Looking Back: 2016 was Awesome!

With 2017 starting this week I would like to take a moment and reflect on 2016. I have to admit that 2016 was a great year for many different reasons, both personally and professionally. It’s nice just to stop and acknowledge some significant accomplishments that occurred last year!

2016 in Review

I always try to keep my Community contributions up to date here on my blog. I would have never gotten to where I am today without others who helped me along the way, so I am always happy to give back.  It’s been an honor to host another SQL Saturday in Austin for over 250 attendees, be a leader for the Austin SQL Server User Group and continue to grow the High Availability and Disaster Virtual Chapter to 2145 members.

Professionally, it was also a great year in 2016.  I was able to obtain two major goals on my career bucket list. I completed the Microsoft Certified Solution Expert for Data Platform certification (Yes, my procrastination took me to the

Microsoft Certified Solution Expert on Data Platform

Microsoft Certified Solution Expert on Data Platform

last work day in 2016, but I got it done!).  As Tom LaRock says, “They do not hand out certifications like candy. You have to earn them.” I also was acknowledged as a Microsoft Data Platform MVP which goes to about 100 people in the USA.

In 2016, I was also able to continue to grow as a speaker.  Once again, I was blessed with an opportunity to speak at the prestigious PASS Member Summit. I never take getting accepted lightly. This year even though I was sick and almost

Almost a perfect score for the biggest stage.

Almost a perfect score at the Superbowl for SQL Server Speakers!

had to cancel I was able to deliver my session while obtaining my best evaluation score to date (ranked 1 to 3).  I gave 15 sessions in 2016; my highest attended session of the year was at the Data Architecture Virtual Chapter to 457 attendees.

My company, Procure SQL LLC also achieved some great milestones in 2016. I was able to hire an employee, Angela Tidwell as our Marketing DBA. We were able to procure our very first office as well. Finally, after spending several hours working with an excellent health care broker, I was proud to announce that we were able to set up our very first group health plan at Procure SQL. While this isn’t required, it was a huge goal of mine to help make sure that our employees are taken care of as we grow in the future.

Personally, I was able to catch up with some great friends and spend some quality time with my family.  We took the family to Galveston, TX for our very first beach trip as a family.  I learned that it was Nina’s Dads first time in the Gulf as well.  Bonus; the weather was so nice in December my Brother and rootsportsroyjohndecided to bring our kids back for a weekend.  During my birthday weekend, I was able to see my Pirates and Wheeling Nailers in person in Dallas which is both very rare.   During the weekend I was able to hangout with one of my best friends from college.  We even made it on Root Sports Pittsburgh raising the jolly roger.

Finally, my loyalty with some friendships was tested in 2016. While one could have only focused on themselves,  I decided to help my real friends in need in 2016. I remember asking myself (yes I talk to myself), “what would I hope my friends would do for me in my hour of need?” I then tried to do that.

2017 Goals

These days, I am not a huge fan of publicly sharing my goals.  With that said, I wanted to share three goals to help keep me accountable.

Build Two Local Speakers

In the past, I have had the opportunity to help build some new speakers. I cannot think of a more rewarding experience in the SQL Community than helping someone grow. While I have more than two different people in mind, I hope to have at least two new speakers give their very first SQL Server presentations in 2017. Who knows? Maybe they will love it, and it can change their careers like it did for me.

Fill My Office

While I plan on getting us a fridge, when I say, “Fill My Office” I wasn’t just planning on filling the fridge with adult beverages. Our office fits one more person easily, and I hope to find that FTE employee in 2017.  I will provide more details on this later on as we get closer to that point of pulling that trigger.

Building Training Plan

 

Testing out the new office white board.

Literally, this was the first thing written on our new six-foot whiteboard

With the hiring of Angela last year, one of my goals was to build some high-Quality training material that could help someone become a SQL Server Database Administrator (DBA). I want this to be online content that could be used on demand to help as many people as possible to get a great start as a DBA. I hope to have this implemented in 2017.  It might also force me to get out of my shell and focus on building some great video content which will be a new challenge.