Top Ten Reasons Julie and Audrey are Excited about SQL Saturday 242

We are so excited about SQL Saturday 242 on August 10 in Indianapolis, IN!  Why?  Well, glad you asked us.  We’re going to be presenting our first-ever SQL Saturday Pre-Con, and are forever grateful to the wonderful organizers of this event for giving us this opportunity.  We’ve done this training day here in Atlanta before, but there’s just something extra-special about being part of a SQL Saturday.

The Pre-Con is titled, From Here to BI: Data Warehousing from Start to Finish, and we think it is going to be a lot of fun.  We’re most excited that we get to spend a day talking about topics that we love, including database design, ETL, and all the cool concepts and tools that go along with building a data warehouse and moving data around.  Our goal is to show that SSIS isn’t scary, and neither is dimensional modeling.  With practical examples and real-world scenarios, our audience will hopefully walk away with great ideas that they can take to their own teams on Monday morning.

We were discussing all of the reasons why we’re excited about Indy, so we decided that what we really needed was a list (we’re nothing if not organized).  So, without further ado, our Top Ten Reasons Julie and Audrey are excited about presenting a Pre-Con at SQL Saturday 242:


10:  David Letterman and Kurt Vonnegut are both Indianapolis natives.  It happens that Julie has something of a crush on Dave.  Audrey would have a crush on Kurt, but he died in 2007 so that’s kind of creepy.  Let’s just say she’s an admirer.

9:  Audrey gets to talk about Dimensional Modeling, which is one of her favorite topics.  Rumor has it that she has a Ralph Kimball poster hanging in her closet, but no one’s been able to verify it yet.

8:  Julie gets to talk about ETL Frameworks, a key design concept when moving data, especially in complex integration environments.  The extra time allows her to dig into the topic and discuss best practices and lessons learned.

7:  If the SQL Saturday organizers (Hope Foley (B|T), Eddie Wuerch (B|T)) are any indication, Indiana is populated by the coolest people on the planet, and we can’t wait to meet them.   Plus, Audrey gets to finally mark Indiana off of her list of states to visit.

6:  We get to discuss Master Data Services (MDS) and Data Quality Services (DQS), two products that we’re actually using at client sites and want to share with the world. Julie has been doing a lot of research and writing on DQS, so expect a great discussion about the tool!

5:  Julie gets to preach the business key gospel to a whole new audience.  By now, everyone in the South Eastern U.S. has heard her story, and it is time to take it to the Midwest.  Audrey asks that someone in the audience suggest that business keys aren’t that important in ETL development.  She promises that you’ll all be entertained by Julie’s response.

4:  We get to hang out with Bill Pearson (B|T), who is presenting his own Pre-Con, called Practical Self-Service BI with PowerPivot for Excel.  We contend that he has the best hair in the SQL Server community.  Don’t believe us?  Come see for yourself!

3:  We hear there’s this thing in Indiana called a Tenderloin Sandwich.  Deep fried pork loin on a bun?  Sign these Southern Girls up!

2:  We get to talk end-to-end development, which is almost impossible to do in a one-hour session.  There are so many great topics to discuss, and we’re super excited that we get a full day to cover them!

1:  And the number one reason we’re excited about SQL Saturday 242…  Road Trip!



So there you have it, just 10 of the myriad reasons that we’re thrilled to present a Pre-Con at SQL Saturday 242.  Sign up before July 12 to get the Early Bird price.  Hope to see you there!

–Julie and Audrey

I went to SQL Saturday in Tampa!

 My husband and I got married May 3 (I’m not telling the year).  As we were rushing to the airport en route to our honeymoon, we realized that in the chaos of the wedding, we had almost forgotten a present for our mothers on the upcoming Mother’s Day.  I somehow found the perfect card given the circumstances, and we mailed them just as we were leaving.  Here is a rendition of the card we each sent our mothers that year:


The reason I’m thinking of that anecdote is that here it is on Tuesday, and it’s my turn for a blog post, and I’m in sort of a rush again.  Not on my way to Europe this time, but anyway; I’m busy.

I wanted to do a write up of SQL Saturday #62 in Tampa which occurred two weeks ago, but I feel like the content is going to be as dense and informative as the above referenced greeting card. 

Suffice it to say that I had a fantastic time.  Organizers Pam Shaw and Jose Chinchilla are to be commended for the hospitality, the food, the speed pass idea.  It was a great weekend. 

It was warm in Florida.  This cannot be overemphasized.  I really enjoyed the Sun (Blog | Twitter) and the way its shininess let me cavort around mittenless.  I hope to return to Tampa every time there is a SQLSaturday in the winter.

My presentation was well attended and well received.  Lots of folks came, including many people who work with SSIS and are pretty famous for it.  Fortunately for me their presences neither made me faint nor throw up, always a bonus. 

I left with more friends and professional connections, and perhaps most importantly, the most awesome SQL Saturday presenter’s shirt EVAH:

If only I had something yellow to wear. Not a polo.


Finally, I’d like to “roll credits” so to speak and give a shout out to all the great folks I got to spend time with that weekend.  (Loving the networking tab on the SQL Saturday Page!).  Can’t wait to see you all again.


Aaron Nelson @sqlvariant   
Adam Jorgensen   @adam_jorgensen
Andy Warren    @sqlandy
Bobby Dimmick    @kr4ster
Brad Schacht   @bradleyschacht
Brian Knight @BrianKnight
Brian McDonald    @briankmcdonald
David Taylor    @dyfhid
Denny Cherry    @mrdenny
Jorge Segarra    @sqlchicken
Jose Chinchilla    @sqljoe
John Welch    @john_welch
Jason E Bacani    @jebacanisqldude
Jack Corbett    @unclebiguns
Geoff Hiten   @sqlcraftsman
Gareth Swanepoel    @garethswan
Ed Wilson   @scriptingguys
Erika Bakse    @baksedoesbi
Eric Wisdahl    @old_man_fish     @EricWisdahl
Kevin Boles    @thesqlguru

Mike Wells @SarasotaSQL
Pam Shaw    @pamshaw
Troy Gallant    @gratefuldba
Tim Radney    @tradney
Stacia Misner    @staciamisner 


And lastly, SQLRally voting for the BI Track will be next week.  Don’t forget to vote! (for me! ) 

Julie to Present “Cool Tricks to Pull from your SSIS Hat” at SQL Saturday #62 in Tampa FL

I am honored to be presenting at SQL Saturday #62 which will be held in (hopefully) warm Tampa, Florida on January 15, 2011. The title of my presentation is Cool Tricks to Pull from your SSIS Hat, and it covers the basics of SSIS variables and the Expression language. I will also be participating in the Women in Technology panel discussion.

This event, the first of 2011, will be bustling with fantastic speakers. I’m especially looking forward to the Powershell/SSIS Smackdown with Aaron Nelson (Blog|Twitter) and Mike Davis (Blog|Twitter).

I am also going to the PreCon which will be the Friday before the main event. This is a huge bargain and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity for an entire day of training on (SAN) storage and virtualization for DBA’s and BI for $99. I imagine I’ll be switching from room to room throughout the day. Sign up before tomorrow to join me at this price!

From Pam Shaw and Jose Chinchilla on the PreCon–>

We will also be hosting a Day of Data on 1/14/2011, the day before SQL Saturday #62 in Tampa at the Italian Club in the historic Ybor City district. We are offering 2 all day sessions from which to choose. For the DBAs we have Denny Cherry presenting Storage and Virtualization for the DBA. For the BI focus We have Stacia Misner presenting Business Intelligence End-to-End. The cost is only $99 per person thru 1/5/2011, after that the price goes to $109. This price includes coffee, juice and donuts, lunch, and course materials. Click here to register for Day of Data.

#sqlsat48 Datachix1’s Wrapup. Columbia SC/October 2, 2010

I had a great time at this past Saturday’s event in Columbia, SC where I  was lucky enough to be presenting.  I forgot to mention during my presentation –“Cool Tricks to Pull from your SSIS Hat” –that Carolina is my alma mater, and the Columbia area was home to me and my parents for 8 years. 

This was my first time back in 15, and besides the great professional event, I got to see several dear dear, friends from my previous life which was in Theatre.  I stayed at the lovely Hampton Inn in downtown Columbia (in the newish Vista area).  My mom came with me and we caught Rent at Trustus Theatre, which was only a few blocks from the hotel.  What an amazing show!  Shout out to the folks at Trustus for 26 years of theatrical awesomesauce. 

My mother happens to be a smart lady who is also interested in the SQL Server lifestyle, so she also came with me to the speaker’s dinner and the event itself.  It was really nice to share a little of my career with her.  I’m pretty sure she loved it.

This event was swarming with MVP’s and VIP’s and I got a chance to meet quite a few great folks and cavort with people I already knew. 

Where should I start?  Maybe with my some of my homies from Atlanta…..

Mark Tabladillo.  He’s a super smart guy with whom I shared a great conversation at the Speaker’s Dinner about Data Mining and ways to test the trustworthiness of your results and predictions.  My conversation with Mark illustrated to me the beauty of SQL Saturdays and events like them—you can not only learn cool and useful things, but enjoy great conversations and build relationships from which you can continue learning. 

Bob Langley.  Bob sat next to me at the speaker’s dinner and I was pretty sad to learn that we were scheduled to speak in the same time slot, because his presentation on Column Level Encryption really interested me.  This is a request I have received before, and I want to see what the possibilities are.  This was Bob’s first speaking engagement—kudos for speaking.

Stuart Ainsworth.  Stu did 3, yes 3 presentations.  I was not able to make any of them because of the restraining order, (just kidding), but I did hear that he did a great job.  He reported that his lunchtime demo was slightly hindered by a runaway process which ate his laptop, but I don’t think anyone noticed because

— the LUNCH was AWESOME!

                And FREE!  Thanks Sponsors

Special thanks also to Brian Kelley and Bobby Dimmick (and all the volunteers, especially Paul Waters who was my AV helper and the lovely man who watched our stuff all day in the speaker’s room).  The day really did go beautifully. 

Now the Outliers:

David Taylor from Alabama by way of Boston.   David was doing a new presentation on DBA tasks which my mother loved.  David is a recent convert to SQL Server whose enthusiasm for our community is palpable.  I always enjoy seeing David.

Jose Chinchilla.  Jose is a super nice guy that  I got to sit with at the Speakers Dinner as well.  He is running a SQL Saturday event in Tampa in January of 2011, which I hope to make.  Mom sat in on his certifications session, and she is really excited about getting some certifications now. 

Andy Leonard. (Blog | Linkedin | Twitter)  The Man . The Myth. The Moustache  :{>.  Andy is one of those Rock Star names in BI that I was super excited to get a chance to meet and hear present and he didn’t disappoint.  He loves his work and he loves his family and he loves sharing the tools of our trade with people.  I watched both of his presentations and got to learn how bigger shops can standardize large deployments and solutions, with clever safeguards in place.  He took time to talk with me about my presentation, sharing with me some additional xml tools I could use and giving me praise which made me all giggly.

Andy Warren. (Blog | Linkedin | Twitter) Co-founder of SQL Saturday, SQLServerCentral and a Director at Large of PASS.  Andy’s presentation on developing yourself professionally was well received and given that bio, I think he knows of what he speaks.  He encouraged us to think of ourselves as a product or business, and to develop a business plan accordingly.  I concur. 

Jessica Moss.  (Blog | Linkedin | Twitter) So glad I got to meet Jessica and see her presentation on Reporting Services.  Jessica is a great speaker—people were engaged and learning and she has a great time up there, which I love to see.

My presentation went very well.  I had 20 folks and I felt like most of my group was really enjoying it.  Several folks said they learned at least one or two very useful things.  I realized when it was over that I didn’t get very many questions, but people were definitely engaged, so I hope I wasn’t bulldozing them.  Got an average score of 4.6 (out of 5)—the large majority of people liked the presentation a lot. 

My advice to first time speakers:  (Robert Cain also gave me this advice):  practice with 1024×768 resolution.  You would be amazed how much the low resolution will throw you off, and how frequently you encounter it.  Also, practice your presentation with people in an audience—I inflict it on my coworkers.  I did practice runs on Tuesday and Thursday.  Tuesday really kind of sucked (thanks dear coworkers for suffering through it), on Thursday I felt much better and by Saturday I was pretty happy.