Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

“What’s a hashtag? Something on Tweeter?”
– Brian Barhorst


It’s Christmastime here at Choice One, and that means preparing holiday gifts, putting up the office Christmas tree, and legendary Signing of the Christmas Cards. You see, all six hundred-some cards require an original signature from each of the 32 Choice Oners. Per person, this amounts to about 30 minutes of actual signing and about 30 hours analyzing the signing.

This year’s card includes a few festive hashtags. Clearly, Brian Barhorst is not overly familiar with the hashtag phenomenon, nor is he familiar with that new-fangled “Tweeter” social networking service. It might not be a surprise, then, that we have a few other technology-unaware people around here. For instance, Tony likes to get on his “texting machine” to send messages. Sometimes he’s even adept enough to (accidentally?) include an emoji*.

Thankfully, it only takes a simple Sharpie for Tony and everyone else to sign the Christmas cards. But even without technology, we still find ways to lovingly give each other a hard time during the Signing of the Christmas Cards. Like when someone doesn’t sign the card per the instructions (ahem… Dan Perreira). As Greg remarked: “Perhaps Dan’s hashtag should have been ‘does not follow directions.'” But don’t worry Dan, Brian Barhorst will have no idea how to find ANY hashtags referring to you on “Tweeter.”

* That’s a smiley face and the like, Tony.

Brittany: “You alright in there?”
Brian “Goub” Goubeaux: “Yeah, the refrigerator is kicking my butt.”

The refrigerator here at Choice One occasionally “kicks the butt” of those trying to squeeze in their lunch bag or find their favorite soda in The Canteen. Sometimes, trying to fit in a Tupperware of leftovers into the sardine-tight block of crowded shelves results in a whole lot of stuff crashing down in a cascade of expired salad dressings, old, wrinkled apples, and diet ginger ale (who requested THAT for The Canteen?!).

Other things overly full at Choice One?

  • Bathroom space. The line gets long in the Sidney office after a company meeting (during which Tony hooks up his personal IV of coffee).
  • Our boots. With Michigan, Ohio State, Browns, Reds, Patriots, Bengals, and Steelers fans all in two offices, the sports talk gets pretty deep around here.
  • The Loveland refrigerated water jug. Oh wait, that’s never full because Nick Selhorst never fills it back up.

Goub, hope you didn’t develop a concussion from the falling bottles of BBQ sauce and containers of dried-out, leftover pizza-we’ve all experienced “Refrigerator Tetris.” Even Tony complains about the lack of space in the fridge when there’s too much of that “crap” Bud Light and not enough room for his “fancy” craft brews.

“My picture went out on that mailer this week, so I figured the office would be getting a lot more phone calls.”
-Dan Perreira

The jury’s still out as to whether Dan’s photo on a recent mailer has triggered a spike in phone calls, but don’t worry Dan, there’s no reason why those phones won’t be ringing aaaaaaaaaaaany day now.

Dan is clearly awesome in photographs, but all of our guys in the field have notable talents and interests you may be unaware of. For instance:

  • Ryan Francis is a pro at fluffing tails and wiping noses. (He and his family raise and show championship dairy cattle, including the recent Supreme Champion at the World Dairy Expo).
  • Jeff North is an accomplished fisherman and photographer. So his “big fish” stories are backed up with photographic evidence.
  • Eric Kuck is a pro at restoring [red] International Harvester farm machinery. Too bad he has to wear [John Deere] green every day.
  • Craig Frilling belongs to his hometown’s Volunteer Fire Department. His enthusiasm for fighting fires (especially the big, hot ones) will even prompt him to jump right out of his clothes to keep cool. He’s also been know to play a pretty “mean” Easter Bunny.

Ultimately, any positive results from this mailer will be credited to Dan. However, Dan, if you want a little advice, Kaye would tell you that to really get the phone ringing around here, just invoice the Governor.

“Believe it or not, you guys, gray isn’t our natural hair color.”
– Jeff Puthoff

Next Friday, October 24th, marks the 20th anniversary of Choice One Engineering. It also marks the 20th anniversary of Jeff Puthoff’s awesome African safari tie (or are those eagles, Jeff?). Some of the “young punks” here, as Jeff would call them, don’t know a Choice One without Jeff’s gray hair, everyday green shirts, and afternoon coffee. Heck, they don’t even remember the typewriter and the fax machine.

A few other things have changed since 1994 besides the graying of Tony’s and Jeff’s hair (sorry Tom, if you’re reading this from retirement, there’s no denying your hair was already gray). For instance:

  • The Sidney/Shelby County area code was 513 and not 937. Those of us old enough to remember 513 can probably recall what a big deal the change was, especially when dialing on a rotary phone. Dialing “937” took so much longer!
  • Brian “Barney” Barhorst was still a humble resident of Fort Loramie and not Minster.
  • Our Loveland office space was a Clermont County branch of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
  • Some Choice One employees (such as summer help Camille and co-op Lexi) weren’t even born yet.

If you’d like to take a walk down the Choice One memory lane with us, check out more photos here. You’ll see a little less gray hair and a few more eagle/safari ties, but we hope you notice that the spirit of Choice One in place in 1994 has only grown in the past 20 years. Thanks to everyone–clients, spouses, families, advisers, and friends–who has helped us along the way. Here’s to another 20 years of enjoyment.
Happy birthday Choice One!

“Geez, give her one compliment and she thinks she runs the place!”
-Tony Schroeder

Meet Kecia, our digital media gal. Meet Kecia, our digital media gal, commandeering Tony’s office. Meet Kecia, our digital media gal, commandeering Tony’s office her third week on the job. Brave? Or crazy?

Truth be told, Kecia shouldn’t worry. Tony’s office has had numerous inhabitants and uses over the years. You may recall that Tony took two months to cross the USA on a bicycle several years ago (you can relive that “magic” at Tony Chasing Wade), and while he was gone we hijacked his office for all sorts of entertaining activities, such as ping-pong (Kaye won, of course), naps, and miniature farming. Come to think of it, it’s fair to assume that Tony’s office is actually far more productive and functional when used as a pizza buffet or executive bathroom.

With all of that in mind, and in a moment of weakness, Tony decided to let Kecia stay despite the fact that she hijacked his office when he wasn’t looking. But the minute she blocks access to the snacks, steals Schmidty’s dessert, or interrupts Kaye’s daily nap, she’s gone.

Ryan Lefeld: Breadsticks? There were breadsticks?!

Casey Heitkamp: I didn’t see any breadsticks. Did you know there were breadsticks?

Brian Goubeaux: I knew there were breadsticks. They were right next to me so I didn’t mention them to anyone else.

Michael Seeger: Mention what?

Brian Goubeaux: That there were breadsticks.

Tyler Thobe: There were breadsticks?

This was just a sampling of the hubbub that trickled down the line of designers and engineers here this week as they left the conference room after a supplier provided pizza (and breadsticks!?) during a lunch and learn. It’s like “The Song that Never Ends”—the same basic conversation just went on and on, my friend.

A free lunch (especially pizza) is serious business here. Just as serious is missing even a portion of a free lunch (especially, apparently, if it’s breadsticks). We hate to miss things at Choice One. It’s why Mitch and Allen Heitbrink stand on the corner to watch a new traffic signal cycle through its timings late into the evening (NERDS!). It’s why Jeff Kunk never takes his birthday off, lest he miss his yearly delivery of flowers (but never doughnuts. NEVER!). And it’s why Caray never missed a three-point shot in high school basketball.

The conversation that wasn’t supposed to end did the next morning. A devious individual (described by onlookers as “wearing a safety yellow shirt”) ate the leftover pizza before most of us got to the office. The never-ending conversation trickling down the line quickly turned from “Breadsticks?” to “Justice!” But it will change again—probably by the time we’re looking for free lunch.