Last year I set out to get SQL Saturday in Wisconsin organized. It was a goal of mine that I really wanted to achieve. Alas, time and other things got in the way of me doing that on my own. Conflicts with other SQL Saturdays, working on a few books, and then venue issues put the task to the side. Organizing something like a SQL Saturday alone with a large market to cater to is next to exhausting. I learned that very quickly. I should have known this from helping on the last two SQL Saturdays in Chicago. What can I say? Sometimes I try to do more than 5-hour energy drinks can allow me to do.
Well, 2012 is going to be completely different because it is being done right! Or, I should say, I’m not doing it alone. Jes Borland (Blog | Twitter) decided to take it upon herself to bring the topic of a Wisconsin held SQL Saturday up again. This time, she did it right by gathering a group of people by using the Madison SQL Server User Group (MADPASS) to find the people that could help organize it. Jes also asked for my help in organizing and I jumped at the chance to be part of the event. We, in Wisconsin, have a great SQL Server Community and it is just begging to explode into a year of packed events, user group expansions and gatherings. From Milwaukee to Green Bay and across to Madison, there are SQL Server Professionals that I know are out there simply based on business growth. These professionals are just waiting to find the community and expand it as well as their own skills and abilities to lead us as a community.
SQL Saturday in Wisconsin will also be scheduled in line with SQL Saturday in Chicago. I will be helping organize the Chicago event again and we all worked together to keep the events in a well-planned time frame. This means, SQL Saturday will be available to this area twice a year! That’s double the free training to your employers.
As many of you know, I’m also a Regional Mentor for PASS. My region, the North-Central Region, doesn’t cover Wisconsin but I still think of my home state as part of it. In all, being a regional mentor spans the entire world. Anywhere PASS reaches and anywhere it doesn’t and potential exists for it to spark user groups and events like SQL Saturday, is part of the PASS region. My partner mentor for the NC region is Jason Strate (Blog|Twitter ). Jason came up with another exciting idea of expanding our region by doing SQL Saturday events in areas that have great potential but simply may not have the vast amount of SQL Server Community there. Yet! With that being said, Jason and I are working on organizing events like this in places such as Fargo, ND. There is a lot more to a SQL Saturday when it comes to remotely organizing them. You need local support of course. I think with what Jason came up with for doing these events in these locations is how we can take SQL Saturday to a new level, and at the same time, bring it back to the roots of what it was all about. Look for Fargo, ND to hold a SQL Saturday in the future. From there we have no barriers and plan to expand the reaches to everyone.
Lastly, I’d like to congratulate Sheila Acker on creating and leading the new NC PASS Chapter, Quad Cities Iowa, and Phil Milner on the St. Louis BI User Group. I’ve had the pleasure of talking to Sheila at several events including SQL Saturday in Iowa and the PASS Summit. I know she is going to do an awesome job leading this new chapter and I can’t wait to work with her as a regional mentor. As always, you can get community updates on sqlpass.org.
Remember, SQL Saturday in Wisconsin is just a short drive away!
Iowa City – 175 Miles, 3 hours 22 minutes
Minneapolis – 269 Miles, 4 hours 50 minutes
Milwaukee – 79 Miles, 1 hour 34 Minutes
Chicago – 148 Miles, 2 hours 48 minutes (or for you IL drivers, 148 Miles, 1 hour 😉
Green Bay – 135 Miles, 2 hours 28 Minutes
And many more small to large cities within driving distance.