Eugene Meidinger

Eugene Meidinger Speaking
  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA (UTC – 5) (EST)
  • Expertise: Power BI, SSRS, Basic DBA
  • Contact: Twitter | Email | Linkedin

About 7 years ago I got a job as .Net / SQL developer. And I thought, great I’ll be a Software Engineer. And it turned out most of the work was SQL and database administration, and I remember Googling what a stored procedure was and what a view was. A few months later, I found out that user groups were a thing and attended my first SQL user group.

A few months after that I found out that SQL Saturdays were a thing and attended my first SQL Saturday. And then I made the fortunate mistake of attending the afterparty. There I was cornered by the user group leader and another community member They said, “You should present.”

I told them “No I’ve only been doing this for a year now.” And they told me to present anyway. My first presentation was at our local user group, and while I didn’t get every detail perfect, I didn’t catch on fire either. Ever since then, speaking has been a tremendous boon for my career.

These days I work as an interdependent BI consultant and make courses on Pluralsight. Feel free to reach out to me!

Jan Mulkens

Jan Mulkens Speaking Mentor
  • Location: Belgium (UTC +1)
  • Expertise: Applied Machine Learning with SQL Server and Azure ML Services, Power BI, Database DevOps (SQL Server), Data Integration with SSIS, Data Warehousing, Storytelling.
  • Contact: Twitter | LinkedIn

Short version:

  • Active in IT since 2010 having covered a lot of the current Microsoft Data/BI/AI Stack
  • From nervous newbie speaker in 2014 to experienced international speaker in 2017
  • Grew from attendee to blogger to speaker to User Group founder
  • Willing to provide help on all topics but most comfortable in SQL Server, Power BI, Applied Machine Learning (Azure ML & SQL Server ML Services).
  • When not able to help you, I’ll find someone for you who can help you.
  • Contact me at any time with any question

Long version:

Back in July of 2010, I was working in a call center as a sales advisor. I didn’t have a college degree due to personal circumstances at the time, but i did have a healthy dose of curiousity. In response to an internal opening, I started working with the existing reports in excel that company had. Over the course of a couple of months, I slowly started automating them while learning and experimenting with the back-end, SQL Server 2005. Finally in April of 2011, I was asked to join the IT team full time. And when I say IT team, i mean the IT Manager and me.

Fast forward to July 2014, where I joined one of the largest consultancy firms in Belgium as a Microsoft Business Intelligence Consultant. Since then, I’ve learned a lot, from working with customers to teaching and coaching new starters. But also technical skills like optimising queries for performance, setting up a data warehouse end to end, working with relevant Azure offerings and automating everything possible.

What was perhaps the largest change for me, came when I started diving into Data Science and the related offerings by Microsoft,  which at the time was only Azure Machine Learning Studio. I quickly learned the basics through online courses, including Microsoft’s Professional Program for Data Science, and was able to apply these principles when SQL Server 2016 came out with R Services. Throughout this all I had unknowingly positioned myself in such a way that in january of 2017 I was asked to pick up the secondary role of Competence Center Lead for Microsoft Advanced Analytics. Basically meaning I need to ensure everyone in our business unit has access to the necessary knowledge to serve current and future customers for offerings in this space.

Throughout this crazy personal journey I’ve been giving presentations since the end of 2014. Sharing what i’ve learned at user groups and conferences, has so far been an absolute joy. The feeling you get when someone comes up to you afterwards and talks about the new insights they got through your talk is almost addictive. It also enabled me to get new insights myself by talking with a very diverse audience, each with different use cases. And it helped me to learn more about the international community around SQL Server and what other people are doing at their employers and customers. Being quickly integrated into the speaker community where you can learn even more and help even more people is one of the surprising side effects of speaking.

However, as an employee for a consultancy firm and not being my own boss, this doesn’t come easy or cheaply. I’ve been paying for my own travel expenses to speak at 15 events in 2017 and as of february 2018 I’m already accepted at 10 events for 2018 with 11 more currently pending a decision.

So one of my goals, apart from helping you out, is ensuring that you’re in a position to someday offer others help with writing an abstract or creating a presentation. Or perhaps you might one day help a user group or even start your own user group!

Alexander Arvidsson

  • I work as a principal solutions architect in Sweden, focusing on SQL Server and the Microsoft data platform technologies. I love sharing knowledge and I love seeing the penny drop. I’m a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, a Microsoft Certified Trainer, an international speaker, blogger, podcaster and a Star Wars fan extraordinaire.

    I started working with SQL Server and Oracle back in 1997. But like many others, I didn’t find the SQL Server community for several years, but after attending my first PASS Summit in 2014 I realized I had found my home.

    I started attending SQL Saturdays, blogging and sending abstracts all over. I’ve been teaching and presenting since the turn of the millennium, but the SQL Server community was by far the kindest, most welcoming and exciting community I had ever seen.

    My first SQL Saturday session was in Gothenburg in 2016, and from there it has slowly started to take off. It’s a lot of work, but rewarding like nothing else.

    I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all the amazing people in the community. I received a huge amount of help and encouragement when I joined the community, and I jump at any chance I get to give back.  We are all standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, and everyone can be a shoulder to someone.

    Speaking is wonderful, speaking is terrible, speaking is draining and speaking is exhilarating.

    I wouldn’t trade it for the world.