Special Features

2005 Feste Award Winner!

Each year the members of the Fool Community nominate and vote for their favorite Fools to win the prestigious Feste Award. Who will it be this year? Read on and find out!

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By Motley Fool Staff
January 26, 2006

For the past several years, tens of thousands of Fool Community members have nominated and voted for the person they feel best embodies the spirit of the Fool Community mission -- Learning Together.

This year, we have another excellent group of nominees, all of whom represent the very best in Foolishness. If you're already a member of the Fool Community, please join us in our praise of these great Fools. If you're not yet a member, please be our guest for the next month and discover for yourself how great these people really are. We asked all the nominees to share a bit about themselves, and the following is in their own words.

Without further ado, the winner of the 2005 Feste Award is ...

Winner! Jim Gillies

� Winner! �  jimgillies

I'm an engineer by trade, with degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering (although I know enough about mechanical stuff to be properly dangerous). Contrary to popular belief, engineers have a few good points -- problem solvers, analytical, fabulous lovers ... er ... I meant attentive to detail. Unfortunately, a somewhat-true stereotype about engineers is that we also think we can fix anything -- especially if we have no knowledge of said subject. As I've been married for seven years to another engineer (we met while we were both doing Engineering Masters degrees), this is doubly true in our house and has had mixed results. I'm a fair car mechanic (my one vehicle has no business being on the road), and can repair washing machines. On the other hand, the less said about the ceiling fan and the roof joists, the better (does anyone know a good plasterer?).  We live with our 15-month old son in Guelph (rhymes with "Elf"), a town who's name has always struck me as sounding a little like an obscure body function pronounced by a proper Englishman ("Sorry, old bean; have to go guelph now. Back in a moment.").

A couple of years ago I tired of the engineering world and quit my job cold turkey to go back to school for an MBA in finance. I'm a stock valuation nut with an unhealthy appreciation for accounting. I'll also admit to a dark love of options, although I try to encourage any newcomers interested in options to run for the hills as they'll lose all their money. When I'm not playing with matters financial, I'm honing my amateur chef skills and getting ready for ski season.

My haunts at the Fool have include various and sundry Hidden Gems boards, the individual stock boards for QSII and GRMN, and the "themed" boards "Falling Knives" and "It's Earnings That Count."

Larry Van Eenwyk

� First Runner-Up � Zeelotes

I hail from Upstate New York but have spent the last 20 years teaching overseas. My experience as an investor began a few days after I was born with a gift of AT&T stock from my grandfather. Although I've owned stock all of my life, my primary passion is economic and market research. There are few things in life that excite me more than a large chunk of data and a few hours to play with it. Consequently, my favorite board is Mechanical Investing, where I can post research and benefit from the lively discussions that revolve around investing topics that are rooted in data and not emotion.

What is my highest hope in posting on The Motley Fool? That I can do my bit in empowering individual investors and, along the way, learn some myself as the discussion challenges me to question everything and bring my own research to a higher plane.

Bob O'Donoghu

� Second Runner-Up � Odee

What can I say? My posts will usually amuse most folks ... one way or another. I've been a Fool since November of 1997. Having already started investing via DRiPs I started to follow the Drip Investing boards. Some of my stocks not only dripped, they sprung a bad leak. Right about that time I ventured off to check on the social boards. Not only had I started to post on the social boards, but started to meet Fools in person. What was I thinking? Starting with bigpix in March 2002; I have met 102 Fools so far. Some Fools have become close friends.
 
In my spare time I volunteer with three nonprofit groups. One is a small local music booster association, the other two are on a much larger scale. I'm a director with Give 2 The Troops www.Give2TheTroops.org supporting deployed soldiers, and I'm a director of special projects for Operation First Response (OFR) www.OperationFirstResponse.org, supporting wounded soldiers and their families. I make frequent visits to the DC area to visit wounded at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and always try to catch up with some Fools as well.
 
In my additional spare time, I'm a programmer analyst trying to get past that users, like customers, are always right (or so they think.)

Additional Honored Nominees:

David Gordon

�  � trenchrat

Michael Klein

�  � mklein9

Mike got his BS from Caltech, MS and PhD from UC Berkeley, and is using very little of that right now.  (Well, sort of.)  After being caught up in the tech boom and then the bust, he discovered an obscure company's stock he happened to own a little of, that actually did pretty well, so figured there must be something to learn here. That company was Berkshire Hathaway.

In 2003 he decided to switch from designing ever smaller commodity parts in obscure products to learning about investing, starting with Berkshire and moving on. Those couple of years of posts on The Motley Fool's
boards have been mainly to learn from, and in some useful way contribute back to, that fabulous community of people. His real goal is to find something he can do from anywhere in the world (as long as it has an Internet connection) and on his own schedule. Most of his work is to figure out how to do really good automated screening based on fundamentals that make real business sense. Most contributions have been to The BMW Method board and the HG: Screening For Gems board (subscription required.)

Thanks to the TMF community for providing such a great learning experience to help bootstrap a total neophyte with a vague idea to someone who can even help others on their own learning paths!!

Michael Read

� Perennial Nominee � MichaelRead

Michael Read is a retired business and personal consultant living in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada. Well, not completely retired since he started two new companies where the T-shirts worn by staff read: "The beatings will continue until morale improves." He also spends much time on his boat, Turtle, unrepentantly and heartlessly orphaning wee defenseless salmon fingerlings. The cad. All of which leaves little time for his other passion: beer. Nonetheless, he tries to keep up.

MichaelR is a six-year charter member of TMF. Factoid: MichaelR was the first TMF member to TP the company's offices in Alexandria.

Jonathan Rynd

�  � jrr7

I graduated from Cornell University in the late '90s with a technical degree and no financial knowledge other than "debt, gambling, and extended warranties are all usually bad" and "price is determined by supply and demand." When I decided that a credit card might be useful after all, and my company told me it was starting a 401(k), I decided I needed to get a financial education in a hurry. After a few false starts I found Fool.com and fell in love with it, especially the bulletin boards. I have no way of quantifying the amount of knowledge I gained from many board regulars, including several previous Feste nominees and winners. I still enjoy the Fool immensely and still manage to learn a thing or two as I help out people on the boards.

I'm still working in the New York City area. I recently got engaged (much to my parents' relief) and will be married this year. Right now my favorite board is Bonds & Fixed Income Investing, although they are somewhat contrarian there. I'm also a regular on Online Banking and Investing Beginners.

I really enjoy something that is efficient and works well -- something well-run.

The following round out our list of honored nominees:

MFDnSC

ptheland

BuildMWell

Thanks to everyone who voted and to all of our nominees for being such great contributors to the Fool Community!