Going to the Score Cards – Exceptional DBA Awards 2011

This year marks my 4th year as a judge for the Exceptional DBA Awards, founded by Red Gate in 2008 to “recognize the essential but often overlooked contributions of DBAs, the unsung heroes of the IT community.” As a professional DBA myself I have been honored to participate as a judge. It is not an easy job because there is a voluminous amount of nominees from all over the world. Each judge has to read through every word of the nominee’s answers, deciding what makes each person special and stand out amongst their peers. What drives them? What single element of their submission will shine above all others? It is my hope that what I am about to divulge to you as a judge will prompt you to think about yourself or someone you know and decide that you may be the exceptional DBA who can take home the gold at this year’s award ceremony in Seattle. We are more than a few weeks into the nomination process and there are quite a number of submissions already. I can not tell you how many as that would not be fair. I can say it is not 1 million or more. I can also say that it is not 100,000. But that is all I can say about that. However, I can tell you that it is enough this year that we are breaking records on the number of people who have been influenced, inspired or intrigued by the awards in the past. I remember them all like it were yesterday.

fuzzy thought cloud here.

It was a rainy day in Seattle (all memories for each award ceremony will start thusly) and I was in the hotel going over my notes on what I wanted to say about the winner of the 2008 Red Gate Exceptional DBA Award. The notes were on index cards that I had either bought or stolen from my wife, I do not recall, but I was nervous which was unlike me. This was, after all, a big night for the winner. Of course, we, the judges and the SQL community, had already decided the winner and now all that remained was to present the award. The room was packed. It was Casino night, sponsored by sqlservercentral.com. Money (fake), drinks (not fake) and camaraderie flowed through the room. Dan McClain won the award that year. He worked for Anheuser-Busch at the time. I promise that did not influence my decision. We presented Dan with the award. He was very proud of this achievement, rightfully so, as was the SQL community for him. I spoke with Dan throughout the conference and realized how huge this award was for him, not just personally but professionally.

It was a rainy day in Seattle in 2009 and I was nervous. I was asked to speak to a group of people again as a judge for the Exceptional DBA Awards. This year, Josef Richberg would be the recipient of the award, but he would not be able to attend. We all prayed for him as he fought through an illness and congratulated him for his accomplishments as a DBA for his company. He got better and sallied forth and continued to give back to the SQL community that he saw as one big family. In 2010, and I am getting ahead of myself, he was asked to be a judge himself for the very award he had just received the year before.

It was a sunny day in Seattle and I missed it, because it was in July and I was not there.

It was a rainy day in Seattle and it is 2010 and Tracy Hamlin enters a submission that blows this judge away. She is managing a 50 Terabyte distributed database (“50 Gigabytes! Are you kidding me!!!”, Rodney jokes.) and loves her daily job as a DBA working with developers, mentoring them and teaching them best practices with kindness and patience. She is a people person who just happens to have 10+ years experience with RDBMS’. She wins the award and goes on to be recognized as famous at PASS.

It will be a rainy day in Seattle this year when I sit amongst my old constituent judges and friends, Brad McGehee, http://www.simple-talk.com/books/sql-books/how-to-become-an-exceptional-dba,-2nd-edition/, Steve Jones, whom we all know and love at http://www.sqlservercentral.com and a young upstart to the SQL Community, this cat named Brent Ozar to announce the 2011 winner. I personally have not heard of Brent but I am told I have interviewed him for a DBA position several years ago and turned him down, http://www.brentozar.com/archive/2011/05/exceptional-dba-contest/ . I hope that did not jeopardize his future in the SQL world. I am a big hearted oaf and would feel horrible. Hopefully I will meet him at PASS and we can work this all out and I can help him get a DBA job.

The rain has stopped and a new year is upon us.

The stakes are high…the competition is fierce…the rewards are incredible.

The entry form awaits you. http://www.exceptionaldba.com/

I very much look forward to meeting you and presenting the award to you in front of hundreds of your envious but proud peers as the new Exceptional DBA for 2011 at the PASS Summit. Here is what you could win:

The Exceptional DBA of the Year receives full conference registration for the 2011 PSS Summit in Seattle, where the awards ceremony will take place, four nights’ hotel accommodation, and $300 towards travel expenses. They will also be featured on Simple-Talk.

Are you ready?

Are you nervous?