Category Archives: MN SQL Server User Group (PASSMN)

Rochester – Welcome to the PASS MN Family

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.

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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.


For more information about PASS MN and PASS MN – Rochester meetings, check out

Traveling and Talking to Wrap Up 2013

I am writing this blog post en route to New York City for SQL Saturday #235. This begins a fairly busy travel and speaking schedule for me this year. Having spent much of the summer at home with my family which was great, I now embark on some trips, primarily out east.

For starters, I am kicking off my busy end of summer, beginning of imagefall, in New York City. I am looking forward to being there for the second time. This should be a great event. As Regional Mentor for the NorthEast this trip allows me to be in that region for an event.  I will be speaking on Building BI Solutions with Microsoft Excel.

Next, up is some quality time in Boston. I have a contract that will put me in downtown Boston for about 4 weeks. After that trip, I cm-logoskip a week and then return to speak at CodeMastery which is a Magenic event in late September.  If you are in the Boston area, I will be speaking on the difference between SQL Server Analysis Services Models – the Multidimensional and Tabular Model Smackdown.  More details of this event will be coming soon, but pencil it in for Thursday 9/26.

While not traveling far, I am speaking at SQL Saturday #238 in Minneapolis right before PASS Summit in Charlotte. This is right in my backyard, so to speak, and I look forward to another great event in the Upper Midwest. I currently do not have the sessions that were picked, but look forward to seeing you there.

October will be spent at PASS Summit. While I was accepted to speak this year, I look forward to meeting a number of people at the Community Zone and the other events at the conference. I will follow that up by going to SQL Saturday # BI Edition in Charlotte. While I have not received word about speaking, I plan to attend the event in either case. Should be a nice way to wrap up my time there.

In November, I am headed to Atlanta for another CodeMastery event. This should be a nice time to visit there and spend some time with people there.

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Upon returning from Atlanta, I am back in Minneapolis for a CodeMastery event there. Having had a major role in running this event over the past couple of years, I am truly looking forward to speaking there. Check out for details on all of the CodeMastery events as they are announced.

Modern Apps Live!SQL Server Live!

Finally, at least at this time, I will be presenting 5 times right before Thanksgiving. This will be my first time presenting at SQL Live and second time presenting at Modern Apps Live. Join us for this awesome 360 Live event in Orlando.

I look forward to meeting new people and visiting with old friends throughout all of these events and travels. If you see me there, say Hi and ask for one of my “famous” superhero cards! See you around.

PASSMN–Passing the Baton: A Board Transition Story

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

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!

Upcoming BI and Data Events with Magenic in Fall 2012

As I started looking over my event calendar, I was amazed at how many events Magenic is sponsoring, hosting or providing speakers for over the next couple of months.  As always, one of my goals is to make everyone aware of opportunities to increase their knowledge in BI and data or even network with other data pros.  Not all of the events are Magenic events, but Magenic has stepped up to sponsor or provide speakers for the event.  I will update this blog with more details as they become available, but I want to get you thinking about the possibilities to learn and

BI Summit (Chicago, August 23, 2012)

This event is coming up very soon.  Register today to hear about BI topics that matter to you as a customer and in particular as a business user.  Ted Krueger ( B | T ) and Aaron Lowe ( B | T ) will be showing off some of the new Microsoft BI capabilities.  I will be joining them for the round table at the end of the day.  Sign up today as space is limited!

Code Mastery (Chicago, September 12, 2012)

cm-logoNot to be outdone, a few weeks later Magenic’s Code Mastery event comes to Chicago.  There is an opening session by Ted Krueger discussing query tuning for developers and admins alike.  Then, a full track will be offered on a variety of BI topics.  The speakers include your truly, James Phillips ( T ), and Aaron Lowe.

SQL Saturday #156 (Providence, September 15, 2012)

Join James Phillips at this event as well.  If you see him at Code Mastery in Chicago then at SQL Saturday in Providence let him know.  I am sure we all would be interested in how and why you SQL Saturdaytraveled the country to hear him.  He will be speaking on SSIS 2012 and loading data warehouses.

SQL Saturday #149 (Minneapolis, September 28-29, 2012)

We are loaded to bear for this event.  Steve Hughes and Ted Krueger will be conducting preconference sessions.  Beyond that, a number of Magenicons have submitted sessions.  We expect the final list before the end of the week and I will update this post when they list is finalized.  Magenic is also a Gold Sponsor for this event.  Oh, and this year the precons are on Friday with the full event on Saturday.  Thought we would try something new this year.

8/15/2012 UPDATE:  Magenic speakers announced:  Ted Krueger, Aaron Lowe, Jeff Prom and I have sessions at this event.

Code Mastery (Minneapolis, October 2, 2012)

This event is still being finalized, but hold the date!  We have a BI track that includes implementing BI with SharePoint.  Our speakers include Jeff Prom ( B ), Josh Owens ( T ), Curtis Smith and Greg Moser ( T ).  Look for more details coming soon.

Minnesota SQL Server User Group (Minneapolis, October 14, 2012)

Magenic is the sponsor for October’s user group meeting and Jeff Prom will be speaking on Data Quality Services.  PASS_2012_120x240

PASS Summit (Seattle, November 6-9, 2012)

And the Summit wraps up a busy fall season.  I have two sessions at this conference.  Ted will be a part of Ask the Experts and Birds of a Feather.  A number of other Magenicon’s will also be in attendance.  We will look forward to wrapping up a this fall’s data and BI community events at the Summit.

Join Magenic’s data pro’s at any of these conferences or meetings.  Magenic is a huge promoter of business intelligence and data related education within the SQL Server community.  We look forward to seeing you at any of these events.