PASS Connector Editorial for Nov. 18 - Summit Highlights

PASS Summit 2009 is now over but still looms large in my thoughts. What a terrific week. Attending the Summit is such an immersive experience: so many people to connect with, unfettered access to Microsoft, non-stop learning opportunities and such a great spirit of camaraderie that surrounds the conference. It makes it hard to get back to life in the office again.

This was, by all accounts, one of the best Summits in recent memory. There are so many highlights to share, but here are a few of the standouts.

We had over 3000 total registrations—2232 attendees and 807 pre/post-con attendees. That’s only a 9% drop from our record year in 2008. Given the economy and how other conferences have experienced 30% to 40% drops, I’m really impressed. Our community obviously sees an incredible amount of value in PASS and the Summit.

The networking opportunities available at Summit were plentiful–and it sounds like lots of people took advantage of them. Over 70 people attended the Don Gabor networking workshop, including myself. I’m hoping most attendees accessed the available Microsoft resources: the CSS and SQLCAT teams were out in full force as well as the “Ask the Experts” folks. Birds-of-a-Feather/WIT/Chapter luncheons, the Exhibit Hall, the receptions, coffee breaks, etc., were also prime opportunities to meet new people.

Social media also took center stage at this year’s event. Representatives at our blogger table worked fast and furious to share their keynote musings through Twitter. Many others tweeted and blogged and shared their pictures of the conference as well—thank you! Not only did attendees get to share their experiences, but it helped non-attendees feel like they were participating in the Summit too.

And if the #sqlpass chatter was any indication, David DeWitt’s keynote on Day 3 was hands down the favorite of the conference. We’ll do our best to bring him back for next year.

With over 160 sessions to choose from, content was king at Summit. In fact, there were so many great sessions that most people had a tough time choosing which ones to go to. That’s why we have the conference DVD available for sale–so you can catch up on the sessions you may have missed. You can also download the session presentations from the LiveSummit site here.

A particular highlight of the week for me was the tribute to Immediate Past President Kevin Kline, who is leaving the board of directors and received a special Lifetime Achievement PASSion award to a standing ovation. In PASS's 10 years of existence, the organization has never known a time when Kevin Kline wasn't on the board of directors. PASS President Wayne Snyder’s heartfelt dedication of Kevin’s award was moving. Well deserved, Kevin.

Congratulations as well to all our great volunteers who put in long hours before and during Summit to make it a big success.

A special shout out to all our sponsors; PASS Summit would not be possible without the support of Microsoft, DELL, EMC, Expressor, HP, VMWare, Idera, and CA as well as our media partners and over 35  exhibitors. And Microsoft, we’d sure love another Gameworks party again next year—thanks for a fun night.

And last but not least, thanks to all of you in the community who attended and participated in PASS Summit 2009. We look forward to seeing you again next year!
 

Andy Warren