Category: PASS Chapters

Community Update

With 250 chapters and counting, PASS is serious about its commitment to global growth. We are excited that members of the SQL Server community from far and wide can connect, share and learn in their own region! In November alone, 8 new chapters were created:

•    Himalayan SQL Server User Group, Nepal (Leader: Shree Khanal)
•    SQLPASS Egypt (Leader: Wagdy Ishac)
•    Cambridgeshire SQL Server User Group, UK (Leader: Mark Broadbent)
•    Montreal BI User Group, Canada (Leader: Dwayne Pindling)
•    St. Louis BI Users Group, US (Leader: Phil Milner)
•    Chicago BI User Group, US (Leader: Emre Motan)
•    Quad Cities PASS, Iowa, US (Leader: Sheila Acker)
•    New London SQL Server User Group, US (Leader: Victor Pavlovit)

November also saw the addition of 3 Regional Mentors recently appointed, for the US Northeast (Steve Hughes), US Southwest (Phil Robinson) and Western Canada (Colin Stasiuk). Find out more about Steve, Phil, and Colin from PASS Director Mark Ginnebaugh’s recent blog post.

To facilitate chapter development, educational webcasts geared towards chapter leaders are available for streaming from the Chapter Resources page (PASS login required to access).  Recent webcasts include:
•    Using Dot Net Nuke Websites with Mike Lawell
•    Making Your Chapter Legal While Removing Stress with Arnie Rowland

Lastly, SQLSaturday keeps on growing with new events popping up all over the world. New SQLSaturdays are added all the time so be sure to keep tabs on the SQLSaturday event calendar for one near you!

Recently added:
•    SQLSaturday#113, Indonesia, Dec 10, 2011
•    SQLSaturday#108, Redmond, Feb 25, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#109, Silicon Valley, Mar 3, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#110, Tampa, Mar 10, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#114, Vancouver, Mar 17, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#115, Portugal, Mar 17, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#107, Houston, Apr 12, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#111, Atlanta, Apr 14, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#112, Birmingham, May 12, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#106, Puerto Rico, May 26, 2012

If you have any questions or comments about chapters, regional mentors, or SQLSaturday events, please contact PASS Community Evangelist Karla Landrum.

Welcome Three New Regional Mentors - US NE, US SW, and Canada!

We are happy to announce that three new Regional Mentors are joining the PASS team.
Steve Hughes will be filling the open slot for U.S. - Northeast, providing Melissa Demcsak some badly needed help. Steve is a Principal Consultant at Magenic, focused on Business Intelligence architecture.  He recently helped put on SQLSaturday #99 - Minnesota 2011 and convinced Magenic to send nine SQL Server professionals to this year's PASS Summit.
Phil Robinson is our new Regional Mentor for U.S. - Southwest, where he will be working with Tjay Belt. Phil is an independent database developer and BI consultant and is President of the San Diego SQL Server User Group. He has been an organizer of two SQLSaturdays (#55 and #95).

Phil is replacing Andrew Karcher, who is stepping down after a long tenure as a Regional Mentor. Thanks, Andrew for your service, and welcome Phil!
Things are changing in Canada, too! Another longtime Regional Mentor, Scott Stauffer, is ready to hand his responsibilities to an able replacement. We appreciate Scott's efforts and know he will enjoy his return to private life.
Colin Stasiuk is filling Scott's position as Regional Mentor for Western Canada. Colin has been working with SQL Server since version 6.5. He is co-author of SQL Server 2008 Policy Based Management, an active blogger, and founded the PASS Chapter in Edmonton.
Please join us in welcoming Steve, Phil, and Colin to the Regional Mentors team.
- Mark Ginnebaugh
Director, Global Chapters


WAHOO! KALAMAZOO! SQLSaturday #84 Steals My Heart!

This weekend marked the 20th SQL Saturday that I have attended, SQLSaturday 84 in a place until now I had never heard of, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Well, I can tell you, that this one broke into my top 3, as this small town, “home like” feeling event, literally warmed my heart! It was admittedly very reminiscent of the first event I hosted in Pensacola in 2009.

When I arrived, with Tommy LaRock who happened to be on the same flight, volunteer Shelly Noll picked us up, the first sign of hometown hospitality. After checking into the hotel, Shelly swung us by the event venue where we met up with the other volunteers. Their event was held at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and let me tell you, one of the very nicest community colleges I’ve ever seen. This large venue was gorgeous, with trees growing on the inside, beautiful gardens and courtyards, and amazingly donated for FREE for this event. NICE WIN!

There were at least 8 volunteers, likely more just didn’t count, all working diligently on preparing things for the big day. Right off the bat, you could tell this group was super organized as they were nearly done, and it was only about 3:00 in the afternoon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such calmness the day before a SQLSaturday.

Things kicked off that evening with the speaker party, a get together at Tim Ford’s beautiful home and was sponsored by SQLSentry. In attendance were so many top notch notables of the SQL world that I am not even going to begin listing them all, as I will surely miss someone. Tim and his lovely wife Amy prepared quite a spread of delectables, from homemade guacamole to apple cobbler (and one cobbler wasn’t enough, there was a peach one as well!), assorted chips and dips and cheeses I’ve never even heard of that were to die for! Plenty of delicious food and then the doorbell rings, as if we needed more, gourmet pizzas show up. A cooler full of frothy beverages out on the deck, again, many I have never heard of, with a wonderfully warm fire roaring in the pit (which was MUCH appreciated by THIS Florida girl, as it was like 50 degrees there!). As chilly as it was (okay maybe not for the others), most everyone ended up gathering out on the deck, surrounding the fire like we were at camp, telling tales of SQL. It was so relaxing, lots of good humor and stories. This by far is now my top Friday evening party for these events. It was like being home. The evening ended, at least for me, of an announcement that someone had eaten all the bacon off all the remaining pizza. One guess!

Early the next morning, once again, Shelly was kind enough to pick me up from the hotel and head on over to the venue to get things set-up. Others were there and much of what was needed done was well on its way to completion. I cannot say enough, what a super, efficient crew of volunteers! I was there on behalf of PASS, so I went to work setting up our table in the sponsor’s area. This I would say would be the only thing that I would recommend they look at changing up at next year’s event, the placement of sponsors. Unfortunately it was the only place with outlets all the way around the walls, hence why they chose this spot, but it was pretty far from the registration check-in, and tucked off to one side. It was at least near the doors to where three of the sessions were being held, so Tim the quick thinker, placed a big billboard they had with the rooms and sessions posted directly by those doors, so we could sway folks over to our area as they stopped to find their way. This worked out, as I do think many attendees managed to get their raffle tickets into the drawings all the sponsors had. Maybe next year they can find some other way to get the registration and the sponsors closer together.

The day went by very quickly, probably because I spent most of the day working and in discussions with Alison MacDonald from PASS Marketing, oh, and that other person who seems to never stop talking, no, not Rob Farley, Tom! (I hear Rob out talks Tom, I find that really hard to believe after this weekend). Throughout the day many attendees, as usual at these events, were commenting on how great the event was and how happy they were that it came to Kalamazoo. The turnout was very close to the numbered registered, I think they ended up with only about a 12% drop-off, even though there did seem to be a lot of food leftover, but I think that is typical when you do food trays with sandwiches. I think sandwich shops under state really just how many people one tray will feed. This was the first event that I attended that we had the new SQLSaturday laptop stickers and patches, and those went over big time, everyone wanted those. Looking forward to seeing how many of these make their way to the Summit next month. For their event, they had a WIT Panel during lunch led by Shelly, which unfortunately I missed due to talking too much myself! The WIT Panel was a great line-up of Kendra Little, Wendy Pastrick, Yanni Robel, and Erin Stellato. Since I missed it, I can’t do it justice, but Sarah Strate did a full detailed blog about it, that you can read up on here:

As the day was winding up, Tim needed someone to head over early to the after party venue to let them know we were coming, as they did not allow reservations ahead of time. So Amy, Austin and Trevor (they ever so entertaining boys) and I all headed over, which meant I wasn’t there for the raffle drawings, which was fine, but I did miss out on a very special moment for Tim. Josh Fennessy, who was that day announced as the new chapter leader for the West Michigan SQL User Group, presented Tim with a plaque of recognition for all his years of contributions to the SQL community. Check it out

The after party was at a very cool restaurant/bar in downtown called Kalamazoo Beer Exchange . Great food, but the absolutely coolest thing about this place was the Beer Market. At 6:00pm, on various big screens throughout the three story facility, the Beer Market would open. Think Stock Market. You watch the price of beers go up or down based on consumption. I had never seen this anywhere, and it was so cool! When the price of the beer changed, it stayed at that price for 12 minutes. There were arrows, just like the stock market, that showed if the price was going up or down. At one point the beer market crashed, and all the beers were 2 bucks! Drink, drink, drink!

After a while we all made our way to a nearby piano bar, something we do for the after party at Pensacola each year, and in my opinion, great entertainment and fun for all no matter where you live. I had hoped to make my way to a third place that had bull riding, as I am determined to do this someday, but was just too tired and had an early flight out. I was smart and booked my ride with Joe Fleming earlier in the evening, stating “make me go with you no matter how much I insist I want to stay longer”, so thank you Joe, I made it to the airport on time that next morning. Which by the way another hospitable thing happened, my cab driver, Cliff, insisted on not charging me for the lift to the airport.

In closing, I want to say to the SQLSaturday Kazoo team, GREAT JOB! Thank you so much to all of you for bringing this event to your community. On a personal note, thank you to Amy and Tim for making me feel so welcome and having us all over to your home. You are such good people, and I hope to spend time again with you some day. I feel like I not only had a great opportunity to network, but made connections with some folks that I would consider good friends now. And special shout out to Josh, don’t forget our date in Seattle, your christening of the Hurricane Café. Rodney and I are both looking forward to it!

Announcing Mentors for New PASS Nordic Region

We are excited to announce the formation of the PASS Nordic Region, formalizing our support for the tremendous Nordic SQL Server Community. To help us provide this support, we have appointed two leaders of that community who will serve as PASS Regional Mentors. The countries represented in PASS Nordic are Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
It is also a pleasure to announce that Johan Åhlén and Raoul Illyés  have accepted our invitations to become PASS Nordic's first Regional Mentors. Johan is a Microsoft MVP and Chairman of the Swedish SQL Server User Group.
Raoul is a leading voice in the Nordic SQL Server community and a founding partner of the PASS SQLRally Nordic event. He is based in Denmark and recently joined the PASS Board of Directors as a non-voting member in support of our international outreach efforts.
Our efforts to work more closely with the Nordic Region are in alignment with PASS's global initiative. Supporting this initiative, the PASS Board recently appointed three International Board Members: Rob Farley (Australia), James Rowland-Jones (UK), and Raoul Illyés (Denmark), also mentioned above as a new Regional Mentor. 
Furthering our efforts to support the international SQL Server community, PASS SQLRally Nordic will be held in Aronsborg, Sweden, November 8-9.
PASS Regional Mentors have extensive experience with the local and regional SQL Server Community and provide help and guidance to leaders of our local chapters worldwide. The Regional Mentors work closely with the PASS Community Team.
Please join me in welcoming Johan and Raoul as PASS Nordic Regional Mentors, and check out more information about PASS Regions and Chapters here.
-- Mark

Mark Ginnebaugh
PASS Director, Global Chapters

Dallas Hosting PASS SQLRally 2012

Congratulations to Dallas and the North Texas SQL Server User Group, which will be hosting PASS SQLRally 2012 next spring! PASS HQ and NTSSUG are currently working to nail down the event venue and dates – watch this blog, Twitter (hashtag #sqlrally), and the PASS Connector enewsletter for the latest updates.

The 2-day regional SQLRally event, filling the gap between SQLSaturdays and the weeklong Summit, debuted this year in Orlando to great reviews and lessons to share for future conferences. Good luck to NTSSUG – and other PASS chapters pitching in to help – as they strive to take SQLRally to the next level!

You can read more about PASS SQLRally 2012 and the site selection process at:

New and Familiar Faces at PASS HQ

The PASS HQ team is thrilled to announce the addition of two new team members to its core staff.
Karla Landrum—already well-known as a PASS volunteer extraordinaire— will join as our newest member starting on July 1. Karla’s passion and enthusiasm for the SQL Server community and PASS is unmatched. An active PASS Regional Mentor for the US Heartland region, Karla has been the lead organizer for 4 PASS SQLSaturdays, and she has volunteered at more than 15 other PASS-related events. Based in Orlando, FL, her role with PASS will focus on the community, managing the PASS Chapter and Regional Mentor programs along with the full roster of SQLSaturday events. Karla brings a true community insider’s perspective to the role, and we look forward to having her onboard. Karla, in her own words, is all set to “work hard, have fun, smile, and achieve success!”
Jumping into the new role of PASS Senior Executive Administrative Assistant during the recent Orlando, FL, PASS Board meetings, Michelle Nalliah has already proven herself to be indispensable. Based in Vancouver, BC, and working out of the PASS offices, Michelle manages all administrative duties and governance-related tasks for the PASS Board of Directors and HQ. She also assists the finance and operations teams where required. Michelle has 7 years of administrative experience and comes to us most recently from the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. We are delighted to have her as part of the team and have no doubt her organizational skills will be a great asset to PASS and the community.
Karla and Michelle are joining a strong team of individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to help PASS and its members to connect, share, and learn. And starting next month, you can learn more about each PASS HQ member through a new “PASS Staff” highlight feature in the PASS Connector newsletter.
In the meantime, please extend a warm welcome to Karla and Michelle and feel free to drop me a line with any questions or comments.

PASS: The Legal Stuff

[cross-posted from Bill Graziano's blog at]

I wanted to give a little background on the legal status of PASS.  The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) is an American corporation chartered in the state of Illinois.  In America a corporation has to be chartered in a particular state.  It has to abide by the laws of that state and potentially pay taxes to that state.  Our bylaws and actions have to comply with Illinois state law and United States law.  We maintain a mailing address in Chicago, Illinois but our headquarters is currently in Vancouver, Canada.

We have roughly a dozen people that work in our Vancouver headquarters and 4-5 more that work remotely on various projects.  These aren’t employees of PASS.  They are employed by a management company that we hire to run the day to day operations of the organization.  I’ll have more on this arrangement in a future post.

PASS is a non-profit corporation.  The term non-profit and not-for-profit are used interchangeably.  In a for-profit corporation (or LLC) there are owners that are entitled to the profits of a company.  In a non-profit there are no owners.  As a non-profit, all the money earned by the organization must be retained or spent.  There is no money that flows out to shareholders, owners or the board of directors.  Any money not spent in furtherance of our mission is retained as financial reserves.

Many non-profits apply for tax exempt status.  Being tax exempt means that an organization doesn’t pay taxes on its profits.  There are a variety of laws governing who can be tax exempt in the United States.  There are many professional associations that are tax exempt however PASS isn’t tax exempt.  Because our mission revolves around the software of a single company we aren’t eligible for tax exempt status.

PASS was founded in the late 1990’s by Microsoft and Platinum Technologies.  Platinum was later purchased by Computer Associates. As the founding partners Microsoft and CA each have two seats on the Board of Directors.  The other six directors and three officers are elected as specified in our bylaws.

As a non-profit, our bylaws layout our governing practices.  They must conform to Illinois and United States law.  These bylaws specify that PASS is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership with two members each from Microsoft and CA.  You can find our bylaws as well as a proposed update to them on the governance page of the PASS web site.

The last point that I’d like to make is that PASS is completely self-funded.  All of our $4 million in revenue comes from conference registrations, sponsorships and advertising.  We don’t receive any money from anyone outside those channels.  While we work closely with Microsoft we are independent of them and only derive a very small percentage of our revenue from them.

PASS Resources Revealed

[cross-posted from Allen Kinsel's blog at]

What has PASS been up to?

Ever find yourself with tons of extra time just looking for something to dig through?

yeah, me neither… But, I do make it a point to go out and read through lots of PASS documents regularly.  Sure, Some of those documents are not for public consumption but, a large portion of them are available for any PASS Member to view.  Almost all of them will require you to be logged in to the PASS site.

A good starting point is the PASS Governance Page <- lots of good stuff hides on this page, Im working on getting this page removed from behind the login wall

PASS BOD Meeting Minutes are posted on the left hand side

The Feb 2011 Minutes are here

  • Good discussions in here about Globalization of PASS, especially revolving around events

The Jan 2011 Minutes are here

  • This was an in-person meeting and there is a literal ton of info in here.  Highlights are  globalization, Summit 2011 Planning, Summit 2010 Post mortem, 5 Year plans, Bylaw Changes

PASS Monthly Reports are found in the middle on the left

These are gems that reveal the day to day inner workings of the BOD and HQ

The Feb report should be posted in the next day or 2

The Jan report however, is here

  • In here You’ll find things about Chapters, IT Projects, Marketing initiatives, ERC info, Sponsorship Sales, Summit Program, SQLRally, Gloablization, etc

The Dec report is here

  • This one contains things like Chapter info, HQ Finance, IT Projects, Marketing, Summit, Rally, 24hop, SQL Saturday,

The budget for PASS is included at the bottom of the governance page

2011 Budget is here

  • Wanna know where the money is supposed to be coming from, and where its supposed to be going?  this is where to look.
  • Side note: Im going to check into where the 2010 audited financials are, they should be available by now.

The SQL Rally has posted all of the planning meeting notes posted here

  • There is tons of good stuff in here, its especially interesting to me to watch the minutes back and forth dealing with very familiar problems as what I’ve seen in the Summit program group.
  • Wanna know how many attendees are registered so far for the Rally? yup its in there. Wanna know how many are in Precons?  yup its in there too

We (PASS Program) started posting meeting minutes near the lower left side of this page

  • I have written about these minutes before
  • Good information in here about many new changes that are being considered by the Program Committee
  • Essentially It says that I’m not getting nearly enough done for the program committee lately.  I need to work on that!


  • Im including this here because lost of good stuff gets posted here but, for me I can only find it since its in my RSS Reader.

In Summary, PASS releases a ton of information about what its doing.  The problem with this is two-fold, one its a ton of information.  Two, the information is spread out all over the place and is often difficult to find on the site using conventional browsing methods so I hope this helps

SQLSaturday Round-Up (Feb. 17-23)

(This is Round 13 of PASS's weekly round-up of SQLSaturday recaps. PASS community bloggers love their SQLSaturdays, and they love to tell everyone about their experiences, so who are we not to share that love?)

Last week, PASS SQLSaturday headed for the desert to bring free SQL training to the people of Phoenix.

As usual, the event's organizers did a stellar job! We're not even sure they should put the word "Phoenix" in the next event they hold there -- given the success of SQLSaturday #47, there won't be any ashes to rise from, just successes to build on.

(That is one mesmerizing night sky. Was this the after-party?)

For those of you on Twitter, follow @sqlpass and make sure to check out the #sqlsat and #sqlsaturday hashtags to stay up to date. Besides attendance at free learning events, there are many speaking and sponsorship opportunities available.


+ Colin Smith presented at SQLSaturday #47, Phoenix

+ Bill Ramos presented at SQLSaturday #47, Phoenix


This week SQLSaturday #65 stops in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, for the Vancouver get-together - if you're heading that way, make sure to say hi to all the PASS HQ team members stopping by! On Mar. 5, the City of Brotherly Love opens its arms wide for SQLSaturday #69, Philadelphia. And on Mar. 19, the event makes a pit-stop in Columbia, SC, for SQLSaturday #70.


Things are somewhat quiet on the SQLSaturday front this week. The organizers of SQLSaturday #67, Chicago, are planning a pre-conference session. Take a look! 

A hot topic of discussion this past week has centered around the question, "What Should PASS Be?" SQLSaturday is a key part of PASS's future vision - definitely some interesting points to be found here. Make sure to have your say!

Want to attend or speak at a SQLSaturday? Check out the SQLSaturday website or "Upcoming In-Person Events" on the PASS Home page for upcoming dates near you.

Want to put on your own SQLSaturday? Click here to get started.

What Should PASS Be? I Challenge You

[cross-posted from Andy's blog at]

PASS isn’t what it should be. I hear that a lot, and in many ways I agree with you. We’re finally growing and evolving, but we’re still far from what I think most of you expect from a true professional association.


I’m not sure you or I have realistic expectations. So I want to challenge you. Draw an image of what you want PASS to be in 3 years and share it on your blog (or post a comment here if you don’t have a blog). Imagine we just hired you to be CEO of PASS and you were going to “fix” things, what would you do? What’s your vision for providing benefits to chapters or members, or for growing membership, or for global growth, or whatever areas you think are badly served right now?

Maybe I just don’t have the vision – I’m limited by my own biases and experiences – but I’d really like for PASS to be what you want it to be. An organization that serves you, excites you, makes you proud to be part of it, proud to support it, and willing to challenge it if it steps off track.

Maybe it’s a paragraph, maybe it’s a thousand words, but I hope you’ll write something. We’ve got several hundred bloggers in the SQL space, and a whole lot of members. What you write may not change the world, but maybe it will.