Let me guess - both the new engineer and the plant manager are relatively young (under 40). I run a growing engineering company and hire non-stop (I just spent all day yesterday talking to students at a career fair.) Our culture has definitely changed. When I graduated from college in the 80s, most of my classmates were handy fellers. I routinely ask these job candidates if they change oil or rotate tires, and the answer is most always "no." When it is "yes," they bump up in the queue. If they grew up on a farm - even better! And when they come to work for us, they spend a fair amount of time in the field while they are learning how to design because an engineer has to know how his/her designs are manufactured/built in order to be a great engineer. Anyone can create a design, but not everyone can create a great design...i had a new engineer refer to a square as "one of those L things".
our new plant manager has said that old practices are outdated and no longer need applied, says that how the press operator was taught to set the dies and blades is all BS and a waste of time....................they haven't bent a straight part since.
Many reasons contribute to why that cultural shift has occurred, but a big one is the elimination of hands-on shop classes in high school (or Junior High School!) My learning started in the garage at home with Dad at 8 years old, continued in high school shop classes and college, and still continues - hence the "Semper Discens" under my user name. Latin for "Always Learning." With a couple generations now of people who can't do the simplest of automotive tasks, reinstating high school shop classes is the best way to turn things around because, sadly, Dads no longer have the skills to pass them on to their kids.