Richmond, even though the capital of Virginia, is only the fourth most populous Virginian city. Located at the fall line of the James River and just 98 miles south of D.C., Richmond is home to one of 12 Federal Reserve Banks, one of 13 United States courts of appeals. It makes sense when you learn their economy is primarily driven by law, finance, and government. Richmond is full of history, Patrick Henry's famous "Give me liberty or give me death" speech was made in Richmond's St. John's Church. There are also many museums to visit; such as, the science museum, the holocaust museum, and the Old Dominion railway Museum. Hollywood Cemetery is the burial grounds of two U.S. Presidents as well as many Civil War officers and soldiers. Walk around and you’re sure to see at least one of the cities many monuments.
Chat on, Chacon
Carlos Chacon is dynamic figure who has helped to influence the SQL community in Virginia.
When did you begin your professional career?
I had a few internships before I graduated from college, but my first full time job started in 2002
What’s a normal week at work like for you?
As an entrepreneur, I am not sure there is a normal week. Like most, I try to balance work that will help move things forward with things that pop-up and want my attention now. We make time for our podcast each week and try to make sure everything is ready to publish each Wednesday.
What was your first IT or computer project that added value? (For example, something that was not a part of school assignment or a learning project)
Putting in a backup routine for the very first databases I was responsible for. It was a combination of a maintenance plan and a script because I could not figure out how to remove old backups.
What sort of career do you think you’d pursue today if you hadn’t chose IT?
I knew in High school I would be in IT in some form, although I did start out as a business major in college. If I had to do it again, I would have started being an entrepreneur sooner. While I have a technical focus, the things you need to know as an entrepreneur are not technical.
When did you come to the area?
I moved to Richmond just before my junior year of high school in 1993 and graduate from Mills Godwin here in Richmond. I went to college out west and was in Argentina on a mission for two years, but have been back since 2002. My wife is from the west coast and I did not think we would be here more than a couple of years, but we have enjoyed living in this area.
What caused you to decide to help as a volunteer leader?
I attended my first SQL Saturday in Philadelphia PA and thought we should do one in Richmond. I just happened to be speaking in Richmond the month after I went to the SQLSaturday and brought up the subject during the meeting. The UG leaders said—why don’t you plan it? The rest, as they say, is history.
What is the IT community like in your town?
This is a tough question, because I am only part of a tiny sliver of it. I know there are user groups for many technologies and we have good corporate sponsorship. We have a new mayor in Richmond and his is committed to increasing the city’s technical footprint. Through the local tech council, he is spearheading a large tech week at the end of the month with what he hopes to be the biggest hackathon ever.
What do you enjoy doing in the area?
Virginia history and US history go hand in hand and there are so many significant historical events to take place very near here. Richmond is a big small city. At a population of about a million including the surrounding area, we have a variety of restaurants, entertainment, culture and events without having all the hassles and cost of a larger city. Richmond is also called the river city as the James river divides the city so the ability to have water recreation so close to the city is also very nice.
What do you recommend visitors to your town do on their own #sqlvacation?
If you are here on a business day, you should go to the observation deck in city hall downtown. If you like history, tour of the state capital and the valentine museum are a must. Jackson ward and the black history museum is also very good. For window shopping or city walking Cary town is spot to go to. Strolling along the river canal is great way to walk off a big lunch in ‘the bottom’.
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