Jerry Labowitz was still in high school when he discovered a predilection for investing. A teacher assigned each student an imaginary $1,000 to invest, and Labowitz was off and running. I picked a stock Fairchild Camera and made a lot of money, he recalls. In a hurry to start his career, he bypassed college and headed straight for Wall Street, where he found work as a statistician. In 1975 he decamped with two colleagues to Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, where he was offered an opportunity to cover electronics companies. Electrical/Connectors was added to the All-America Research Team in 1981, and Labowitz debuted in first place. He would amass a total of 24 appearances on the team, including 14 top finishes, through 2002. I loved my career, says Labowitz, 64. It was exciting and constantly changing because I was tracking the entire worldwide electronics industry by following component-related suppliers and the manufacturing services sector. There was never a dull moment.