What a great thread. I have a lot of nice things to say about a lot of people because truly this hobby has become more about the people I have come to know than the trains themselves. Where to start? Tom your help with some of the more obscure ATSF locomotive information has been so important to the success of those projects. More importantly your friendship, occasional wellness calls, and emails have really been so timely for me over the last ten years.
I echo your sentiment about Scott Mann. He took a huge chance way back in 2009 to involve me in a project and I've lost count of how many I have had the true honor of being involved with since. Nicest and likely the shrewdest business person in this scale to pull of some some really interesting and fun projects. Scott has become more than a contract employer is one of my true friends beyond just the business of trains. Plus we both share a love for Peter Gabriel era Genesis music! :-)
Through my Sunset association I have come to know Bob Heil as not just a great resource, but a mentor and an incredible modeler. If I have a tenth of the quality in my layout someday that he has in his that will be a true accomplishment. Richard Dunn just knows his stuff and it is always fun to have him pop over to San Ramon when schedules align. There are so many others I have forgotten to mention when it comes to emails and input I personally get during project development. This role has taken my hobby to a level I never dreamed possible.
I am thankful for my TCA membership. So many wonderful people. I can't mention them all by name, but in my Division I have to say that Past National President Chris Allen has always been my TCA mentor. He's helped me through the politics when I was on the national board and never fails to go way above and beyond for Desert Division. The only negative thing I can say about Chris due to his influence I now too spend a little too much at Division auctions and as a result have a storage unit for my trains. Not necessarily the worst thing that can happen I suppose. There are several others that have simply welcomed this crazy scale rivet counting railfan. Prior to TCA I was an avid HO and N stay at home non-social modeler. TCA has given me appreciation for trains I never had a remote interest in such as pre and post war Lionel. I'm only a locomotive short of being able to run a standard gauge train around my tree as a result. That 400E is just a bit out of reach for something I'd run once a year though.
I am thankful for this forum. My first post was in 2007 regarding a Williams T1 I purchased on Ebay that didn't run even though "it had been tested". Through the kind help of several members at the time I was able to determine that the wiring harness was not wired correctly and I fixed it myself.
In terms of people, I really want to give a special call out to Jack Wheelihan. He is among the most friendly and genuine person one can meet and just knows so MUCH about prototype trains once you correspond with him in person. While the project is a few years old, your EMD diagram of the SD7 demo scheme saved me days of work during crunch time. Our conversations on configuration of Burlington E and F units is one I'll never forget in how patient and thorough you were with walking me through Burlington Bulletin #10. I also have to give a shout out to the comedy duo of Kruimer and Casatelli. Back in the early days of the 3 rail scale page, they really kept me in this scale as I was drawn to the ideas of scale couplers, non-swinging pilots and scale length cars.
It is hard to really say all I want to say, so if I've left you out for some reason, it is not intentional. I am better with arcane knowledge than names and always will be! Off there are so many of you that post on these pages that I am forgetting, but I do have to get back to work on GP7 and GP9 research or Scott will be after me!