Almost Famous

Kaye Borchers:
“I think this guy is asking for an autograph. Craig’s an ODOT legend.”

When he attends the Ohio Transportation Engineering Conference (OTEC), Choice One traffic engineer Craig Eley is quite the celebrity. With 25+ years’ traffic engineering experience with ODOT and now at Choice One, it’s no wonder he knows pretty much every person in the room, not to mention every piece of traffic control gadgetry in the exhibit hall. (Nerd alert!)

We have a few other “celebrities” at Choice One. Our survey crews are occasionally caught on Google Earth Street View. Megan Bornhorst once appeared on the gameshow Let’s Make a Deal. She won $450 and a home gym (which she admits she has used a total of five times in six years). And Mitch Thobe once appeared in ESPN stock footage as the typical disgruntled Cleveland Browns fan on the network’s Around the Horn talk show.

While being renowned celebrities sounds fun, it’s not all meet-and-greets and parting gifts. Megan has to dust that home gym. Mitch had to adopt a life as a Browns fan to become famous. And for Craig, trying to get anywhere at a traffic conference is impossible—he’s endlessly stopped to swap roundabout tips and snap selfies. Which means if you’re traveling with him at OTEC, you are probably going to miss out on the nacho bar in the exhibit hall.

P.S. In case you were curious, big brother Owen Kuck welcomed home twin sisters last week, Eleanor and Olivia. Oh, and engineer Matt Hoying welcomed baby boy Ethan, while engineer Dane Sommer welcomed baby girl MJ. See photos on our Facebook page!

Now Hiring

Employment Application:
“Owen enjoys the outdoors, red tractors, and dressing like daddy. He is very productive, with the exception of nap time, and would like to get out of the house more with two new siblings* coming soon.”

Choice One is looking for a new survey crew member,** and when we received this “application” from Owen Kuck, we thought we had an ideal candidate. (Allegedly, our administrative assistant Brittany took the dictation from two-year-old Owen word-for-word.) Unfortunately, upon further review, we were crestfallen that our seemingly perfect candidate needed 16 years’ notice to his current employer: his mom and dad, Choice One surveyor Eric Kuck and wife Manda.

While we like to start them young at Choice One, we have to decline, Owen. If the position required semi-accurate car and tractor noises, obvious orneriness, and an infectious smile, we’d hire you on the spot, no questions asked. Plus we could finally prove that a two-year-old can swing a sledge better than his dad. But until you fill out that safety green shirt a little better, we’ll keep searching!

*Eric and Manda are expecting twins any day now!
**Seriously, we’re looking for a field surveyor! Know someone who likes to be outdoors and doesn’t mind wearing green? Direct them here!

Seahorsing Around

Nick Selhorst:
“Jason Brown insists on calling me ‘Seahorse’ when he calls the office. He is determined to make that my official name when people talk to me.”

Lately, when Jason Brown with Ryan Homes calls into the office he has been asking for one “Nick Seahorse.” Well Nick, considering these Mindsets reach thousands of people, you can let Jason know that he is a trendsetter. We’ll start expecting more calls asking for “Seahorse” aaaaany minute now.

We’ve covered our various nicknames (and NICK-names!) before, but this might be the first nickname requested by a client. Here at Choice One, we very much respect the needs of our clients, and so we certainly can’t say no to Mr. Brown. So give us a call, and ask for Nick Seahorse–we’ll know exactly who you’re looking for. (Heck, it will help with the Nick/Not Nick situation, too).

While you’re at it, sign up your team for the Loveland Charity Cup (teams accepted from today until Thursday, 9/21!). That way, on November 8, while you’re enjoying some bucketball and Vonderhaar’s , you can catch our Seahorse in the fish… er, flesh.

Aye Matey

Inquiring Mindsets want to know…
“Ninjas or pirates?”


Andy Shuman, Project Manager
“Definitely ninjas. I can’t swim very well.”
Craig Eley, Project Manager
“Pirates. I don’t know of a ninja baseball team.” (Although ninja baseball might be less boring, right Jeff Puthoff?)

Allen Bertke, Professional Surveyor
“Ninjas. When I was a kid, everyone wanted to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I wanted to be Leonardo: the blue one with the awesome swords.”
Megan Bornhorst, Administrative Assistant
“Pirates. September 19 is National Talk Like a Pirate Day, and at a previous job I spent a whole meeting talking like a pirate. No one acknowledged it.” (Flat Tony would have noticed, Megan…)

Inside Joke

Craig Eley:
“We’re engineers. Our laughter is on the inside.”

If it’s not completely obvious, we caught a rare photo (above) of engineers laughing hysterically at a joke. Not convinced? Think about it: they’re actually looking at the camera and not their shoes.

Engineers are often stereotyped as introverts who hold everything in. Since it’s a bit of a mystery, then, what else might be inside of Choice One’s engineers? Let’s see, there’s certainly a continuous flow of coffee. Add to that a fair amount of dirt/dust (a complex blend of construction, farmer, and ball diamond). Unquestionably, any number of naps. And, of course, Arby’s, Burger King, doughnuts, Starburst, Pop-Tarts, and Mt. Dew. And that’s just Brian Schmidt after breakfast!

All joking aside (lest our engineers yuk it up even MORE than in the photo), we think civil engineering and surveying offer a lot of opportunities for enjoyment (find 153 such examples here). And in case you’re curious, the joke Kaye told our engineers to get them to “laugh” above? “I promise I’m not taking a photo for a Mindset!”

Slush Fun

Kaye Borchers:
“Nothing says ‘important meeting’ like a blue slushy.”

We don’t blame you, Matt, for sipping on that cup of vibrant raspberry goodness regardless of your meeting’s significance. Indeed, when there’s an “Alligator Ice” machine running just outside your office door, it would be a crime to NOT have a slushy at all times.

Matt’s cheery, bright beverage reminds us that in our sometimes hectic Choice One days, there is always room for a little blue (or green?) sugar. Whether it’s a slushy, cartwheels down the hallway, or stilt-walking with clients, we at Choice One recommend taking time to have a little fun. And based on our sweet treats, acrobatics, and amazing feats of height and balance, we might further implicate that Jeff Puthoff is part circus clown.

So thanks, Matt, for showing us how a simple slushy amid busy times can (literally) brighten our days. One piece of advice, though: next time, make sure it’s a green slushy. Else you owe us lunch.

On Cloud Wine

Joan Schroeder (Tony’s wife):
“Good thing they didn’t have a ‘Tony’s Green’ or we would have to buy all of Choice One one of those!”

Tony and his wife Joan have hit the pavement on two wheels again and are currently bicycling around the Finger Lakes of New York*. When they discovered that a winery shared Tony’s name, they stopped. Joan commented, “Their bottles say ‘Anthony’ and ‘Tony’ on them. We bought a Tony’s Red, a Tony’s White, and a Tony’s Blush.” But sadly, as stated, there was no Tony’s Green.

If we were going to develop a line of wines to represent civil engineers, we could certainly have more fun NOT naming them after Tony. Perhaps our hypothetical Choice One Winery could produce varieties such as Rip-Rap Red, Butterfly Valve Bubbly, Sediment Control Shiraz, Meter Pit Merlot, and, of course, Pino Green-gio. We could brew beer, too! Who wouldn’t want an Aggregate Base Ale, Intermediate Course IPA, or Mast Arm Malt? (We could serve them all at our pub-style restaurant called Choice One’s Clearing and Grub!)

It’s probably best that there was no Tony’s Green wine for purchase (and also best that our design skills are less corny than our beverage naming skills). If Tony had to tote 40 bottles of wine on his bicycle, there would be no end to his “wining,” especially when encountering any of those pesky headwinds he has been known to complain about. Plus, if we keep picking on him when he’s not here, we can produce a different kind of “Tony’s Blush” or, eventually, some “Tony’s Red.” (We’ll assume “Tony’s White” is only produced when he falls down and gives himself a concussion playing volleyball.)

*Check out Tony and Joan’s adventures on their blog!

Fork in the Road

Kaye Borchers:
“Craig, you better reschedule your family vacation. Else you’re going to miss registering for OTEC at the first moment possible.”

25-year traffic engineering veteran Craig Eley has been faced with an incredibly anxiety-ridden decision: go camping in Michigan with his family OR register (yes, just register) on the very first day possible for ODOT’s annual Ohio Transportation Engineering Conference. Indeed, in Craig’s Squaresville world of traffic engineering, this is actually a difficult decision.

Really, it’s a good thing we have enthusiastic traffic engineers like Craig. With all of the technical workings and acronyms surrounding traffic engineering, it would be easy to get a little lost without their educational directional signage. For instance, Craig makes sure we know that RRFB stands for Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon, not Bacon. (Bummer, that.) But most importantly, because he is the most “senior” of our traffic engineers, Craig gets to have final say in the traffic engineers’ quarrels about the minutiae of traffic engineering. (Craig, we know you’ll side with Matt since he now grades the company meeting quizzes and you’re a brown-noser!)

Don’t worry, Craig, if you elect to go on vacation, someone here at Choice One will make sure you’re registered ASAP. We would NEVER play a cruel joke and tell you you’re registered when you’re not. (Then, when you show up to the conference in October, they won’t let you in and you’ll get really upset and you’ll be put on some kind of “banned from OTEC for life” list. Because something like that TOTALLY exists.) Seriously, we’d never do that… Or would we?

Choose wisely, Craig. Choose very, very wisely.

Scent Sense

Brian Schmidt:
“I make a lot of engineering decisions in the course of a day. This is not one of them.”

For a water distribution engineer like Brian Schmidt, weighing options like ductile iron pipe and PVC pipe comes easily. But bathroom fragrances? Not so much.

While perfumes like “Moonlight Path” and “Love Spell” don’t make much sense to Brian, we could imagine some Choice One colognes that might:

  • “Soothing Survey Truck” – A luxurious blend of wooden stakes, mud, and fluorescent marking paint, with hints of Mt. Dew and rubber boots. Bottled onsite in our unique, high-visibility safety green bottle.
  • “Break Room Bouquet” – Choice One lunchtime inspired, this exotic fusion blends reheated pizza and burnt fish sticks with undertones of Arby’s Sauce and Cool Ranch Doritos. Limited edition.
  • “Eau de Engineer” – Carefully developed over many years in the Choice One labs, our signature fragrance blends blue ink, printer toner, and doughnuts with elements of keyboard crumbs and strong coffee. Available in two varieties: “Pocketless Green,” for men, and “Practicality Purple,” for women.

Perhaps if this whole engineering thing doesn’t work out, we can start selling these scents at local department stores. (Just imagine surveyors Jeff North and Eric Kuck politely offering shoppers a spritz of “Spicy Summer Surveyor.”). Until then, Brian, stick to the easy engineering decisions you understand, like gravity versus forcemain and Burger King versus Chipotle.

Window Pain

Tyler Thobe:
“Oh my gosh! There’s a window in Matt’s office?”

He’s been walking past the president’s office for five years, but it took until this week for engineer Tyler Thobe to notice the window Matt is awkwardly peering in above. Thankfully, Tyler is attentive when it comes to storm water design, not to mention when breakfast cereal is in his immediate vicinity.

To prove to Tyler that the window has always existed, we present the following evidence.

  • Flat Tony posed in front of the window while Real Tony was out riding a bike for “vacation.”
  • The Ghost of Choice One is aware of that window, and we’re pretty sure she can’t even see through her sheet.
  • Nick “Goldilocks” Sanders has enjoyed a just right bowl of porridge in front of that window.

We could bore Tyler with more photographic proof of the window, but at this point, we’ll spare him a little embarrassment. Plus, we’ll cut him a break: in truth, the blinds are always closed to keep pesky, unwanted people like Matt from staring in.