Choice Mindsets

Choice Mindsets

“Well, it was either get pies from The Spot for Boss’s Day, or go around and give everyone hugs.”

– Brittany Clinehens

Since everyone at Choice One really loves his or her remarkable, motivating, caring, amazing manager (yeah, that might be some sucking up), we had pies from The Spot in Sidney and desserts from Julian’s in Loveland in honor of Boss’s Day. Brittany’s Boss’s Day hug suggestion would probably have been met with more clumsiness and apprehension than the delight and eagerness the desserts received. Hugs are just a little too… “expressive” for many of our crowd.

Our hesitation to hug it out doesn’t diminish our fondness for each other. Kaye really enjoyed the time Brittany ran Kaye’s head into a wall while moving a heavy box together. Ryan Francis offered his sympathetic support when Craig fell (screaming) down a creek bank. And Caray loved the fact that everyone was in the van when she got stuck in the only mud in the middle of downtown Indianapolis–we were all there to push her out!

When push comes to shove (sometimes literally, as in Caray’s stuck-in-the-mud incident), we really do get along and enjoy being around each other. It’s what’s kept us together for almost 20 years. Needless to say, Spot pies and Julian’s brownies help to keep us all coming back to the office, too. Well, at least more than hugs would.

Kaye: “What’s up with this guy’s stomach?”

Brittany: “The guys thought it was a cummerbund. I think it’s a fanny pack.”


Meet Eeyore (from the abbreviation E-OR), the unofficial mascot of Choice One’s core values. He’s quite the looker, don’t you think? He was hand-drawn by Jeff Kunk during a company meeting some time ago, and we just can’t throw him away. He’s become part of our team. You know, like the color green, Jeff Puthoff’s clones, and the sandwich geniuses at Arby’s.

Eeyore represents our values with his broad shoulders, passionate mind, and guts (i.e. cummerbund/fanny pack). Therefore we like to work with and for people who look like Eeyore. Yep, you guessed it–expect Choice One fanny packs for Christmas this year. Unless we have a request for a green and purple cummerbund?

P.S. Wondering where Eeyore’s tail gets pinned (like the Winnie the Pooh donkey character)? Good question. Perhaps when we celebrate Choice One’s 20th birthday next October we can play “Pin the Tail on Kunk…er, Kunk’s Drawing” as a party game.

“You can always tell when Mitch is on the phone with Matt: his voice gets higher and higher and louder and louder.”

– Brian Goubeaux

Traffic engineers Matt Hoying and Mitch Thobe talk traffic daily. Both have the same traffic engineering education from the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety in Chicago, but you’d never know it—they argue about the minutiae of traffic engineering CONSTANTLY. Should the pole be located here or two inches to the left? Should the delay on the loop detectors be 8 seconds or 10 seconds? Does an ice cream truck qualify as “heavy truck traffic” or just as an excuse for a tasty snack?

We have managed to discern that these two argue about perfect traffic design 1) because Matt likes to fire Mitch up, and 2) because both of them are passionate about traffic engineering (NERDS!). With all of this fire and passion, it recently caught us by surprise that not all of our clients know about our obsessive traffic engineers’ abilities. Admittedly, we just assumed you could all hear Matt and Mitch arguing from three counties away. Our bad.

Allan Heitbrink, our newest engineer, is heading for the NUCPS in Chicago this fall to become a (bigger) geek like Matt and Mitch. We’re hoping this somehow creates less gridlock for our phone system. More importantly, let’s hope that the EPA doesn’t get wind of the potentially higher, louder exhaust with one more traffic engineer squawking about side-street queues.

“The Sidney office has buns from Arby’s. Is it fair to assume that the Sidney office had Arby’s sandwiches? If so, Schmidty at the Loveland office is jealous.”

– Brian Schmidt (via email)

Hmmm, based on a recent pile of boxes to recycle, the Loveland office has had plenty of tasty food for the Sidney office to be jealous of over the past few weeks. Still, Brian makes a good point–there are no Arby’s wrappers in that pile, and Arby’s IS awfully tasty…

Despite the lack of snacks from Arby’s and the 90-mile distance between our Sidney and Loveland offices, we aim to make the atmosphere as similar as possible. For instance, now that the first coffee addict (Nick Selhorst) is in the Loveland office, we have installed a coffee machine in Loveland similar to the one in Sidney. One can assume that Nick will have the new one hooked up in about 30 seconds, unlike Tony’s crazy coffee machine debacle last spring. Another example is Brian Schmidt, who calls Brittany every few days to read her the “You Might Be a Redneck…” daily calendar he keeps in Loveland. (“You own more cowboy boots than sneakers,” and “It’s easier to spray weed killer on your lawn than mow it” have hit a little too close to home recently.)

These efforts to maintain similarity at our offices is important because it keeps us all on the same team. Even though the offices are about an hour and a half apart, we hope the physical distance doesn’t deter the camaraderie (i.e. laughter and tomfoolery) that we enjoy in both offices.

FYI, most Arby’s restaurants will “cater” for your next organized event if you call ahead. Think of hot roast beef by the pound, fresh buns, and a huge order of perfectly-seasoned curly fries with cheese. When Schmidty reads this Choice Mindset, we can imagine Schmidty will be jealously hungry just thinking of Arby’s sandwiches. Brian, shall we assume that the Arby’s on Loveland-Madeira Road is about to sell one more sandwich?

P.S. Apparently, as soon as Nick plugged in the new coffeemaker in Loveland, there was a power surge in all of their electrical outlets. Tony must have cursed that machine, too.

“I have very strict photo taking rules. No outfit changes, it can only last one hour, and it has to involve farm equipment.”

– Jeff Puthoff


Well, hope none of you wanted to grab a photo with Jeff for posterity.

Jeff and his family (pictured above) don’t take family photos too often. You can’t blame them–Jeff’s rules probably require his family and the photographer to plan for months in advance to keep under the rigid time limit. The one and only outfit probably has to be carefully planned and prepared. The farm equipment must be in perfect condition for the best aesthetic effect (i.e. must be John Deere). There are no re-takes here.

There are important rules beyond photo-taking around Choice One. For instance:

  • Pay for Canteen purchases when you make them–NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • Buy doughnuts for everyone with your very first paycheck.
  • If there are coffee grounds in the trashcan in Loveland, the coffee-drinkers in the office** MUST take out the trash on Friday.

Naturally, all of these rules have been broken. Some have said that “rules are made to be broken.” Indeed, broken rules have led to some of the best minds in our world to think outside the box and step out of comfort zones. So how do we know when to break the rules? Oliver Wendell Holmes, a notable American writer, once said “The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.”

I guess at Choice One, that means our old fogies Tony, Steve, and Jeff Puthoff can pay the Canteen with IOUs, they can buy everyone doughnuts with EVERY paycheck, and they can blame Nick Selhorst for the coffee grounds in the trash. (Oh wait, that’s going to happen regardless.) However, a word of warning to authorized rule-breakers Tony and Steve: don’t ask Puthoff to change outfits for a photo. Ever.

*Unfortunately, we know from the last Choice Mindset, we know some people feel above the rule for doughnut buying.

**That would be you and only you, Nick Selhorst.

“I don’t want to break my streak now.”

– Jeff Kunk


If we go waaaaay back into Choice One lore, there’s a mystical legend that Jeff Kunk has never bought doughnuts for the entire company. See, there’s a rule here: when you receive your first paycheck as a new employee, you buy doughnuts for everyone. Seriously—it’s in the new employee guidebook. According to the tale, Jeff Kunk never bought doughnuts when he started at Choice One, and hasn’t bought doughnuts ever. The rest of us have bought them. Poor Tyler has co-oped here three times and bought doughnuts each time (he’ll whine about—er, tell you about it if you ask…).

Anyhow, when we had six co-ops/summer help and one new full-time employee this summer who all started around the same date, we didn’t want 12 dozen doughnuts here at once. Logically, we needed a doughnut schedule. The author of this schedule, knowing that Kunk STILL owes doughnuts from 1994, added him to the top of the list. As you can see, the schedule was revised and enhanced, as well, in hopes that Kunk would come to his senses and pay up

The moral of the story? If at first your don’t succeed (getting Kunk to buy doughnuts), try, try, and try again. The outcome of the story? Jeff Kunk STILL hasn’t bought doughnuts. And as evidenced by his quote above, never will.