SQL Server and Other Topics


I got my start with SQL Server in 1997 with SQL Server 6.5 at BellSouth Cellular. From that point on I've had the opportunity to work on Versions 6.0 to 2014. I specialize in Performance Tuning, High Availability and SQL Development. Contact me through this site or through my Twitter handle @SQLDiver

Wow, so unexpected to get the same session picked twice in a row.

 I submitted multiple sessions this year with the expectation of one or two of the others being chosen. 

I'm truly honored to be chosen again to submit at the PASS Summit, but also humbled with so many of my close friends missing the cut. Several of my closest friends have been speaking for awhile at SQLSaturdays and besides lighting talks haven't been chosen over the past 5 years. I pray every year that they get picked.

I have a lot of work to do on the presentation, as I have a lot of ideas I want to implement from all of the times I have presented it. Every time I present the session I find another thing I can do to improve it... every time. It is definitely a great learning process as I see the expressions on the attendees faces and the questions asked.

 I hope it goes as well as last year! See everyone there!

Early 2015 I submitted one of my favorite sessions, "Execution Plans for Mere Mortals", that I present at SQL Saturdays. At that time I had presented it 3 times so I had a jump start on what to expect. This is a session for beginners to give them a jump start on how to read and understand what is important about graphical execution plans. 

I've read through Grant Fritchey's book, SQL Server Execution Plans, Second Edition  and Benjamin Nevarez's book Inside the SQL Server Query Optimizer, multiple times. I had to crack out the books to make sure I worded everything correctly and didn't miss anything important. 

Both of these books are phenomenal reads, and are valuable resources for reading execution plans. 

Grant, in the photo on the right, responds to me saying "my execution plans session is better than yours". Just Kidding.

I presented "Execution Plans for Mere Mortals" eight times before I was to present at PASS Summit 2015, from January 17th, 2015 to October 24th, 2015. I was able to fine tune and improve every time I presented, even improving it the day I was to present at Summit 2015, Friday, October 30th at 3:30 PM.

My only fear was my time slot and location. My room was in The Conference Center (TCC)... I call it the annex, because it was so far from the main conference hall. I was presenting the last day and the last session of the day. Certainly everyone is going to be gone by this time? I'm betting on only a handful of attendees for my session.

Boy was I pleasantly surprised when people started pouring in 15 minutes prior to my start time and kept coming until minutes after I started. Even more surprising was when Hugo Kornelis came in and sat in the front row. Hugo is well know for his knowledge about SQL Server internals especially execution plans. Although this made me a little apprehensive, it also was a great opportunity to get expert feedback. I stopped counting attendees close to 60... so off to a great start! 

My presentation can be found here -> "Execution Plans for Mere Mortals"

Having a microphone attached to my body was a little disconcerting due to how loud it was so I had the crew adjust the microphone. It worked well to get some laughs. 

The presentation went fairly smoothly, some very good questions were asked as I was presenting, and there were a few I had to think about, always scary. I had a lot of attendee participation which was exciting. My timing was really good as I finished right on time, kudos to PowerPoint's time tracking. 

As it wrapped up, I had a line in front of the podium wanting business cards and Pluralsight cards, gave away half of my box of Linchpin People business cards... too awesome.

All in all, lessons learned, don't worry about location and time, people will show up if the topic is an excellent topic. Make sure you get plenty of rest (I did). Remember to restate the question being asked so everyone hears it (or get a microphone for the crowd. Ask a friend to take pictures ... I don't have any good photos of my speaking at Summit. :(

I have more work based upon some feedback from Hugo, and I'm planning on putting together an advanced session on Execution Plans.


Every year PASS has elections for board members to determine who the next directors will be. Being on the board requires a time commitment many are unable to commit to. There are a few who are willing to give up a large chunk of their time to serve the PASS members. We should all applaud the volunteers who take up the calling to help improve the entity us database professionals owe so much to.

 This year two of my friends have been nominated and are fully qualified for this position:

Ryan Adams

Ryan is one of my colleagues at Linchpin People who I have been following and learning from for years (prior to Linchpin People). The folloRyan Adamswing are the top reasons I am voting for Ryan for the PASS Board of Directors:

  1. Ryan is a natural leader with professional experience as a leader.
  2. Ryan is very active in the SQL Server community, being a leader in his local chapter the "North Texas SQL Server User Group", an organizer of SQLRally, president of the Performance Tuning Virtual chapter, member of the PASS Summit program committee, etc. etc. In other words, he's been deeply involved for many years.
  3.  Performance Palooza, do I need to say more?
  4. He's also an active member of his community volunteering for a great program "Watch D.O.G.S" at his kids school.

I aspire to be as involved and impactful as Ryan has been to so many people.

Argenis Fernandez

I've known Argenis for several years. He's one of the guys who will remember your name, give all #SQLFamily members hugs when he sees them and spread his infectious positiveness to all around him.

 Argenis FernandezWhen I had a question that needed answered, he didn't hesitate to give me his mobile phone number to call and talk about it.

Argenis is passionate about helping others, and doing what he can to improve the lives of others when he can. He seems to be involved in everything and has great opinions about many things including PASS.


I know that all of  the candidates would be excellent choices, but for the reasons described above and the fact that I trust the honesty and integrity of both of these guys completely and expect that the PASS organization will be very stronger with them as PASS Directors you should seriously consider them (no, just vote for them).





Friday I was notified that my "Execution Plans for Mere Mortals" was chosen for PASS Summit 2015. I've been presenting this session for over a year at many SQL Saturdays, and expect to present it and fine tune it at 3 - 4 more SQLSaturdays prior to Summit.

This will be my first time presenting at a PASS Summit, so I'm very excited and humbled to be on the speaker list.

Session Details