage match!

Tony: First of all, I am hurt that no one has any confidence in me. Second of all, I wouldn’t ever get in a cage with Tricia, I need a place to run. Maybe that’s why no one has confidence in me.


We don’t know who to put our money on in a fight between Tony and Tricia, although Tricia might be the best bet. Tricia Bishop, the Environmental Coordinator at ODOT District 7, loves her work, and it shows–she is passionate, dedicated, and, in her words, “scrappy.” Once, after a particularly exciting public meeting, she told Tony that she was energized by the public’s zealous participation in the project. Tony, on the other hand, felt that the meeting was two hours of “sheer terror.” Watch out, Tony, she seems pretty fearless.

As our courageous leader, there are a few things we would not want to challenge Tony in: soccer, cycling, Nerf gun wars… But there are a few things we would be willing to challenge him on: sand volleyball, reading small print, plumbing

In all sincerity, though, we’d put our money behind Tony for just about anything–he’s helped to keep us going in the right direction for almost 20 years. Still, Tricia seems like a formidable opponent, so we’ll try to keep Tony on her good side. Or at least sell tickets to the cage match at a fair price.

“Well, it was either get pies from The Spot for Boss’s Day, or go around and give everyone hugs.”

– Brittany Clinehens

Since everyone at Choice One really loves his or her remarkable, motivating, caring, amazing manager (yeah, that might be some sucking up), we had pies from The Spot in Sidney and desserts from Julian’s in Loveland in honor of Boss’s Day. Brittany’s Boss’s Day hug suggestion would probably have been met with more clumsiness and apprehension than the delight and eagerness the desserts received. Hugs are just a little too… “expressive” for many of our crowd.

Our hesitation to hug it out doesn’t diminish our fondness for each other. Kaye really enjoyed the time Brittany ran Kaye’s head into a wall while moving a heavy box together. Ryan Francis offered his sympathetic support when Craig fell (screaming) down a creek bank. And Caray loved the fact that everyone was in the van when she got stuck in the only mud in the middle of downtown Indianapolis–we were all there to push her out!

When push comes to shove (sometimes literally, as in Caray’s stuck-in-the-mud incident), we really do get along and enjoy being around each other. It’s what’s kept us together for almost 20 years. Needless to say, Spot pies and Julian’s brownies help to keep us all coming back to the office, too. Well, at least more than hugs would.