PASS SQLRally–Thoughts from an Organizer

[cross-posted from Jack Corbett's blog at]

There have been lots of blog posts about PASS SQLRally (Bing Search), but there haven’t been a lot recently from the organizers.  As today (April 12th) is the last day for the discounted $299 price I thought it would be good to talk about why I think it is a good model for an event, what I’ve done for SQLRally, and why you should attend.

Why is the SQLRally model good?

Because it is a partnership between local user groups and PASS.  This is a plus because you have the large event experience of those at PASS HQ, but also fresh ideas and new perspectives from the local people.  Just like in any endeavor, you can get stuck in a rut on how you do things and bringing in some new people brings in new ideas that haven’t been considered.  This means that each SQLRally will have a unique identity provided by the local organizers, but you get the experience of those who have put on multiple events.

Because it is regional.  The PASS Summit is a great international conference, but it is large, expensive, and a long way to travel for many people.  This means that you can’t necessarily make it every year.  Because SQLRally is regional, it is less expensive, more intimate, and accessible.  It also means that you the networking available to you is with more people from your region, which means the contacts you make may be more useful to you than national or international contacts you make at a larger conference.  Both have value, but local contacts can help you on-site or, if you are looking, provide you with local opportunities.

It is about the community.  This is YOUR event.  You selected the sessions from pre-con’s to regular sessions, you go to evaluate the abstracts and select the sessions that would be most valuable to YOU.

What I’ve Done?

My main areas of contribution have been in sponsor plan development, event programming, and speaker communication. 

For the sponsor plan development, I got to work with Al Schuler and Craig Ellis and I think we did a great job since we sold out the sponsorships.  It was a great learning experience for me because I got some insight into how to market an event to sponsors and how to break out some thins apart from general sponsorship. 

Andy Warren and I developed the speaker selection process which consisted of breaking the submissions into categories within each track for voting purposes.  We spent a lot of time discussing how that should work and putting sessions into each category.  Our goal in categorizing the submissions within each track was to ensure variety in the sessions.  It’s really easy to pick all the performance tuning sessions as you know those will be popular, but that wouldn’t make a well-rounded event.  Once the sessions were voted on, I communicated the results to the presenters, selected the wild card & deep-dive sessions, and then put together the event schedule.

I’ve also been working on what I’m calling SQLRally Overdrive, which is 3 more laid-back sessions on Thursday evening from 5:45-7:00 pm.  These sessions will be designed to have more interaction between attendees and facilitate networking.

Why Should You Attend?

SQLRally brings much of the Summit experience to you.  We have a great mix of seasoned Summit presenters along with up and coming speakers who have a lot to offer.  With the more intimate setting it should be easier to make new connections and develop those relationships.  You’ll learn from people who are DOING the same job you are, and be able to take home practical solutions that you implement the Monday after the event.  Check out the ROI page for what you can take to your boss to convince him/her to allow you to go to SQLRally.

I hope to see you there!

- Jack Corbett

SQLSaturday Event Leaders – Reserve Your Date for H1 2011

We’ll try to push this out through multiple channels, we’re trying to forecast dates to give those thinking about events (but not yet committed) visibility into which areas/dates are already committed. We won’t set up the event until you submit the formal event request, this is only to reserve the date. We’re also using this to try to make sure we have sponsor funds available for as many events as possible through the end of the PASS fiscal year (June 30, 2011). Send a note to Sanj at PASS HQ, or just post a comment here and I’ll follow up with you.

Andy Warren - cross-posted from

PASS Elections 2010: Winners Announced

The ballots are in, the votes are counted, and the results have been confirmed. While PASS was lucky to have 9 fantastic nominees for this year's elections race, congratulations are in order for this year's three winning candidates.

Andy Warren, President of Fourdeuce Inc., and Douglas McDowell, CEO (North America) of Solid Quality Mentors, were re-elected to the Board. They will be joined for the 2011/2012 Board of Directors term by Allen Kinsel, last year's joint PASSion Award Winner.

This year there were 1084 ballots cast, a 188% improvement on the 576 ballots cast in the 2009 elections. 2796 unique votes were counted. 

Detailed results:

Candidate Votes
Andy Warren 789
Douglas McDowell 604
Allen Kinsel 511
Geoff Hiten 464
Mark Ginnebaugh 428







For biographies of all the candidates in the 2010 elections race, please visit our Elections website

Hannes Bezuidenhout
PASS HQ - Governance

PASS Elections 2010: If You Don't Have Your Ballot, This Will Help!

Still trying to vote in PASS Elections 2010 but can't find your email anywhere? Well, we at HQ want to make sure you have your say.

If you know you are eligible (member as of May 1, 2010) but cannot find or have not received your ballot email, please follow these instructions:

  1. Go to - do NOT use Firefox!
  2. Enter your login email address in the appropriate field
  3. You should gain access to the ballot at this point - your vote is secure 

If problems persist, contact Hannes at HQ to resolve this issue. We want everyone to vote!


Hannes Bezuidenhout
PASS HQ - Governance

Polls open for PASS Elections 2010


It's official -- voting has started!

Ballots were sent out this morning at 9am Pacific Time to all PASS members who joined on or before May 1, 2010. Since the mail-out is quite large, they will be sent out in batches, therefore it may take a couple of hours for you to receive your ballot.

Voting will be open from September 1 to noon Pacific Time, September 15. A reminder with a link to your ballot will be sent out on September 13. If, at any point, you think you are eligible to vote but have not received your ballot, please email Hannes at HQ, but please check carefully first!

You will be allowed to pick up to 3 from the following 5 candidates for PASS Elections 2010:

  • Allen Kinsel
  • Andy Warren
  • Douglas McDowell
  • Geoff Hiten
  • Mark Ginnebaugh

You'll find details about your candidates on the Candidate Campaign Space. Also, don't forget to read the candidates' answers to some excellent questions from the community in the PASS elections discussion forums. And, of course, there's a lot of additional information and debate in the community blogs listed on the Discussion page.

Results will be announced on PASS Blog by Wayne Snyder, Immediate Past President of PASS and NomCom Chair, at noon Pacific Time on September 17. The announcement will also be posted on the Elections Home page. Thanks to everyone for participating in the 2010 PASS Elections, and good luck to all the candidates!

Hannes Bezuidenhout
PASS HQ - Governance


Candidates Selected for 2010 Elections

The Nominations Committee met last Thursday, August 12, to pick a slate to present to the PASS Board of Directors. The Board came together on Monday to discuss the slate with the Committee before voting to approve it. And with that, the candidate slate is set!

Congratulations to the following 5 candidates for PASS Elections 2010:

  • Allen Kinsel
  • Andy Warren
  • Douglas McDowell
  • Geoff Hiten
  • Mark Ginnebaugh

The Candidate Campaign Space goes live at 5pm Pacific today (August 18). You'll be able to compare candidate applications and platforms there.

If you're curious to see the Committee's average total scores for all the interviewees, click here. The procedural documents used by the NomCom are available here. A summary of the NomCom's meeting to discuss the interviewees will be posted soon.

Our social media portals have been abuzz in the past few weeks -- thanks to everyone for staying involved! Keep your eye on the Discussion page for new elections blogs in the coming weeks -- you can catch Andy Leonard's interview series with the applicants there. Also, voice your opinions on the elections discussion forum, which launches at 5pm Pacific today (August 18).

Stay tuned for your email ballot which will be sent out on September 1. Voting will remain open until noon Pacific, September 15.

 For more information about the process, click here. For more important elections dates, click here.

PASS Elections 2010: NomCom Chooses 7 Interviewees

The Nominations Committee met on July 26 to determine which of the 9 applicants to invite back for interviews. 

Using the applicants' ranking scores as a relative guideline, the Committee discussed each nominee's potential to serve on the Board. The NomCom reviewed the perceived strengths and weaknesses of individual applications and agreed that the major factor separating nominees was their dedication to and history of volunteering with PASS and its community. PASS is a volunteer-run organization -- the Committee felt that a history of volunteering in PASS is a crucial element in becoming a member of the PASS leadership.

While the Committee was impressed with all the nominees, consensus was that seven of the nine applicants had a significant history of volunteerism within PASS as well as strong overall scores. Of the applicants, Douglas McDowell, Mark Ginnebaugh, Andy Warren, Allen Kinsel, Steve Jones, Jack Corbett, and Geoff Hiten will be invited to interviews, while the Committee hopes that Denny Cherry and Markus Sprenger will help PASS move forward by participating in other committees and/or volunteer roles.

For more on the elections process, visit the Elections Site

To see how the community's staying involved, visit the Discussion Page.


9 Nominees for 2010 PASS Elections

The Call for Nominations is now closed! The NomCom will review the applications and invite select applicants for interviews. All applicants will be contacted on July 27, and interviewees will be announced to the PASS community on July 28 on the Elections Site and, of course, right here on PASS Blog.

Thanks to the following applicants for throwing their hats in the ring this year:

  • Allen Kinsel
  • Andy Warren
  • Denny Cherry
  • Douglas McDowell
  • Geoff Hiten
  • Jack Corbett
  • Mark Ginnebaugh
  • Markus Sprenger
  • Steve Jones 

The final slate will be determined after the interviews. That announcement will be made on August 18. Campaigns will start the same day, and you'll be able to compare the candidates' campaign platforms and application answers at that point. 

Our social media portals have been abuzz in the past few weeks -- thanks to everyone for staying involved! Keep your eye on the Discussion page for new elections blogs in the coming weeks.



Governance -- PASS HQ

Deadline to submit your application for the Board is 12pm PST tomorrow! (PASS Elections)

Twitter's been buzzing (#passvotes) and the community's wondering: who's going to run for the Board this year?

Thanks to all of you who've submitted applications already. If you've been thinking about it but you're still not sure whether it's worth your while, it may help to read some of these blog posts from former and current Directors debating the pros and cons of serving on the Board. The likes of Andy Warren, Jeremiah Peschka, Pat Wright, and Thomas LaRock tell you why it is worth your while to run this year. And if you're a little lazy (like me) and you prefer snappy tidbits, some Board members have also been nice enough to share a few thoughts with us.

For more details on being a Director or the time line involved, please visit the PASS Elections website.

Don't forget, though -- deadline's in 24 hours!



Hannes Bezuidenhout
Governance -- PASS HQ

Call for Nominations for 2011/2012 PASS Board Term Now Open

In the spirit of the World Cup, please accept a big South African "howzit" to the PASS Community!

It's only June and already the elections are upon us. Wayne Snyder, PASS's Immediate Past President, formed the 2010 Nominations Committee last week. The NomCom members are:


Wayne Snyder (Chair)
Thomas LaRock
Rick Heiges
Rick Bolesta
Judy Christianson
Denise McInerney
Stu Ainsworth 


The Committee has been busy reviewing and discussing the elections documents that the PASS community helped audit over the past month. Both the NomCom and the Board gave their okay to the documents currently available on the elections website. With all the steps in place, PASS is now ready to start looking for its newest Directors.  

So, without further ado, it is time to announce the Call for Nominations for the 2011/2012 Board term.

If you're considering running for the Board, we strongly urge you to apply. The more applications we receive, the better the elections process will run. More importantly, though, PASS would like to see its most talented members in leadership positions. If you think you or someone you know is an ideal candidate, please review what it takes to be a Director, download the application and apply before the July 21 deadline. Click here for other important dates.

As a PASS Director, you would be responsible for the day-to-day activities of the organization, as well as setting the course for the organization on short- and long-term decisions. The primary directive of the Board is to focus on the key strategic issues of the SQL Server community by providing members with opportunities to advance their technical and professional skills, network at the local and international levels, and interact with the industry’s most accomplished users and experts.

You can read more and stay up to date on the elections process at Please feel free to keep in touch with the Elections team at HQ (consisting of myself and Nancy Nasso, PASS Community Coordinator). You can also voice your opinions via Twitter (#passvotes) or visit the elections discussion forums at (to be launched in early July).

Thanks in advance for staying involved. PASS couldn't run without your dedication and support!



Hannes Bezuidenhout
PASS HQ - Governance

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