T-SQL Tuesday #96: Folks Who Have Made a Difference

This post is a part of T-SQL Tuesday series started by Adam Machanic in 2009.

Ewald Cress (b | t) asked to give a shout-out to people (well-known or otherwise) who have made a meaningful contribution to your life in the world of data.

As I was thinking about the people that had the most impact on my career I have to give the biggest kudos to my friend, Leszek Kwaśniewski (t). About six years ago I attended the SQL Server courses about T-SQL programming and database administration where Leszek was one of the trainers. During one of the breaks, he told about user group meetings about SQL Server and invited everybody to come.

At that time I only listened, and because I wasn’t interested, I didn’t come. And then forgot about it.

Fast forward three years. Because of some circumstances in my job I reminded myself of the conversation with Leszek and searched Google to find where are the meetings. I also wrote to Leszek to get information if I can attend and so on. It was February 2014. Since then I missed only one group meeting (because of the clash with SQLBits this year that I attended).

It was a huge turnaround for me. I wasn’t aware of the power of the SQL community. It started with just attending the meetings; then I was encouraged (Leszek, again) to present some subject at the group meeting (and I never did a public speaking thing before!). After that, it just started getting faster – getting involved in Polish SQL Server User Group (PLSSUG) community (currently: Data Community Poland), presenting at the conferences, co-organizing SQLDay – the most significant SQL Server conference in Poland (and one of the biggest in Europe), getting involved in international activities (like volunteering on SQL Saturdays) …

Then I have to mention Grant Fritchey (b | t) (and Sajal Dam, but since then I remember only Grant Fritchey). A long time ago I had access to an online library of IT books (Books24x7), with SQL Server titles among them. One of them was SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled. And it was like enlightenment. For the first time I saw a book that explained so many magic things in such a simple manner. I started to understand the SQL Server better and wanted to learn more. The book was so great, that I said to myself, that I have to have it in print. It was the first time I ordered a book in print that was in English (waited about a month to arrive from the US to Poland). So it was an exceptional moment for me when I could meet Grant Fritchey in person during SQLDay 2016.

I still have that book and always forget to take it with me to the conferences and ask Grant Fritchey to sign it for me. Maybe next time.

The above were turning points in my career, but I have to write about three people that pushed me forward. The nice coincidence – I met them during SQL Saturdays in Vienna.

The first person is Cathrine Wilhelmsen (b | t). I’ve heard of BIML before, but never had a real use case scenario for it or the need to find out more about it. Until I went to Cathrine’s session about BIML basics (SQLSatVienna 2016). For the first time I got inspired to actually start with BIML. A few months later I went to her session (SQLSatOslo 2016) to learn about advanced BIML topics. Today I build a lot of SSIS processing using BIML. Because of Cathrine and her passion.

The last, but not least – I can’t thank enough Chrissy LeMaire (b | t) and Rob Sewell (b | t). At the beginning of this year, I attended their full-day PowerShell workshop (SQLSatVienna 2017). And it was great – Chrissy and Rob know the stuff, know how to teach this stuff and to inspire people to do more. Before the workshop I used PowerShell for a script or two, but nothing special. After the workshop and talks with Chrissy and Rob I started writing more code, and learn more about PowerShell. After weeks of more intensive use of it, I extended and wrote some tools that automate SSIS deployments in my everyday job. Then I was brave enough to write a function for dbatools that was accepted as a pull request and merged into the core module. I don’t have the words to describe how great I felt at that moment.

It’s tough to pick just a few names and to skip the other (the latter being really hard). I thank all of the #SQLFamily I met over the last years. Each one of you made smaller or bigger impact on my career.

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