Friend of Red Gate

I’ve been a champion of Red Gate’s tools for years. Quite simply, they help me get work done quicker. They also make hard tasks easier. As a result, when I hear about someone having an issue that I know a Red Gate tool can solve, I try to point that person towards the appropriate tool.

Red Gate has been kind in return, continuing to allow me to be part of the Friends of Red Gate program. One of the nice perks is the small, inexpensive gifts they send. They are definitely unique to Red Gate, like the pair of socks pictured here. My wife started laughing when she saw these. I love hearing my wife laugh. Which means at some point I will likely wear these, probably to a SQL Server related event. So if you happen to catch me at an event, ask me if I’m wearing the socks.

If you’re not familiar with Red Gate’s tools, I invite you to check out their software. I and many other IT folks have found the various offerings invaluable.

Why I Do What I Do #tsql2sday

I didn’t originally want to go back into IT after 15 years in the career field. It was 1999 and I had just left active duty with the US Air Force. My designation was a Communications-Computer Systems Officer but I had served as a hybrid IT support/project manager/Airman wrangler throughout my four years. I knew I had a calling to ministry, specifically ministry to children and youth. I was hoping for full time ministry. Therefore, I was looking to leave IT behind. I still loved technology and computers, but I wanted to follow my calling even more.

However, anyone who has gone down this road knows that a lot of churches expect either ordination or a degree from a seminary (or as a minimum, an undergraduate Biblical degree from a Bible college) for a full time position. I had neither. As a result, the options were limited. I could get a part time position with the expectation I would go to seminary in order to be a full time youth pastor. I could switch denominations and serve as a pastor over a church, but not in youth or children’s ministry. Or I could go back into IT. At that time my wife and I had two toddlers. Incurring a load of student loans for three years of full time college didn’t make sense. I wasn’t called to be a senior/lead pastor. I was called to work with students. Therefore, I went back into IT.

Fast forward 20 years. I’m still in IT. However, my perspective has changed. I’ve been able to stay primarily in children’s and youth ministry. I’m a youth director for my church and I love what I do. I have found over the years that most churches can’t afford a full time staff position for a youth minister. The need, therefore, is for someone who is bi-vocational. As a result, someone like me who has everything covered financially by the first job is ideal. By working in IT, I can fulfill my calling.

My perspective with regards to IT has changed as well. At the end of the day, to me IT is about serving others. So while my current position does not work with children or youth except on special occasions, IT still has a deeply fulfilling aspect that I love. I say that because as a twenty-something I was more enamored with new technology. I was one of the ones who also wanted the newest shiny. As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen technology for what it really is: tools to help us. My job is to use technology to help others. My job is to design technical solutions that are of benefit to people.

That’s why I do what I do. First and foremost, IT allows me to fulfill my calling, which is to minister to children and youth. I’ve been asked if I ever wanted to be a pastor of a church some day. I don’t. I can trace back to childhood specific opportunities and training which equipped me for working with students. My job in IT provides the opportunity to serve in this role as well. It’s clear this is where I’m to be. That may change in the future, but it hasn’t in over 20 years. Second, in IT I can serve others, both directly and indirectly. My focus used to about the technology itself. Now it’s about people. There’s nothing wrong with loving to work with new stuff. I do, but it is of secondary importance for my secondary reason. These are the reasons I do what I do.

Midlands PASS Meeting for April 2019

The Midlands PASS April 2019 meeting will be held on April 2nd and we’ll be welcoming Matt Gordon (twitter | website)!

Meeting Details and RSVP Link:

Here is the talk he’ll be giving:

Democratizing Data Analysis: How/Why of Social Sentiment Scoring

The job of a data professional is evolving rapidly, driving many of us to platforms and technologies that were not on our radar screen a few months ago. I am certainly no exception to that trend. Most of us aren’t just monitoring backups and tuning queries – we are collaborating with teams throughout the company to provide them data and insights that drive decisions. Cloud providers are democratizing technologies and techniques that were complicated and proprietary just a few months ago. This presentation walks you through how a silly idea from a soccer podcast got me thinking about how Azure Logic Apps, the Azure Cognitive Services API, and Azure SQL DB combine to provide potentially powerful insights to any company with a social media and sales presence. Join me as I walk you through building a solution that can impact your company’s bottom line – and potentially yours too!

And a bit more about Matt:

Matt Gordon
Data Platform Solution Architect, DMI

Matt is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP and has worked with SQL Server since 2000. He is the leader of the Lexington, KY PASS local group, a frequent community speaker, and speaker at PASS Summit 2017 and 2018. He’s an IDERA ACE and 2019 Friend of Redgate. His original data professional role was as a database developer, which quickly evolved into query tuning work that further evolved into being a full-fledged DBA in the healthcare realm. He has supported several critical systems utilizing SQL Server and managed dozens of 24/7/365 SQL Server implementations. He currently utilizes that real world experience as a data platform consultant helping clients design solutions that meet their ever-changing business needs.

Midlands PASS Meeting for March 2019

The March meeting for Midlands PASS will be held on March 5, 2019, from 5:30-7:30 PM. Brian Kelley and Paul Shearer, both local to Columbia, will be speaking on SQL Server in the Cloud.

RSVP Link:


More and more organizations are looking to move workloads into the cloud. This includes database platforms like Microsoft SQL Server. In this presentation Paul Shearer and Brian Kelley will cover the options available currently for both AWS (Paul) and Azure (Brian). We’ll talk about hybrid scenarios in addition to “all cloud” solutions. Consider this an open ended discussion type presentation where we talk about pros/cons and the types of rethinking/refactoring you’ll need to do if your organization is going to move data into either AWS or Azure.