#SQLVacation and the Gateway to the West

KevinEKline.com St Louis postcard

The Griswolds had an experience they’ll never forget in St. Louis. And we’ve had ours too, but in a very good way. We’d vacationed in St. Louis two years ago and had a great time. We’ve seen the sights, gotten the pictures, and have the t-Shirts. I still love to see the big, iconic Gateway Arch though. In fact, I’m pretty much old news in St. Louis having spoken at their SQL Server user group several times over the years.

KevinEKline.com SQLVacation clark griswold 01

They’ve set a grueling pace for me at this meeting, asking for 3 out of my 4 roadtrip presentations along with a vendor presentation to talk about SQL Sentry’s tools. Here are the details:

St. Louis SQL Server User Group Meeting
June 23rd 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm CST, Vendor Presentation 4:15 pm- 5:00 pm
Lync meeting at https://join.microsoft.com/meet/ehendrix/VN8FCP1Q or join by phone +13149941870 (USA, Saint Louis) English (United States), Conference ID: 41053818
Register to attend HERE.
Location: Microsoft St. Louis Office, Three City Place Drive, Suite 1100, St. Louis, MO  63141.  Parking is in the garage behind / next to the building. There is an entrance to the building from the 2nd floor in the garage.Agenda
12:30    Registration – Lunch Provided – Covenant Technology Partners
13:00    (me) Ten Query Tuning Techniques Every SQL Programmer Should Know
14:00    (me)  Top 10 DBA Mistakes on SQL Server
15:00    (me)  End-to-End Troubleshooting Checklist for Microsoft SQL Server
16:00    Raffle Drawing: Apress, Wrox, McGraw-Hill, Murach, Wiley, O’Reilly/Msft Books and more!
16:15      Vendor Presentation – Kevin Kline,  SQL Sentry

I’m not exactly sure how we’ll pull this off without bathroom breaks and no time for questions, since they’re all 1-hour presentations. So we’ll just have to play it by ear.
Now, let’s hear a little bit about the St. Louis SQL Server user group and their leader, Julie Bloomquist:
  • St Louis Magic HouseWhen did you begin your professional career?  I was fortunate to get a great job offer right out of college from Chevron in San Francisco.  It was my first time living outside of St. Louis and it was a wonderful experience in a fantastic city.  I started out as a programmer was promoted to a analyst.  (Ok, I’ll date myself… We all wore suits with big shoulder pads.) I’ve always worked in IT.  I first started working with SQL Server with Version 6.5 and I was thrilled when Version 7 came out with all of its improvements.
  • What’s a normal day at work like for you? I start with reflective prayer!  “Please let all last night’s backups work.” After that I take a big sigh and read through the current work tickets to decipher how many claimed emergencies are really emergencies.  Then I check emails. If yours isn’t in the top 100, you lose. Next, I scroll through my “To Do” list and try to convince myself I can actually get something checked off. Wishful thinking. Eventually I install SQL Server on new servers and configure. Test AG failover, backups jobs and restore testing. Set up new SQL Server jobs, grant permissions and general DBA activities. I’m still in a more reactive role. Unfortunately, I’m also involved with our SQL Licensing and Microsoft negotiations. Fun stuff. Oh wait, some of my “normal” days start with a 3AM wake-up call. But we’ve all been there, haven’t we!
  • When did you come to St. Louis? I’m a native St Louisian. I did an early stint in San Francisco, then came back to the Midwest to be close to family.
  • When and why did you decide to help as a volunteer leader? I was originally a DB2 DBA and a Co-Chairman of the St. Louis DB2 User Group. When I moved over to SQL Server I looked for a local chapter and discovered it was defunct. I contacted Microsoft and they assigned a SQL technical liaison to assist me with starting up the St. Louis SQL User Group.  Microsoft offered the meeting room and, at first, the speakers. They also assisted with getting the word out about the user group. That was back in 2003 and I’m still involved as a Co-Chairman. It has been a great way to meet the SQL community in the St. Louis area. We were able to get associated with PASS and broaden our groups horizons. STLSSUG grew and we spun off the St. Louis BI User Group. Where we were once quarterly meetings there is now a meeting every month, with times varying between afternoons and evenings. By creating relationships at PASS we have been able to bring in top national speakers to our local meeting. We also assist with the St. Louis SQL Saturday. Getting members involved in the group has been very rewarding.
  • st louis 10-story slideWhat is the IT community like there? Very diverse! Our members are from large and small companies. We’ve got members from all industries – Healthcare, Brokerage, Retail, Manufacturing, Research, Universities, Justice Department, Consulting Firms, Rental Car, Aero Space, Legal and more. 
  • What do you like about St. Louis? We have everything from A (Anheuser-Bush) to Z (one of the best rated Zoos in the country). The majority of the venues are free and it is a great place to visit even if you are on a tight budget. We also have a top symphony, huge botanical garden, first-run musical theater, great sporting events and excellent Jazz venues.
  • What you recommend someone do there, if they came to town on their own #sqlvacation? Visit Forest Park, one of the largest city parks in the nation. Within the park you can visit the Zoo, Science Center, Art Museum, History Museum or just paddle a boat around the lake and enjoy the scenery. Don’t forget to make a trip downtown to the Gateway Arch or take in a Cardinals baseball game. If you have kids, the City Museum and the Magic House are very unique and not to be missed. Adults might enjoy the Anheuser-Busch brewery tour and free sampling. Do it twice! Foodies can enjoy “The Hill” for authentic Italian cuisine and some famous Ted Drewes frozen custard for dessert. And while we might not have Walley World, Six Flags close by!
  • St Louis ABB ToursWhat do you and your family enjoy doing? You can usually find my husband and me doting on our dog Sparky and walking through the many historic neighborhoods.We enjoy the classic architecture, landscaped lawns and many parks St. Louis has to offer. We go to St. Louis Symphony concerts and the historic Fox theater whenever possible. As an avid gardener I frequent the Missouri Botanical Garden for inspiration and enjoy caring for my many Bonsai trees at home.

If you’re in the St. Louis area be sure to come to the next user group meeting! Your career will thank you. And while you’re at it, be sure to join PASS, the worldwide community of SQL Server and data management professionals of which the St. Louis group is a local chapter.


  1. Great sessions yesterday in St. Louis, glad that table variables still make the top 10 bad things to do. Have a 3rd party app that uses them all over that cause me major headaches so I rewrote to use temp tables. All performance issues related disappeared instantly

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