On Saturday, April 6, 2013, Madison, WI hosted its second annual SQL Saturday. It was another successful year!

We had 241 attendees, an increase over last year. It’s been exciting to watch the Wisconsin SQL Server community grow over the past five years. Once upon a time we had one user group; now we have four, and have held two of these events. Many people have thanked us for bringing the community to this area!

We delivered 44 hours of free training throughout the day. To me, that’s incredible. The primary objective of a SQL Saturday is to bring free training to a large group of people. If you’re planning a SQL Saturday, remember this – every goal should tie back to that objective. It’s hard for a DBA or developer to get approval and money to go to a week-long training class or conference. But there are many people who realize the value of investing in their career, and they are coming to these events. Those people are the reason I do this, year after year.

We couldn’t have training without people to deliver it. 34 speakers traveled from all over Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Texas, Washington, Winnipeg, and even the UK- quite a diverse group!

But for me, the most exciting and fulfilling part of the day was having six of these speakers be first-time SQL Saturday speakers. SIX! These are people that had started with presentations to co-workers and user groups, and were ready to jump into a bigger pond. That can be a scary experience. I’m so glad that we were able to provide the environment for them to do it, and have it be warm, encouraging, supportive. I’m glad they all had excellent audiences who paid attention, asked questions, and gave them feedback.

I can’t wait to do this again in 2014!

Here’s a peek at our first-time speakers! (My deepest apologies to Jennifer Salvo, whose session I missed while cleaning up for the day.)

Frank Gill kicks off the day talking about the transaction log

Leonard Murphy had the crowd learning and laughing at the end of the day

Ken Stuber rounded out the day with a talk about SSDT

Gill Rowley presented to a packed room

Jim Dorame talks PowerShell and PSX – his first presentation ever!