What constitutes a quality solution to an authentic task from industry? This study seeks to address this question through the examination of two expert solutions to an authentic engineering task used in the Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering curriculum at Oregon State University. The two solutions were generated by two teams of expert engineers with varying backgrounds. The experts solved a process development problem situated in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Transcripts of audio recordings, design notebooks, and other work products were analyzed to identify common features in the two expert solutions. The study found that both experts placed a large focus on information gathering, modeling before experimentation, and fine tuning of the process. These solution features define a core set of expert competencies and facilitate understanding of high quality solution traits. An additional goal of the study was to identify competencies unique to each expert solution. It was observed that the expert teams used different proportions of first principles modeling and statistical experimental design to solve the problem. This proportion was dependent on the problem solver’s background and therefore should be expected to vary among student solutions. Implications of the work regarding instruction and assessment in engineering education are discussed.