Moving the plant/manufacturing area?
My boss is all about handwaving and vagueness. All he was looking for was an architect to come in, look at what we have, and then look at what our new location has and try and recreate our current situation as much as possible. He has a meeting with someone today, so I should be "off the hook," so to speak.
With regards to your comments about "working with the grunts." I totally agree with you. When I was in school (only a few years ago), I was working as a design engineer at a machine shop in my hometown. While there, my best resources weren't my engineering manager and co-workers (although, they did have a lot of hands-on experience), but the shop manager and the CNC/machine operators. They appreciated the fact that I'd come to them, explain my situaiton and then say something like "So, Johnny, do you think this tolerance is too tight, or can we hold it? Will it make the slot blow through into the counterbore?" Treating the guys who "make" my projects as equals has definitely helped me A) learn valuable design knowledge, and B) move my projects along faster. I wash their hands, they wash mine kind of deal.
I've been in companies were productiion and engineering do everything seperately. At this one particular place, I could each lunch with either group, shoot the bull with either group, and even grab a beer after work with either group. That's important for an engineer.
I'm also trying to accomplish that at my current position. The production area was astonished when I came in with a prototype that needed to be made ASAP. They were expecting me to ask them to do it, but all I asked for was a set of tools and a piece of workbench. I think I definitely gained respect. Only time will tell.
Thanks for all the help with the moving question. I really do appreciate it.