Professionals in every discipline strive for excellence as they perform all the tasks of their jobs—the mundane tasks as well as the exciting and challenging ones. That striving is one of the chief characteristics that defines professionalism.
Engineers, in particular, consistently challenge themselves and their colleagues to work not just faster, but better. The nature of design engineering, especially, is to improve on what’s been done before. Sometimes the improvement is incremental. But, other times, it represents a true breakthrough in a specific product category that brings with it numerous benefits for customers and society in general.
Right in line with that tradition is the example of the engineering leaders you’ll read about in this special Awards Issue. Hunter Peckham’s dedication to helping people has spurred him on to develop and refine technology that performs miracles for patients who have lost the use of their limbs. Jeff Hawkins’ determination to succeed in a product category where everyone else had failed led to designs that created an industry. Eric Trubenbach and his colleagues’ obsession with quality has won high honors for Teredyne and better products for their customers. And the individual stories of the winners of our Excellence in Design contest show similar blends of the creative, the crafty, and common sense.
So what is it that makes these and other professionals succeed while others fail?
Is it that they are smarter or luckier than their peers? Is it that the goals they have are easier to achieve, or are the resources they can plow into the pursuit of their goals more vast?
Such conclusions are too simple. There must be something else at work here, another ingredient in the mix that makes some people so successful that they serve as role models for others.
Each of our winners has that extra ingredient in abundance. And, so do many other engineers in every industry, from aerospace to telecommunications.
Now do you know what it is?
Can you spot it in yourself and others?
Exactly! It’s as plain as the bold-face letters in this essay. And if you still don’t get it, then, as the letters tell you, try, again.