Midlands PASS was privileged to host SQL Server MVP Andy Leonard (Blog #1, Blog #2, his VSTS site, Twitter) tonight as he gave a presentation on change data capture in SQL Server 2008. I hope the group got a lot out of his presentation as he didn't just talk about how to do incremental loads in SQL Server 2008, but also briefly covered how you do it in SQL Server 2005, how you tweak SSIS in 2005 for faster performance and to get back correctly all the rows you need, and how you build structures within the relational engine databases to ensure you're only pulling what's changed and not everything and filtering after the fact. In other words, it wasn't just a new SQL 2008 technology presentation, but it also covered a core data warehousing concept not only in theory, but in practice, too.
After the meeting Andy stayed around to talk even though he's teaching a class tomorrow and then faces a long drive back up to Virginia and then a very early drive Saturday morning to make Richmond Code Camp. We spent a lot of time talking about how to build up the community, how to find a proper balance between work / life / community, and just life in general. It was really good to meet and talk with someone else from our technical community, especially one I respect so very much. I don't know how much Andy got out of the discussion, but he gave me some solid advice, was a sounding board on a couple of things that had been weighing on me, and was able to convey his life experiences in a few similar situations.
One of the things my father, a retired Marine "gunny" (short for Gunnery Sergeant, or E-7 in the rank structure) taught me before I pinned on shiny new second lieutenant bars was to learn from those around me who have experience. Specifically he told me to look out for and gain the respect of the senior enlisted and the staff non-commissioned officers (NCOs). He advised me that if I was smart I would value their opinion and knowledge because chances were that anything I was considering they had already thought about and had seen some "butter bar" go off and do and get in a world of trouble as a result. I tried to apply that lesson in my Air Force career and I credit the success I had as a company grade officer to the enlisted corps who looked out for me, gave me sound advice, and were in my corner when I needed it. Speaking with Andy reminded me a lot of that experience (as does any conversation I have with Andy Warren, and you know, both are former Army... hmmmm).
Thanks, Andy, for coming out to speak to our user group, for talking with the members afterwards, and for the talk we had even after that.