This month’s T-SQL Tuesday from Riley Major (b|t) asks us to figure out a way to give back to the community and then write about it. I’m going to go with the option to write about how and why I got started since I am already heavily involved with the community and wanting to do more. FYI, this is my first ever T-SQL Tuesday post.
My first involvement with community was in 2008 when I attended my first SQL PASS Chapter meeting, the Columbus GA SQL Server Users Group started by Ken Simmons. A couple of months later I was asked if I wanted to attend the PASS Summit since training budget was opened up. This was on Oct 28th 2008 (my birthday as well as that of Aunt Kathi and Kevin Kline). I then attended my first PASS Summit. My first ever session was that of Grant Fritchey. At the beginning of his session he shared about these smaller events called SQL Saturdays. Later that night I looked up SQL Saturday and found out more about them. Later I attended my first SQL Saturday #33 in Charlotte NC. Fast forward a bit and I was encouraged by @sqlchicken to start blogging. That blog turned into @sqljoe telling me to turn that post into a session and submit to SQL Saturday #62 in Tampa. I did, and presented at my first ever SQL Saturday. I was hooked. During an upcoming event, I was asked by the Atlanta SQL Saturday crew if I would consider volunteering for the next SQL Saturday ATL. Since I had then become the chapter leader for the Columbus GA SQL Server Users Group, I was told that maybe I should submit the paperwork for SQL Saturday #89. Just like that I was the event organizer (thanks AtlantaMDF).
After SQL Saturday 89, I continued running my local group, was nominated for the PASSion award, awarded Outstanding PASS Volunteer, wrote a few books, blogged a lot more, became a Friend of Redgate, Idera ACE, PASS Regional Mentor, was awarded the Microsoft MVP, became a business partner with Andy Leonard, Brian Moran, and Mike Walsh at Linchpin People, and later offered a position with SQLskills. After joining SQLskills I became at author at Pluralsight.com and SQLPerformance.com which was really cool.
It has been a crazy past 10 years. I’ve been really fortunate to have had so many opportunities and people helping me along the way. Through these past 10 years, I’ve been able to pay it forward too. To share my successes with others, to encourage them to blog, to get on twitter, to speak at their local UG and SQL Saturdays.
Everything I’ve done, all the great opportunities I’ve jumped on, the late nights, time away from home, all the sacrifice has been worth it when you get that random tweet, email, or in person encounter and someone tells you that you’ve had a profound impact on their career. Years ago at a PASS Summit, there was a wall put up in the Community Zone asking people to write the name of someone that has had a positive impact on them. A co-worker of mine was at the Summit and came up to me saying Tim, I saw your name on the wall. We go to look and sure enough, there it was, and then again, and again, and again. I was incredibly humbled. To see my name there because of others who encouraged me and I just paid it forward. I shared that story on twitter and Paul Randal saw it and it spawned an article in the SQLskills Insider newsletter and a blog post on the Butterfly Effect, which in turn introduced me to Tom Roush (RIP).
I’ve been sharing with several in the community that I would like to get back more involved in the PASS community, I’ve been told I should consider a run for the PASS Board, so stay tuned. For anyone reading this that may have an opinion on that, hit me up privately.
I’ve met so many great friends, friends that I now call family through the SQL Community. There are WAY TO MANY to attempt to name. You all know who you are. I am closer to people in the SQL Community than I am blood relatives. The outpouring of love from this community when one of our own are impacted proves that. I wouldn’t be who I am now without this community. Not just where I am career wise, but who I am as a person.
It you too want to get involved and need some help, reach out to me or anyone else in the community, trust me, we are all here for you.