This was my 5th year at PASS and every year I enjoy catching up with old friends and meeting many more.
I arrived safely and was in my hotel room by about 2 pm. I am the Program Committee Manager and the board member I report to, Bill Graziano, was ready to meet with me about the speaker orientation.
Later that evening, my best friend at PASS, Tom LaRock, arrived. We walked around trying to find a good place to have dinner but downtown was really packed and it took awhile to find someplace that didn't have a 40 minute wait. It was such a beautiful evening that walking around was very enjoyable. Once we made it to a bar and grill with no wait, Tim Ford called. He decided to join us at the bar. Tim was recently published on SimpleTalk: Alpacas. Congratulations, Tim!
After dinner we headed back to the hotel bar. Now this is where I start to lose track of who I met and when.
No, I wasn't drinking, there were just so many people I met, chatted with at lunch or hung out with during the evening events.
Here is a list of a few of the people I ran into at PASS in no particular order. I apologize for the many people that I chatted with but don't remember their names:
Bill Graziano, Tom LaRock, Tim Ford, Sheila Acker, Chuck Heinzelman, Rick Heidges, Todd Robinson, Peter Ward and his wife, Alex Ji, Andy Warren, Tony Davis, Bryan Oliver, Grant Fritchey, Ben Debow, Ayad Shammout, Peter DeBetta, Roman Rehak, Jean-Rene Roy, Allen White, Andy Leonard, Eric Veerman,Chris Shaw,
Wayne Snyder, Melissa Demcsak, Allen Kinsel, Josh Crosby, Pat Wright, Neil Watkins, Brian Guthals, Kevin Kline, Denny Cherry, Nancy Hidy Wilson, Erin Welker, Kalen Delaney, Mike Ross, Gene Hardy, Julie Bloomquist, Dan McClain, Tim Martin, Denise McInerney, Karaoke Ed, Lance Harra, Mark DeWaard, Greg Low, Lynda Rab, Christoph Stotz, John Allmon, Tjay Belt, Sujata Mehta, Louis Davidson, Natasha Kentish, Donna Shaver, Joe Yung,Steve Jones, Anvesh Gupta, Owen from Houston,Andreas (?? not sure of name, he came to the Program Committee meeting), a gentleman from Denmark, a new MVP from Canada who is also a BNL fan, Warren (??) from Microsoft, Joyce at the WIT Luncheon, Anna and others I missed who went out for Karaoke with us.
After a long day at the pre-con a bunch of had dinner at the Hyatt. Tom has a lifelong friend named Spencer who works at a bar a couple of miles from the convention. Spencer said that the bar would have Karaoke that night. Once we got to the bar a band was playing. We ended up going to the bar next door and never got to sing. I was sad about that, but it was really nice that Tom was able to see his friend. Of course it was fun hanging out with the group even if no Karaoke was involved.
As Program Committee Manager, the last responsibility I had all week was the Speaker Orientation. Evidently, the best part of the meeting was when someone asked about the prizes for filling out evals, and I couldn't remember the name Zune. I accidently said "Microsoft iPod". After the meeting, I realized that most of the top SQL Server people in the world were sitting in the audience. Luckily, I didn't think about this before so I wasn't a bit nervous during the talk and had a blast doing it.
Tuesday night of the conference begins with the Welcome Reception. Tim Ford did a fantastic job organizing and hosting the SIG Bowl. Also at the Welcome Reception, the 2007 PASSion Award was announced. Denise McInerney won the award. Congratulations, Denise!
After the Welcome Reception, anyone lucky enough to have included the "SSC" code when registering went to the SQL Server Central party. I'm not into gambling, but I would not miss this party for anything. Once again, Steve put on a great event with lots of food, prizes and fun.
After the SSC party a bunch of us headed to Karaoke at Bender's on 13th street. I'm not going to a lot of detail here except to mention the highlight of the evening when everyone sang "Bohemian Rapsody". Other details about the outing can be found on my personal blog on www.myspace.com/sqlgoddess (apologies to Kim Tripp, the original and more appropriate SQL Goddess).
Wednesday night was the vendor reception followed by the Volunteer Appreciation party at ESPN Zone. There was food, drinks, games and meeting more new people.
The Women In Technology Luncheon was held on Thursday. Kudos to Denise McInerney for making the luncheon bigger and better every year.
Thursday evening I attended the very crowded but also very nice Quest party. After that party some of us headed back to Bender's for more fun and Karaoke. I had invited many people to join us. Luckily not all of them showed up because the place was extremely crowded.
This is always a very difficult day. I had to say goodbye to so many people whom I will not see again until Seattle.
So why do I know so many people at PASS? It is because I am a volunteer. Once you attend the conference as a volunteer, it is an entirely different conference. So think about becoming a volunteer if you have some time to spare.
Kathi Kellenberger is a Sr. Consultant with Pragmatic Works. She is an author, speaker and trainer.