SQLPam's Blog

January 27, 2013

SQL Saturday Tampa #192

Filed under: Community,SQL Saturday — sqlpam @ 1:17 pm

It is that time of year again.  This is the sixth year I have geared up for a new SQL Saturday in Tampa.  I am very excited this year.  I hope you are planning on attending.  (register

For the last 4 years we have been generously sponsored by K-Force at their national headquaters in Ybor City.  They bent over backwards in an attempt to make us feel at home.  As a result, we have grown to the point we have out grown them.  My deepest gratitude to K-Force for their continued support of the technical community. 

This year we are moving on.  We will be hosted by Hillsborough Community College at the Ybor Campus.  They are graciously supplying us with a number of rooms which will allw us to bring our attendees more session selection than ever before.  The rooms will be split between two buildings.  We are just a few blocks away from K-Force – so no need to learn a new area.  I am hoping our attendees will enjoy our new location.

The new location has a number of benefits for us.  First, we have more rooms which means more sessions resulting in more options for our attendees.  Next, we are able to open our sponsor pool to local recruiters – something that was not allowed at K-Force for obvious reasons.  My hope is this will take some of the pressure off from our nation sponsors who are starting to feel spread pretty thin.

We will also be hosting 3 pre-cons this year!

For the DBAs: SQL Server Internals from the practical angle by Dmitri Korotkevitch

The session covers how SQL Server stores the data and works with indexes; how to design efficient indexing strategies; how different database objects types implemented internally and what are pros and cons of them; explains why do we have locking and blocking in the system and how to deal with concurrency issues and, finally, shows a few methods that can help with performance troubleshooting of the system.

For the BI enthusiasts: Taking the Next Step with Reporting Services by Jessica Moss

In this full day session, Jessica teaches you how to enhance your basic reports to make them more appealing, flexible, and user-friendly.  You will learn how to create advanced reports using expressions and actions, and finally, you will learn how to use best practices to administer your reporting solution with ease.  Jessica’s extensive industry experience will be apparent as she shares best practices and case studies while improving the AdventureWorks sample reports as her examples.

For Professional Development: Creating Your Best Technical Presentation: A Speaker Workshop by Buck Woody

This is a workshop-style session. That means that each attendee will be required to prepare and deliver a mini-session that will be refined throughout the day. Laptops and Internet Connectivity is required.  This is very hands on – so rgistrations on tis session are very limited.

Register today to assure your seat!


May 2, 2012

Speakers with too many choices

Filed under: Community,SQL Saturday — sqlpam @ 11:39 am

I just got thru reading Eddie Wuerch’s ( B | T ) blog on Cross-Submitting to SQL Saturday Events. I consider myself both a seasoned organizer and speaker when it comes to SQL Saturdays. I do understand both sides of the event very well – which is why I am thrilled every time I am selected to speak. There are choices the organizer has to make and some of them are very difficult.

When selecting sessions, I usually go for a 2 step process. The first step is to narrow down the speakers. This has only been truly painful one year where I had 55 speakers submit and only 42 slots. Sending out the “sorry you were not selected but may be an alternate” emails really hurt. Once I select the speakers, I send an email that they have been selected. If they only submitted one session they know what they are speaking on immediately – otherwise there is a delay. I ask them to commit at this point and only assume the commitment after I receive the response. I had one exception to that – but that won’t be applied next year. In my mind, until there is a 2 way commitment – there is no contract. These speakers are doing this out of the kindness of their hearts at their expense. If I do not get a commitment – they do not go on the schedule and someone else may be added or another speaker gets multiple sessions.

I now know who my speakers are going to be and can organize them into a schedule. My speakers also know – so they can get travel scheduled early enough (hopefully) to get a break on the cost of travel. They may not know what they are speaking on yet – but they know they need to arrange to be here. I now have a little breathing space with the schedule.

This is where the time consuming piece is for me. It is a good thing to have choices but sometimes the number of choices can be overwhelming. As part of the “You have been selected” email, I ask my speakers if they have time constraints on when during the day they can speak. I have a number that need to either leave early in the day or will arrive late in the morning. They are paying for their travel – so whatever it takes works for me. I found this avoids a lot of last minute changes to schedules. I also have a little time to get the local group involved in making some of the choices.

Once the final decisions are made the speaker gets a notification of the session selected. If they need to cancel – I hope and pray they cancel before everything goes to printing. I usually at this point just ask someone already on the schedule to add a session – I usually don’t get complaints about that. Cancelling the day of the event is where I get frustrated. There are legitimate reasons – death in the family, car accident, or travel delays are several that have actually happened. I have had no shows with no notification or inadequate notification – these are issues that place the speaker on a special list for future events. This is not to say they never have a chance at any of my future events – just that a backup will be in place ahead of time if they are selected.

So for me – if a speaker lets me know early in the process – it is not an issue. It would be nice to know which speakers are cross-submitting so that I can be prepared for a back out. But having them back out before the final session selection does not hurt my feelings or my pride. This is about community. If they are backing out of my event for another SQL Saturday – the community is still winning. As long as I know before the schedule is printed – it is no skin off my nose.

Having so many SQL Saturdays that this is becoming an issue for some is not a bad thing. Sometimes it feels like we just need more Saturdays in the year.


April 18, 2012

SQL Saturday #111 recap

Filed under: Community,SQL Saturday — sqlpam @ 2:50 pm

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.


March 15, 2012

SQL Saturday #110

Filed under: SQL Saturday — sqlpam @ 8:20 pm

So we have another SQL Saturday Tampa on the books.  This was our fifth – our fourth at KForce who supplied facilities.  Based on the reviews – it was another success.

This year we had two last minute precons held on March 9th, 2012 at the Ybor City Hampton Inn.  One session was for the DBAs led by Eddie Wuerch (@eddiew) entitled The DBA Skills Upgrade Toolkit The other session was for our BI audience led by Bill Pearson (@Bill_Pearson) entitled Getting Started with PowerPivot and Other Microsoft  Business Intelligence Topics.  The events were opened to the public only a couple of weeks before the event – so an attendance of 34 was a pleasant surprize.

We had over 40 people attend our Pre-event dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse.  This was a good time by all.  It was a chance for our speakers, sponsors, and volunteers to get together and let their hair down before getting to work on Saturday.  This was the core of the people who helped make the event a great success.

The morning of March 10th, 2012 found us at KForce very early in the morning.  This year registration opened at 7:00am to allow for the elimination of one room that was not conducive to learning.  Instead of six time slots we had seven – so that meant a very early start.  Registration was a breeze for those that pre-printed the SpeedPasses supplied by the SQL Saturday site this year.  This did create some confusion.  Last year, since I was prototyping the process, each registrant got a SpeedPass delivered via email.  The common thread from those that did not print them was that never received the PDFs.  I need to do a better job of clarifying what the process is next year.  We also had issues with the SQL Saturday site’s SpeedPass process on the day of the event which created a few glitches for those that did not pre-print the SpeedPasses.  This is a work in process – so all information has been submitted to PASS.  The site continues to improve – so I see these wrinkles being resolved soon.

We had 42 scheduled sessions led by 40 speakers and 1 co-speaker.  We did end up with 2 no shows the day of the event.  One of these was filled by a speaker on site with a similar topic while the second was left unfilled.

We had 20 sponsors for the event with 11 on site.  We had three sponsors that were bloggers trying to get their names out there – my hope is they got the exposure they were hoping for.  We also had three Bronze,  five Silver, seven Gold and one Platinum.  Although this looks like a lot of sponsorship money, there was a lot of this that was in trade for needed materials for the event.  My hope is that each sponsor got what they hoped to get out of the event to encourage them to continue sponsoring SQL Saturdays in the future, not only Tampa – but all events.

We saw a marked decrease in registrations this year.  There were several reasons that I assumed caused this.  First, we changed the time frame we had our event.  In past years it has been held soon after the beginning of the year.  This posed challenges with sponsorship budgets – so this year we moved to March.  I received some emails stating that they planned on coming in Januray – but March was not possible.  The other factor is the number of SQL Saturdays that are occurring.  I think that that the sponsors, speakers and attendees are reaching a saturation point.

A big round of applause should go out to our volunteers.  They were the silent partners that made the event a great success.  I would like to give a special word of thanks to two of my volunteers.  Karla Landrum (@KarlaKay22) is now a PASS employee – but she went well above the call of duty to assist me with details that boggle the mind.  Brooke Ranne (@BabblingBrook01) managed the registration desk for me.  She has gotten it down to a science by volunteering at a number of the events in the south east.  On Friday night, the volunteer staff stuffed 300 event bags in less than an hour.  I have to say – my team kicked butt.  My warmest gratitude to each and everyone.

Lots of things went right – but besides registration glitches we had a few things that raised concerns from attendees.  I heard concerns about signage – we had more this year than ever before – I guess there will have to more next year.  There was also concerns raised that although the Guide Book was mentioned in a pre-event email – there was not enough information for attendees to know how to use it.  The cardinal sin of all was that we ran out of coffee.  Last year it was overkill so I backed off – looks like I need to gear it up a little more for next year.

Thank you to everyone who spoke, sponsored, volunterred or attended.  You each added to the community.  For those first timers – I hope to see you again in the future.  For those that came back after a previous attendance – thank you for continuing the cause – free training and the expansion of the SQL Family.


February 1, 2012

and so it begins… SQL Saturday Tampa 110

Filed under: SQL Saturday — sqlpam @ 10:22 pm

I am starting the push for getting things together for our next SQL Saturday in Tampa.  This will be my fifth.  Every year seems to be a little bigger and hopefully, better.  The call for speakers just closed.  This year it has been a bit daunting.  We received 110 sessions by 43 speakers.  Based on the numbers, a lot of these were multiple sessions per speaker.

I want to try something a little different this year – based on some of the recent events put on by PASS, I am asking the community to assist with selecting the sessions.  The first pass thru the mix will be to limit one session per speaker.  To this end, I have done the geeky thing of importing the sessions and writing a report that would give me the information to best make the decisions- in SSRS of course – and exported it to Excel.  It is now located at http://tinyurl.com/6uwy7s4If you are game, please download and fill in your preferences for each speaker.  It will look empty so you will need to navigate to the top.  When you have done what you want – plese email it to me at SQLSaturdayPam@live.com.  Your assistance with would be greatly appreciated.

I’ll keep you informed as to our progress…

Ammendment: I received a response via twitter that had a comma delimited string of session IDs – this worked well if you would prefer to not mess with the spreadsheet.  Thanks again

October 2, 2011

Tally Code Camp – I was there but not really

Filed under: SQL Saturday — sqlpam @ 2:48 am

Today I had the pleasure of speaking at Tallahassee Code Camp – but I was unable to attend.  Huh?  I led the meeting via Go To Meeting.  It is probably my least favorite speaking mechanism – but it is fast becoming a blessing for those in more out of the way locations.  I have to say that today’s session was my favorite online session I have led to date.

We got a late start because there were issues with the sound in the room – but once we got started it glitch free – at least as far as the technology.  I made a few boo boos that were easily recovered – but Go To meeting and the related technology work flawlessly once we got going.

The big thing for me was that the audience actually actively interacted.  This is something I have missed in all of my previous presentations.  I was able to get a feel for the how the audience was reacting based on the questions that were being asked.  I would still prefer to be there in person – but this was a nice second choice.

I want to thank Maureen Jugenheimer for offering the remote opportunity to participate in an event I was not able to physically attend.  She made sure the technology worked and actively moderated the session.  I look forward to meeting her in another week or so at PASS Summit.

January 26, 2011

SQL Saturdays Gone Wild – My Response

Filed under: SQL Saturday — sqlpam @ 9:30 pm

Recently Karla Landrum posted a blog – SQL Saturdays Gone Wild.  I was eyeball deep in planning SQL Saturday #62 in Tampa – so I threw together a response to her which she asked me to blog.  I did not have the time it deserved so I placed it on the back burner.   Here is my response.

I just completed my 4th SQL Saturday.  The first was tough because SQL Saturday had not established itself.  The second and third got easier and easier.  We had established a track record and were able to point at previous sponsors who were relatively unknown who were now well know and doing well as ROI.  But at the same time the phenomenon had not really taken off.  This year, SQL Saturdays are becoming more common.  In previous years, scheduling was by quarter then every other month, then monthly.  This year it seems to be weekly and still I am seeing doubling up.  For the sponsors who once aspired to being national sponsors, that means a lot of budget required and still not a lot for each individual event.  

So far I have spoken more to the sponsorship side of things – but a similar issue is being raised on the session /speaker side of things.  The first year, we did not have that many speakers.  We offered 5 tracks, if I remember correctly, and we had numerous speakers doing more than one session.  We moved up to 7 sessions per time slot last year and still had a couple of speakers doing multiple sessions.  This year was the first year I had to turn speakers away.  It was painful.  My first response was “next year we need a bigger venue – more tracks” – but is that really what we need.  As it is, we have a night mare ahead just getting the scheduling in place.  Minimizing conflicts between speaker schedules and conflicts between common topics or popular sessions is already tough enough.  Is expanding the number of sessions going help?  It makes a single choice for each time more difficult for the attendee.  Bigger is not always better.  Keep in mind, the number of attendees per event is not growing proportionately.

So what are the planners supposed to do?  Scale back on expectations is the first thing that comes to mind.  Since lunch is the one thing that scales with attendance – let the attendee pick up the cost?  If so, we need to make sure that if the cost of lunch is the only thing holding an attendee back – you can cover the few impacted.  I know I will be giving less purchased give aways.  I still want to take care of my speakers – they do supply the content our attendees come to see – but it has gotten more expensive.  I now have more speakers than sessions because of co-speakers. 

For our sponsors, it is more difficult to provide solid ROI.  With the opt out option, ROI is not what it used to be.  I try to give the sponsor a little extra by introducing the sponsors in emails prior to the event as well as in the event guide.  You don’t want to cram the sponsor down the throat of the attendee – but they are paying to let the attendee attend for free.  The attendee gets a few emails that have short intros to the sponsors.  After that, the sponsor must woo the attendee to get them to hand over a raffle ticket which we provide.  We also have a BINGO card which helps encourage the attendee to meet the sponsors.  At the same time, the sponsor must find a means of interacting with the attendees that do approach them at the event.  Some are definitely more successful than others.  Relationships are an important part of this process.  Some sponsors are better at cultivating these relationships than others.

To offset the decrease in sponsor funding, we decided to hold 2 pre-cons, one focused on the DBA and the other on BI.  The issue I found with pre-cons is they are slow to build momentum.  You have to put money out to get them going.  The upfront costs are speaker travel expenses and booking the space required.  Even with early bird specials, the registrations were slow to show.   We did not get to the breakeven point until early the week of the event.  We did make a very small profit, but there were some monies to offset SQL Saturday expenses.  We may need to focus on local speakers next time.

I am still struggling with answers to all this.  I know that I am going to find a way to make it happen.  The education opportunities are too good to pass up.  The networking is more critical in these days than ever before.  So going without is not the option.  Going for bigger is probably not the answer either.  I believe that an equilibrium will be met in the next year.  I think that it will require an adjustment of expectations for both the organizers and attendees.

I welcome your ideas on the subject.  Like Karla, I saw complaints that there were too many sessions they wanted to see in a single time slot – so expanding the number of rooms is problematic.  I also saw complaints that there was not enough SWAG and no t-shirts.

The Speed Pass process at SQL Saturday #62

Filed under: SQL Saturday — sqlpam @ 8:08 pm

Recently, I put on SQL Saturday #62 with the assistance of Jose Chinchilla and many other volunteers. Since the biggest black eye from last year was the registration process, I have spent the past year trying to think of ways to make the process easier. I came up with a process that Jose dubbed “Speed Pass”. Since the big slow down with registration is finding the registrant’s personalized raffle tickets and name badge, I decided it would be easier if the registrant was able to print their own materials and bring them to the event.
Since the process is not currently part of the SQL Saturday site, more work was required than should be needed once the process is available on the site. Here is what I had to do to make it happen outside of the site.
The first step was to bring the registrants into a local database where I could access them. This meant printing a report available to the SQL Saturday admins and downloading it into Excel format. I then had to strip the title off the report so the first line had the column headings. I then stripped the spaces out of the headings to make cleaner field names. I used the Tasks/Import process to bring the data into an already created table which defined the fields more accurately. I then used a script to append any new registrations into a “permanent” registration table set up with primary keys and additional info I was extrapolating from existing data or updating as new data was collected.
The second step was to create the SSRS reports to print the personalized info for each registrant individually. Each report would accept the registrant’s primary key as a parameter and generate the report. The tough part was getting the information to line up properly when output to PDF. Once this was achieved I set up a File Share subscription for each report and modified it a little in the ReportServer database to allow for On Demand subscriptions. I went this route so that future users were not required to utilize Enterprise edition.
Basically, an On Demand subscription can be triggered via a script anytime a user needs it. This is based on a blog published in 2007 by Jason Selberg. A stored proc will manipulate an existing Subscription record so that the time to trigger it is now. Once the report is finished, the stored proc restores the Subscription record back to its original form.
The third step is to generate the file shares. This requires a script that loops through the registrants and generates 2 file shares, one for each report. These files were named based on the registrant’s primary key. They were stored to an isolated folder on my machine. This process took almost an hour per 100 registrants. Most of that processing time was spent generating the PDFs.
The next step was to actually email the PDFs that were generated. This was handled via a script that created a personalized email with the 2 PDFs attached. The emails were sent via dbmail. My biggest hurdle on this was that my ISP blocks port 25 and my only mail servers only used port 25. I ended up using my air card which was on a different ISP. One lesson I learned was to include the primary key in the subject line to make tracking those using Speed Pass easier.
The final piece of this was to track the registrants that opted to use Speed Pass. They let me know via an RSVP email. These registrants were marked off my list to print for the day of the event. A second script generated PDFs for those not using Speed Pass and these were taken to the printer the night before the event.
I had 450 registrations the night before the event. 150 people had responded that they were printing their own reports. On the day of the event, I received 175 speed passes printed by the registrants. I was able to tell the source because the emailed speed passes were a different size than what were printed for day of event. We had around 320 people attending, 305 were actually registered and went thru registration. 15 registered the day of the event.
The biggest thing for me was that there was not a bottleneck in the registration line this year – a big improvement over the previous year. The event evaluations applauded Speed Pass as allowing them more time with the sponsors. The only downside I saw to the process is that people overprinted the materials to allow them to stuff the raffle boxes. I had some names that I found duplicated 5-10 time in each raffle box. That will be my issue to resolve for next year.
I will blog the On Demand subscriptions in detail in the near future. Any event organizer willing to try the process is welcome to contact me. I will be very happy to share the code.

January 18, 2011

SQL Saturday #62

Filed under: SQL Saturday — sqlpam @ 6:57 pm

This weekend was the culmination of a lot of effort by a lot of people. 

We started with a Day of Data – kind of a pre-con for SQL Saturday.  This was held on Friday at the historic Italian Club in Ybor City near downtown Tampa.  The building is close to 100 years old and is beautiful.  We sponsored 2 simultaneous sessions.  The first on the agenda was Storage and Virtualization for the DBA led by Denny Cherry.  The second was Business Intelligence End to End led by Stacia Mizner.  Both sessions were well attended and gave me rave reviews.

We then had our Pre-Event dinner.  We met at the Spaghetti Warehouse – again in historic Ybor City – to host our Speakers, Sponsors and Volunteers dinner.  The main point of the event is to allow everyone an opportunity to mingle build tighter bonds in the community.  There were at least 75 people attending.  This included family and companions.  From what I could tell, a wonderful time was had for all.  We unveiled our speaker shirts and passed out a new edition – lapel pins – to all attending.

The next morning started the main event.  This was held at the national headquarters of Kforce and the building next door – La Tam.  This is the 4th Tampa event and the 3rd we have held at Kforce.  Every year they go a little further to make it as easy as possible for us.

I was a little nervous this year about the registration process.  Last year, it was a big failure.  We had to send people to classes without registering because of a major back up in the process.  This year, I was determined to not have this happen again.  I came up with a process that Jose Chinchilla named “Speed Pass”.  Basically, the big hold up has been the distribution of personalized printed materials to our registrants.  So I allowed them to print their own this year.  Part of the printing process included a “speed pass” ticket and name badge.  We had 461 registered on the site.  Over 150 people responded that they had printed their speed pass tickets.  Based on previous experience, I estimated that 50% of my attendees were participating in the speed pass process.  We normally have 25-30% non-attendance – which brought our estimated attendance to 300-340.  150 meant close to 50%.  It played out well – there was very little back up in the line on Saturday morning.  I will blog later on the technology behind the Speed Pass process.

We had almost 3 full boxes of food donated to the food drive.  I want to thank all who participated in the food drive.  Feeding America will be sending an evaluation of how many families will be fed from our donations.

The day was full of informative sessions including a Women in Technology round table.  Please keep your eyes open for the various blogs by our speakers.  We had so many great people speaking and attending.  I was fortunate that in this season of illness, I only had 2 speakers who were unable to attend – their sessions were easily covered by other speakers – thank you Andy Warren and Jorge Segarro.  I was astounded to find I had one speaker who actually faced blizzards to arrive.  A special thanks to Ira Whiteside of Melissa Data for braving the elements during his drive down from WI.

We ended the day in the usual swag-fest.  This was a time to acknowledge our sponsors, speakers and volunteers.  We also hear a little from all user groups represented.

I want to send a special thanks to Jose Chinchilla for all the assistance he lent this year in helping me prepare for the event.  Without him, I would have had to scale back a while lot.  If I try to thank everyone by name, I am sure I will leave someone out – so I will leave it at Thank you all who spoke, sponsored or volunteered.  You are why these events work.  Thank you to our attendees – your presence makes the effort worthwhile.

What a great community we have!!  I have seen nothing like it anywhere.  If you are not participating – I encourage you to get out there and join the best technical community around – SQL folks – you ROCK!!!

December 16, 2010

SQL Saturday #62 Tampa – progress report

Filed under: SQL Saturday — sqlpam @ 8:33 pm

Yesterday was a busy day for Jose Chinchilla and I.  We did a tour de force of Ybor City – all the points of interest for Day of Data and SQL Saturday #62

Jose has never been to our venue at KForce national headquarters – so we started there.  We toured the facilities, got room capacities and worked out some details with KForce partners.  We have 4 great rooms on site at KForce.  Knowing that is not enough, KForce secures 2 additional rooms from the Centro Asturiano next door. 

So our next stop was next door at the Centro Asturiano to tour these rooms.  Wendy showed us around.  One of our rooms is fantastic – the other meets our need – which is the point.  The building is GREAT!  Older architecture that is full of details from the tiles on the floor to the moldings at the ceiling.  They have a small cafe upstairs where club members come to play dominoes.  Our guys love the Cuban coffee they serve.  I saw for the first time that they have a theater that seats 1000 – phenomenal details – absolutely beautiful.  Downstairs, they have a cantina that got rave reviews last year – so of course – they will cater for us again this year.  There is nothing like local flavor to make for a great event.  So Jose got to meet Denise of Latam at the Centro Asturiano Cantina.  She is taking care of our catering.  She is a joy to work with.  Last year at the last moment she gave us a great deal and made the top of the list for favorite things about SQL Saturday. 

Our next visit was the Italian Club.  Another taste of Ybor City history.  The building was raised in 1819 and it is beautiful.  Catie showed us the Ball room and the theater which is where we will be hosting the Day of Data on 1/14/2011.  We have not yet determined who will be where.  Both rooms are great.  Downstairs is a cafeteria where we will have lunch and have a space to hang out for breaks to allow both groups of attendees to network.

Our next stop was the Rock N Sports where we will have our after event again.  We had lunch after discussing arrangements.  Like I said it was a busy day.  But it was not over yet.

We headed back to the KForce area and visited the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County.  We were attempting to secure additional rooms – hoping to expand the number of slots we are able to offer.  We met with the Latino Coalition of Tampa Bay.  Alas, they were not able to assist immediately since the building is shut down during our event for Martin Luther King weekend – but they are still pushing to assist us with rooms.  We are hoping to hear soon.  We did have a wonderful meeting that brought a new addition to our SQL Saturday – we will be having a canned food drive for the needy in the area.  They assisted us in determining a partner in the food drive.  They are also interested in working with us on a program to get under privileged kids introduced to programming.  I am excited to see where that can lead to in the next year.  I will probably write up more on this group at a future date.  They were so eager to assist.  You could tell they are all about making life better for as many people as possible.  They are even going to promote Day of Data and SQL Saturday to their members.

All in all it was a productive day.  We got a lot of plans finalized for January and met new friends.  Now to get on with the rest of the planning.

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