Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

Brian Goubeaux: “Jeff, if MSA is the official architect of the Cincinnati Reds and they take Opening Day off, can we be the official civil engineers of the Cincinnati Reds and get Opening Day off too?”

Jeff Puthoff: “Goub, baseball is boring. If you want Opening Day off, just take a frickin’ vacation day.”


Some of us baseball fans admire our friends at MSA Architects for taking Opening Day off like a holiday. Granted, their offices are in downtown Cincinnati, and logistically, getting to and from work and getting anything done when the office overlooks the stadium would be pretty difficult in the first place, but we think it makes a pretty good business statement too.

Opening Day at Choice One brings a big bag of peanuts in the shell, lots of talk and dreams of pennant races, and the radio getting switched to 700 WLW near game time. Some in the company, however, (ahem, Jeff Puthoff) think baseball is “boring,” and, similarly, think taking the day off of work for a baseball game is ridiculous.

Of course, when you look at Choice One’s history, we’ve come up with plenty of “better” reasons to take days off. For instance:

  • Giving yourself a concussion falling down during a sand volleyball game.
  • Taking one of your children to the emergency room for the fifteenth sports-related injury.
  • Getting your car stuck in your driveway on a snowy day. Or not being able to get up a steep, hilly road on a snowy day.
  • Injuring your foot tripping over the fuel pump line at a gas station.
  • Taking your kids to Kalahari Waterpark for the fifth weekend in a row. Or to Disney for the third year in a row.
  • Getting an early start to Oktoberfest, Russia Homecoming, Pioneer Days, Country Concert, etc.

So cheers, MSA, for taking off Opening Day. Perhaps Choice One can consider becoming the official civil engineers of Urgent Care, Versailles Poultry Days or Honda Snow Blowers for a few extra days off.

Greg Albers: “Why is everyone on a diet? Francis, are you on a diet?”

Ryan Francis: “This Francis ain’t on no diet.”


Based on recent temperatures and random overnight snowfalls, Spring has yet to reach the area. Subsequently, Ryan Francis is obviously unconcerned about swimsuit season.

Worry can be all-consuming. While any surveyor can work on his or her physique (perhaps by swinging the sledgehammer themselves instead of forcing young, innocent surveyors to do it for them), worrying about something we can’t control–like the arrival of Spring or the weather–isn’t productive. (Nevertheless, try telling that to the farmers here at Choice One…)

As children’s book author Mitzi Chandler once said, “Worry is as useless as a handle on a snowball.” Especially if that snowball falls at the end of March. Besides, Ryan has no need to worry about dieting… He has far too many other pressing worries.

“We are on a strict diet of corn husks only.”

– Dane Nagel, Village of Versailles


…and judging by the Municipal Cup Cornhole Championship Versailles won in 2011, a “corn husk only” diet is an effective way to prepare for the Cornhole Tournament.

March 27 will mark the 7th Choice One Engineering Cornhole Challenge. Over the years, the tournament has evolved a little bit (remember when you just threw the corn-bag like a normal person instead of spinning in a circle with your eyes closed and flinging a flying monkey?), but this year will mark the best changes yet.

  1. First, the location is changing. Since we were running out of room at the Sidney American Legion, the event will be held this year at Shelby Oaks Golf Course just outside of Sidney. We’re hoping that this move to a golf facility will subversively quiet the whiners who have been relentlessly pestering us about a return to the Choice One Golf Outing days of old.
  2. Second, this year the event will benefit a really great Shelby County charity called Sluggers Little League. This program offers children between the ages of 5-18 with a mental and/or physical disability a chance to play Little League baseball. There is no fee for the players; the only prerequisite is that the players come with a desire to play baseball and have fun. Raffle tickets and donations collected at the Cornhole Tournament will be matched by Choice One and donated to this worthwhile cause.
  3. Finally, those stylish green jackets pictured above on those fetching young gentlemen will no longer be awarded to the winning team. Instead, Choice One Engineering will make a $300 donation to a charity of the winner’s choice in the winning team’s municipality.

Change can be difficult (see note above about the whining golfers…). We suggest, however, that a change worth implementing is promptly switching to a diet of corn husks only.

“Can you send more nutritious snacks down for Bosses’ Day next time? Because I just sat down in my chair and my button popped off my pants. Good thing Matt had a safety pin.”

– Brian Schmidt

Sometimes dessert is just too hard to pass up. For Brian Schmidt, that “sometimes” equals “always.” And when cheesecake looks like the one above, can you blame him?

Indulging once in a while isn’t a bad thing. At Choice One, we indulge A LOT: we indulge Tony when we listen politely to his continuous soccer talk, we indulge Jeff Puthoff and his incessant farmer complaints (“It’s too wet. It’s too dry. It’s too hot. It’s too cold.”), and we indulge Brian Goubeaux and his whining about the lack of Texas Cinnamon Rolls in The Canteen.

Be it a sugary treat or a leant ear, the occasional indulgence can satisfy a sweet tooth or a chatty coworker. Even if that means Kaye has to make a special trip to Sam’s Club. In the cold. And snow.

(You’re welcome for your breakfast this morning, Brian.)

“Did you just quote Naughty By Nature?”

– Jeff Puthoff

Being that they are an early 1990s rap group, and being that Jeff Puthoff isn’t much of a hip-hop kind of guy, you might be surprised to find out that Jeff knows who Naughty By Nature is. However, as told by his spectacular mullet, Jeff was pretty hip in 1993.

There’s a lot we can learn from our past. When we complete projects at Choice One, we like to reflect on what went well and what could have been better so that we might learn from ourselves and our experiences. For instance, if traffic engineering was involved, one could learn that Matt and Mitch probably had a lengthy, heated discussion about optimal signal timing. Clients who work with Andy quickly learn that his favorite lunch meetings happen at the China Garden (and he’s not shy about multiple trips to the buffet). And any project engineer working with Brian Barhorst would quickly learn that whatever Brian needed, he expected it yesterday.

We can certinaly learn a lot from our past experiences. If we can learn anything from Jeff’s past, it might be that some hairstyles should STAY in the past. Keep that in mind Jeff. Please.

“Megan doesn’t care about fashion, she cares about function.”

– Jeff Puthoff

Yes, those are plastic shopping bags on Megan’s feet. And yes, she put those on her feet voluntarily (to keep her feet dry in the rain). And yes, she crossed a public street to reach Choice One. And yes, we laughed at her when she walked in.

Practical? Yes. Pretty? Um, not to everyone… (Sorry, Megan.)

To some, pretty is more important than practical. But around here, practicality generally outweighs beauty, as our clients are often in the business of saving dollars for themselves or their taxpayers. For instance:

  • Tony facilitates the creation of simple zoning codes for municipalities and townships. Usable, functional zoning codes are easy to understand for residents, officials, and potential developers, making a municipality/township attractive to settle and invest in.
  • Jeff Kunk buys everyone pizza when only five or six people are in the office, therefore spending less to buy “the whole company” lunch.
  • Jeff Puthoff wears cowboy boots to save time–he doesn’t have to match his socks or tie his shoes (we’re not sure he knows how to tie shoelaces anyhow).

In closing, Jeff Kunk will only buy “the whole company” lunch once every 18 years, and fancy shoes probably wouldn’t help Jeff Puthoff be less awkward, but when it comes to being practical designers and engineers, the Choice One crew does pretty well. And, in terms of practicality, shopping bags will keep Megan’s feet dry. But we’re still going to laugh at her.