Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

“That’s what Tony can do when he retires: put on a funny hat and chauffer all of us around.”

– Jeff Puthoff

For those of us at Choice One who spend a lot of time driving to construction sites and client meetings, we often fantasize about the luxury of having an assistant who drives us around so that we can do work in the car. “Windshield Time” feels unproductive.


While on the road, obviously, multitasking is dangerous. Off the road, however, multitasking can be dangerous, too. In our experience, multitasking pitfalls can include missing something, rushing, or not being available when needed. To counter that at Choice One, we work together to multitask. Each project has one or more team members who “chauffeurs” to keep the Project Manager’s juggling balls in the air: reviews, deadlines, client questions, etc. We like to think it keeps us responsive, timely, and dependable. And hey, if it gets Tony in a funny hat as well, why not?

“Somebody has to say something funny. I don’t want to have to start making up quotes.”

– Kaye Borchers

I know you’re all curious, so just to let you know-it’s really dusty on the top shelf of our supply closet here at Choice One Sidney. And we (obviously) don’t have any sort of step-stool to reach said shelf. Hence the dust accumulation.

When we’re out of options around here (perhaps for a Choice Mindsets idea, as in Kaye’s statement), or when we can’t reach the top shelf, it helps to be flexible. If we’re willing to be flexible, perhaps the right words will come out of our mouth, or the shelf will be stable enough to climb.

Being flexible doesn’t just help us design around a tricky existing water main, but it also allows us to work out problems with what’s available and not be nagged by worry and fear, or frozen by obstacles in the way of our goals. And it helps us to find all sorts of things on the top shelf we didn’t realize we had.

Happy New Year, everyone, from Choice One Engineering!

“Look at that signature. There is no possible way to get ‘Brian’ out of that.”

– Matt Hoying

If you haven’t seen one, our Christmas cards are hand-signed by each employee here at Choice One. And, according to Matt, sometimes certain people (ahem… Brian Schmidt) get a little sloppy with their signatures. (In Brian’s defense, it’s probably because, like most things that require any sort of repetition or accuracy in our office, The Signing of the Christmas Cards becomes a competition to see who can sign all 500 the fastest. I believe Wes usually wins, being that he only has three letters in his name.)

Whether signing Christmas cards or cleaning up a topographic survey, no matter the task here, frequent repetition can be both highly advantageous and highly dangerous. Doing the same task again and again leads to mastery and expertise, but can also lead to mechanization and carelessness. There are many times in our office when we have the need to do repetitious tasks that require precision, and to be successful at these tasks we need not only be focused and attentive, but also work together and have someone else check our work for mistakes. Measure twice, cut once!

Now if Matt will just check Brian’s other 499 signatures for readability…

Happy holidays, all, from everyone at Choice One Engineering.

“This is the best idea we’ve ever had–we should have done it a long time ago. Now it’s easier to get to the snack room.”
– Andy Shuman

We recently moved a few rather weighty filing cabinets that had “always been there” to allow for an under-used bookshelf to be put in a more accessible spot. Not only did our Administrative Assistant Brittany have more room for the bidding documents that seem to be spontaneously generating lately, but the furniture adjustment allows for everyone to get through the break/snack room door with less bottlenecking.

Yes, sometimes moving our old habits, the status quo, or “business as usual” around here at Choice One is difficult and heavy, but what doors might we open that we can’t even fathom until “the way we’ve always done it” is changed?

“I guarantee that two things will happen today: Brittany and Kaye will giggle uncontrollably and Nick will physically injure himself.”
– Jeff Puthoff

Some time ago our entire company took the afternoon off and played some indoor beach volleyball. Jeff made the statement above beforehand because Brittany and Kaye have a tendency to laugh until they cry for no reason at all, and Nick tends to fall down and break things a lot. We’re all sort of predictable like that.

In our office, we found that it’s important to not be afraid to laugh often, and to not be afraid to fall down. In fact, we make a fool of ourselves doing both quite frequently. Learning to laugh until we look ridiculous, especially at our mistakes, is a valuable practice to get into.

(Oh, and just for the record, yes, Brittany and Kaye laughed until they cried, but Nick did not injure himself. Tony took care of that by giving himself a concussion.)

“I swear, you guys, I’m 5’9”!”
– Mitch Thobe

Our engineer Mitch is a little on the small side when you line everyone here up at Choice One from shortest to tallest. But that doesn’t stop him from claiming he’s 5’9” tall. And while we’re pretty sure he’s not THAT tall, you have to admire his persistence and confidence.

Even if we’re wrong about our perceptions around here from time to time, believing that we’re the tallest, the smartest, the fastest, or the best at what we do gives us confidence to take chances, not to mention the mettle to prove all the doubters wrong. And even though we may fall a little “short” from time to time, the experience we gain from our failures is invaluable to our growth at whatever form our passion takes.