#SQLVacation Postcard from Louisville, KY

 

KevinEKline.com SQLVacation Louisville Postcard

Along the banks of the mighty Ohio River, in sight of the shores of Indiana, lies beautiful Louisville, KY. Louisville is a place with a strong connection for me. (No, not because I drink bourbon, although that’s a pretty good reason to like the place, come to think of it). It’s because my brother, five years my senior, earned his graduate degrees in one of the city’s fine universities and worked there as an English professor for many years. Whenever I had a spare weekend, I’d load up the family, pop a cassette into the car stereo, and make the ~3 hour trip north to the Bluegrass State to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and nephews. Good times for sure.

KevinEKline.com SQLVacation 02

Even after my brother relocated to Anchorage, Alaska (It’s a long story, trust me), I still visited Louisville at least once a year for their annual SQL Saturday. In fact, this year was the first year I’ve ever missed the event. And that’s only because I knew I’d be there for this event!

It’s well known that Clark Griswold is a big fan of every bit of kitschy Americana on his family vacations. Some fun things we’re going to try to see for our #SQLVacation include: 95% of the world’s bourbon whiskey is made in the state, as are 90% of the disco balls sold in the USA. Over 100,000 mint juleps are served during the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oats events. The world’s largest baseball bat (120 feet tall!) is the replica of Babe Ruth’s 34-inch Louisville Slugger bat weighing in at 68,000 pounds, is made of steel, stands 120 feet tall and is located at Louisville Slugger MuseumGQ magazine ranks Louisville as the ‘Manliest City’ because of bourbon, baseball, and horse racing.

If you’re in the area and are interested in hearing my presentation, then be there early. They’ve already got a “sell out” crowd. I’ll be there around 11:00 AM for an 11:30 AM starting time. The topic is going to be decided there by a show of hands. It’s a toss-up between (click the link to download the slides):

KevinEKline.com SQLVacation Dave FacklerSo let’s get to know the city even better by talking with Dave Fackler, the lead for the Louisville SQL Server user group (a.k.a. a PASS chapter) (Dave’s responses are in italics):

  • When did you begin your professional career? I started working as a computer programmer in the US Air Force in 1989, working primarily with Unix and mainframe systems.  I started working with SQL Server in 1998 with the release of SQL Server 7.0 and became addicted to the BI tools – and that addiction continues today J
  • What’s a normal day at work like for you? As a consultant to the Department of Veterans Affairs, I spend most of my time helping the Business Intelligence Service Line there expand, develop, and support the VA’s enterprise data warehouse environment.  As the Chief Technical Architect for that group, I help strategize on the overall architecture and design of the business intelligence infrastructure, make recommendations on tooling choices, help other teams throughout the VA who are building data mart and reporting solutions based on the data warehouse environment, etc. Given that I telework 100%, I also spend a lot of time on the phone and on Microsoft Skype calls!
  • When did you come to Louisville? I grew up outside of Louisville in a small farming community, went away to college at Vanderbilt in Nashville in 1985, served in the US Air Force until 1997, worked for a consulting firm in Atlanta until 2005, and then returned home to build a house on my Dad’s farm.  So I’ve come full circle and am VERY glad to be back in the Louisville area.
  • When and why did you decide to help as a volunteer leader? I helped to start the Atlanta SQL Server Users Group back in 2001 (and even gave the first ever presentation for the group, which can still be found here. So I was very familiar with leading a local PASS chapter when the prior leader of the Louisville group (Mala Mahadevan) needed to turn over the group to someone in late 2013.  I really enjoy leading the group, seeing SQL Server professionals in Louisville network together and learn, and meeting other chapter leaders and volunteers across the country and around the world!
  • What is the IT community like there? The IT community within Louisville is a great mix of “old and new”.  We have a lot of companies that have called Louisville home for a very long time – particularly in the healthcare, automotive, and manufacturing sectors.  SQL Server professionals in those companies are focused on maintaining their systems, developing in-house database solutions, and dealing with third-party ERP and EHR systems. On the other hand, we have several cutting-edge technology companies that are helping to “modernize” the IT community through groups like the Technology Association of Louisville Kentucky (TALK) and events like TechFest Louisville.  So Louisville is a great place to be for technologists and SQL Server professionals of all backgrounds and levels of experience.
  • What do you like about your city? What you recommend someone do there, if they came to town on their own #sqlvacation? Louisville is a great place to visit!  Of course, anyone coming can start with the classics like the Derby Museum at Churchill Downs (or even the Derby itself, if you plan your trip for early May), Slugger Museum & Factory, the Muhammad Ali Center, the Frazier History Museum, and the Kentucky Science Center (check out the KentuckyShow! which provides a “Kentucky 101” lesson narrated by Ashley Judd).  Beyond that, Louisville has a wealth of green spaces and parks along with a growing list of culinary delights (led by a group of independent restaurants known as the Louisville Originals).  And you can’t really come to Louisville and Kentucky without at least considering a trip to some of our most famous distilleries (check out the Kentucky Bourbon Trail) or at least a few of our world-famous bourbon bars (take a look at the Louisville Urban Bourbon Trail for distilleries IN the city).  And finally, for the more adventurous visitors, take a shot at the MEGA attractions at the underground MEGA Cavern.  There’s lots to do in Louisville!!
  • Where can I find out more about the user group? The email address is louisville@sqlpass.org. And our website is at http://louisville.sqlpass.org. We’re also active on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Come join us!
  • How can we get in touch with you for further questions?  Easy. My email is davef@rollinghillsky.com. And you can connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

How about you, dear reader? Have you ever visited Louisville, KY as a tourist? Tell us about it using the #SQLVacation hashtag on social media! If you’ve entered the contest, every #SQLVacation tweet or post you put out is a raffle entry! One in every 25 entries wins, so get in there and share your #SQLVacation with the community.

-Kev

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