Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Community Down South

When I attended SQLSaturday #17 in Baton Rouge, I had no idea who I would see there. There was only one person I knew that was going to attend, so it was an all new experience for me. I've never been to the area, and knew I would meet a bunch of new people.

It's the deep south, a city tucked up above New Orleans, and I have to say it was beautiful. However as I met people, the leader of the group down there, Patrick LeBlanc, really stood out to me. I was surprised by his passion and by his dedication to pushing education out to others.

On Friday night, we had the speaker's event, where a number of volunteers and speakers attended, getting the chance to talk with each other, and share some experiences. As we talked about our jobs, things that made us laugh, things that frustrated us, I was kind of amazed to hear about how much Patrick does for the community down there.

He presents on a regular basis for the user group. Not too many people have volunteered, so he leads meetings, and often digs in to come up with something to present to others. He runs lunchtime Livemeeting events to help those learn that can't come to the in-person meetings. He even taught a course at a local college while working on his own advanced degree.

A lot of things to help others, at times getting frustrated, but never thinking of quitting all these volunteer efforts. He never even mentioned getting benefits back, not even an MVP award from Microsoft. Until someone else mentioned it, I wouldn't have even guessed Patrick knew about it.

Over the weekend, watching him work the event, getting things organized, taking up the slack where needed, even giving an extra presentation when someone cancelled, it really inspired me.

I was so inspired by Patrick's work with the community, and it motivated me to push forward and set up an event in Denver. I've been talking about it, trying to get someone else to run it, but I finally started to push a little after coming back from the event.

A good person, and someone making the world a better place. Patrick LeBlanc is one of those people giving me hope for the world.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Community Man

Recently I was in Richmond, VA for a user group meeting. I had a presentation scheduled for the SQL and .NET groups, who held a combined meeting because I was in town. Thanks to them for that, and I had a great time meeting people and I think they liked the presentation.

However, earlier in the day I had lunch with Andy Leonard. Andy has been a friend for a few years, mostly through our online communications (email, IM, and lately Twitter). You can follow him at @Andy_Leonard and he has a blog at VS Team Systems. He's one of my "go-to" SSIS guys for issues with that subsystem.

We had a long lunch, talking about various things, but one thing stood out to me. He loves the community.

Besides enjoying his work, besides caring for his family, Andy has a great time just helping the community. He's not looking for anything to come back to him, no payment, no great recognition, but he just enjoys helping people.

I know that Andy is awarded his MVP recognition in part because of this, but I get the feeling he'd be doing it even if he didn't get that.

With so many people seeming like they have an agenda, this was refreshing to me.