Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

“Tyler, can you change your name to ‘Newton’ for the summer? That way we can have ‘Olivia Newton-John’ all working next to each other in one office.”
– Andy Shuman

Calling Tyler “Newton” wouldn’t be much of a stretch (and not just because he’s a self-proclaimed genius). We have several nicknames here, although some are not very self-explanatory:

  • “Barney” – Brian Barhorst acquired this nickname long before the inception of Choice One. He claims he doesn’t remember where it came from, but that he was given the nickname in the third grade. Anyhow, with three Brians, it’s an obvious way to single him out. In fact, many of our clients call him “Barney” as well. And no, the nickname has nothing to do with the singing purple dinosaur, but sometimes we question it.
  • “M. John” – Matt’s traffic engineer persona/superhero name. Faster than a car through a yellow light, he can clear gridlock in a single bound!
  • “Not Nick” – If you’ve ever seen our plans, you may have noticed that we tag everything with initials. Nick Selhorst arrived here about a year ago and created a problem we’d never had: duplicate initials. Nick Selhorst’s initials, NJS, were the same as incumbent Nick Sanders’s initials. So we deemed Nick Selhorst “Not Nick Sanders,” and his initials have been NNS ever since.
  • “Michael Soft Hands” – During an early co-op, before he was a full-time engineer at Choice One, Michael Seeger worked on the survey crew for a time. As is typical, Jeff “Shorty” North (that nickname IS self-explanatory) made Michael do all the sledge-swinging, and he got blisters–hence his “soft hands.”

Clearly, nicknames here at Choice One generally come from some form of teasing. Basically, if you’ve embarrassed yourself, you have a nickname. Needless to say, it’s not long after you arrive at Choice One before you have a nickname due our general unusualness, clumsiness, or ridiculousness. For, as you may have noticed, we have no “Einstein” or “LeBron” here.

“Sometimes you walk into the craziest conversations here. You just look ahead and keep walking.”

– Nick Sanders


Between Megan recently being nine months pregnant* and not afraid to share (Wes has a habit of accidentally wandering into these conversations), Brian Schmidt cursing at his computer (and startling the co-op in the Loveland office with him), and Kaye’s recent purchase of a four-foot concrete Sasquatch as a gift for her husband (the nine-year wedding anniversary is the concrete anniversary, right?), there are certainly some interesting dialogs here at Choice One. Yep, all these Mindset quotes are quite real…

Nick’s advice is pretty good, but if you feel inclined to listen, you might learn a few things from the random discussions around here. Perhaps you’ll hear about the finer points between a lunch of Al’s Pizza versus Cassano’s Pizza. Maybe you’ll overhear all of the “sick” new terms Tony and Brittany are picking up from marketing intern and Chicago-area native John. Or, with luck, you’ll hear how quickly Nick Selhorst can move his feet while dancing “Gangnam Style” at his wedding this past weekend (congrats Nick!).

Despite what you may hear, civil engineers aren’t always boring and technical. You just have to walk into one of our conversations to prove it. Just keep in mind, though, that’s it’s probably best to look ahead and keep walking.

*Megan and her husband Andy welcomed to their family a healthy baby girl, Drew Elizabeth, on Tuesday, June 11. Congratulations Bornhorsts!

“So Kaye, how do we enter answering all of these phones calls on our timesheet?”

– Megan Bornhorst

Much to the delight of her coworkers, Kaye embarrassed herself by mistakenly emailing a $250 sponsorship invoice to 660 members and contacts of the I-70/75 Development Association, which she sits on the board of. About 50 of those contacts (rightfully) called Choice One to talk to Kaye regarding the erroneous invoice. All at once.

Thankfully for Kaye, Megan and Brittany stepped up and answered the calls, apologizing over and over to confused (and, thankfully, understanding) invoice recipients. Brian Barhorst even fielded a call from the Governor’s Office.

This begs the question that if we need a time code for “Answering phone calls for Kaye’s slip up,” then perhaps there are a few more new time codes we might need around here:

  • Guessing/discussing the gender and arrival date of Megan’s baby. (due June 11!)
  • Helping Tony find his glasses. Or coffee cup. Or remember why he walked to your desk to talk to you.
  • Predicting how Nick Sanders might next injure himself.
  • Picking on Michigan fans.

In closing, what has Kaye learned? 1) Check the “Recipient” list a little more thoroughly before sending out invoices for the Association, and 2) If you want to get the Governor’s attention, send his office a fabricated $250 invoice.

“Choice One has probably considered a subsurface exploration study. But the bookstore on the south side of 571 between First and Second Streets is supposed to be haunted. So Choice One should add a Line Item for Ghostbusters. Lump Sum.”

-Vic Roberts
R.B. Jergens Contractors, Vandalia


We’ve never had a request to add a line item for “Ghostbusting” before. However, there are certainly enough Egon-esc nerds around Choice One who could figure it out. Wikipedia describes Egon Spengler, a character in the Ghostbusters movies, as “book smart, with not much social ability.” Yep, sounds like most Choice One engineers. The article continues to say “as a child, the only toy he ever had was part of a Slinky, which he straightened out. Spengler is a sugar junkie and sleeps an average of 14 minutes per day, leaving him ‘a lot of time to work.’” Wow. If that’s not Jeff Puthoff in a nutshell… Although Jeff claims to have only had old shoes to play with as a child.

Choice One nerds aside, we’ll have to take into consideration that “Ghostbusting” might lead to several other items that might be useful in our plans and estimates. Well, useful to us.


The bookstore Vic mentions is Browse Awhile Books, at 118 East Main Street in Tipp City. Check it out sometime, but don’t mind the ongoing construction outside in the street. Let’s hope the contractor isn’t disturbing any ghosts out there. Who ya gonna call?

Brittany: “I hate praying mantis.”

Mitch: “Is it ‘praying’ mantis or ‘prang’ mantis?”

Brittany: “I think it is ‘praying’ mantis because it looks like they are praying.”

Mitch: “Oh. Probably. I just always say it really fast so people don’t know what I am saying.”


Yeah, Mitch, you might want to protect that valuable noggin of yours. It’s clearly filled with spot-on information about the world beyond engineering. Or maybe you just need to uncover your ears to hear “praying” instead of “prang.”

Since we’ve successfully filled Mitch’s head with traffic engineering data, we can’t expect him to also be an expert in entomology (that’s the study of insects, Mitch). Besides, if we had an insect expert, he’d have to compete with the other “experts” around here, like our lawn expert Greg, who accidentally sprayed his entire lawn with Round-Up instead of a non-grass-killing herbicide this past weekend.

Thankfully, we really are experts at the things that matter here at Choice One (you know, like farming, cycling, and pizza). Let’s just hope that Mitch’s fashion statement doesn’t catch on around here. It would take Megan twice as long to get ready for work if she had to put bags on her feet and a lifejacket on her head…

“I think I’m going to put a reminder on my phone that says ‘Go to work,’ and just hit ‘Dismiss’ when it pops up.”

– Greg Albers


For some reason, Brian Schmidt ends up in the doghouse almost every week, as he tends to have a hard time remembering to submit his completed timesheet. He gets it all filled out, but its that tricky little “Submit” button that gets him every time. And, like clockwork, almost every Monday Jeff Puthoff “politely” reminds Schmitty to click ‘Submit.”

Brian decided to be proactive and put a recurring reminder on his Outlook calendar that says “Submit Timesheet” on every Friday afternoon. However, he apparently dismisses this reminder each time it pops up on his screen. Perhaps he has a hard time tearing himself away from a particularly engaging sanitary sewer slope… or is occasionally distracted by the downtown Loveland traffic passing the office.

There’s lots of things we can think of that would be more fun to “dismiss” than filling out our timesheets, such as:

  • “Perform field survey” (in 5-degree weather)
  • “Perform field survey” (in 95-degree weather)
  • “Lunch meeting – 12:30” (when some of us struggle to patiently wait ALL the way until 12:30pm to eat)
  • “Fix coffee machine” (when you’re Tony)

Perhaps you all can help us out. Feel free to bombard Schmitty with reminders to submit his timesheet today at Since Jeff Puthoff can be cranky early on a Monday morning (many of us might agree that Monday mornings are a tempting time to click “Dismiss” on the “Go to Work” reminder), and since Brian doesn’t pay attention to his computer reminder, maybe we can keep him out of that doghouse with a reminder by committee.