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As many of you know, a great member of the Zacks family passed away over the weekend. Though I've been here less than a year, and never spent much time talking face to face with him as our schedules and travel didn't allow for it, I got to know Dirk Van Dijk more than anything through his writing, especially here on the Real-Time Insight chat.

Pick just one thing I will miss most about Dirk? Impossible. But I will try. First, I want to say I will miss lots of things... his great economics mind, his relentless data-mining on FRED, and his wit... all of which he shared generously to our benefit. I always called him our "resident quant" because of his prolific grasp of economic concepts and data.

Zacks was strong with Dirk as our "quantamental" backbone, which showed up particularly well in his regular earning season summaries, delivered with religious consistency and depth.

The fact he could also spice up his views with interesting, if not hilarious, political perspectives made it worth reading him all by itself.

To top it off, he just launched a new trading service that may have been one of the best missing pieces in the arsenal -- The Income Plus Investor, a portfolio designed to capture the juice of the dividend world. That he got this done before he left us is a powerful symbol.

Someone else could have created this style of portfolio. But I imagine that Dirk has been thinking hard about it for a long time and he built a framework and strategy that will serve us well as we take it over and fulfill the vision.

I named a lot of things I will miss about Dirk Van Dijk. You may have some good experiences not represented here that we'd love to read.

But, if I had to pick just one... oh heck, I'm taking three: economics mind and ability to explain the complex with FRED graphs, earnings summaries, and his wit.

Zacks Releases Their 7 Best Stocks for May, 2014

These 7 were hand-picked from the list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys with earnings estimate revisions that are sweeping upward. Their stock prices are expected to rise sooner than the others.

Today, this Special Report is available to new visitors free of charge.

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