Before I dive in, I just want to acknowledge some of the nice people who have reached out to me. You know who you are and I just wanted to say I always appreciate your kind words. I'm awkward around people saying nice things to me, so sometimes I think my gratitude doesn't always come across.
Nearly 20 years ago I worked for a company that made aerospace transducers, it was structured in such a way that it gave me an insight into what makes a good engineer. The task in hand was mainly a packaging exercise to mechanically fit various temperature and/or speed sensors into various packages. The company had over 10 mechanical engineers feeding work into me (a test engineer) and my mate Dave who handled all the fixing (welding, vacuum brazing and the like).
Dave and I talked and came to the conclusion that some projects went well and some went badly and that you predict from the engineer which would go badly and which would go well. It soon became obvious that our list of "good" engineers vs "bad" engineers was the same. You could without fail pin a disaster on specific people. But more interesting was the commonality of the excellent projects. There was one engineer (let's call him Nigel [for that is his name]) who's projects were always a dream and the one thing that made him exceptional?
He would come down from the office and include us in his projects....
It's a little thing, but it meant that the tests were designed with my equipment in mind and the metal fixing was designed with consideration for Daves requirements. He had the humility to say "I don't know", you're the experts.