What characteristic(s) about Michael set him apart?

Curiosity, intellectual exploration, collaborative work style, receptiveness to feedback, follow-through, cheerfulness.
Michael is genuinely passionate about his chosen field. He is actively engaged in the professional community here in Seattle and he encourages his colleagues to be involved, as well. He believes in connecting both with users and other members of the profession to create a user-centered culture of collaboration and innovation.
Inquisitive, capable, mature, interesting
Michael's enthusiasm, dedication and energy is about, at least, twice of a normal worker. He is really passionate and knowledgeable with information management, user-centered design concept. He can "talk" the tech lingo with a low-keyed demeanor.
The Treasury project was extremely complex for several reasons. First, because it involved connecting Treasury's Pay.gov functionality through a remote and secure facility to various databases, it was technically quite complex. Second, because it was managed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (among others) for Treasury, Michael's job involved supporting and coordinating personnel at Treasury, FRB Cleveland, the secure facilty, various commercial database providers, and at RAF. His abilty to coordinate this collection of ever-changing players and help create a successful project was exemplary.
honesty, integrity and goodsense of humor
Michael is very bright, resourceful, and hightly-motivated.
Resilient. Michael has the ability to adapt to the task at hand. He is also tenacious and will see a project through to its successful conclusion.
Tenacious, able to produce quality work under constrained deadlines, a wicked sense of humor (unusual in many coders)
His general good nature and sense of humor is what I remember most about him. If anything ever bothered him, we never knew about it. The smile on his face and cheer in his voice was a hallmark of our team.
His jovial and friendly attitude.
Michael's interest in the subject matter was much higher than most students. He was very enthusiastic about it.
Worked the extra mile (late hours) when required. Very devoted to the success of a project.
can-do attitude

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