Last weekend I went to Baton Rouge (by way of New Orleans) to attend and speak at the second annual SQL Saturday event there. This event was my third of four scheduled SQL Saturday of the summer.
I flew out of Love Field in Dallas with fellow Dallas SQL Server pros Sean McCown and Tim Costello, and we met up in New Orleans with Trevor Barkhouse. We rented a car and joined Steve Jones for lunch at Primo’s in the French Quarter of New Orleans. After our late lunch, we made the 90 minute trek over to Baton Rouge, checked in to the hotel, and arrived fashionably late at the speaker/volunteer party. I ate dinner with fellow Kevin Boles and a few of the sponsors, and got to spend some time with my friend Patrick LeBlanc (who organized this event) as well as Chris Bahnsen from the Pensacola SQL Server user group and Bryan Smith from Microsoft.
Patrick asked me to present one of the early bird sessions, so I volunteered to deliver a 7:30am session entitled “Building Your First SSIS Package”. For this trip I shared a car with three other people, and unfortunately I underestimated the effort required to coordinate getting four people on the road by 7:00am. As a result, we arrived at LSU at exactly 7:30 and my session started about 5 minutes late. We got moving quickly and had about 25 people in attendance, most of whom got engaged in the Q&A at the end. I was a little surprised that one of the volunteers handed me the session evaluations at the end; all of the other SQL Saturday events I’ve spoken at have collected these and sent me a summary of the feedback later.
My second session was centered around using expressions and configurations in SSIS. I always enjoy this presentation because I’ve encountered a lot of SSIS folks who avoid SSIS expressions, and and even more that don’t use SSIS configurations. As a result, there are usually a few “A-ha!” moments during the demos, and this one was no exception. Another good group, and lots of useful discussion during and after the presentation.
This event featured an Ask the Experts table, and I was asked to be a panelist during one of the afternoon sessions. We didn’t have a lot of participation from attendees, largely because this was offered during the sessions when most attendees were already settled somewhere. I think this was a good idea, but I’d like to see this offered as an all-day track and published on the event guide. I’m considering this as an addition to our next big SQL Saturday event in the spring.
The attendee party was fun, even though there weren’t a lot of people in attendance. Several of us broke out into a discussion around user groups, PASS, and the future of SQL Saturday. Good times.
Patrick and crew did a great job organizing this year’s event. I’m looking forward to coming back again next year.