Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

“You know, when Nick started here he was a nice, respectable guy. It only took seven years to corrupt him to be like us.”

– Jeff Puthoff

We all have our share of bad days full of mishaps. But engineer Nick Sanders has bad days and makes the mistake of sharing his misadventures (and sending photos of himself yelling in the car after a particularly frustrating event, even knowing it may end up in a Choice Mindset).

 Let’s see… There was his wife’s parrot that attacked him, the gas pump line he tripped over (causing a severely sprained elbow, which in turn caused him to miss watching the OSU-Michigan football game), the curtain at the blood drive he fell into and knocked down, the dead bird in his toolbox, the search for his grandfather’s severed arm in a cornfield…

 

Despite all of the screaming in the car, in reality, Nick is willing to share his mishaps and commiserate with us about occasional unfortunate luck because dealing with frustration is easier when you can laugh at the situation.  Perhaps a little Choice One sarcasm has rubbed off on him (as Jeff pointed out), but really, Nick’s the type of guy that won’t let a mistaken drug bust along the highway in Colorado* get him down.

 

*Yes, this really happened. While on vacation with his family, Nick was pulled over and his van, packed to the brim for a road trip, was completely torn apart by the State Police who for some reason thought he was part of a drug cartel. He’s a suspicious-looking guy, don’t you think?

Jeff Puthoff: “Why is only one of your toenails purple?”

Kaye: “It’s a shout-out* to Choice One.”

Jeff: “You’re weird.”

 

This, coming from the guy who wears a Choice One Engineering shirt to Christmas mass…

You’d think we’d get tired of seeing green and purple around here, but obviously we don’t. It’s kinda been drilled into our brain, like those weirdoes who only wear green shirts because wearing a red shirt might imply that they like Case IH tractors over John Deere tractors (see “guy who wears Choice One shirts to Christmas mass,” above). It’s actually to the point to where when we see each other outside of work (and therefore not in green), we don’t recognize each other.

 

The purpose of the constant green is twofold. First, it’s really handy for when you’re trying to find each other in a crowded seminar. Second, wearing the same color makes us recognizable, equal, and unified. And as the old saying goes, “There is no “i” in team, but there is a “u” in skunk.

 

*This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home… And this little piggy cried “Choice One!” all the way home! Now that’s a real shout-out to Choice One on your toes.

I don’t buy it–using simple math.

18 acres of pizza = 112,907,520 square inches of pizza. I think Choice One could easily do 1/80000 of that themselves (five and a half 18” pizzas), which is approximately 1,411 square inches of pizza.

At 12:31pm on October 13th [2011], the U.S. population is 312,414,653. At 12:31 pm on October 13th [2011], the Choice One Engineering population is approximately 24. Choice One can eat approximately 59 square inches of pizza per person per day.

For America to eat 18 acres of pizza a day, that requires each person to eat 0.36 square inches of pizza. This means that the average American eats 1/164 the amount of pizza that Choice One People do in one day.

Thus, the 18-acre number is way too low. If they all ate as much as we do, America would eat 2,939 acres of pizza per day.

Just one more stat proving America is going weak. Another way to look at this is that Choice One people are 164 times better than the average American.”

–Matt Hoying

 

 

We’re not sure what we can add here that Matt hasn’t already asserted. Leave it to an nerdy engineer to dissect a random comment and analyze it to a fraction equaling 0.0060975609756098.

Maybe the lesson here is “check your facts,” or “don’t assume an average,” especially if you’re dealing with a geeky engineer. For us, the lesson is obviously “find more constructive work for Matt to do.” (Although in reality, Matt will get his constructive work done and still help Michael and Mitch make $15 of pizza money change with two five-dollar bills before they come to blows.)

“Maybe ‘spelling’ should be one of our Core Values.”
– Tony Schroeder

 

During a recent company meeting, Tony was trying to spell one of our Core Values, timeliness. Instead, he first wrote “timilness,” and then, feeling as though it looked wrong, he added another “i” to make it “timiliness.”

 

Michael, on the left, looks sufficiently ashamed. He claims his contacts were bothering him, but we know the truth.

 

Thankfully, the entire company was in the meeting to “helpfully” point out Tony’s mistake (and harass him, of course; please feel free to call or email Tony personally and do the same). Teamwork has many benefits–double-checking, verifying, and reviewing are certainly big ones. Perfection is probably not a realistic expectation for any circumstance, but for our group, teamwork gets us a little closer.

 

We’ll have to work on Tony’s spelling. Truthfully, though, we should probably just change that Core Value to something easier to spell, like “on time every time.” Although that’s a lot of words for Tony to remember..

 

“I love it when a plan comes together… It doesn’t always, but I love it when it does.”

– Jeff Puthoff

 

Sometimes a well-laid plan doesn’t work out. Case and point: Tony’s flat tire from a recent camping vacation, pictured above. One would imagine having to change that pick-up truck tire put a kink in his vacation travel plans more so than, say, changing a bike tire would.

When a plan does come together, it can be nothing short of remarkable. But as Jeff has pointed out, that ideal moment isn’t always meant to be. The key is to learn from the plan that failed and focus on the plan that worked. Like finishing a site plan in record time, making clients slingshot monkeys with their eyes closed, and finally getting rid of Matt Hoying and Brian Schmidt by creating an expansion plan so we could ship them to the Loveland office.

So plan, and love it when the plan comes together, but don’t sweat it when things fall apart (and don’t be afraid to try again). It could be worse: you could have been in the truck with Tony when that tire blew on a highway in Indiana.

* You might have guessed that Jeff is a big fan of The A-Team. In fact, we have been known to watch old tapes of The A-Team episodes over lunch. If you don’t remember, The A-Team was a television show in the 80s that involved a lot of firing guns at the ground (no one ever was hit), a kidnapper-esc black van, and a cigar-chewing character who always used the first half of Jeff’s quote above.

“Just to let you know, I made the Afternoon Coffee.”
-Nick Selhorst

Not too long ago we hired engineer Nick Selhorst (better known around here as “Not Nick Sanders,” because, yes, with three Jeffs, three Brians, and two Ryans, we now have two Nicks). Nick, a North Star/Versailles native–which some people like to think aren’t the same thing–comes to us from ODOT District 10, in Marietta.

 

Among other things, Nick has provided us with valuable information on how to move all of his accumulated stuff from five hours away in one day, how to make counting traffic in the rain MOST inconvenient, and, as one might guess, how to correctly arrange orange barrels in really awkward ways.

 

We kid, of course. Something Nick really HAS taught us is the enjoyment of afternoon coffee. For years we have been making coffee until about 10:00am, but suddenly, after Nick arrived, there was coffee made in the afternoon for a little 3:00pm pick-me-up.

 

Why we haven’t thought of brewing coffee in the afternoon before is a mystery. (Maybe we were less tired before?) Regardless, a fresh perspective and new input can bring about valuable, surprising changes and ideas that can help positively alter or improve efficiency, productivity, and outlooks.

 

If nothing else, given our propensity to want to take naps around here, it can just provide a nice afternoon caffeine buzz, compliments of ODOT.