Joe Webb Blog

Musing and observations about SQL Server, other technogies, and sometimes just life in general

PASS Volunteer Training Day

Yesterday I attended the PASS Volunteer Training Day; a concept that started a couple of years ago. It's a day when all of the volunteers that make PASS work throughout the year come together for training, discussions, brainstorming, and education. There were chapter leaders from around the world, people that work tirelessly to create a program for the Summit and European events, and Special Interest Group leaders - to name but a few.

This year's training day was marked by a first, and it's been a long time coming. (I'm not sitting on the outside pointing fingers either; I've been there. If any fingers are pointed, it's at me.) This year, PASS completely opened it financials to the volunteers. Sure in the past, a high-level overview was presented, but this year every line item, every account, was put on display for review and discussion. Not only audited financials, but the 2009 budget!

This went a long, long way toward the goal of complete transparency that the organization has been painstakingly striving for for years. Yesterday,it completely opened its books and I applaud PASS for doing that.

It was interesting to see the reaction of the volunteers when they learned just how expensive it is to put on a conference like this. For example, wireless internet can cost upwards of $40,000 for the week and bottles of water can cost $5 each.

As President, Wayne Snyder has done an outstanding job in leading the organization and bringing out the best in others. He's blessed with the gift of encouragement and motivation.

Bill Graziano, the Vice President of Marketing, has really excelled in his role. The rowers are finally a thing of the past and the new theme for the year is fresh and consistent with Microsoft's initiatives. He's also engaged with industry professionals to extend PASS' reach.

And a great big set of kudos for Rushabh Mehta! He was the one who daringly stood in front of a room of 100 volunteers to present the financials. He fielded questions, talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly. And this went a long way, at least in my mind, toward transparency and silencing some of the criticism some in the community may have. Not to mention the work he's done on the PASS information technology front.

PASS has also done a great job in partnering with Christianson and Company to manage the day to day operations of the organization. Now it may sound like I'm tooting my own horn here since Kevin Kline, Wayne Snyder, and I were the Executive Committee in charge during the transition from our old management company to the new one, but I'm not. I'm very, very happy to see what has taken place since my term ended on January 1st, 2008. Christianson and  Company has done wonders and at a great value.

I'm proud of where PASS is right now. And I'm excited to see it moving forward in a good direction.




Legacy Comments

re: PASS Volunteer Training Day
Why does a bottle of water cost $5? Maybe they should shop around.

Joe Webb
re: PASS Volunteer Training Day
When you contract with a venue like the one in Seattle, the agreement states that you cannot bring in outside food or beverages. So shopping around isn't an option. $5 / bottle of water is what you pay if you want water. That does include the cost of staff to bring it in, monitor to make sure it doesn't run out, clean up afterwards, etc. Same for cookies, coffee, meals, etc. All venues operate this way.