After a long weekend of travel and speaking, I’m finally able to put my feet up and get a little time to catch up on things. This weekend I travelled to LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to speak at SQL Saturday 17, and was pleased with how well everything was run. Patrick LeBlanc, the organizer of the Baton Rouge SQL Server group, was ringmaster for a good group of volunteers and speakers. There were around 200 people in attendance, and the word-of-mouth feedback was mostly positive.
This event was held on the campus of LSU. The facility was great but a few rooms were a bit small, and as a result, several sessions were standing-room only. There was no dedicated speaker room, which should be a staple of any SQL Saturday event. Signage was good, particularly when you consider the size of the LSU campus. Lunch was from Subway, which was more than adequate, and there were plenty of drinks available throughout the day. The closing assembly and raffle was a little chaotic at first: some of the volunteers had written a custom web application to select winning ticket numbers for the drawings, which was running very slowly at first, but things came together quickly and the goodies were distributed quickly. There were fewer books than I’ve seen at other SQL Saturday events, which made the book giveaway quicker (this is generally a bottleneck at the end of the day).
The speaker and volunteer party on Friday as well as the attendee party tonight were well done, with a large separate space for our group each night. The food and drinks for both parties were paid for by sponsors, a nice touch to reward participants for their time. The after party had only 2-3 dozen attendees, not uncommon since about 15% attendance is expected.
This event was the first time I’ve done 2 different presentations in the same day. I discussed SSIS scripting, a favorite topic of mine and one I’ve delivered several times before, including at 2 previous SQL Saturday events. I also worked in a new presentation, “SSIS: Beyond the Basics” that covered some often underused (and misused) controls such as the For Each Loop Container, the Lookup Component, and the File System Task. Both sessions were well attended; this group was much quieter than audiences I’ve had in the past, so it’s difficult to judge the impact or effectiveness. There were many evals that were turned in for both sessions, and I’m looking forward to receiving the results. I was able to take in Steve Jones’ talk about the Modern Resume, and Barry Ralston’s discussion about PerformancePoint and Excel Services, both of which were well done.
Joining me in this trip was Trevor Barkhouse, a fellow member of the North Texas SQL Server User Group. He did his own session about deadlock detection, resolution, and prevention, which was very informative. Trevor and I, along with several other members of our Dallas group, are planning to host our own SQL Saturday event in the Dallas area next January or February, so we spent the weekend making a lot of mental notes about this event.
One of my favorite things about these events is the opportunity to spend time with other technical professionals. I had met Patrick LeBlanc briefly in Pensacola in June, but this weekend I spent several hours chatting with him. I got to catch up with Steve Jones, who is always enjoyable to visit with, and got to spend a little time with Barry Ralston as well. I visited with Jamie and Jeff, a couple of attendees whom I’d met in Pensacola in June, and was happy to see these “repeat customers” again.
Thanks to Patrick and crew for a great event! Hopefully we’ll see some of you in Dallas next year.