This past weekend I attended yet another SQL Saturday, this time in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I took my show on the road, as it were, because once again I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of the speakers. I wasn’t able to make it to the PASS summit this year, and I was looking forward to seeing some friends and colleagues again, even if it was at a smaller venue.
I forgot about the one hour time difference between Wisconsin and Michigan, and realized on Friday that if I didn’t leave right that second I’d be late for the speakers dinner. Even with the late start, I felt I had plenty of time to make the trip. Hitting downtown Chicago at 2:00 pm didn’t seem like it would be an issue. I didn’t count on the 35 mile construction project (45 mph zone) between Rockford and Elgin, Illinois, nor did I count on a fatal crash on the northbound Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago, closing that completely, and bringing the southbound Dan Ryan to a standstill for about 45 minutes. Add to that pouring rain in Indiana and Michigan, and I finally made it to my hotel about 5 minutes before the dinner was supposed to start.
The speakers dinner was awesome. I got to chat with Joe Fleming for a good long time, and met Stacia Misner for the first time. I also met up with the usual suspects Josh Fennessy, Allen White, Tim Ford, Frank Gill, Brian Davis, and Tamera Clark, among others. Hope Foley wouldn’t join us until Saturday morning.
I loved this event. It was one of my favorites. A great crowd, and another full room for my session. People asked some great questions, and I must be getting better or doing something right, because the reviews from my session were wonderful. The lunch was a taco bar and it was amazing. One very pleasant surprise was the appearance of Gareth Swanepoel. From Jacksonville, Florida by way of South Africa, Gareth is in Green Bay these next couple of weeks on a consulting gig. He drove six hours to Kalamazoo this weekend just for the heck of it, not to attend anything, but just to say “hi” and help out if any help was needed.
I sat in on a couple sessions. Brian’s session on automated installs was interesting. I might have to check that out in more detail to see if we can start standardizing some environments at some of my clients. Allen White’s session on BIML and PowerShell started out as a complete foreign language to me, but by the end of his session it was all coming together, and now I can’t wait to start playing with this sort of technology. I can see it playing a role in some of the ETL work I have to do for my main client. What I got most, though, out of Allen’s session is that everyone has something to offer. He encouraged everyone to give speaking a try.
The after party was also a lot of fun. I didn’t sing any karaoke (if I am ever caught doing so, someone please take my car keys away from me), but it was still a good time. Talked a bit with Aaron Bertrand and got to know him better. I also talked to Josh a bit, and he gave me a great idea on my next session. I’ve done a short talk on SSIS before, and now have some ideas on how to expand this one into a full one hour session.
Back at my hotel Saturday night (nice studio suite at the Residence Inn), I set the coffee maker to start at 6:30 because I wanted to get an early start back to Madison. I didn’t reset the time on it though. So, because of the daylight savings time, the coffee actually went off at 5:30. I tried to sleep through it, but couldn’t. By then the clock on my phone said 6:15, which was 7:15 the day previous, 5:15 back home in the Central time zone, and who knows what the clock in my truck said. So, having no real clue what the time really was, I just said to heck with it all and got up, got ready, and headed out. I ended up pulling into my driveway right around 11:00 in the morning. Or noon. I’m still not sure.
Anyway, it was a great event. Like I said, one of my favorites of all of them that I’ve attended. Thank you to Josh Fennessy for organizing it. And thank you to all of the volunteers – Tim, Tim’s wife Amy, Joe Fleming, and everyone else. Without the volunteers none of these events could happen.