Today is Thursday, October 27th already. For some of us the summit begins monday – with precons and PASS Volunteering related meetings on Tuesday. For most other attendees the first day was Wednesday.
I arrived in the afternoon on Sunday with six other friends from Louisville,including my good friend Chris Yates. I have been travelling to the summit 11 years now – this is the first year that I had so many co passengers from my town heading there. I plan to write a blog post entirely on that subject. But was proud and happy to see attendance and interest growing from our small town. Following arrival I met with one of my favorite friends in #SQLfamily, Arlene Rose – we went shopping at Pike Place market. I have been going to Pike place for many years now – was a bit sad to see a few of my favorite stores gone. They included a tibetan buddhist store selling masks, a consignment store selling gently used scarves and jackets, and a herbal store.It is a way of life and i hope they are well somewhere.
Monday, Day 1: I went in to attend Itzik Ben Gan’s pre con on Advanced TSQL. I have not been attending precons after they stopped recording the sessions – since it was too pricey and was easier to find cheaper equivalents at sql saturdays and other places. But Ben-Gan was someone you really want to learn T-SQL from, and he did not teach at too many other places. The class was worth every dime. The session was packed with tips and tricks and presented in elegant, simple, easy-to-understand ways. I greatly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it for anyone considering it next year. In the evening I had dinner with Chana Cohn, one of my old friends from my days at Kindred Healthcare. We had a great evening catching up.
Tuesday, Day 2: Tuesdays are usually reserved for PASS Volunteer related meetings – my meeting started with rehearsing for the keynote for wednesday. (More on that below). It was fascinating for me to witness the amount of work that goes on behind-the-scenes for the keynote – from staff at PASS and volunteers including directors and several others. We as attendees and even as volunteers at other levels do not normally see this – we owe them a thank you if we enjoy a keynote, and not just for the content. It is a ton of hard work to pull off. Following this we had the yearly meet-up of SQL Saturday organizers. Many items were discussed including funding from PASS, anti = harassment policy, website changes, sponsorship changes and so on.Overall it was a productive and informative meeting. In the afternoon we had a meeting of Regional Mentors. Could not attend the meeting for Chapter leaders as i had some work to take care of. But all meetings were useful and was great to meet with volunteer friends you don’t get to see otherwise. Attended the opening ceremony in the evening – which had some really good food options for vegans and vegetarians. I got my fill of dinner here and decided to pass up on the volunteer party – given the weather and the distance, a good six miles from where I was. Retired early since i knew next day was a long one.
Wednesday, Day 3: I normally do not dress up for any PASS event days. Just wear one of my many SQL Saturday shirts – and jeans to go with it. But today was special – today was my day as I had won the PASSion award – this news was communicated to me a month ago but was asked to keep it secret as NDA information.The PAssion award is a true honor – it is the highest award in the PASS community for service to the community. It is via nomination from fellow community members and approval by the board. I was humbled and honored to receive it. After a bit of make up and a tiara – I made my way to the convention center. I was given a special seat in the front row – which in itself was an honor – among so many outstanding volunteers, microsoft customers and VIPs. My good friends and directors – Grant Fritchey, Allen White and Argenis Fernandez were around to help with nerves. The ceremony was over quickly and social media started to near blow-up the phone with tweets and facebook messages of congratulations. It was a unique, once-in-a lifetime experience and one that I shall greatly treasure and remember. Sadly, there is no video recording available yet – I am told that it will be there on summit recordings. I will be happy to share a clip when I find one.
The rest of my day was taken with hugs and thanking many people – many of whom I did not know at all. I want to say THANK YOU again to the awesome sql community who made all this possible. Am very humbled and honored by your love and regard, and hope to continue to live up to it.