I hate it when I reply to my own questions with the answer!
I make Fred as the only person with access to the Fred Released transition and setup Bert for his.
I would still like some feedback on using Special Values for tasks and conditions if anyone has any ideas.
You could have one transition that both Fred and Bert can perform to approve files that would fill out your variables on the data card per user.
I had the same issue when setting up the workflows for the vault we use. Under the “Actions” tab on the transition you can set the Approval variable to be the full name or initials (in the fly out menu) of the person performing the transition. I opted for initials so it wouldn’t clutter the title block when the print was opened.
The “Approval Date” can be done the same way selecting “date” in the fly out menu.
Let me know if you have any questions about this.