Beau is going to help you become a great handler Nancy. With the right guidance, which it seems you have found, the connection he has with you will become a really special thing. I'm excited for you. It's a double edged sword though. You can cue him easily because of it as well.
When I have a handler with this problem, I tell them to totally ignore the dog while working. I make them talk to me while the dog is working. Control can be added later, after independence is strong in the dog.
I'm glad to hear you are coming off the prong and going to the e-collar, especially if the prong is causing conflict. I'd hate to see him come up the leash, as it would set you back
(in your mind, not his) and would create more conflict between you.
To add to what sounds like really sound advice:
Consistent corrections can often be far lower in intensity because the message is far more clear to the dog. As he matures, he will need clear and precise communication to allow him the freedom you need while maintaining the control you need. I love the part about variable corrections not working like variable rewards. That's gold.
Do you do any kind of training to increase obedience to odor?