We'd like to introduce you to our research team, a.k.a., Tom's Team. If you watch tastytrade, you've probably seen these mugs on The Pitch, a show in which they're paid to stand in the studio with our Founder Tom and his Co-host Tony, forcing laughter as the two of them tell really good "jokes."  

On the other hand, if you're not familiar with tastytrade, this is the team of gentlemen behind many of the studies that helped put our company on the map. They hail from around the world, come from all walks of life, and help give our live show direction while keeping our entire team abreast of the markets. Now, after enjoying a picture of all seven of them loving life, please take a moment to get to know each of them individually in the post below.

Name: Chris Butler
Nickname: Milk
Trading out of: Palatine, IL

Chris, later given the nickname “Milk” for no apparent reason, joined the tastytrade force in September of 2013. Chris was initially a Computer Systems Engineering major at Arizona State University before having an epiphany, and traveling back home to Chicago to study Finance at DePaul University.

When it comes to research, Chris enjoys aiding in large-scale studies that validate or investigate investment strategies, especially ones pertaining to strangles. Additionally, Chris seems to have a knack for looking into volatility products such as VXX and VIX futures.

Unrelated to work, Chris values his close friends and family the most, as he believes these relationships are the most important aspects of life. While a calm and soft-spoken individual, Chris’s favorite recreational activities are adrenaline-pumping sports. In particular, he is a huge fan of snowboarding and water skiing, stating, “These activities are higher risk, which means higher reward. Also, I love the fact that I have to truly push myself past my own limits to get better, which can be applied to anything in life.”

After he graduates in June of 2015, Chris will be coming to work for tastytrade full-time.

Name: Chris Grace
Nickname: Gracer
Trading out of: Allegany, NY

An ex-college athlete and Harley-Davidson enthusiast, Gracer joined the research team in the summer of 2013. He earned a degree in Finance from SUNY The College at Brockport and immediately relocated to Chicago looking for work. Being from a very small town in Western New York, the big city was a welcomed change. His passion for financial markets and anything physically challenging made tastytrade a great fit due to the mix of CBOE jargon and constant sports talk/trivia.  

Gracer enjoys challenging traditional advice when it comes to investing and loves looking at common problems differently. When asked about this he said, “Taking what the team learns, and being able to articulate it to tastynation so they can expand their knowledge and invest more intelligently, is almost as a good as the first motorcycle ride of the season…almost.”

Name: Alan Wood
Nickname: The Woodman
Trading out of: Lehi, UT

A journeyman in the options trading industry, The Woodman started trading options and equities at a prop firm in 2009.  He then worked on the trade desk at thinkorswim where he had his first encounter with the creator himself, Tom Sosnoff. After a brief separation, The Woodman rejoined Tom at tastytrade in the summer of 2013 as a member of the research team.  

He didn’t receive a high-school education or any technical training - he’s just a market wizard. Rivaled only by Steve “SLM” Miller, The Woodman provides the team with market insights most overlooked. When asked how he’s able to do it, The Woodman responded, “I don’t know, man. It’s like a sixth sense. Some might attribute it to luck. I just know what’s going to happen, before it happens.  Simple as that.”

Name: Mike Hart
Nickname: Beef
Trading out of: Olean, NY

No one really knows why he’s called Beef, and that’s just the way he likes it.  Previously a professional futures trader, Beef joined the research team at tastytrade in the spring of 2013. If he’s not talking the markets, chances are he’s enjoying a delicious meal or trying not to spontaneously combust during his daily Bikram Yoga session.

Known for his mature pallet and high scoville unit threshold, Beef quickly rose to the top due in large part to his oral newsletter. Here he makes random and often extremely low probability price projections (particularly in the commodity space) that just happen to play out over and over.  

Name: James Blakeway
Nickname: Crumpet (Crump-Dawg, Crumpy)
Trading out of: Oxford, England

James joined the tastytrade research team summer of 2013, right out of college. tastytrade was the opportunity he had been looking for, an exciting job in a fast paced company. Armed with options and derivatives background from the conventional college learning, James’s skills and knowledge have grown and changed exponentially since joining the team.

James’ favorite segment to write is Anatomy of A Trade because he loves getting in Tom’s head and seeing how he maneuvers his positions. James has learned so much from writing those segments and has applied so much of it to his own trading.

Manipulating data in Excel is a strong suit for James. Need to know how this intraday move in the silver ETF compares to historical averages? Crumpet’s got you covered! Lastly, he is Tony Battista’s biggest sympathizer, frequently bringing him coffee on tastytrade breaks to help him survive 4 hours with SosGrande.

Name: Michael Rechenthin, Ph.D.
Nickname: Dr. Data
Trading out of: Slidell, Louisiana

Michael joined the tastytrade research team in June of 2014 after completing his doctoral studies at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business. After 7 years trading on the floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Mike pursued his advanced degrees in Computer Science and Management Sciences to stay on the cutting edge of trading technology and research. His studies explored machine learning classification techniques for the analysis and prediction of high-frequency stock price direction.

Mike brings a strong academic approach to the research at tastytrade with careful data mining and modeling techniques used on custom built databases. Marrying his passion for the markets with his skilled approach to research, Dr. Data creates robust studies on a variety of financial topics with compelling visualizations. In his free time, he teaches his daughter, Margaret (a.k.a. Lil' Data), how to spot premium selling opportunities.  She'll turn 3 months old mid-February.

Name: Kai Zeng, MBA
Nickname: TBD
Trading out of: Hangzhou, China

Kai’s coming adds new ingredients to the Tasty menu with his international background and diversified experiences. Staying in Alibaba since graduation from college would have made him a millionaire, but instead he took a more challenging road to start his own business.

After getting an MBA degree from UNC, Kai became a full-time derivatives trader at a hedge fund. With successful high number of occurrences and trading experiences, especially in options products, he has proven the methodology of tastytrade.  

Kai once dreamed of being a professional soccer player. Though real life gave him a different set of directions, he still enjoys playing soccer after work. He is also a fan of antique art collecting. Getting up early on the weekends and driving to different antique and art markets is one of his favorite hobbies. Once he even stumbled upon a rare and vintage Picasso but it just wasn’t meant to be.


Catch the guys from the research team on The Pitch Monday - Friday at 3:00 - 3:15pm CT or get in touch with them by emailing research@tastytrade.com!