If it were not for the SQL Server community, I would not be where I am at with my career today. Period.
Some of you know me personally but a lot do not. I come from a hard-working family of teachers and educators. We’ve had our struggles over the years, just like any other family, but we always push hard (sometimes to a fault) to try to make our dreams a reality.
Ever since I was in grade school, I knew I was a geek. I got my first computer when I was five, and built my first computer for my parents when I was nine. I was building networks when I was in middle school. I loved technology but always got a thrill out of being able to put it to use to solve problems. But, there’s the conundrum that was always in the back of my head. When you are a technologist, how can you cross that chasm into the business world?
About eight years ago I discovered the SQL Server community through the very first Omaha SQL Server Users Group meeting that John Morehouse (t | b | l), a great friend of mine, first launched. It was an incredible experience, and because of the fantastic sense of community that the first meeting brought me, I decided to become the best SQL Server professional that I could be. I really enjoyed the technology, but the community was the biggest factor. The community accepted me for the person that I am in ways that non-techie groups wouldn’t understand.
Somewhere around this time I had a few jobs that were up and down and kept me on the tech side. I wanted more ability to make a positive difference on business and people. But how? How can a tech make any sort of impact? Making the impact helps to cross the bridge. Fortunately, the community helped to steer me along the right path.
About three years ago I decided that it is time to start giving back, and struggled to find the avenues to do so. I never thought I would enjoy it until I played a bit part to help coordinate the first SQL Saturday in Nebraska back in 2010. I had always been the person to quietly get the job done but never one to be in front of people. I think the teacher part of my upbringing came out for the first time with my SQL Saturday session at that first event. I found that giving back helped me feel more complete. Giving back helped me feel like I could make a difference. And it grew from there…
My commitment to the SQL Server and other technical communities that I am a part of is simple. You helped originally steer me in this direction. You helped mentor and guide me over the years. You supported me when I launched my own consulting company in ways that continue to astound and amaze me. I want to give you everything that I can in return. I want to help others any way that I can.
Today I am honored and humbled to be awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for my efforts in the SQL Server community over the years. To have Microsoft acknowledge the work that I have done is incredible and amazing and very much appreciated, but the impact to the communities and people, and the friends that I have made for life as a result, is the best reward.
#SQLFamily – This award is for you, because of you. As my friend Argenis Fernandez wrote so eloquently a few days ago, now the real work begins for those of us who were selected for this award, past and present. But it does not have to just be me or the other folks who are visible in the community today. Speak at community events. Blog. Tweet. Nominate anyone you know that is an unsung hero in this community for MVP. Continue to grow the community participation and give back. You never know how fulfilling that it can be unless you give it a shot!