First, I want to thank all of the applicants for volunteering to participate in this process. The process this year has been more public than ever before. It gets better with each iteration. It has been refined each year and participation in the voting hit an all-time high last year. I joined PASS in 2001. Back then, nobody really knew who even threw their hat in the ring, and the election was held only in-person (there may have been a fax it in option, but it was very involved and under-utilized). The summit that year was postponed until January 2002, but the election still had to occur; I was one of the few who bothered to vote. I'm not sure if we still have records of that election that are easily accessible, but I'll bet you that fewer than 40 people actually voted. I base this primarily on the stats and old-fashioned voting techniques used in 2004 when only about 120 votes were cast (if memory serves me as I counted these by hand) at the summit. The only real information available about candidates were a short bio and statement. Ballots back then were a sheet of paper with check boxes beside candidate names. Most attendees did not know anything about any candidates and decided to not vote.This explains the low turnout. Campaigning was "mild" with mainly just a mention to attendees to "Vote for Me" from candidates during casual gatherings, sesssions, etc.
This year, the Nominations Committee (NomCom) consisted of a subset of BoD Members and two Community Representatives. I also want to thank each of them (especially Stu and Denise) for the extraordinary amount of time, thought, and professionalism in considering the candidates to be put forth on the slate which was approved by the Board of Directors.
Last year, I was not on the NomCom and wanted to be part of it this year. I know it was not fun last year for the NomCom. This year wasn't all fun & games either. :-) Stuart Ainsworth was the first member of the NomCom to post his thoughts to the community reaction; it was a very good summary of what happened. Tom LaRock (also a NomCom Member) posted about many of the activities / discussions occurring here at the BoD meeting in Nashville. Denise McInerney also posted on her blog about the process. These blogs are very well written and accurate.
Today (in contrast with the past), the election process is totally divorced from the summit. Blog posts by folks like Andy Leonard are out there conducting interviews on blogs to get to know the candidates, and there are forums specifically setup on sqlpass.org to discuss the candidates and their points of view. Other blog posts by Steve Jones, Andy Warren, Brent Ozar, Tim Mitchell, Andy Leonard, Lori Edwards, Kendal Van Dyke, Wes Brown, Pat Wright, Jack Corbett, etc. along with numeroous comments on each blog post really reflect the caring within the community. Many of these blog posts / comments are critical of the process; this will help the process improve. The vote occurs online now so that not just attendees are able to cast a vote. The process is not perfect. It gets better with each iteration. I'm sure that it will once again go through another iteration. I hope that you will be part of it.
Last year, we had about 500 votes cast (again if memory serves me); this is more than double (perhaps even triple) than any previous election. I hope that we (the community) blow this out of the water this year. We have a slate consisting of 5 excellent candidates. I encourage everyone to vote and fully participate in this election and continue to show just how vibrant this community can be.