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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is

2011 PASS Board Applicants: Geoff Hiten


I am interviewing 2011 PASS Board Nominee Applicants. As listed on the PASS Board Elections site the applicants are:

  • Rob Farley
  • Geoff Hiten
  • Adam Jorgensen
  • Denise McInerney
  • Sri Sridharan
  • Kendal Van Dyke

I'm asking everyone the same questions and blogging the responses in the order received.

Geoff Hiten is next up:

Interview With Geoff Hiten

1. What's your day job?

I am a Principal Consultant for Intellinet, a business technology consulting company based in Atlanta.  I work in our Infrastructure practice and specialize in SQL and Virtualization (not necessarily together).  I live in Johns Creek, Georgia (the state, not the country) just outside of Atlanta.  I like being a consultant because I can see the impact of what I do, not just technically, but for the people I work with.  Fixing tough problems not only helps businesses but can seriously improve the quality of life of folks who are no longer spending too many work hours limping along with broken systems.

2. What motivated you to run for the PASS Board of Directors?

I am running for a full term on the PASS Board after serving an interim (one year) term.  Last year I ran because I wanted to make the field more competitive and give the community multiple choices for each open seat.  If elected I want the PASS Board to remember to serve the “lone dba” who is out there with little support and lots of responsibility.  MVPs can take care of ourselves, it is the guy who shows up to the User Group or Virtual Chapter meeting to maybe learn more so he doesn’t have to work 70 hours a week or to find a better position that needs our support.  As anyone who has met me in person knows, I am also prone to ask tough, fundamental questions.  I want to be sure that our efforts are focused on providing the best SQL educational and community experience possible, whether that be Summit, local chapters or any other PASS event.

3. What is PASS's largest challenge right now?

After a year of seeing things from the inside, I have to say that PASS’s biggest challenge is to adapt its board structure from “Hero startup” to “Operational continuity” mode.  The current portfolio-based system means each director has to reinvent a lot of process and structure as they ramp up into their role.  We are currently discussing (at length…) a different structure based on standing committees rather than individual portfolios.  This would reduce the impact a director transition causes.  We are also vulnerable to a director “going dark” for short or long terms.  We are all volunteers with day jobs and families that sometimes preempt our PASS volunteer time.  Again, a different structure mitigates that risk by pre-staging someone to hand off responsibilities to when necessary.  Sounds terribly boring and probably is, but we are no longer a startup but an ongoing concern that needs an appropriate strategic leadership structure.

4. What is PASS's greatest opportunity right now?

PASS’s greatest challenge is its greatest strength; the army of volunteers that makes our community and events so great.  Helping, coordinating, encouraging and growing this group is the key to PASS’s future.  Without this group, we have no national event, no user groups,  no SQLSaturdays, no PASS.  My personal challenge as a Director is to live up to the work and passion that all the volunteers put into the organization and be a good steward of our volunteer resources at PASS.

5. Complete this sentence: "If I only get one new thing accomplished while serving on the PASS Board of Directors, I want to..."

… convince Andy Leonard to run for the Board.Smile  Actually, that is a specific case of my general answer, which is to find more ways to leverage our volunteers’ efforts to better serve the SQL Server community as a whole.  This last year has shown me just how our volunteer group, both at local and national levels, makes the SQL PASS organization unique.   No other technical community has what we do and it is the volunteers that make it that way.  Using volunteers wisely, finding and encouraging new volunteers, and growing volunteers into future PASS leaders is our biggest challenge.

6. Complete this sentence: "If I only get to change one existing thing about PASS while serving on the PASS Board of Directors, I want to..."

…transform PASS Director portfolios to a more appropriate managing structure where PASSHQ, Directors and Volunteers work together to achieve our strategic goals.  We have a great model for this in our Program Committee.  Let’s take that model and apply it to the whole organization.  Management structure transformation isn’t as much fun as Summit or SQLSaturday, nor as interesting as “where do we hold the Summit?, but I believe it is necessary for PASS to continue to grow and thrive.

Published Monday, November 7, 2011 8:00 AM by andyleonard

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jonmcrawford said:

Great answer to #3 Geoff, certainly gave me a different perspective on the last few years.

November 9, 2011 8:45 PM

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