Each year we acknowledge a handful of experts who go above and beyond the call of duty to provide exception help to our users. Last year we introduced the Most Valuable Expert Award and presented it to twenty-five elite experts in our Most Valuable Expert Alpha and Beta classes. Today, we are proud to introduce you to twelve new Most Valuable Experts–twelve outstanding members of the expert community who devote their time and technical expertise to benefit others.
Here now is our MVE Gamma Class:
Most Valuable Expert: Jamie McAllister
- 1,359,455 points overall
- #5 expert overall in Microsoft Sharepoint
- 5 certifications overall
- Specialty: Microsoft SharePoint MVP
As if being a solution architect, husband and father of three, Microsoft MVP and conference speaker isn’t enough, Jamie McAllister (JamieMcAllister) is one of the top SharePoint experts on Experts Exchange, obtaining a Genius certification in the topic area and leading some of the highest attended webinars on the site.
Although he swears he participates on Experts Exchange for “purely selfish” reasons (“Answering other people’s questions gives you product experience way beyond the projects and requirements you’ve actually faced in your own day job,” he says.), we think he’s just being modest. Jamie is also one of the SharePoint experts who has pledged his free consulting time in exchange for donations to help the victims of typhoon Haiyan.
So what’s Jamie’s number one tip for success on Experts Exchange?
“Read the question,” he says. “A lot of people fire answers into a thread that have nothing to do with what the question is after.”
Most Valuable Expert: Brad Yundt
- 12,291,047 points overall
- #3 expert overall in Microsoft Excel
- 14 certifications overall
- Specialty: Microsoft Excel MVP
Like many folks, Brad Yundt (byundt) came to Experts Exchange while searching the web for an answer to a technology question. Seeing the value in joining the community, but not having the resources to pay for the monthly membership fee, Brad decided to participate as an expert for free membership. Ten years later, he is a topic area advisor and in the top 25 experts of all time on the site. He also has a reputation for providing quality answers–particularly in the Microsoft Excel topic area.
“I started tackling threads that were ignored because the askers wanted more work than the other experts were willing to provide,” he says.
Community members bvanscoy678 is one such example. After Brad helped him analyze the response times of the fire department he worked for, bvanscoy678 had a tool that he was able to use to justify opening up new fire stations in a time of fiscal austerity.
According to Brad: “My favorite questions are where my efforts have truly made a difference in someone’s life.”
Most Valuable Expert: Lee Wilbur
- 16,017,697 points overall
- #4 expert overall in Windows 2003 Server
- 86 certifications overall
- Specialty: Windows 2003 Server
Chances are, when he started tinkering with his TURBO 289 computer in 1989, Lee Wilbur (leew) had no idea that he would one day hold the title for the most technology certifications ever earned on a website called Experts Exchange. Sixteen years after he joined the site, however, that is exactly what he is known for.
A New York-based consultant, Lee is a Microsoft Certified Professional and provides a number of free resources on his own website for helping people manage their network.
“I attribute my success and depth of knowledge to my love technology,” he says. “I love learning how to manipulate the computer or computers to do things for you like programming, software installing with Active Directory, building web sites and just about anything else.”
Most Valuable Expert: Andrew Hancock
- 14,887,308 points overall
- #1 expert overall in VMware and Virtualization
- 44 certifications overall
- Specialty: VMware and Virtualization
The man. The crown jewel of EE. An immovable pillar of patience. These are just a few of the names that Experts Exchange community members have bestowed upon Andrew Hancock (hanccocka). While Andrew joined Experts Exchange in 2003, he didn’t start answering questions regularly until 2010; and three years later, he cannot be stopped.
Having earned the lion’s share of Expert of the Year awards in 2011 and 2012, Andrew is well on his way to dominating the awards again this year with over four million points earned to date–almost double the number of points any other expert has earned in 2013. He is also working on his 35th Experts Exchange article on VMware and Virtualization. And did we mention that he owns his own consulting company, breeds endangered tropical fish and is a beekeeper?
For those looking to follow in Andrew’s footsteps, he has a few tips for success on Experts Exchange:
“Know your subject matter well,” he advises. “Use screenshots and pictures. See how the top 25 experts answer questions, and avoid posting a link without any explanation of the context (blind links).”
Most Valuable Expert: Mark Taylor
- 6,365,274 points overall
- #1 expert overall in computer games
- 46 certifications overall
- Specialty: gaming
Although Mark Taylor (MASQUERAID) joined the site over 10 years ago, it took him a few years to really understand Experts Exchange.
“The site works because the experts work together,” he says. “In the best solutions, you don’t just get the answer to your question, you actually get to understand how to solve the problem. I’ve often posted a detailed solution which is the result of something I’ve learned from an earlier question of mine.”
Clearly, Mark is no longer struggling to grasp the value of Experts Exchange and in the past few years, he has not only become one of our topic experts overall (he’s a member of the 5 million points club) but also a Topic Advisor and Page Editor.
You can find Mark in the Gamers, Miscellaneous or Operating Systems topic areas, and if you plan to ask a question in one of those topic areas–or anywhere else on the site–he has some advice for you:
“Think about the title of your question and make sure it summarizes your problem. Give as much detail about your issue as you can, and most importantly, stay engaged with the question.”
Most Valuable Expert: Todd L’Herrou
- 2,663,213 points overall
- #1 in digital cameras, font software, and web images
- 23 certifications overall
- Specialty: digital living
Looking at Todd L’Herrou’s (lherrou) Experts Exchange profile, you can tell that he has a knack for all things digital living. His certifications range from Wizardry in cell phones and font software to Guru status in digital cameras and web development. You’ll also see his status as a topic advisor and page editor listed on his profile, but what you probably won’t notice is how Todd has given countless hours of his time over the past five years into making Experts Exchange articles a success.
Since the inception of the articles system, Todd, along with a small group of page editors, has worked tirelessly with article authors to ensure that quality articles are published on the site–a job that earns him no points, certifications or other recognition on the site.
But his philanthropic efforts don’t stop there. Todd has nearly 30 years of experience in wilderness and urban search and rescue. In 2010, he accompanied a team of folks to Haiti to aid in the search and rescue efforts after the earthquake, an experience he shared with the experts and staff members at the 2010 Experts Exchange Core Conference. Ironically, Todd’s search and rescue team has also taken note of his technology know-how:
“I have a reputation as my team’s technology ‘Mr Fixit’ when deployed after natural disasters.”
Most Valuable Expert: Norbert Stemmler
- 8,013,009 expert points
- #1 expert overall in Unix
- 39 certifications overall
- Specialty: Unix and Linux
If you’re wondering what Norbert Stemmler’s Experts Exchange username (woolmilkporc) means, he explains it in his profile:
“The whole thing means an animal which is capable of laying eggs, giving milk and wool, which can bring forth piglets and finally is even comestible. In short, it’s a being that makes virtually everything.”
While he may not be able to lay eggs, Norbert is known on Experts Exchange for his super-human ability to answer Unix and Linux questions.
“Initially I came to Experts Exchange seeking solutions to my own problems, but soon I discovered that I could solve problems myself, particularly in the Unix (AIX)/Linux and Shell/Scripting areas. I also answer questions in the Tivoli Storage Manager and ssh/telnet/ftp topic areas, just to name a few,” he says.
When he’s not spending his time answering questions or acting as a topic advisor on the site, Norbert enjoys fishing, reading and drinking beer…he is German, after all.
Most Valuable Expert: Jim Horn
- 6,121,497 expert points overall
- 20 certifications overall
- Specialty: Microsoft Access and SQL Server
If you ask Jim Horn (jimhorn) about his most memorable moment on Experts Exchange, he’ll reply with this:
“There are so many (memorable moments), as at different times I’ve been the energetic rookie, rock star, mentor, coach, rebel, cleanup dude, enforcer of tough love, defender from expert harassment, missing person, Experts Exchange evangelist, lizard, and badger. I’m a lot like WWE’s Mankind, but without the Socko sidekick.”
His sense of humor is one of the many reasons Jim is one of the most likable experts on the site, but his tech expertise is no laughing matter. Jim is a database developer specializing in business intelligence, decision support, and dashboard solutions; a Microsoft MVP in both Access and SQL Server with an MBA to boot.
One of his tip for success when asking questions on Experts Exchange?
“Be flexible. Experts here are no different from you, other than we’re a lot further down the road you’re traveling…Understand that sometimes the correct answer is ‘you can’t do that’, or even more important, ‘you shouldn’t do that, and here’s why.'”
Most Valuable Expert: Scott Fell
- 3,017,308 expert points overall
- 29 certifications overall
- Specialty: ASP and HTML
Perhaps more notable, however, is the amount of time that Scott devotes to being a topic area advisor. His watchful eye surveys the aforementioned topic areas to ensure that questions get answered accurately and in a timely manner and also identifies and alerts the Experts Exchange staff to potential site issues.
It’s this type of dedication and hard work that truly make Scott a Most Valuable Expert.
Most Valuable Expert: Barry Houdini
- 4,942,447 expert points overall
- 6 certifications overall
- Specialty: Microsoft Excel
Barry Houdini’s (barryhoudini) tips for success at Experts Exchange are simple: “Be nice. Be right. Be concise.” If his posts in the Microsoft Excel topic area are any indication, he’s taking his own advice.
“I’m active in several Excel forums, and they all have their different characteristics,” Barry says. “At Experts Exchange, I think there’s some healthy, friendly competition amongst the Excel experts; and the top experts really are at the top.”
When he’s not “excelling,” as he calls it, Barry works for a large transport operator company in London, tends to his dahlias, shoots skeets…and telling tall tales. His name, in case you haven’t already guessed, is a pseudonym. But, as he explains: “I’ve been using (the pseudonym) for so long that even my wife calls me Barry.”
It’s up to you to figure out if that’s another one of his tall tales.
Most Valuable Expert: Rainer Jeschor
- 2,441,574 expert points overall
- #4 expert overall in Microsoft SharePoint
- 18 certifications overall
- Specialty: Microsoft SharePoint
Currently a Senior IT Consultant based in Germany, Rainer has worked with SharePoint since 2001 and calls it one of the most complex and customizable platforms from Microsoft due to its ability to serve a huge variety of needs in companies of any size.
Most Valuable Expert: Gary Case
- 9,284,913 points overall
- #3 expert overall in hardware
- 56 certifications overall
- Specialty: hardware
Since joining the site in 2004, Gary Case (garycase) has tried to slow down and scale back on his Experts Exchange participation a number of times. (Just take a look at the “About Me” tab on his profile to see what we’re talking about.) Each time, it seems he’s failed to follow through on his intentions–and we’re so glad he did.
The over 50 years experience that Gary brings to the hardware-related topic areas (as well as many others) on the site is invaluable, as is his work as a topic area advisor.
Here’s hoping for another 50 years of broken promises and steady participation.