Some Engineers actually LOVE doing Engineering things, and will forgo a "promotion" to a higher paying or more powerful job so they can stay technical. It's a quirk that, in my experience, Engineers tend to have more than say people who get Business degrees. For those types of Engineers, being able to direct a project in a way they technically prefer *is* the Power they're looking for.
It's just something that a non-techie just can't grasp because it's so much out of their own frame of reference.
That's why in the good old days of IBM and HP, they had a technical track that would allow the top Engineers/Scientists to get promoted, and paid well, WHILE staying involved with the technical aspects of projects, so as not to *lose* their technical skills by making them management types.