News and Updates
January 1, 2024
Welcome to 2024!
The year 2023 sure flew by quickly! Much has happened since my last post, so I’ll get right to it!
First of all, I completed my Doctor of Healthcare Administration requirements! Whew!! I’m so glad that’s done, and I managed to keep my 4.0! Unfortunately, I must wait for commencement until May 4, 2024 (yes, that’s on Star Wars Day!). I’m working out a plan to take the SQL RV out on the road again. Some planned presentations fell through, but as plans get confirmed, I’ll share them here!
Speaking of presentations, I gave quite a few towards the end of 2023:
|Enterprise Data World
|Data Governance Begins with Data Architecture
|SQL Saturday #1047
|SQL Team Six: How to Build Effective Teams
|Utah Data Engineers Meetup
|“There Be Whales Here!” — Big Data in SQL Server
|Greater Lansing SQL Server (GLASS) User Group
|Detroit, MI (virtual)
|Big Mountain Data & Dev Conference
|Salt Lake City, UT
|Defining What’s Normal — The Basics of Normalization
|SQL Saturday #1057
|SQL Team Six: How to Build Effective Teams
|PASS Data Community Summit
|Discover the Power of Window Functions
The other major news is that the motorhome we took on last summer’s trip has been replaced. SQL RV is now a 2023 Fleetwood Pace Arrow diesel motorhome that is 38′ long! I need to take new pictures so I can post them. All I currently have are from the dealer, and they are not that good, in my opinion. Given the issues we had towing a car, we decided to get rid of it and trade in our 2020 Chevrolet Colorado truck for a 2017 4WD version that is easily towable.
August 14, 2023
The SQL RV is home!
The summer 2023 road trip is over! Unfortunately, the difficulties with towing our car behind the motorhome got only worse, requiring some time in the shop in Florida and again once we got to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The Baton Rouge SQL Saturday was a spectacular event where I gave two great sessions! Many people came to learn about How to Give a Presentation and the Power of Window Functions.
When we got to Houston, we realized we would need to cut some of our trip short due to the car issues. Therefore, we had to skip San Antonio & Dallas. We did stop for a while in Lubbock, Texas, with the obligatory stop at Buc-ee’s. My wife, Tonya, was ecstatic to have the perfect combo of Buc-ee’s and Halloween! From there, we made a quick stop in Albuquerque before heading home.
July 24, 2023
The SQL RV is on the road!
The summer 2023 road trip is well underway! We traveled from Utah to Indiana, with stops in Denver, Colorado, and Gretna, Nebraska. We had a few difficulties towing our car behind the motorhome, but we overcame each obstacle!
In Indiana, we had many family members and friends to visit with there. Sadly, time prevented us from staying longer and visiting even more people. I spoke at the Columbus SQL Saturday, and it was a great turnout!
We then made a trip to Nauvoo, Illinois, before turning south to return to Orange City, Florida. I needed to be in the office in Lake Mary for some in-person meetings. Once again, our social schedule is jam-packed with many visits we need to make before we leave.
We will leave here Thursday morning and head to Baton Rouge so that I can speak at the SQL Saturday there this weekend. Then, we will spend some time in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Lubbock, Texas! Once again, we have a few other people to visit as we progress through Texas (including a stop at Buc-ee’s!).
May 24, 2023
The SQL RV is now legal!
Today, I received the first vanity license plate I have ever purchased. This makes the SQL RV legal and ready to go! It’s already made a trip to Salt Lake City for a weekend, and we plan to take it to spend Memorial Day weekend in Kanab with some friends.
I am on the home stretch now for my doctorate program! I am working on a Research Practicum and a Teaching Practicum. These courses are tough, even if I were not working full time on top of it! But the end of August will be here before long, and if I do well, along with my project team (Go Bisons!), I can keep my 4.0 GPA. Wish me luck!!
March 5, 2023
Happy Birthday to me!
Today is my birthday, and my wife and I decided to get a present for us both. A new RV!! Well, new to us. It’s a 2013 Tiffin Allegro Open Road. I’ll update the RV photos page soon with updated photos for this RV. I may change the SQL RV logo since I sold the 5th Wheel Toy Hauler trailer.
Another good news item is that I am halfway through my doctorate program! And even better news, I’m holding onto a 4.0 GPA so far! It certainly isn’t easy work, that’s for sure! I spend hours reading volumes of material and then even more hours writing summaries, perspectives, analyses, and other reports. I am learning a lot and getting to know my fellow students better. As great as it is, I will be glad when the end of August rolls around, and I’m done!
Because of school, my book project has slowed considerably. I did add another chapter to it to help flesh out some of the ways that SQL queries can be improved and to promote better set usage. I don’t want to give away too much info at this point. Upon graduation, I will focus on getting it completed and published.
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 I am undertaking. Congrats to Dr. Romano!
I won’t be able to attend any SQL Saturday sessions during this time 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 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 also move here.
This move, however, has not slowed us down a bit! My wife just got accepted at the Brigham Young University of Idaho for the online bachelor’s degree program and began classes this fall. I was also accepted at the Virginia University of Lynchburg and began their Doctorate in Healthcare Administration program on September 5th (online as well).
My speaking engagements have slowed down 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 wanes and people feel more comfortable, the in-person events will reoccur.
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 I have faced in my career in text form. This book is about lessons learned and how to put them into practice. However, describing such situations in text form has been difficult. I hope what I learn in my doctorate will help me articulate them appropriately.
November 10, 2021
2021 PASS Data Community Summit
I am pleased 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 are available on demand, so you can view them any time, regardless of schedule conflicts!!
My new session, “SQL Team Six – How to Build Effective Teams”, spectacularly debuted 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 session already had several viewers. The Q&A session held today had some terrific 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 breathes better as our masks come off, and we recover from the pandemic, I can 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 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: “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 learning opportunities, 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 not to make a promise that I couldn’t keep. I couldn’t keep my promise to keep this site updated monthly. I could blame it on a lot of things: being 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 returned to the office since. After a few weeks, my wife surprisingly said, “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 travel back to our old house to pick up a few things we left with the renters and make another trip to her mother’s house in Ohio to get more. My wife did an amazing job transforming the grounds into a veritable garden! We also invested in solar panels, which 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. Apress will publish it, and they’ve been extremely helpful. It’s a work in progress, but I’m excited about it! As more of the book takes shape, I’ll share more details.
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. As you can see, this hasn’t worked out so well. Quite a bit has happened to me recently that bears some explanation. I have primarily 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 eight 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 an Enterprise Data Architect position 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 willing to wait over two 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, all is 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 also take more time.
October 3, 2019
Welcome to the new site for SQL RV! I upgraded to a new environment 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
After over 20 years of working in SQL Server, I finally got a certification. The MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) is 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 certifications would not be very useful with over 30 years of experience. Today, several folks worked quite hard to obtain certifications. With that and how certification tests 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 purchasing, I discovered they must be used within six months. Therefore, I have until the end of November to complete them. Wow, no pressure!! So far (knock on wood), I have not needed any retakes. While it costs extra for those, having them available has removed some of my test anxiety.
Interestingly, the SE in MCSE stood for Systems Engineer for the longest time. However, a colleague told me this morning that SE now represents Solutions Expert. 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. 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 get over.