Meet the 2012 Most Valuable Experts

Posted by · February 7, 2012 5:15 am

Last week we introduced the Most Valuable Expert Award, a new program honoring a special type of Experts Exchange user.  The MVE Awards recognize members of the expert community who devote their time and technical expertise to benefit others, going beyond the call of duty to provide exceptional help to users in need of technology help.

Here now are your 2012 MVE winners:

Most Valuable Expert: Rory ArchibaldMost Valuable Expert 2012

  • 13,113,552 points overall
  • #1 Expert in Microsoft Excel
  • 24 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: MS Excel MVP

If you ask Rory Archibald about his tips for success on Experts Exchange, he’ll say:

“Remember, you are dealing with people. The fact that (interaction on Experts Exchange) is not face to face makes it more important (not less) to be nice to them – it’s much easier to misinterpret the tone of the written word than the spoken word.”

It is no doubt that this level of kind professionalism on the site has helped Rory earn the honor of being the top Excel Expert on Experts Exchange.  A member of the site since 2006, Rory is one of only 27 Experts to earn the elite Savant ranking. His, of course, is in Microsoft Excel. In fact, his Rory cites spreadsheets as one of his main hobbies and interests.

He jokes: “I have been using Excel for about 8-10 hours a day since version five.  I should be a lot better at it by now, I suppose. If I’m not on Experts Exchange, I’m on some other Excel site somewhere. It’s what I do.”

As for what sets Experts Exchange apart from other Excel sites he uses, Rory says:

“Experts Exchange is fun to use.  There is great community spirit and humor, especially in the Excel zone.  I learn a lot from trying to solve the problems posted.  It’s like free training for me.”

In addition to answering Excel related questions, Rory is also a Page Editor, reviewing—you guessed it—Excel articles.

Most Valuable Expert: John Blanke Most Valuable Expert Award 2012

  • #2 Expert in Microsoft OS
  • 8.5+ million total points
  • 3 Genius certificates
  • 50 Certifications overall
  • Specialty: Net+, A+, MCDST, MCP (XP) and MCTS certified

Most of the experts on Experts Exchange love a good puzzle. Count John Blanke among them.

“I think I got my first virus on an old Pentium III 550MHz system with a whopping 256MB RAM, and trying to figure out how to remove it was a challenge,” says Blanke. “It was nothing like today’s viruses, but it sparked something—trying to figure out how to remove it was fun for me.”

John started his IT career in the Windows 95 era, focusing primarily on the Windows client-side operating system: troubleshooting, optimizing and of course, virus removals. His penchant for solving desktop-related problems has made him a popular Expert in the Windows OS topic areas.

“I enjoy giving back…I like to help the community from which I have learned so much,” he explains. “When I was a beginning Expert here, I didn’t know nearly as much as I do now. I feel very lucky to have earned the experience that I have, and Experts Exchange is largely responsible for it. “

Most Valuable Expert: Kevin Cross Most Valuable Expert 2012

  • 6,000,000+ total points
  • 30 Certifications overall
  • #8 Expert in SQL Server 2005
  • Specialty:  MS SQL Server

When someone invented the saying  “If you want to get something done, ask the busiest person in the room,” they must have been talking about Kevin Cross.  In addition to earning over 6 million points and 30 certifications on Experts Exchange, Kevin is an Experts Exchange Page Editor, Zone Advisor and Community Volunteer, holds down a full time job as an IT manager and actively participates in multiple technology usergroups in the Dayton, Ohio area.

The SQL Server Genius first started participating on Experts Exchange in 2004 and confesses to being more than a little addicted to SQL programming:

“I have been in IT since 1999 as an administrator, an analyst, an architect, a developer, and, most recently, a manager. No matter my role, I always seem to end up near a database of either the Microsoft, Oracle, MySQL, or IBM flavor and so I am a bit addicted to SQL programming. As I say online, ‘[I was] Born in Jamaica, W.I., raised in the Bronx, New York, U.S., and developed in code…’”

Despite a very busy schedule (Kevin also coaches two youth basketball and has five children), Kevin says participating on Experts Exchange is something worth making time for.

“I am a very analytical person; therefore, I enjoy a new challenge every week, day, hour,” Kevin says.  “I enjoy learning from other Experts and the process of helping others.  By researching, testing and explaining solutions, I feel my own knowledge and application of technology improves.”

Kevin can primarily be found in the MS SQL Server, MySQL and other database and SQL related topic areas on Experts Exchange.

Most Valuable Expert: Ingeborg HawighorstMost Valuable Expert 2012

  • 2010 Rookie of the Year
  • #11 Expert in Microsoft Excel
  • 4 million total points
  • 9 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: MS Excel MVP

While many of our Experts come from a programming background, Ingeborg (or teylyn as she’s known on the site) approaches problems primarily from the viewpoint of an end user.

“I don’t earn my living developing cross-application solutions,” she explains. “I deal with other end users every day and I try to help them find the most effective and efficient way of achieving the desired outcome with the regular user interface.”

But don’t be fooled: contributing in the highly-competitive Excel topic area takes chops, and Teylyn’s got them in spades. In fact, Microsoft has recognized her advanced knowledge by awarding her first-time MVP status in 2012.

Teylyn truly embodies the community spirit that is the Expert community. To those interested in participating, she says “hang around in the Excel Zone for a while and get a feel for the community spirit. We’re competitive, sure. We all like our ‘good answer’ emails. But we have a very respectful way of dealing with each other, too.”

Most Valuable Expert: Scott HelmersMost Valuable Expert 2012

  • #1 Expert in MS Visio
  • 4 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: MS Visio MVP

Though he occasionally dabbles in other topic areas, Scott is the reigning Expert in the Visio zone at Experts Exchange.  For him, Experts Exchange is about more than just answering questions, it’s about community:

“I enjoy the interaction I have with the people who ask the questions and with the other experts and I’m always excited on the occasions when I am about to meet fellow Experts Exchange members in person,” Scott says.

A regular article contributor and one of Experts Exchange’s first webinar presenters, Scott’s work on Experts Exchange has earned him the nod for Microsoft MVP for Visio for the past four years.

Outside of Experts Exchange, Scott is the co-investor and lead architect of process mapping software company Task Map.  He is also the author of Visio 2010 Step-By-Step by Microsoft Press.  When he’s not answering questions in the Visio zone, Scott can be found riding his bicycle or singing and dancing on stage for a number of Boston-area community theater groups.

Most Valuable Expert: Matt Huxtable Most Valuable Expert 2012

  • Over 6,200,000 points overall
  • 32 Certifications overall
  • #3 Expert in Windows Server 2008
  • Specialty: Exchange Server

“Experts Exchange is like home to me,” Matthew Huxtable says.  Since the Exchange Server Genius has been using the site almost every day since he was 12 years old, he means that statement quite literally.  Matt first accessed Experts Exchange after the server he built from random hardware components he found in his basement crashed.

“Not really knowing what I was up against, I kept breaking the machine, which meant only one thing: I had to learn how to fix it,” Matt says. “Google kept sending me to Experts Exchange. After EE had solved numerous problems, I asked my parents late one Sunday evening if I could sign up to ‘this helpful website’. I opened a free Expert account and never turned back.”

Now 18 years old, Matt attends Cambridge and credits his volunteer work on Experts Exchange for helping him land a spot at the highly competitive university.

“(On Experts Exchange) you get to interact with some of the world’s leading Experts in their fields, which is a brilliant way to learn—much much better than trying to pass exams without any real-world experience,” Matt says.

During his six years on the site, he has earned 30 certifications and amassed over 6 million points overall.  An Experts Exchange Zone Advisor, Page Editor and Community Volunteer, Matt considers being the very first Expert to be awarded the Genius certificate for Windows Server 2008 to be one of his greatest accomplishments on Experts Exchange.  Outside of Experts Exchange, Matt says his biggest achievement (Cambridge aside) is the network he rebuilt at his former secondary school, where he continues to act as the go-to-person for technical support.

When he’s not busy studying, you can find Matt in the Microsoft-related zones on Experts Exchange, particularly the Exchange Server zone.

“I’ve made excellent friendships with people on Experts Exchange,” Matt says.  “The community spirit is brilliant, and I’ve grown up as the site has developed into the community it is today.”

Most Valuable Expert: Kenneth Kaufmann 

  • 7,525,912 Points overall
  • #2 Expert in C# Support
  • 36 Certifications overall
  • Specialty: C# programming

Kenneth Kaufmann (a.k.a- kaufmed) first experienced the wonder of technology when he was in 4th grade, playing Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego on the class’ Apple II. Years passed, however, until he programmed his first line of code on a TI-83.

“I wrote some simple programs in TI-BASIC to help me save time on my algebra homework—not to cheat, rather to confirm,” Kenneth says with a smile.

After high school, Kenneth continued his love affair with computer programming, learning C++ and Java.  Since then he’s also picked up some C, VB6, VBA and .NET and dabbled in PHP and Python but has primarily landed on C# programming.  Not surprisingly, he holds a Genius certificate on Experts Exchange in C# programming as well as in .NET, ASP.NET, Visual Basic and Regular Expressions.  Kenneth has also amassed 31 other certifications.

Having first joined Experts Exchange in 2004, Kenneth says he enjoys the satisfaction he receives from helping others on the site. If he doesn’t know the answer to a particular question, he often does a quick search to see what he can determine about the subject.

“I believe that helping someone arrive at an answer in place of just giving the answer can make one an “expert” as well,” Kenneth says.  “There are numerous people who participate here who know their stuff, and I have nothing but respect for them, but I also give kudos to those who can help someone arrive at an answer, by whatever means.”

Most Valuable Expert: Mike McCrackenMost Valuable Expert 2012

  • #1 Expert in Crystal Reports
  • 16+ million total points
  • 1 of 27 Savant-Certified Experts
  • 28 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: Databases w/ VB front end and Crystal Reports

A professional software and database developer with more than 30 years experience on systems ranging from micros to mainframes, Mike (mlmcc) proves that programming isn’t just a young man’s game.

“I originally worked on mainframes with FORTRAN on space-related systems and wargaming,” says McCracken, reflecting on his illustrious career.

Like most of our MVEs, contributing on Experts Exchange comes from a deep love of knowledge and education. Mike has taught various programming classes using Pascal, FORTRAN, C, C++, and Visual Basic, passing his knowledge on to school-room students and online troubleshooters alike.

“I participate mainly for the enjoyment and to maintain and advance my knowledge as well,” he explains. Mike can be found advising the Pascal, Business Objects, Crystal Reports, and DB Reporting Tools topic areas and is available for consulting in Crystal Reports and database development.

Most Valuable Expert: Ray PaseurMost Valuable Expert 2012

  • #1 Expert in PHP
  • 12+ Million total points
  • Three Genius Certificates
  • 48 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: PHP3

“Ray is a machine…he does 10,000 points a day, and it’s almost all PHP,” says Site Administrator Jason Levine. “His PHP knowledge is immense and wide and deep.”

Ray Paseur learned programming when FORTRAN was a language, but was lured away from programming to a career in professional sales.  “Software development has always been my first love, so when I retired from sales, I took up programming in PHP3 and never looked back,” he explains.  “Most of my work has been in web applications and APIs, but I have also built a few dozen web sites, too.”

Drawn to Experts Exchange by a love of both learning and teaching, Ray has shared his answered more than 8,000 questions, mostly in the PHP topic area. Having seen so many questions over the years, he naturally has some advice to help askers get a good answer.

“So many authors ask questions about ‘Why does my code fail?’ and they post the code that does not work,” he explains. “A better strategy would be to post the data that you have for input and the results you want to get for output.  Armed with that information, we can almost always provide excellent responses.”

Most Valuable Expert: Sean StuberMost Valuable Expert 2012

  • #2 Expert in Oracle
  • 7+ Million total points
  • Five Genius Certificates
  • 20 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: Oracle SQL and PL/SQL Development

Sean Stuber—or sdstuber as he’s known on Experts Exchange—can be found answering questions in various Oracle Database topic areas and regularly collaborating (or should we say competing?) with slightwv for the top spot in Oracle.

“I love working with Oracle and helping others learn to get the most out of the database,” says Sean. “At work, my job title is DBA, but I usually describe myself as teacher first, developer second, administrator third.”

An Oracle Certified Expert in SQL and Oracle Certified Associate in PL/SQL, Sean is a frequent contributor to Experts Exchange articles. His most recent articles on Oracle’s Network Access Control Lists feature content that doesn’t yet exist anywhere else online.

“What little there is on this subject right now is a bit obscure in the documentation or completely unmentioned. So, I had to put together test cases to try to derive the functionality,” he explains. “I was confused by some of the interactions myself which prompted me to investigate how they worked, and I was happy to share what I found.”

Most Valuable Expert: Valentino VrankenMost Valuable Expert 2012

  • #2 Expert in SQL Reporting
  • Nearly 1 million total points
  • 6 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: MS MCP, MCTS and MCITP certified in SQL Server

As a Business Intelligence Consultant with over 15 years experience using SQL Server, Valentino Vranken could certainly rest on his laurels when it comes to helping clients with their SQL Server problems.  But the Belgium native, who first started participating on Experts Exchange in 2008 does anything but that.

“I enjoy learning and solving problems and I can do both by answering questions (on Experts Exchange),” he says. “It’s a fun way to increase my knowledge level, improve my daily job performance and make people happy. What more could I ask for?”

Currently, Valentino holds two Master’s and three Guru certifications and one Wizard certification—all in SQL Server related topic areas—and he is well on his way to earning an overall Genius certification on the site.  In addition to answering questions, Valentino is one of Experts Exchange’s most prolific writers.  Since September 2009, Valentino has written 15 articles, almost all of which have received accolades (Community Pick, EE Approved or Editor’s Choice) from the Experts Exchange Page Editors.

Outside of Experts Exchange, Valentino has received a number of other professional accolades and is one of the board members of the Belgian SQL Server User Group.  Despite his personal and professional success, however, Valentino remains humble.

“I’m flattered to even be considered for Experts Exchange’s Most Valuable Expert Award,” he says. “To be honest, when I first started I never thought I’d get this far!”

Most Valuable Expert: Terry WoodsMost Valuable Expert 2012

  • #4 Expert in Regular Expressions
  • 1.5 million total points
  • 9 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: PHP, Web Development and SQL

TerryAtOpus began participating on Experts Exchange the way many other experts have, aiming to earn enough points for free access to answers. “I quickly discovered that nearly every time my advice wasn’t the best, someone else would come along and give a better answer,” he explains. “I can’t think of a better way to learn!”

Terry’s experience in PHP Web Development and SQL initially drew him to the PHP and MySQL topic areas, but he found his place in Regular Expressions. “Having a background in large scale data conversion, I wish I knew about the power of regular expressions back then,” says Terry. “Now I wish a job existed where I could write them all day.”

In addition to his contributions in Regular Expressions, Terry has also written a number of articles on the risks and rewards of Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer software based currency that has the potential to take a proportion of business away from credit card corporations.

Most Valuable Expert: Philip WindellMost Valuable Expert 2012

  • #2 Expert in MS Forefront-ISA
  • 1.4+ Million Total Points
  • Microsoft MVP
  • 16 Certifications Overall
  • Specialty: Microsoft Forefront

While the world of television may seem glamorous from the outside, it still needs day-to-day network security just like any other modern business. As the IT Manager for Decatur, Illinois’ NBC affiliate WAND-TV, Philip Windell (pwindell) ensures that everything runs smoothly on the technology side (as for the anchors and reporters, well…he doesn’t have much control there).

In addition to Most Valuable Expert status, Philip’s hard work in Microsoft Forefront-ISA has earned him recognition as a Microsoft MVP. Along with contributions to Experts Exchange, Philip participates on and the Technet Forums, sharing his expertise in Forefront, Exchange Server, Group Policy and Virtual Machine technologies.