SQLVacation Postcard Day 5: Springfield, IL


In the movie, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Clark and Ellen Griswold decide to lead their family, including the kids Rusty and Audrey, on a cross-country expedition from the Chicago area to the Los Angeles amusement park Walley World, touted as “America’s Favorite Family Fun Park.” Ellen sensibly wants to fly, but Clark wants to bond with his family over the course of a long road trip.

Cousin Eddie 01

Clark: So, this is the ol’ homestead.

Eddie: Yeah, but I don’t know for how long? Bank’s been on me like flies on a rib roast.

Clark: I know the feeling.

Eddie: Enough ’bout my problems. Hell, looks like you could use a cold one.

Clark: Now, you’re talking Eddie! (Eddie drinks from an open can, passes it to Clark, then opens a fresh beer and begins to chug.)

In my version of the vacation , we’re stop in Springfield, IL (a place we’ve never been before) instead of the Griswold’s stop in Kansas to visit Ellen’s cousin Catherine and her husband Eddie. I’m just hoping nobody foists their cranky Aunt Edna or their mean dog Dinky on us. But if we do have to deal with add-on travelers, we’re dropping them off at Lori Edwards (b |t) place in Tucson instead of Edna’s son’s Normy’s home in Phoenix.


Not only the Man who Preserved the Union, but also an evidently talented vampire hunter.

Springfield is a lovely town, serving as the state capital and also a well-known tourist destination since it is the birth place of Abraham Lincoln. Set in lush and bucolic southern IL, it is surrounded by miles of rolling hills and verdant, well-tended farms. The kids will be enjoying some #SQLVacation time seeing the Lincoln-related tourist attractions today while I’m speaking at the local SQL Server users group of PASS, led by Patrick Brewer.

At tonight’s meeting at the lovely Island Bay Yacht Club, I’ll be presenting two sessions: End-to-End Troubleshooting Checklist for Microsoft SQL Server and Top 10 DBA Mistakes. (You can download the slides now on SlideShare). Let’s get to know Patrick and the Central Illinois SQL Server user group a little better!

  • When did you begin your professional career? I started in 1996 SQL Server 4.21 converting to SQL Server 6.5.  I maintained a document imaging system that had 9 servers (running Windows 3.1 and 3.11) with 18 jukeboxes for a great company, JM Family Enterprises.  Each of the Windows server were running a local version of Sybase (I’m old).
  • What’s a normal day at work like for you? Creating solutions with T-SQL, SSIS, C#, MVC, conducting meetings on Lync, troubleshooting issues with vintage systems, and trying to provide customers the best solutions possible.
  • When did you come to Springfield? I moved to Bloomington, IL 5 years ago.  I drove from Springfield (72.4 Miles) to work every day for 4 years, and finally convinced my wife to move to Bloomington, IN.
  • When and why did you decide to help as a volunteer leader? I learned about PASS from my manager when I started at Afni 9 years ago. We had always talked about starting a chapter, but no one wanted to take the reins. I’ve always enjoyed helping people learn new things. I’ve always enjoyed teaching. Becoming the chapter leader was a no brainer. I’ve had so many positive experiences in the year that our chapter has been established. Most of them are meeting people like myself that want to learn more about the products that we use to provide solutions, but also meeting the experts and finding out that they are just like myself (wanting to help people learn more).
  • What is the IT community like there? Our group covers a large area of Illinois.  We have many Colleges/ Universities, manufacturing, insurance, call centers, hospitals, and government agencies.  The largest employers in Central Illinois are State Farm and Caterpillar.  Though if you have ever sipped a cup of Coffee, the home of Bunn Automatic is in Springfield.
  • What do you like about Springfield? What you recommend someone do there, if they came to town on their own #sqlvacation? Though I moved to Bloomington 5 years ago, I still go back home to Springfield. I grew up racing sailboats and still sail 4 times a week. I start in March and will sail until the lake freezes over. The only weather I don’t like sailing in is lightning storms.  Springfield is the home to Abraham Lincoln, and as you can imagine, there are many things to do relating to Lincoln. I worked at Lincolns home for a summer, and it is like stepping back into the mid-1800’s. Even the nails on the sidewalks are designed from the era.  Other than that, there are corn fields for miles and miles.
  • What do you and your family enjoy doing in your city? Movies, Shakespeare Festival, hanging with friends. My mom volunteered at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, and has been involved with many activities with the Lincoln sites.  The most popular sites are:

Have you set your vacation plans for the summer? If so, share them with the community and on social media using the hashtag #SQLVacation! And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance at many free prizes!


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