A few days ago I turned 30 years old and my how I thought that day would never come, suppose the alternative is much worse though. I've been fortunate enough to make a good living (though I've struggled in my personal aspects of life mainly due to my love for my career and determination) and those i've worked with usually look to me as one of the best in the product end-to-end. Some even think that I am like the guy off of 'Good Will Hunting', hardly the case, the knowledge I have is a result of those that I surrounded myself with, my dedication to life long learning, and a bit of luck. I thank you all for those kind words first off, second I thank Microsoft and the surrounding community for creating such an economical environment for a person to "grow up" in. I've been using SQL Server since version 7.0 in college where I learned the basics of database normalization and Dr. Codd's normalization forms. I do very much enjoy working with the entire Microsoft platform including dev, bi, and system architecture as a whole. Programming is also very near and dear to my heart too, I started out as a programmer on VB/ASP3 with SQL Server once I graduated from college and I continue to enjoy the .Net platform. And I love software/database architecture!
As SQL Server 2008 comes to fruition I simply want to say that its been one hell of a ride and I look to the future optimistically. I went into formalized technology management for a year or so and learned that I can be a great leader but I do need certain skills tuned. Those who naturally look to me for guidance I look back at with appreciation not over confident arrogance. As I have matured so has the product. SQL Server use to be just a basic relational database management system and now we have a million "subsystems" or components that ship with it. SQL Server is now a "data platform" what have you...Through thick and thin, the ups and downs; I would not want my first 8 years out of college and the USAF to be any different. I mentioned earlier that alot of the knowledge I do have is a result of those I've surrounded myself with and beyond technical knowledge alot of these folks have contributed in some part to molding my thinking and thus were mentors in one form or another:
Mike Pendleton, Rick Scero, Tim Landgrave, Steve Campbell, Andrew Sisson, Darren King, Jim Ferrel, Todd Lundsford, Cheryl Boelter, Jerry Gob, Taylor Norrish, Jim Minatel, Joe Yong, and Joe Simpson.
Most of these people are either executives, successful entrepreneurs or in leadership positions. It is these life/work lessons which are more valuable than the paycheck(s). I thank you all very much. Last but not least I thank my parents and family as they all believed in me even when I did not. I grew up as a low-middle class kid but my family loved me. I left much the same apprecation statements in my Wrox books as these people were even more supportive of me during that time frame!