Geoff N. Hiten Blog

SQL Server thoughts, observations, and comments




No technical content on this one, sorry.


A couple of weeks ago, I signed up as a candidate for the Board of Directors for SQLPASS.  Many of the other candidates have posted on why they chose to run.  I suppose I should do likewise so here I am.   First a little background so you know where I come from and why the SQL community is important to me.


Back in 1992 I was living in Tuscaloosa, AL.  I started my SQL career by implementing a project using SQL 4.2.  (before that it was Dbase and Clipper).  BOL was just Book (singular and offline), and it wasn’t very thick.  Nobody close by was using this product, at least nobody close enough to meet and talk with.  Help came from the broader community, specifically NNTP newsgroups.  I had to actually build a news server to connect to the groups, but that was just part of the challenge.  I would never have survived that project without community assistance, especially from the MVPs.  Pretty much all of my involvement with the SQL community stems from that experience. 


Eventually I started answering some basic questions, mainly as a way to take load off the “real experts”.  I figured if I could answer some simple questions, maybe they would have more time to answer my hard questions.  That is when I really started learning SQL.  Teaching, like writing, imposes a whole new level of discipline on learning.  You have to learn a subject completely, not just enough to solve your immediate problem.  I was hooked.


After moving to Atlanta in 2000, I became aware and active in the local SQL Users Group (AtlantaMDF).  In 2003 I was awarded MVP for the first time.  Again, I owed my success to my participation and involvement with the community.  In 2005 I joined the leadership team for the Users Group and in 2008 I took over responsibility for speakers and sponsors.  I also emcee the meetings when I am in town.  For me, community involvement parallels and enables my career success. 


Quite simply, I think running for a PASS Directorship is the next thing I can do for the SQL community.  Last year I was vocal in protesting the small quantity of candidates for the board.  If nothing else, I am helping make the eventual winners become more of a choice and less of a default.  Much like real life, just having some competition makes the winners better.  Imagine SQL if Oracle didn’t exist or vice versa.


I also think I can improve PASS’s role within the SQL community.  This means making PASS relevant to the career development of every SQL professional.  The community has plenty of technical resources to solve problems, we also have great training resources, what we don’t have is comprehensive career development guidance.   Many of us started as “accidental DBAs”.  There is no reason we have to stay that way and PASS should be the vehicle to change that.


Note that I am not locked in to any specific methodology for making this happen.  I think of these as goals, not plans.  Quite frankly, I don’t know enough about the inner workings of PASS to see how to connect my goals and Pass’s capabilities.  That is something I will have to learn on the job.  Documentation and knowledge dissemination on how PASS works is something else I will champion as a Director so maybe it will be easier for the next person.


I admit I have some selfish reasons for running too.  I am sure a stint on the board will strengthen my leadership and management skills.  The title certainly won’t hurt my career development.  Perhaps the experience will even grow my patience, not that I need any more. J

Legacy Comments

A. Trapp
re: Why?
Great post, Geoff. As having served on boards and even presided over non-profit organizations in the past, my advice to you would be to dig more into the mission of PASS, become familiar with how it is organized and find out where you see yourself fitting in. If you do this before you're elected (assuming you will be), it will make your platform much easier to present; it will help you (and others) see what distinguishes you from your counterparts, and it will give you momentum for the work that you'll contribute once you're elected. Good luck!

Glen Hoffman
re: Why?
Geoff, a good review of your history. good luck.


Joe Christley
re: Why?
Good luck! I'll be pulling for you.