News and Updates

September 4, 2022

And Now Classes Begin!

Tomorrow my classes for the Doctorate of Healthcare Administration begin. Tonya’s classes begin the following week. We anticipate being quite busy! At least, I will be for the next 12 months. My boss, Frank Romano, just graduated from the same program that I am undertaking. Congrats to Dr. Romano!

During this time I won’t be able to attend any SQL Saturday sessions since lectures are on Saturdays and take most of the day. However, I still plan to participate in the community where possible. Wish me luck as I manage work, school, and church assignments during this busy season!

June 20, 2022

Welcome to Cedar City, Utah!

Yep, I did it again! My wife and I moved yet one more time (hopefully the last). Since COVID struck, I have been a 100% remote worker. Therefore, with the blessing of my employer, my wife and I settled in Cedar City, UT. It’s geographically central to where my mother-in-law lives in Henderson, NV, and some of our children & grandchildren in Utah. As soon as my mother-in-law can sell her house, she will move here as well.

This move, however, has not slowed us down a bit! My wife just got accepted at Brigham Young University of Idaho for the online bachelor’s degree program and begins classes this fall. I was also accepted at Virginia University of Lynchburg and begin their Doctorate in Healthcare Administration program on September 5th (online as well).

My speaking engagements have slowed down a bit due to COVID, but some venues are opening up to in-person events. Not as many people attend virtual events as before due to online burnout, but the events and presentations are just as good! Perhaps, as COVID wans and people feel more comfortable, the in-person events will pick up again.

As for the book I mentioned last year, well, that is still in progress. I find it challenging to represent some of the complex challenges that I have faced in my career in text form. This book really is about lessons learned and how to put them into practice. However, describing such situations in text form has been difficult. I hope that what I learn in my doctorate program will help me to articulate them appropriately.

November 10, 2021

2021 PASS Data Community Summit

I am pleased that I was selected again this year to present at the PASS Summit. This time, RedGate software is hosting the event and while the pre-conference sessions are paid, the regular sessions are free! Many of them are available on demand, so you can view them any time you wish regardless of schedule conflicts!!

My new session, “SQL Team Six – How to Build Effective Teams”, made it’s stunning debut today! This is all about leadership and effective teams. It’s my Veteran’s Day tribute to those who served in our great nation’s military!! Even with two more days of the conference left, this sessions had quite a number of viewers already. The Q&A session held today had some really great questions.

One of those questions was about what leadership books I would recommend, so I present the following:

  • Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude by Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin
  • Bill Marriott: Success Is Never Final by Dale Van Atta

I welcome other recommendations as well as feedback on this session!

June 11, 2021

Progress Being Made

Progress is certainly being made this year. As the country literally breathes better as our masks come off and we recover from the pandemic, I to am able to get a few more things done.

Just added is a new presentation that I gave to the GLASS (Greater Lansing SQL Server) and SPID (SQL PASS in Detroit) user groups called “A Practical Guide to Set-Based Queries”. This is a precursor to a book that I’m working on with Apress Publishing! Hopefully, I’ll achieve my goal of getting that book finished before the end of this year for publication.

I also submitted a few sessions for the PASS Summit this year including a new one, “SQL Team Six – How to Build Effective Teams”, that hopefully will be selected for the Professional Development track.

January 19, 2021

A New Hope…

This last year was certainly a year for the history books! Our world never saw another year like it, and I hope it never does again! But, with all of the craziness in the world today, there is always hope for a brighter future!

I saw a quote that stated: “Experience is not what happens to me, but what I make out of what happens to me.” As we take what happens to us, especially in this past year, and turn it into opportunities to learn, we will grow far better than before. Our decisions determine our actions and our actions determine our results. Let’s stay optimistic and reach out a hand to help others, for it is when we lose ourselves in the service of others, that we find who we truly are.

September 24, 2020

What a Year!!

My dad always warned me to not make a promise that I couldn’t keep. Well, obviously I couldn’t keep my promise to keep this site updated monthly. I could blame it on a lot of things: busy at my new job, COVID-19, moving into a house, moving the site to a new hosting provider, or any other excuse that I could utilize. But the truth of the matter is, regardless of the truth of each of those excuses, they were just that — excuses.

This has indeed been a crazy year! We moved our RV from one campground to another right before COVID-19 hit and haven’t been back to the office since. After a few weeks, my wife surprised me stating, “I think we should buy a house!” Because we liked the area around the new campground, we looked there and found THE HOUSE! We also had to make trips back to our old house to pick up a few things that we left with the renters and make another trip to her mother’s house in Ohio to get a few more. My wife did an amazing job at transforming the grounds into a veritable garden! We also invested in solar panels and that seems to have been a wise choice so far!

I started a new project as well — writing a book! It will be called A Practical Guide to Set-Based Queries co-authored by Alex Fleming. It will be published by Apress and they’ve been extremely helpful. It’s certainly a work-in-progress but I’m excited about it! As more of the book takes shape, I’ll share more details about it.

February 22, 2020

New Year’s Resolutions

At the start of each new year, we often delude ourselves into making resolutions to do things right, better, or more regularly. As good as our intentions may be, we often wane in our diligence of keeping to these self-promises. Of course, this year was no exception for me.

One of my resolutions was to write these blog entries more regularly. Well, as you can see, this hasn’t worked out so well. Quite a bit has happened to me recently that bears some explanation. Primarily, I have taken a new position at Healthfirst, a health insurance company based in New York. A couple of years ago, I worked as a consultant to them. I traveled from my home in South Carolina to NYC once a week for about a month and a half before it was clear that it would be more beneficial (in many ways) for me to travel to the Lake Mary, FL office (near Orlando). I worked in this capacity for about 8 months before my contract was concluded.

I accepted a 1-2 year contract position for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Riverton, UT. At the end of the first year, I discovered that a position for an Enterprise Data Architect at Healthfirst was still available. It was with the same team that I worked with previously and they were thrilled to have me return. They were even willing to wait over 2 months for me to complete my contract and travel to Orlando!

Now, it’s as though the previous year didn’t happen as I’m working on the same platform (PostgreSQL in AWS) as before in the same project that hasn’t seemed to progress as quickly as it should have. After spending a week in NYC and a few weeks in Lake Mary, it seems to be going well.

In any case, I will attempt to make these entries at least monthly. I still plan to convert my presentations into blog entries for better understanding, but that will take more time as well.

October 3, 2019

Welcome to the new site for SQL RV! I upgraded to a new environment to allow me to bring you better content than before. This is still a work-in-progress, so I appreciate your patience. If there is anything else amiss, please let me know!

September 6, 2019

So, after over 20 years of working in SQL Server, I finally got around to getting a certification. The MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) is actually a stepping stone to obtaining an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert). One more exam will cinch that for me.

Previously, I’ve never put much stock into certifications of any kind. While they are intended to be skills tests, I have known too many people who were simply skilled at memorizing information to pass an exam yet not skilled enough to put it into practice. I once graduated with a fellow who got a 4.0 GPA in accounting. Yet when it came to implementing it in software, I understood accounting principles better than he did even though I never took any accounting classes!

Also, I figured that with over 30 years of experience, a certification was not going to be very useful. Today, there are a number of folks who worked quite hard to obtain certifications. With that and the fact that the manner in which certifications tests are implemented have improved, I thought it would be a good idea for me to pursue it now. Last May a special was available to purchase a certification exam with two retakes plus a practice exam. So I decided to purchase three sets to prepare for the MCSE. After my purchase, I discovered that they must be used within 6 months. Therefore I have until the end of November to complete them. Wow, no pressure!! So far (knock on wood) I have yet to need any of the retakes. While it cost extra for those, having them available has removed some of my test anxiety.

Interestingly, for the longest time, the SE in MCSE stood for Systems Engineer. However, it was pointed out to me by a colleague this morning that SE now represents Solutions Expert. I feel that using the title of Expert is rather pretentious and I feel reluctant to use it. I have no problem calling someone else an expert when appropriate, Personally, if I deal with someone who calls himself/herself an expert, then I generally have reservations about their skills unless they prove otherwise. Perhaps that’s an issue that I will have to simply get over.