An Omaha native has won a financial stock-picking contest, beating out more than 700 other students from 34 colleges and universities.
Daniel McAllister, 28, a Millard North High graduate, will receive his MBA this month from the University of San Diego. He won the All-America Student Analyst Competition, approximately doubling a $100,000 investment.
The only downside? It was a simulated stock portfolio — play money — and there was no cash prize.
“But we're getting a lot of press,” he said Friday, “and we're hearing from people who are interested in our strategy for owning a portfolio.”
Dan, whose parents are Greg and Deanna McAllister of Omaha, first invested real money while in seventh grade at Peter Kiewit Middle School.
His older brother, Andrew, now an electrical engineer for Boeing, got their parents' permission to dabble in the stock market, and Dan got in, too, investing $200 he had saved from birthday cards.
That rose to around $1,000, but the technology stock bubble burst, and the value dropped to where he started.
A graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he majored in international business and finance, Dan worked in Boston and then for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Los Angeles before entering graduate school.
For the contest that began in September, he employed a sophisticated strategy. Focusing on the financial and health care sectors, he asked a friend who is a data analyst to write a computer program analyzing the performance of stocks over several years. He “bought and sold” weekly, not daily.
Dan said he admires Omaha investor Warren Buffett's long-term-value investing, but this was a short-term contest.
He was surprised to win, he said, because “I figured somebody would get lucky with one decision and do really well with a ridiculous return.”
A former trumpet player in the high school band, he's not blowing his own horn, but others are telling his story, including CNBC's “Fast Money” and newspapers.
Upon graduation, Dan will embark on a career as a business consultant.
» Larry the Cable Guy affirmed in an Orlando Sentinel article this week that although he lived for 34 years in Florida, he is pleased to be based with his wife and two children in his home state of Nebraska.
“I always said when I had kids I wanted them to grow up the way I did,” said Larry, aka Dan Whitney, a native of Pawnee City, Neb., and a big Husker football fan.
He also said he has lost 25 pounds since Feb. 28. He works out with weights, “does cardio” five days a week and doesn't eat late at night, only drinking water after 7 p.m.
His “Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy” show runs Wednesday nights on the History channel.
» Among those visiting legendary horse trainer Jack Van Berg when he signs his new biography starting at noon today at Horsemen's Park, 63rd and Q Streets, will be a woman who got her own chapter in the book: Laurie Bale.
Laurie, who has muscular dystrophy, was 12 when her father took her to the old Ak-Sar-Ben track in Omaha. Jack was so charmed by the girl in the wheelchair that they became friends and he named a filly for her, Miss Laurie Bale.
“He changed my life,” Laurie said this week. “His kindness really taught me a lot about the true nature of people. I get a little teary thinking back to what he did. It made me a better person.”
Laurie, who turns 50 on July 13, has spent 31 years with the Marriott Worldwide Reservations Center in Omaha. Now she works from home as a customer relations manager.
“I'm weaker than I used to be,” she said. “But you play the cards you were dealt.”
|Columnists Michael Kelly, Erin Grace and Matthew Hansen write about people, places and events around Omaha. Read more of their work here.|
» On a vacation to Mexico five years ago, Vickey and Mark Kleinsmith became friends with a couple from Ireland, Dr. Liam and Alice Conroy, and last month took pride in showing them around Omaha.
The highlight of the visit, Vickey said, was the Strategic Air & Space Museum on I-80 southwest of Omaha near Ashland, Neb. Liam, a pilot and a pain specialist, took special pleasure when a museum staffer invited him to climb into the cockpit of a B-36.
He called the plane “unbelievably impressive.”
The Kleinsmiths, who retired as vice presidents of the Lozier Corp., wrote a thank-you to the staff, calling the museum “a jewel in Omaha's crown.”
» The most recent addition to the National Register of Historic Places is the Omaha Hotel.
You probably haven't stayed at this hotel, which is not in Omaha but in the central Wisconsin town of Neillsville. The two-story structure was opened in 1893, six years after the railroad arrived there.
The name of the hotel? It apparently comes from the company that built a railroad bridge across the Black River and extended the line to Neillsville — the Omaha Co.
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