Brian J. O'Connor covers personal finance and other business topics for The Detroit News, and is the author of “The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese,” his first book from Portfolio-Penguin. He’s won three humor writing awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for his syndicated “Funny Money” column. In addition, he is a two-time Best in Business winner, an awarded finalist in the Scripps Howard National Journalism Awards, and winner of the Christopher J. Welles Memorial Prize from Columbia University. O'Connor joined The News in October 2004 and has been penning his column since May 2005. He is a 1978 graduate of the Roeper School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and holds a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College. O'Connor also earned a master's of science in journalism at Columbia University, where he was honored as a 2001 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business. Before joining The News, O’Connor was the founding managing editor of Bankrate.com, the Web’s leading personal finance site. He also was managing editor of a local business journal and a business and arts editor at South Florida daily newspapers. A native of Detroit, he is married with one son and lives in Sylvan Lake, Mich.