When I worked on TNG, I spent most of my free time doing two things: painting Warhammer 40K miniatures, and hanging out in the art department.
I loved the art department. From the very first time I walked into their workspace, Mike Okuda and Rick Sternbach let me look at their sketches, geek out about the science part of science fiction, and gave me a place to go every day where it was okay to be a huge nerd who loved science and design.
They became my friends, and like my other cow-orker Guy Vardaman (who was my stand-in), they nurtured my geeky side so much, I was never "at risk" like other teenage actors who bought into the myth that all young actors should party their lives away in Hollywood night clubs.
I just saw this on Doug Drexler's blog:
WOW! Congratulations, Mike. This is an award that is richly deserved.