I was very honored to be accepted to speak at SQL Saturday 111 in Atlanta. There were so many submissions and such well-known names that I was grateful to be included in such company.
I took Friday off – since this was supposed to be a shoe string trip. I left early and drove up stopping at my to visit a longtime family friend in Buford – about 45 minutes from the event. I had a nice visit and changed into SQL Saturday gear for the speaker dinner. My GPS got me there with no mishaps.
I got to the dinner and there were so many familiar faces it was hard to know where to start. I won’t even try to ID them all here. I got my hugs from Karla (Twitter ), Stacia ( Twitter ), Jessica ( Twitter ), and Aaron ( Twitter ). The room read like a who’s who list for the SQL community. I sat down to a delicious dinner sharing the company of Stuart ( Twitter ) and Laura – a volunteer for the event. We discussed the in’s and out’s of organizing a SQL Saturday and family while enjoying a sumptuous dinner. I had prime rib – but it was a tough decision.
After eating, I touched base with a number my SQL Family – so many I usually only see at Summit. It had been a very long day. Although the party moved on to parts untold here – I opted to go straight to the hotel. I still had to pull together last minute stuff for my presentation.
The next morning, I arrived a little late, checked in and decided to check out the sponsors. Some were old friends and a few new friends before it was over. As a SQL Saturday organizer – sponsors are very important to cultivate. They are the backbone of the event. So I make sure they know I appreciate the efforts they are making. Atlanta had a wonderful setup for the sponsors – they had 2 rooms with snacks to draw the traffic and room to move around. Have I yet said I was envious of their venue? For the record, I would love to have one like it here in Tampa. I got tied up meeting with sponsors and new faces that went with well-known names so I ended up missing the second session. But it was such great SQL family going on I was OK with that.
I had lunch with some friends and got everything I needed together so I was ready for the next presentation and then mine. I sat in on Andy Leonard’s ( Twitter ) session on SSIS Framework. He blows me away with his ability to make it seem simple while all the time showing humility. He is one in my SQL family that I really look up to – there are few that I really admire. Thanks Andy for setting a wonderful example.
Then it was time for my session. It had been discussed earlier that this was the dreaded time slot. Everyone was settling into a stupor with lunch hitting bottom and the previous All Star time slot finishing up. I had prepared. I had even presented the session twice before. Both times I felt good after the presentation was over. But this time nothing flowed easily. The timing seemed awkward. The material was presented – I got a number of thanks afterward. Several who had seemed bored in the session actually let me know the parts that were aha moments for them. It might have been that I was so tired – whatever it was – I was glad it was over when it was over. I am going to have to spend some real time with this session to make it more comfortable.
Moving on – I was glad to attend Jessica Moss’ presentation on Report Parts. I learned a lot. I have not done any Report Builder. But it is something I need to get familiar with so it is an option I can offer my clients. I am impressed with Jessica. We both took a class on presenting way back when – prior to SQL Saturday #1. I have watched her grow and far exceed any level I aspire to achieve. She engaged the room and knew her material inside out. It was a pleasure to attend her session.
That was the last session so we all moved outside. The sponsors pulled raffle tickets. Many of us were very thrilled to see so many volunteer shirts running up to claim prizes. They deserve more than most to take something tangible home from the event.
We moved to the after event. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people that showed at the after party. In thinking back – the die-hard partiers were those that had to head back to the hotels. I think Aaron was the only local to hang out to the next location – what a trooper?
In all it was a wonderful day. I learned a lot. I met many new people – some I have followed or seen on Twitter – while others were brand new to me. I got to connect with cherished friends and SQL Family I usually don’t see outside of Summit.
A special thanks to Audrey Hammonds ( Twitter ) for heading up the organization of SQL Saturday 111 as well as the entire team of people who worked to make this happen. Thank you one and all.