First SQLSaturday in Wheeling, West Virginia was a Success!

After SQL Saturday #36 on May 1st 2010 my wife and I headed to Spain.  Somehow this post got lost in the shuffle when I got back. I thought it is important to share my thoughts of the event so here it is.

The first SQLSaturday in West Virginia can be summed up in two sentences.  The SQL Server Community is bleeping awesome.  The Ohio Valley is bleeping awesome. I know unfortunately I will leave some people out but I would like to thank the following individuals for their advice and support Andy Warren, John Parkinson, Thomas LaRock, Jeremiah Peschka, Justin Siebert, Joelle Ennis, and The Greater Wheeling Chapter of AITP.


Its now a little past a month six months after the first SQLSaturday in West Virginia and I am glad to share my thoughts on the event.  First, I would like to say we held it down for the DBA’s in the small cities who have dreams of hosing a SQLSaturday.  Don’t quote me on this but I believe we are the only SQLSaturday host city with a population under 50,000.

When we first started this mission in November 2009 our goal was to have 50 to 100 people register.  We actually had registration at 100 and had 70 people attend.  We had three tracks that delivered 16 13 sessions presented by 11 9 speakers.

Things that worked

  • Using WVNCC as venue – The West Virginia Northern Community College campus in Downtown Wheeling allowed us to use their facility.  We had the ballroom which held 100 people, two class rooms held 50+ and two smaller class rooms that held 30 attendees. This was a great fit and we are very grateful that they hosted the meeting for us.
  • Volunteers – We had a super all-star team of volunteers on hand for the SQL Saturday. Did I mention that the volunteers were awesome? There were, and they all did a great job.
  • Selected Speakers – All of the speakers did a great job.  The evaluations showed that everyone appreciated the presentations. We need a better way to deliver results to speakers. We will work on that for next year.
  • Lunch – The box lunches from Panera Bread were a hit.  The food arrived as scheduled.  One of our volunteers was also arranged to have the Catholic Charities pick up the leftover food.  Once again, did I mention that our volunteers rock?

Things that need improved

  • Get more people involved – While we had plenty of support for the big day only two people did the majority of the pre-day work. Hopefully, we can get more people involved earlier next year.
  • Build Higher Goals -  Our venue can support more people. We tried our best to keep it simple because we didn’t know what we were doing as this was the first major information technology event in Wheeling, WV for years. Now we know what we are doing so we should try to go buck wild next year.
  • Evaluations – I will take the blame here and say that we failed.  We didn’t have a good system for generating feedback.
  • More Speakers – We cut it close with filling up our three tracks. Next year I we will need to be more active with pulling speakers.  If you are interested in speaking next year contact me and I will get you on our contact list.

Thanks to the speakers

We would like to give a shout out to all the speakers for making SQLSaturday in Wheeling happen.  You were all awesome.  Check out their blogs and tweets.

Thanks to the sponsors

Whats Next?

  • 2nd Annual SQL Saturday in West Virginia - This is correct, we are excited to give it another run and are targeting June 2011. We will shoot out an update to let everyone know when we have an official date.
  • Wheeling SQL Server User Group – Hey John there is no SQL Server User Group in West Virginia what are you smoking?  First, I don’t smoke and second there will be. Our first meeting will be on January 20th. Check out my blog during the first week of January for more information.

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  • http://johnparkinson.me John Parkinson

    Very nice write up John! I think you covered all of the bases. We had a great bunch of volunteers. Looking forward to SQL Saturday Wheeling 2011!