Chris Yates


Location: Kentucky (UTC -5)
Expertise: SQL Server
Contact: Twitter|LinkedIn

I’m an 18-year vet of SQL Server currently living in Kentucky. I started off as a developer who turned into an accidental DBA as most of us do. I started working with SQL Server full time back in 2000. Most of my speaking originally centered around Juvenile Diabetes which I’m an advocate for. Over time I felt as though I could start helping others in my own industry. After becoming an Assistant Vice President|Database Administration Manager I found myself with speaking opportunities that I never thought I would have. If you’ve been around me long enough then you will know I’m big on if we just reach one person than it is all worth it.

The art of public speaking can be both daunting and rewarding. I’m living proof that if you put hard work into it you will be able to succeed. Everyone has some sort of story to share; don’t wait another minute.

The people found on this site are here to help and some of the best data professionals around.

Feel free to reach me on Twitter or LinkedIn


Randolph West

Randolph says stuff
  • Location: Canada (UTC -0700)
  • Expertise: SQL Server performance tuning. Windows network administration. C# development. Linux administration. Acting. Directing. Writing.
  • Contact: Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog

While I’ve been interested in technology most of my life, I only took it seriously in 1997. I did a diploma in software support and networking, and then had a choice between SAP certification and a Windows NT 4.0 MCSE. The Microsoft certification was cheaper, and it has been downhill from there.

Towards the end of 2004, I became a junior lecturer in Java at a community college in South Africa. The teaching bug bit me hard, and I went full time into teaching high school computer classes in 2005. There was an adjacent three-year period of Saturday School, where I volunteered to teach underprivileged children aged 11 to 14 every weekend in exchange for five bucks (to cover gas) and a hot dog.

Although I live in Canada now, I have been sharing my knowledge through various means since then, most recently as a speaker at conferences (the Calgary PASS user group, roadshows, SQLSaturdays, the first Compañero Conference, and the upcoming SQLBits 2018). Microsoft awarded me a Data Platform MVP in 2016. I co-authored Microsoft SQL Server 2017 Administration Inside Out, and I will be mentoring a speaker for the 2018 TEDx event in Calgary.

Having passion about your interest is a good starting point in becoming a speaker, but that alone doesn’t magically make you good. In 2012 I attended SQLskills training for three weeks, and had the opportunity to present in front of Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp, two of the best public speakers in our industry. I learned a lot from that experience! In just one evening I learned to slow my pace, build a story, and not use filler words.

My speaking experience also extends to the stage and screen. I have acted in, produced and directed many plays, and performed in and produced several independent films and TV / web series. I am a member of ACTRA, the professional acting union here in Canada. There are many parallels between public speaking and acting.

My first official talk as a data professional was at the Vancouver SQLSaturday two years ago. I spent many hours preparing, and although the room had only a few attendees, two of them were Mike Fal and Argenis Fernandez. I ended on time, my demos worked, and there were good questions. Since then I have spoken at many events.

Something I’ve learned from performing on stage is that every audience member matters. The size of the room is not important, and neither is the size of the audience. Your performance (or session) at a small venue with three people at a SQLSaturday should be to the same level you would perform in a room of 5,000 paid attendees.

Andy Leonard

Andy presenting
  • Location: US (UTC -5)
  • Expertise: Data Integration, SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), Business Intelligence Markup Language (Biml), Leadership, Management
  • Contact: Twitter | LinkedIn

Andy avatar

I started working (well, playing) with computers in 1975 at age 11. I learned Motorola machine language and then BASIC. I was trained in electronics (and missile guidance systems maintenance) by the US Army and have an Associate’s Degree in Electronics Engineering Technology.

I first delivered training for the Army National Guard Professional Education Center in 1986. During the 1990’s, I was an instructor at ECPI – a technical college in Richmond Virginia (US) where I taught mostly electronics.

Although I had been programming (as a hobby) with BASIC and Visual Basic for a couple decades, I did not begin working with databases until the mid-1990’s. I started with Microsoft Access and quickly moved to Microsoft SQL Server.


In the mid-2000’s I began delivering presentations and writing professionally. I’ve delivered presentations to public and private audiences, both free and paid engagements.

Learning is a passion. I enjoy learning immensely and compare the thrill of learning to the euphoria experienced during my (brief) running days (I trained for and completed a half-marathon at age 50). I love sharing what I learn. I want others to share the euphoric experience. Hence, I’ve written books, blog regularly, and present whenever I can.

I founded Enterprise Data & Analytics and serve as Chief Data Engineer. I built and maintain the Data Integration Lifecycle Management Suite (DILM Suite) – a collection of tools that facilitate DevOps with SSIS. I am honored to be a Friend of Redgate. I was a Microsoft MVP 2007-2012.

I do not know how many presentations I’ve delivered – my best guess is “hundreds.” Like Alex, I share a passion for our community. I am not self-taught, I am community-taught. Although I am still learning to present, I am happy to share what I’ve learned with anyone wishing to listen.

It is always an honor to present.