Imhotep was a renowned Egyptian officer, priest, and architect/builder from the Third Dynasty. Despite being of low birth, his incredible aptitude for a wide range of natural sciences (comparable to Leonardo daVinci’s reputation as a Renaissance Man) propelled him to become recognized as one of the greatest engineers in history and deified by the Egyptians as an avatar of Thoth.
The phrase “Imhotep’s Distinction” most commonly refers to the fact that Imhotep was clearly not the only architect/builder of his era, and the existence of numerous structures centuries before his time attest that he was certainly not the first. His “distinction” lies in the fact that he is the earliest exemplar who we really know anything about.
As brilliant as Imhotep is celebrated to be, he surely first learned as an apprentice under someone else. He also, almost certainly, learned from many contemporary builders and architects, combining the strengths of some to offset the weaknesses of others, though the names of even these engineers have been lost to the sands of time.