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 2006 Feste Award is ...
Mike got his BS from Caltech, MS, and Ph.D. 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 he 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 good business sense. Most contributions have been to The BMW Method board and the HG: Screening for Gems boards.
Thanks to the TMF community for providing 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!!
I grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., in a large, two-family home, which housed my grandparents, parents, and three kids. My immigrant grandparents founded a successful engineering business, and expanded their fortune, by investing in the great bull market of the 1920s. Unfortunately, they lost all their stock market investments in the 1929 crash. Like most Depression-era families, living below your means was solidly ingrained in all of us. Consequently, the LBYM Board is one of my Motley Fool "home boards."
In later decades, my grandmother and mother, with whom I was very close, became avid stock market investors. My grandmother nicknamed me "My Little Dividend." As a result of channeling about 80 years of family investing history (~1926-2006), I am keenly aware of both the opportunities and dangers of market cycles. My personal investing history began, during the inflation years of the 1970s. I will never forget Grandma's comment, "Ah ... but are the profits all on paper?"
All of this may seem like ancient history, to many Motley Fools, but the long perspective helps keep me humble, and, hopefully, safer. A keen interest in data, market cycles, and economic analysis made the Mishedlo board another "home board."
After a career in the chemical industry (research, sales, marketing, and project management), I retired. The Bonds and Fixed Income Board provides much valuable information. I also follow the stock boards, including BMW and the Foolish Collective, for techniques to use, during the next great market opportunity.
The Motley Fool Community has provided me with countless hours of fascination and ideas to increase wealth.
I earned a BS in Electrical Engineering and worked for several years in the defense industry. I went back to school to get my MS in Management (a techie MBA). Since then, I have led a pretty eclectic career -- working for a supplier to electric utilities, and in customer service doing analysis for credit cards (prime and sub-prime), payroll services, cell phones, and currently, a mortgage company.
Working in the credit card and mortgage industries has let me see the good, the bad, and the ugly on both the consumer and business sides of the credit industry. I try to share that knowledge with my fellow Fools -- mostly on the Credit Card/Consumer Debt board. I stumbled upon the Fool when I was working for a credit card company and searched for their name -- a Motley Fool "Post of the Day" from the Credit Card board came up, and I was hooked. For several years, I mostly lurked, and was amazed at the breadth and depth of knowledge displayed, and the (mostly) civil discourse, but doubtful that I had anything to add to the conversations. Then, in 2005 I started dating one of the Credit Card board's regulars -- joelcorley. He encouraged me to stop lurking and start posting when he announced we were dating. And when our first anniversary came around Joel mentioned that my rec ratio was higher than his was -- and that we might be in a race to get our gold stars. Being the competitive person that I am, I couldn't ignore a challenge. So you all have Joel to blame ... (Photo by DrBooa, whom we met in person while on vacation.)
Additional Honored Nominees
(In decending order of votes cast)
40+ years in the restaurant business, grew up in a restaurant family ... have owned several of my own restaurants (including a BBQ restaurant). Opened my first restaurant when I was 18 yrs old. Got my ACF certification (C.E.C.) when I was about 25 yrs old, and have worked as Executive Chef in many kinds of restaurants over the years, from big high-volume hotels & convention centers, to Country Clubs, to steak houses, to Mediterranean bistros & about everything in between. Hung up my toque to become a full-time day-trader (NASDAQ) in 1998 ... and retired in 2001 when the markets crashed. Still do a lil' day-trading ... and some private chef work, just to keep a lil' spendin' money in my pocket.
I joined the Fool community in 1999. Boy was I a savvy investor. Everything I bought went up! I doubled my money and doubled it again.
And then ... I found out how good of an investor I really was when over the next 18 months I lost as much money as I had saved in the previous 15 years. I bought every falling dagger and kept buying on the dips and doubling down on losing bets. Hey, the price is half what it used to be, so it MUST be a good buy, right?
Now I am much wiser about these things and I lose my money much more slowly.
During the week I am an SAP consultant, and during the weekend I teach yoga and chase girls. My favorite color is blue, my lucky number is 13. Once I met Bert Parks, and another time I met Jerry Garcia ... and I saw Jimi Hendrix perform live, twice.
I have been blessed.
[Editor's Note: MichaelRead has been nominated and in the running every year since the Feste award's inception. We are considering giving him a sympathy handicap next year.]
MichaelRead is retired consultant living in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada. In his retirement he began a marine services company, "Brigantine Marine Group, Inc." where, as president of the company, his participation involves the care and maintenance of cast ceramic vessels made by American Standard and he is proud of facilities created. While the company's motto is "the beatings will continue until morale improves" (it's on the company's T-shirts) he assures none of his staff are actually beaten. In fact, he says, it is just a phrase and will say no more on advice from his lawyers.
He is 21 years married to Elly (from Colorado) and has seven grandchildren -- none of whom will get a cent because their grandfather is spending it on SUVs, large-screen TVs, and single malts.
Factoid: Yes, you will get a good deal on Suzuki outboards from Brigantine Marine: Phone the company and ask for RestRoomRead -- as he is known there.
I'm a semi-retired software engineer and technical writer, after a 40-year career in Silicon Valley. My investment style is called My Daddy Didn't Bring Me Up to Be No Capitalist -- in other words, I blunder along as best I can. My largest investments are my house, my fund-centric 401K account, and about a thousand shares of stock in a company I once worked for.
Other things I've done include living in a rural commune and then a suburban one in the '70s; helping a friend build a 40-foot trimaran, and sailing with him in the Pacific; learning to fly; playing guitar; and most important, staying married for over 30 years and raising an excellent daughter.
I'm also an enthusiastic cook, and enjoy a nice martini.
I graduated in the late '90s from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with an Industrial & Management Systems Engineering degree. I used my degree for one year, working in various manufacturing engineering type jobs. Yes, I'm one of THOSE people. I figured out pretty quickly that I didn't want to be in that field, so I quit. I'm now in the world of consumer electronics, designing and selling home theaters for residential and commercial customers. Ask me which is better, LCD or plasma. I'll tell you the right answer. :) I have a real knack for explaining technology in layman's terms, and my personality requires me to be around people and technology. (If only I were wired for capital allocation and investing my "float.") Check out the "Help with This Home Theater" board, that's where I spend a lot of my time.
Financially, I'm beginner to moderate. I'm from the Dave Ramsey school of hard knocks, where you make almost every money mistake someone can make, and then after getting kicked in the teeth a few times, it starts to sink in. Let's see: credit card debt -- check, no understanding of the credit reporting system -- check, no savings -- check, buying on credit instead of cash -- check. Been there, done that, got the shirt, don't want to go back. I've made enormous strides in the last five years when it comes to my financial fitness, and I have The Motley Fool to thank for it. People helping people, that's what I believe TMF is about. Now, I'm actually considering going for an MBA in Finance, can you believe it?!? Thank you so much to TMF and all the wonderful people on here who have helped me out in more ways than they will ever know!
Thanks to everyone who voted and to all of our nominees for being such great contributors to the Fool Community!