Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

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!

Caray Schmiesing:
“Does anyone know how to use this thing?”

How many green shirts does it take to work a typewriter? Apparently, fewer than it took to move Tony’s desk.

Our technology has certainly changed over the years. Gone are the days of the typewriter, digital planimeter, survey rod and chains, drafting table, slide rule, and abacus (that one applies only to Jeff Puthoff and Tony). Now we use sophisticated traffic simulation software to design efficient intersections. We develop fancy site design renderings in Photoshop. And we use complicated, precise MS Excel spreadsheets to determine the perfect amount of pizza we need to feed everyone in the company.

Whether the task at hand requires old-school technology or not, it often takes a little teamwork to get the job done (like [l-r] Brittany, Caray, and Holly above). And thanks to this teamwork, we can produce a perfectly typed tax form, a safer intersection, a full-color, public meeting-ready image, and enough Lotsa Meat pizza to feed the whole COEC crew.

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…