Rochester – Welcome to the PASS MN Family

22 01 2014

It started as a vision for expanding the reach of the Minnesota SQL Server User Group a year ago. At the time, Paul Timmerman ( T | B ) and I were discussing the fact that only one user group existed in Minnesota. As we looked at other areas and talked with SQL pros from St. Cloud and Rochester, a dream was born — what if PASSMN, a large and very mature user group, helped kick off meetings in other areas? Throughout the past year, Paul has been working with Patrick out of Rochester to make this a reality.

image Source: http://binged.it/1eB310K

Tonight was our first meeting in Rochester. We had an awesome turn out with over twenty people attending. Everyone is already looking forward to the next meeting.

Paul and the crowd Paul presenting

To begin with, the Rochester group will be supported by PASSMN as an extension group. The meetings are planned to be quarterly and we will be working with local and regional speakers to participate. Our hope is that the group will grow and can become a stand alone chapter. However, the goal of PASS is community and training. Whether independent or as extension group, the goal is to meet these needs within the SQL Server development community where ever we can.

PASSMNLogo

For more information about PASS MN and PASS MN – Rochester meetings, check out http://minnesota.sqlpass.org/.





PASSMN–Passing the Baton: A Board Transition Story

12 12 2012

Each year the Minnesota SQL Server User Group elects new board members and resets its leadership team.  I have been on the board for the past three years during which we switched term lengths to two years with staggered elections, but more about that later.

PASSMNLogoDuring the PASS Summit this past year I had the privilege of hosting a table during the Chapter Leaders meeting on building boards and recruiting leadership for SQL Server User Groups.  First, I have to say, leadership teams/boards come in many flavors, counts, etc.  For instance, some groups are managed by one or two people who are truly passionate about the community and really enjoy leading the groups.  Other groups, such as ours, have regular elections with as few as three and as many as eight on the board.  While I may spend more time later discussing the pros and cons of various approaches, this post is about the peaceful transition within our user group.

First a bit of history, I have worked with the Minnesota SQL Server User Group for a number of years.  We joined PASS quite a while ago but a few years after we started.  After joining we did not change our organizational structure.  We have always had a board of four or more.  We currently have six roles: Chair, Corporate Relations, Programs, Membership and Treasurer, Technology, and SQL Saturday.  We added SQL Saturday last year to have someone focused entirely on getting that program rolling, Paul (@mnDBA) did great!  I have held the Corporate Relations role and this year I was the Chair.

Elections and Role Distribution

Prior to last year, our terms were one year.  However, we rotated the entire board at least once which is very difficult. So, starting last year, we rotate 1/2 of the board each year with terms running twoelection button years.  What is really cool about our election process is that we are able to recruit new board members each year allowing PASSMN to take on some new ideas without issue.   We have also done a good job of mixing up members between consulting and nonconsulting members.  We also try to limit a company’s participation to one board member.  This process has been successful for years as this blend has motivated time changes, content direction and even sponsorships through the years.

Another unique part of our board election is that members are voted to the board, not to a role.  This is strategic as it allows the members to rotate roles as well as work with each other to find a good fit for them within the board.  It also means that the nominees understand that they will work with their fellow members to distribute responsibility.

Transition Lunch

That leads us to today.  We had our transition lunch 12/12/12 at 12:12. (Yes, that was the actual appointment time, and we survived.)  Once again we had a good time as volunteers reflecting on what happened in the past year, allowing the new board to select roles, and handing off insights as we have them.  And thus, it is the beginning of the end for me as a board member.

It’s Been Great!

Personally, it has been and will continue to be great working with such a good group of people.  Thanks to Andy (@SQLQuill)  and Tim (@tjplas) for the time these past couple of years and we welcome Shirley (@SQLLatina), Will (@williamweber), and Mike (@SQLMD) to the board along with returning members Paul, Josh (@SQLJosh) and Bill (@billpreachuk).  I plan to continue working with the board and helping with some of their new initiatives this next year.  Let’s keep the tradition of quality and fun going.





SQL Saturday #149 and CodeMastery–Minnesota Events

18 09 2012

sqlsat149_webWe are less than two weeks away from SQL Saturday #149 in Minneapolis on September 29, 2012 with two preconference sessions on September 28.  In case you haven’t heard, we are having the main event on a Saturday.  Yes, the precons are on Friday this year.  Check out the details here.  I am really excited about this event as we have a great group of local, regional, and national speakers at this event.  There are nine rooms being used for this event, so go out to the site and build your schedule.

cm-logoThe following Tuesday, Magenic is hosting CodeMastery with a BI track at the Microsoft Technology Center in Edina, MN.  This event includes a sessions on managing the BI stack in SharePoint and xVelocity.  The other track is Windows 8 development with sessions on WinRT and Game Development.

I’m a Speaker at Both Events

Besides plugging these two awesome events on their own, I am also a speaker for both events.  Here is what I will be speaking on at each event:

SQL Saturday #149: A Window into Your Data: Using SQL Window Functions

In this session, I will walk through the window functions enabled by the OVER clause in SQL Server.  Come join me as we celebrate the SQL Server 2012 release of analytic functions and expansion of aggregate functionality to support tasks such as running totals and previous row values.  Thankfully, this is a demo heavy session as it is one of the last sessions of the day.

CodeMastery: Data Mining with the Tools You Already Have

The next week, I will be presenting on data mining tools which Microsoft has made available to us in SSAS and Excel.  The goal of this session is to help developers understand how to implement data mining algorithms into their business intelligence solutions.

I look forward to seeing you at both events.  They are priced right, FREE!





PASS for Today (and Tomorrow)

20 03 2012

I justPASSMNLogo wanted to plug two events that are free SQL Server training.

First, Thomas LaRock (@sqlrockstar) and Jason Strate (@stratesql) are teaming up to bring you “Choose Your Own Adventure – Performance Tuning”. Join us at the Microsoft Technology Center in Edina, MN or online for this great adventure. This adventure starts at 3:00 PM CDT. More details can be found at http://minnesota.sqlpass.org.

Is that all?, you ask. No. Starting tonight at 0:00 GMT (7:00 PM CDT) is 24 Hours of PASS. Check out the awesome roster of speakers24HOP_Speaker including the likes of Denny Lee from SQLCAT, Marco Russo, and Dejan Sarka. These sessions run through the night and will be close captioned in 15 languages, making it a truly international event.  Oh, did I also mention, I will be speaking at this as well.

Take advantage of these free training opportunities by leaders within the SQL Community.  We all look forward to seeing you at both or either of these events.





PASSMN Rocks 2012!

22 02 2012

Minnesota SQL Server Users Group

As many of you may know, I am the Chair for the Minnesota SQL Server User Group aka PASSMN.  I work with a great group of individuals who have worked hard to get our upcoming speaker schedule and sponsorships worked out.  I am very excited to discuss the upcoming schedule and invite anyone in our area during this time to join us.  So here goes…

Locked In

Tuesday, March 20 – Thomas LaRock

Tom LaRock (@SQLRockStar) is a SQL Server MVP and he is currently a Senior Database Administor for Confio Software.  Check out his blog at http://thomaslarock.com for more information about him and his community contributions.

Topic: TBD

Sponsor: Confio Software

Tuesday, April 17 – Ted Kummert, Mark Souza, and Itzik Ben Gan

Ted Kummert is the corporate vice president of the Business Platform Division at Microsoft which includes SQL Server and SQL Azure.  It is a privilege to have Ted available to speak at our user group and share more about SQL Server.  He was one of the keynote speakers at the PASS Summit in 2011 as well.

Mark Souza joins us this night as well.  Mark is the General Manager for SQL Server at Microsoft.  He is responsible for customer and partner interaction for many products including SQL Server.

Topic: SQL Server 2012

Itzik Ben-Gan is a Mentor and Co-Founder of SolidQ and has been a SQL Server MVP since 1999.  He is the foremost author and speaker on T-SQL related topics.  He is a regular presenter at PASS events including an annual favorite at the PASS Summit.  Check out Itzik’s website to learn more about him: http://www.sql.co.il/index.htm.

Topic: Apply T-SQL Magic

Sponsor: TechFuse Conference

Tuesday, May 15 – Lara Rubbelke

Lara Rubbelke (@SQLGal) is one of our own.  It wasn’t that long ago that she was helping form this very user group. Now she regularly presents on Big Data for Microsoft including during one of the key notes an the 2011 PASS Summit.  Read more from Lara at her blog:  http://sqlblog.com/blogs/lara_rubbelke/default.aspx.

Sponsor: Emergent Networks

Topic: Big Data Architectures

Tentatively Scheduled

Tuesday, June 19 – Jes Borland

Jes Borland (@grrl_geek) joins us from our neighbor state of Wisconsin.  She is an active member of the Wisconsin SQL Server User Group and MADPASS.  She has presented at the 24 hours of PASS and the PASS Summit.  Check out her blog: http://blogs.lessthandot.com/index.php?disp=authdir&author=420.

Tuesday, July 24 – Kalen Delaney

Kalen Delaney may join us in July as she will be teaching a class at Benchmark Learning during that time.  Kalen is the author of Inside SQL Server and one of the original founders of PASS.  She has been a SQL Server MVP since 1993.  You can find out more about Kalen and her upcoming classes at http://sqlserverinternals.com/.

Local Presenter Spotlight

Besides the individuals above, we are also looking forward to hearing from our user community in our monthly, local presenter time slot.  If you are looking for an opportunity to share a new tip or something you have learned about SQL Server – development or administration – please let our program director know.  We want our user group to actively involve users from our own community.  We also would love to grow our speaker ranks from within the community.  We all started our speaking somewhere, let PASSMN be the place to help you learn to present or practice presenting.

If you are interested in presenting at our user group or sponsoring our user group, drop us a line at support@mnssug.org.





Why It’s Called a User Group…

18 01 2012

On Tuesday night was the first meeting for PASSMN, the SQL Server User Group in Minneapolis/St. Paul this year.  As the new Chair, I came early and got the announcements rolling, the LiveMeeting set up and the SWAG laid out.

For this meeting, Joe Webb of WebbTech Solutions was presenting on writing good queries via LiveMeeting.  No big deal, right?  When it came time for him to take over I was unable to make him a presenter.  I am sure there is something I missed, but I was unable to get this resolved.  Joe and the users, to their credit, were very patient as we tried worked through the technical issue.

After struggling with LiveMeeting, Joe and I decided to have him send me the slides and he would have to direct traffic via the conference call we had going.  About that time one of our users (Bob) came up to the podium and suggested that we try http://join.me.  This would allow Joe to share his screen with us so we could see the demos he had ready for us.  Joe fired up join.me and he was able to do his presentation complete with demos.

I think there are a couple of lessons learned from this experience:

  1. Check the LiveMeeting or conference call prior to going live
  2. Always have a backup plan (which for us is join.me. (Check it out, you may find it useful in your group as well.)
  3. Users can and should contribute, it is there group after all

While 1 and 2, I will try to remember each time never forget because I will remember join.me and the call capability of our space, number 3 may be the most important.  Because a user rescued me and the meeting Tuesday night we were able to enjoy Joe’s presentation.  This even spurred additional conversation afterwards about the importance of users being involved in the group.

So, in that vein, users, you need to step up and contribute whenever there is an opportunity.  You are the key to the success of every user group out there.  Thanks for your ongoing participation and contributions, it matters.

User group leaders, we need to find more ways to get more users involved in our groups.  PASSMN has a six member board with more opportunities at events such as SQL Saturday.  We continue to encourage more involvement and are looking at ways to grow the speaking skills and the speaker base in our group.  Without users our group will die we need them.  A group of one is not much fun.

Our meeting was a success because a user stepped up to help out.  Thanks again Bob.  You helped me survive my first meeting as the Chair and MC.








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