This month's T-SQL Tuesday event is hosted by RealSQLGuy, whose blog has the supremely appropriate tag line "Helping You To Become A SQL Hero."
I was challenged by Aaron Bertrand (T|B) to participate in this T-SQL Tuesday, and quite frankly I said yes before thinking it through. Sadly, this isn't the first time I've done that and it probably won't be the last. Nonetheless my Dad instilled in me the value of honoring my commitments, so there's no backing out.
What's in a name?
To me, hero is a strong word that describes selfless individuals willing to put themselves in dangerous, possibly life-threatening situations to help others, as well as people committed to a life of service. Firefighters, combat veterans, individuals bringing comfort, aid, and support to the poor, the afflicted, the terminally ill and others are my idea of heroes.
As an example, I have friends in the Atlanta area who run a non-profit organization focused on bringing clean water, schools and clinics to the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere in Haiti. They have been doing this for years, long before the devastating earthquake of 2010. At great personal expense, and more than a little physical risk they have dedicated themselves to bettering the lives of the desperately poor. Coincidentally, their non-profit is named Health and Education Relief Organization, or HERO for short. I invite you to learn more about their work here.
Folks I Admire Professionally
My prior comments notwithstanding, there are several individuals I have worked with and worked for who I admire tremendously. Each of them exhibited skills and characteristics that I lacked. Working with these people on a regular basis motivated me to learn more and be more.
Andy Oppel – I met Andy in the late 1990's, early 2000's when we worked together at Ceridian. My data background at that point was predominately focused on data modeling and database design. I had enough experience to be fairly confident in what I knew, how to explain it and how to employ it. Yet Andy showed me what a true data modeler and data architect is. He can deftly guide developers and users to new understandings of their own data while constructing a robust, practical and technically accurate data model. Andy is also the author of several books, including Databases: A Beginner's Guide, Data Modeling: A Beginner's Guide, and SQL: A Beginner's Guide.
Sean Stewart – Sean was my boss at Telular. As Director of Software Development he was, and is, an excellent developer well grounded in writing good code. But perhaps more importantly he knows how to consistently get great results from a small, overworked development team. As the lone DBA on the team for a couple of years, I could have been shut out of much of the development process. Sean didn't allow that to happen. He made sure database design, code, performance, and maintainability were integral to every development effort. Sean was also cool in a crisis, and we shared more than a few of those. He never panicked or became agitated, which allowed me to do my job more effectively. His demeanor under pressure reassured upper management that the situation was in good hands and a resolution was just around the corner.
Greg Gonzalez (T|B) – This is dangerous territory here, but I'm diving in anyway. I first met Greg when he and Brooke Philpott (T|B) came onsite at Ceridian to install a very early release of SQL Sentry Event Manager. Our environment presented some challenges, so Greg and Brooke just sat down and rewrote code to make it work. What software vendor does that?! Later this month marks my 3 year anniversary at SQL Sentry. Yep, 7 years as a customer convinced me I wanted to work for this amazing company, and Greg was a major factor in that decision. His technical knowledge and attention to detail is remarkable. His ability to use those qualities to architect and implement his vision for a complex product like SQL Sentry is something I will never be able to emulate, but it's a lot of fun to be a part of. Lastly, and to me most importantly, Greg is a generous person. He and Ken Teeter have created a company that treats its employees with respect and generosity, making this a great place to work.