Introducing the 2014 Most Valuable Experts

Posted by · January 6, 2015 3:55 pm

Our Most Valuable Expert (MVE) award recognizes Experts for outstanding community contributions. Each year, our members nominate those who exemplify our vision of continually improving the lives of technology professionals around the world.

The following recipients were nominated by the community and selected by the MVE Selection Committee based on the acknowledgement of their integrity, collaboration, and thankful feedback of those they helped in their time on Experts Exchange. We’ll be seeing more from them in the coming year as they help the continued growth of our community efforts. We thank each of them for being an integral part of our community.

Without further ado, it’s time to meet our 2014 Most Valuable Experts.

Adam Farage

  • Total Points: 632,037
  • Certifications: Microsoft Certified Trainer 2012-2013

You’ll often find Adam hanging around the Exchange Server topic area. For Adam, it’s about helping to educate others on why something works a particular way, and advise them on new methods they may not have considered in their solutions. Adam is certified in Exchange 2007-2013, Windows Server 2012 R2 and is studying for the VMware VCP5-DCV and CCNA-Datacenter this year.

He believes in the importance of playing role of trusted advisor when assisting others. He provides great depth in his answers by explaining the reasons for a given solution, and adding his own personal touch. He values the fact that on Experts Exchange, you can receive a personalized answer from experts with real world experience in different fields.

Dale Fye

  • Total Points: 3,566,394
  • Top Topic: #17 in Microsoft Access Database
  • Certifications: MVP Microsoft Access 2013- 2014

Dale is a retired Army helicopter pilot and systems analyst, but his true love is computer programming and database development. He recently shifted from working full time as a defense contractor to start his own software development company, specializing in Microsoft Office VBA applications, with a focus on Access and SQL Server. These topic areas are also where Dale is most active, although sometimes he trolls the Excel and SQL Server areas as well.

Dale’s participation in our community evolved from his participation in various news groups, including the days of CompUServe. Experts Exchange landed as his main hangout because he liked the user interface, sharing files and images, and the positive attitude of other contributing members. He found that on other sites the “why” or “how” of a solution was not being shared, something he values greatly about Experts Exchange.

Dave Baldwin

  • Total Points: 11,093,257
  • Top Topic: #6 in PHP Scripting Language

Dave first joined Experts Exchange to learn, something that’s kept him coming back through today. He enjoys helping others solve complex issues, especially those he hasn’t come across himself. Borrowing as much code from Ray Paseur as he can is also of interest to him.

If you don’t know Dave, you can find him in the PHP and the Lounge topic areas. He may find you someday, because he enjoys browsing various topics and questions to see if he can find interesting things to learn or solve. He’s been troubleshooting for almost 50 years, and has gained several Experts Exchange certifications in areas that he otherwise would have not known. Always up for a challenge, Dave is a fixer. When he’s not tinkering with electronics, coding and web design, you can find him playing his guitar or eating things that make him smile.

Gareth Gudger

  • Total Points: 1,599,445
  • Top Topics: #2 in Exchange Email Server for 2014; #6 in Microsoft Office 365
  • Certifications: MSCE certified in Messaging 2013

A career shift from sysadmin gigs to consulting led Gareth to discover his love of travelling, visiting various sites and working with people to architect unique solutions. He’s definitely landed in the right place – he loves the chaos. Helping other community members achieve their solutions also teaches him new skills in the process. It gives him the chance to see and diagnose more problems in a day than he would normally have the chance to do. This massive exposure has helped him grow his own skills and made him a sharper consultant.

Gareth spends his time in the Exchange Email Server topic area, where he’s almost achieved a Genius rank. His secondary topics are in Outlook Groupware Software and Email Servers. He’s attained 18 Experts Exchange certifications and has over 20 vendor certifications in the IT industry, ranging from Cisco to Microsoft and HP to Comptia. You can follow his blog, Supertekboy, where he shares valuable resources for IT Professionals.

Guy Hengel

  • Total Points: 39,833,205
  • Top Topic: #1 in MS SQL Server
  • Certifications: Microsoft MVP SQL Server 2009 – 2011

A member of the Experts Exchange community since 2000, Guy has amassed numerous certifications and ranks. He attended our 2008 conference, where he and other experts took a single question on a quest. This collaboration of minds is one of his fondest memories of being part of our community. In his other professional endeavors, Guy earned the Microsoft MVP designation for several consecutive years, most recently in 2011. He is also a member of the SQL Server Group based out of Luxemburg. Over the years he served as a volunteer on our site, as a Page Editor and Clean Up volunteer, and a Zone Advisor for Database topics.

Guy started to learn development when he was 19, where he first discovered the world of PCs. This was the beginning of his pursuit into programming languages, starting with Turbo Pascal 6, and later C, C++, COBOL, as well as Oracle in Linux and some Merise Method for Analysis. This year we bestow upon him the title of MVE, and collectively thank him for the years of assistance, volunteer efforts, and friendship. He recently became engaged to his girlfriend Stella, and in his spare time you’ll find him spending time with the family or playing chess.

Kyle Hamilton

  • Total Points: 1,110,267
  • Top Topics: #4 in Mobile Web; #1 in CSS, HTML, and Mobile Web in 2014

Kyle has been a member of our community since 2010, finding her way to us by way of asking a question. She got the answer she was looking for and so much more. Today Kyle participates to learn just as much as she does it to help others. Getting her start as an artist, Kyle began as a graphic designer and later graduated into software development. The artist in her loves seeing the latest and greatest front-end technologies in the service of beautiful UIs.

The delicate marriage of form and function is what resonates most with Kyle. One of the biggest benefits she finds in answering questions on Experts Exchange is the variety of approaches to balance form and function, and the host of challenges that arise. She is inspired by the desire of others to build something she would not have thought of herself, even if it is completely unrelated to the original question. You can learn even more about Kyle in our December Expert Spotlight.

Nick Meyer

  • Total Points: 910,746
  • Top Topic: #3 in Microsoft Access Database in 2014

Nick got his start in our community in the Microsoft Office VBA topic area, and like many others, he is largely self-taught. His IT career started in 1999, and he has found Experts Exchange an invaluable resource throughout this career. He firmly believes that Experts Exchange remains one of the best repositories of working VBA code examples on the internet. While our site was already a valuable resource before he put on his MS Access developer hat, it became indispensable afterward. He has continued to provide concise and accurate content to ensure that technologies have the community support they need to thrive.

One of the unique skills Nick brings to the community is his love of solving puzzles, which fits perfectly with his problem-solving skills. Problems that are posed by software and mechanical items are of particular interest, “these things have architecture, ways that they are meant to function. Solving problems involves coming to understand their architecture and the ways that it can go wrong.” His skills help him see beyond the problem and to understand the rationale that led the person to ask their question. Nick has found many solutions and ways to use Access, even when it seems impossible with the available tools. These skills, along with his passion for the community, are the reasons why he’s one of our MVEs for 2014.

Simon Butler

  • Total Points: 6,052,189
  • Top Topic: #1 in Email Servers
  • Certifications: Microsoft MVP in Microsoft Exchange since 2005

Simon has had a large presence on Experts Exchange since 2004, when he won Rookie of the Year and Expert of the Year for three consecutive years. His area of expertise is Microsoft Exchange Server and related technologies such as Windows Server, Outlook, and Blackberry. Simon has been a tremendous resource and retired from the site for a short stint, but the community asked him to come back to share his valuable knowledge. In 2012 he returned as Sembee2, and continues to exemplify the values and traits of an incredible community member.

Simon is an IT consultant based out of the UK and has been a Microsoft Exchange MVP since 2005. When he’s not saving the MS Exchange Server world for a client, he enjoys photography. He’s been carrying a camera around for over 25 years, these days he has a Canon DSLR, a phone and a quadcopter. He recently became interested in pre-war classic cars and would love to own something eligible for the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. When he has spare time he also enjoys Geocaching, as it offers him a nice break from his computer. Although most of his recent spare time is dedicated to planning his wedding to his fiancée, Leigh.

Jim Penberth

  • Total Points: 2,953,312
  • Top Topic: One of the top Experts in Microsoft Access Database
  • Certifications: 15 Expert Exchange certifications

We recognize Jim this year for his years of expertise and friendship, the community nominated Jim for this award as a recognition for all his contributions in 2014. Jim passed away on September 23, 2014, and he left a legacy of impeccable solutions and memories in the groups he participated in. Jim was a Topic Advisor for Access and was also knowledgeable in SQL Server as a production DBA. He also assisted in Oracle, MS SQL Server, Sybase, MS Access, dBase III/IV and had done a lot of programming in VB for Apps and was working in Transact-SQL.

In the days after news of his passing, Experts Exchange members sent their condolences, celebrated his memory and shared the phrases and nuances that made Jim unforgettable. One great example was from a post in which a member was searching for a simple function that would return the creation date of a table. In characteristic style, Jim responded by saying, “I can give you a quick and dirty. Give me a couple of minutes.” He went on to deliver a public function that did exactly what the member was looking for. The member replied, “Works like a charm. Many thanks!” Jim closed the exchange with his other signature phrase: “Glad to be of assistance. May all your days get brighter and brighter.” Thank you Jim for all you’ve done for our community, you are missed.


  • Total Points: 13,687,249
  • Top Topics: #1 in Science & Math; #2 in Shell Scripting, Specialty: PERL

Modest? You might never know it, but ozo is one of our top Experts. Currently ozo ranks in the all-time top 20 of Experts, and can claim Experts Exchange Certifications in 43 Topic Areas. A member since August 1997, ozo’s first good answer email landed in their inbox a few short days after signing up. However it’s not just quantity, but quality and persistence that make an MVE. Ozo has shown to possess both of these skills with 17+ years of actively answering questions on Experts Exchange.


  • Total Points: 3,126,648 l
  • Top Topics: #10 in MS SQL Server 2008; #11 in SQL Query Syntax

PortletPaul has shown that his 2013 Rookie of the Year award was no fluke. In just under two years, he has already earned over 3 million points, even in topics where he competes for points with the likes of AngelIII (39 million points) and Matthewspatrick (16 million points).

A husband and father, PortletPaul says he’s spent “more years at various grindstones than I care to remember.” We expect we will see him continue grinding away at those SQL questions in the coming years as well.

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