Introducing the Most Valuable Experts Beta Class

Posted by · November 19, 2012 9:17 am

Each year we acknowledge a handful of experts who go above and beyond the call of duty to provide exception help to our users. Earlier this year we introduced the Most Valuable Expert Award and presented it to twelve elite experts, our MVE Alpha Class.  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.

Be sure to check out our new Most Valuable Expert Award page with program details, a video and information on how you can be nominated for our MVE Gamma Class.

Here now is your MVE Beta Class:

Most Valuable Expert: Miriam BizupMiriam Bizup, Most Valuable Expert

  • 5,540,258 Points Overall
  • #8 Expert in Microsoft Access
  • 15 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: MS Access MVP

Miriam Bizup (mbizup) is probably one of the most active people on Experts Exchange.  Not only has she answered thousands of questions and written more than a few articles since joining the website in 2005, she also volunteers as a Page Editor, Cleanup Volunteer and Topic Advisor.   However, it’s her life outside of Experts Exchange that really displays just how active she is.

In addition to working full time as a database developer in Maryland, Miriam is a wife and the mother of two teenage boys as well as an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer and scuba diver.

So what keeps this incredibly busy Microsoft Access Database genius participating on Experts Exchange? “First and foremost, it’s the community,” Miriam says.  “It’s also the fact that almost eight years after I began using the site, Experts Exchange is still a valuable resource for me.”

For Miriam, life is about finding balance, something she talked at length about on the EE Tech News Podcast earlier this year.  Her advice for women—and men—in technology or any other career:

“If you don’t love what you’re doing, you’re in the wrong field.”

Most Valuable Expert: Jeffrey CoachmanJeff Coachman, Most Valuable Expert

  • 9,246,650 Points Overall
  • #3 Expert in Access Coding/Macros
  • 19 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: Microsoft Access MVP 2010

For a self-taught guy, Jeffrey Coachman has done quite well for himself.  He became interested in Microsoft Office, particularly Microsoft Access in 2000 and since then has taught several Access and Excel classes, completed many small to medium sized projects and is a full time programmer in Microsoft Office.  To what does he attribute his success?

“Being an Expert on Experts Exchange allows me to keep my skills sharp and help others,” Jeffrey says.  “But more importantly, I get to learn how other Experts might solve the same issue.”

Having been an active member of Experts Exchange since 2004, Jeffrey has a long list of some of the most interesting solutions he’s participated in listed on his profile.  Not surprisingly, the list is quite extensive.

“I find it most interesting when multiple Experts post varied but valid solutions to the same question,” he says.

In 2010, Jeffrey received the prestigious Microsoft MVP award for Access. He is now looking to sharpen his skills in SQL Server and .NET web development—something we have no doubt he’ll be able to do in no time.

So what’s Jeffrey’s biggest tip for success on Experts Exchange?

“Don’t get too full of yourself.  There is always someone who is more knowledgeable than you.”

Great advice from a guy who clearly knows more than your average technology professional.

Most Valuable Expert: Jim DettmanJim Dettman, Most Valuable Expert

  • 3,926,721 points overall
  • #7 Expert in Microsoft Access Architecture/Design
  • 14 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: Microsoft Access

Jim (JDettman) has been participating on EE for 13 years, and yet he still wishes he could contribute more than he already does. He finds that through helping others, he is able to develop his skills personally and professionally in ways he can’t find in a normal job.
“I fundamentally believe in forums such as EE, as when people come together and form a community, they can achieve far more both individually and as a whole than they ever could have alone.  People working together and not just for themselves empowers everyone to achieve more,” he says.

After working 28 years in the computer industry, Jim has a wide range of skills in computers and business systems. He spends most of his time on EE working with Microsoft Access since he spent many years working with it as his chief development tool. Still, he looks forward to those moments when the EE community has something to teach him.

“That’s one of the fun things about EE; there is always the chance to learn something new even with something you already think you know well!”

Jim’s generosity with his time also makes him one of EE’s most valuable. Not only does Jim contribute to the community by answers questions, he also write Expert article, and taught a free live webinar, “How To: Introduction to Application & Database Design.”

“For me, the best reward is knowing that I’ve helped someone learn something new, which hopefully allows them to improve their life in some way.   I also treasure the people and relationships I’ve gotten to know and made through contributing,” he says. “[I] can identify strongly with teachers when they have that “Eureka!” moment when someone learns something new or gains understanding of a concept.”

Most Valuable Expert: John HurstJohn Hurst, Most Valuable Expert

  • 5,667,724 points overall
  • #1 in Quickbooks Financial Software
  • 43 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: Quickbooks

John Hurst’s participation on EE is a reflection of two very important aspects of his life; his vast knowledge of financial accounting technology and his dedication to volunteer work.
He hit a huge milestone this year, reaching over 5 million Expert points. It’s one of the accomplishments he’s most proud of in the 4 years he’s been participating because of what drives him to achieve that many: he loves helping people.

“Especially those who respond back,” he comments. “I enjoy helping people solve problems that they have. Usually all of us feel better when a problem has been solved and the person with the problem can get back to their regular stuff.

Though John (thinkpads_user) spent some time working at corporations, he’s proud to say that for the last 10 years he’s been very successful as a an independent business consultant. His professional accomplishment has allowed him to hire another team member for his business who handles all the technology consulting, while he focuses his attention on the financial accounting consulting. As the Top Expert in Quickbooks, his clients are lucky to have his skill at their disposal.

Outside of his business and EE, John spends much of his time volunteering for his church, as well as building model railroad trains.

Most Valuable Expert: Bob LearnedBob Learned, Most Valuable Expert

  • 16,704,402 Points Overall
  • #7 Expert Overall in Hall of Fame
  • 37 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: Microsoft C# MVP

“If you read something, you retain a certain amount.  If you read and write something you retain a little more.  If you read, write, and teach it to someone you retain a whole lot more.  In the teaching, I have the opportunity to learn,” Bob Learned says when asked to sum up why he participates on Experts Exchange.

Bob was first introduced to Experts Exchange by a co-worker in 1999.  Chances are that co-worker had no idea that in the year 2012, Bob would still be one of the site’s top experts.

Bob is currently the number seven Expert overall on Experts Exchange’s Hall of Fame, and the number one Expert overall in C# Programming Language, Microsoft Visual C# .Net, Visual Studio, .NET and ASP.NET.  He has also earned the elite Microsoft MVP award for Microsoft C# every year since 2007.

Surprisingly, despite 12 years on Experts Exchange and 20 years as an IT consultant, Bob says the most interesting problem he’s ever solved is replacing the cooling fan in his Wii console: “Nintendo charges $75 to do it, and I was able to replace the fan for only six dollars.”

For Bob, the prospect of learning something new is one of the reasons he gets out of bed in the morning.  Perhaps that’s why they call him TheLearnedOne.

Most Valuable Expert: Steve LightSteve Light, Most Valuable Expert

  • 7,303,047 Points Overall
  • #1 Expert in Oracle Database
  • 19 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: Oracle Database

Those that know Steve Light (slightwv) in real life find it hard to believe that neither his career nor the majority of his hobbies allow beer drinking.  Steve is a Database Administrator and Developer by day and a scuba diver and member of a cowboy action shooting club in his free time.  He is also a self-proclaimed geek, television fanatic and avid beer drinker.

“I’ve been working on ways to combine ALL my hobbies but, to date, without success,” he says. “However, I have found ways to geek it up, watch television and drink beer at the same time.”

Perhaps the combination of drinking beer and watching television is the key to Steve’s success on Experts Exchange.  Since he began participating on the site in 2004, Steve has steadily climbed the ranks in the Oracle Database topic area and has even earned a Master certification in the topic area he initially needed help in: .NET.

“I started using Experts Exchange to find answers to .NET web development questions.  After using the site for a while, I figured I could use my Oracle skills to earn points to ask .NET questions that I could not find an answer for. I NEVER looked back,” Steve says.

According to Steve, the process of helping others has helped him learn more than he thought possible; and once he’s come up with a solution—either for himself or from someone else—he saves that solution to his knowledgebase for future reference:

“Over the years, Experts-Exchange has been an invaluable resource for new tasks at work. I get asked all the time to come up with new ‘features’ for our systems. Many times I have seen the same or similar code necessary for this new feature on Experts Exchange. I go to the ‘bag-o-tricks’ or my saved Knowledgebase, pull out the test code used and have a huge head start!”

A welcomed but unforeseen benefit of Steve’s participation on Experts Exchange is the friendships he has acquired.

“Many of the people I collaborate with on the site, I will likely never meet in person but I consider them friends and hold with very high respect,” Steve says.  “Experts Exchange is a true community in every sense of the word and I hope to remain a member for many years to come.”

Most Valuable Expert: Scott McDanielScott McDaniel, Most Valuable Expert

  • 11,222,023 Points Overall
  • #3 Expert Overall in Microsoft Access Database
  • 25 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: Microsoft Access Database MVP

Whether it’s developing an application for your business using Microsoft Access or VB.NET , figuring out why your heating and air conditioning system isn’t working or finding the best barbecue recipe, Scott McDaniel (LSMConsulting) likes a challenge.  The husband, father of two and grandfather to one currently owns one business (InfoTrakker Software) and operates another (his family’s HVAC business) all while participating in 14-18 barbecue competitions around the country with his wife (and partner in crime at Smoke Shack Barbecue). The pair has been a top 10 team in the nation for the past five years.

For the past three years, Scott has been selected as a Microsoft Access MVP—an honor that he directly attributes to his participation on Experts Exchange:

“I like being part of the Experts Exchange community. I’m not nearly as worried about the points, or my position on the leader board these days – I’d much rather take my time and help someone work out a difficult problem.”

Solving complex problems is what attracted him to Experts Exchange in the first place.  Like many others in the early days of the Internet, Scott was using forums like Compuserve and Yahoo to find answers to his technology questions and help others with theirs. One day he stumbled upon Experts Exchange and before he knew it, he was hooked!

“For me, the most interesting problem is the one I’m working on right now,” Scotts says. “Each problem is different, and each brings new and different pieces to the puzzle. That’s the best part of the technology world, at least to me – just when you think you’ve got it figured out, something new happens.”

Most Valuable Expert: David MillerDavid Miller, Most Valuable Expert

  • 3,5216,426 Points Overall
  • #10 Expert in Microsoft Excel
  • 9 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: System Integration, MS Excel

David Miller, who joined Experts Exchange in 2004 and began answering questions in late 2010, passed away September 2012 following a three-year bout with cancer. His consistently genial explanations and irrepressible quest to learn were dwarfed by his near-joy in collaborating with fellow Experts, so much so that the word of his passing stunned the Excel topic area, his home at Experts Exchange.

“David was an amazing Expert, truly one of our leading lights,” says Site Administrator and fellow Excel Expert Patrick Matthews. “He amazed me with his technical skills, and his people skills were superb. We will miss him here, and his family will miss a devoted husband and father.”

Like many of the Experts at EE, David enjoyed solving puzzles. As a consultant and strategy leader in the energy sector, he drew from his range of experience in programming, application development and process control to help companies understand relative profitability. David’s work involved a significant amount of modeling using Excel and VBA, and he found the community at Experts Exchange to be a valuable source for collaboration and sharing ideas.

“I like solving problems and streamlining systems,” he says on his Experts Exchange profile. “(After) asking my first Excel question, I decided it was time I gave back to EE.  So, I engaged in becoming an Expert.”

We are proud to have called David Miller a partner with us here at Experts Exchange, and it is our honor to name him one of our Most Valuable Experts.

Most Valuable Expert: Michael MungerMichael Munger, Most Valuable Expert

  • 1,195,893 Points Overall
  • #1 Expert in Consulting
  • 9 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: Consulting

You probably know Michael Munger (a.k.a- DrDamnit) from his Experts Exchange article WARNING: 5 reasons why you should NEVER fix a computer for free.

“I wrote that article at 3 o’clock in the morning in December 2009. I couldn’t sleep because I had just helped a friend with a server problem, and after spending the afternoon with him, he was ungrateful . I decided that I should WARN people about that type of client or friend,” Michael says.

Clearly, the article struck a nerve among the Experts Exchange community as it has amassed close to 150,000 points, earned the elite Editor’s Choice award and remains the most popular article in Experts Exchange history. Since writing that article, Michael has remained one of Experts Exchange’s most prolific authors, with over 30 articles written.  He is also one of Experts Exchange’s first Expert Bloggers.

When he’s not writing or helping other IT consultants hone their skills, Michael spends a large part of his time asking questions on Experts Exchange. His philosophy: Why search when you can ask a question and get a customized answer? Having honed his asking skills as both a participant and Topic Advisor on the site, Michael does have some tips for success on the site:

“Keep your question simple,” he implores. “I frequently see questions that don’t get answered right away because the author of the question posted a complicated question with hundreds of lines of code that need debugged, and the question just sits there. If you break your question down into indivisible parts, and then ask more than one question, you’re not only likely to get the answer more quickly, you are likely to get a more elegant solution.”

Most Valuable Expert: Nasir RazzaqNasir Razzaq, Most Valuable Expert

  • 11,217,746 points overall
  • #1 in Programming MS VB.Net and Development
  • 37 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: VB.Net

Nasir Razzaq’s attention to detail has secured him a place as Top Expert and Savant in Visual Basic.Net. He recommends that other users can achieve the same by making sure the area they are posting in the right areas.

“Look at the question zones and control names mentioned in the question before posting replies. I see too often people posting solutions related toASP.NET on Winforms questions,” he advises.

Known as “CodeCruiser” on the site, Nasir values EE for the high-quality of community maintenance and the benefit of furthering his knowledge as he provides solutions.

“I get the opportunity to help others as well as learn new things myself,” he says.

Nassir bought a house less than six months ago and in his free time works in his new garden, readying it to lay turf and plant bulbs. If he takes half as much time and care to the garden and he does to his answers on Experts Exchange, the botanical results will be beautiful.

Most Valuable Expert: Rob SampsonRob Sampson, Most Valuable Expert

  • 7,439,968 points overall
  • #1 in VB Script and Programming Languages
  • 35 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: VB.Net

“Experts-Exchange is like my own ongoing self-paced training course,” says expert Rob Sampson. The VB Script Savant looks forward to the challenges posed by unique situations of each problem because they require a different approach each time.

He preaches a team-based attitude when it comes to his success on attaining certifications.

“For other budding Experts out there wishing to gain a certification or two, my main piece of advice would be to work “with” other Experts, and not “against” them.  You can gain a lot of knowledge and guidance from others, as they can from you,” he says.

Rob pursues questions in the VB Script zone because his main interest is in process automation within the Windows desktop and server environments. These topics often bleed into Active Directory operations- creating users, moving users, and file system tasks.

“I strive to make the jobs of others easier, and more efficient,” Rob says.

Most Valuable Expert: Joe WoodhouseJoe Woodhouse, Most Valuable Expert

  • 1,021,200 points overall
  • #1 in Sybase Database
  • 2 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: Databases

In a world full of problems, Joe Woodhouse likes to be in the middle of it all, ready to take them on one by one.

“I like bringing order out of the chaos. I like that my expertise helps real people with real problems,” he says.

Joe is motivated by how rewarded he feels by paying forward the mentorship he has benefitted from throughout his life. He’s glad that he’s doing the same for people other people now, even if he’s never met them.

The Sybase Database Genius says he eats and breathes the topic area, among other database knowledge. He actually worked for Sybase for 8 years and is now using his experience to run his own consulting business when he’s not racking up points on EE.

Joe’s tip for those seeking help is to keep one thing in mind about the overall attitude of the Internet:

“The fastest way to get an answer on the internet is not to ask a question but to confidently assert something is wrong! People will fall over themselves to correct you,” he explains, though he acknowledges EE as a rare exception.