Well next week I am on my way to the Annual PASS Summit. It has been a few years since I have spoken at this event and I miss it. I really miss all the friends that I have there. As I look ahead to my trip I started thinking about how did I get to where I am. My last two posts have been in the direction of looking for a new job and finding a dream job. I thought it was about time that I really layout how I came to do what I do today, who impacted my life, and what I have learned along the way. I hope you don’t mind taking this journey with me as I fumble through this post. I can tell you when I started down this path I never thought that I would be someone that people would want to hear speak.
Way back in the day, I was a United States Marine, there are few moments in my life that have brought me to tears, but the last day of boot camp when the CG called me a Marine, I cried. A job that allowed me to do a number of things, one of my tasks was to process payroll for 8,000 Marines. This job required me to do a lot of work by hand so about half way through my time in the Corps we were allowed to work on the first version of Windows. I started to play with this application that was installed called Louts Amni Pro. I learned that I could create a screen with a bit of code behind it that would automate a lot of my job. If by some odd chance you served with me in the Corps I would love to hear from you.
After I got out of the Corps, I landed a job at an Antifreeze recycling company. One of the owners there took me under his wing and really helped me learn my way around the corporate world. I consider Bill Kughn not only a great manager or boss, but a great man. I thank him for all the life skills he shared with me. At one point our sales system that we used to dispatch trucks was having an error. We had to hire an Access consultant to come out and fix our system. He spent all of 5 minutes on our system and left us a nice fat invoice. At that time I decided I would learn how to do that so I could save the company some money. I read a couple of books and learned that Access program. We did not need that consultant again. During this process one of the guys at a small publishing company next door would answer some of my questions.
One day I asked a question about Access to Jim Payne the guy next door, and he answered my question, then asked me a question that has changed my life. He said “Chris, do you want to go to lunch?” It sounds funny but I really think that this is where it all started for me. Jim and I talked and he mentioned that he was impressed with what I could do with Access and wanted to know if I would be a DBA for him full time. After a second of thinking I decided to go. The only hard part was to leave my dear friend Bill Kughn. But I saw a career sitting ahead of me and I had to take it.
I spent a number of years at Yellow Pages. I would take some certification classes here and there but I was left in a spot that I was the only DBA and there was no one else at the company who knew what I did. I had an opportunity to hire a consultant, an author of my favorite book, to come review my system for a week. This was the day I meet Steven Wynkoop. Steve looked at a number of the things that I was doing and said I had some good work around some issues in SQL Server 6.5 and that I should write about them. I never thought that I would ever write anything that anyone would want to read. But to my surprise they did. Before I knew it, I was at a conference in Tucson for SWYNK and was meeting all sorts of people. A good friend of mine Bill Wunder and I got to talking one night and he said he thought I could be a speaker at the event. He even mentioned that he would help me. Well I was not able to go to that event that year so that was placed on pause. However, I was published in a number of magazines and was happy with what I had done.
In 1999 I got married and moved to Colorado where I was born and raised. By 2004 I had published a number of added articles and was very happy. Then one day it hit me – we did not have a local SQL Server Users group. So I contacted my friends and, well, we started one. I taught a couple of sessions there. It was then I received a call for speakers for the PASS Summit. I never thought I would be accepted but I was. I cannot say how much that event has helped me. I have since received a SQL Server MVP award; I have chaired a number of conferences, to include SSWUG and SQL Connections; and I am currently working on a book.
So where do I want to go from here? Well I have some plans and we will just have to see how it turns out. I love to teach and I love SQL Server. I can tell you my goals are set and I am moving toward them. My next post will be on recommendations for people who want to be a Speaker or Author with SQL Server and how to get to where you want to be. If you are at the PASS Summit in Seattle next week feel free to ask and I am more than happy to share… I hope to see you there.