16
Jun
10

My Interview with SQLAgentMan

I had the chance to interview Tim Ford or otherwise known as SQLAgentMan. Here is what Tim had to say:

Chris: Many people have taken on great nick names but I have to admit that SQLAgentMan, is in the Top 5 coolest.  How did you come up with that name and do you have a smoke screen button in your car?

 Tim: No smoke screen button, but I do have a couple buttons in my car of which their purpose is completely unknown to me.  The name just came to me in a dream.  I’ve learned since then to avoid bacon right before bed.

 Chris: I am sure you have been on a number of projects,  of them what was your favorite and why?

Tim: I had a stint in time where I was told I would also be supporting Oracle in our environment.  I found it extremely difficult, though challenging.  I’m not saying that Oracle is a bad product, it just did not suit me.  Eventually, my Manager realized that I was more than busy enough supporting our SQL Server footprint’s rapid growth.  Every project since then has been my favorite.

Chris: Other than a super spy (our secret) what did you do before working with SQL Server?  What was the driving force that made you hang up the hat, and turn to SQL Server?

 Tim: My degree was in Accounting and Finance.  I earned a BBA after giving up on Applied Mathematics once I hit Calculus 3.  The last thing I wanted to do was accounting once I graduated from Western Michigan University, but I ran out of money to pay for tuition – I had to graduate.  I worked as a pre-press operator and eventually a production estimator for a company for approximately 10 years.  Though fun and challenging, I did not agree with the management practices of the company and during a mountain biking trip in Moab a friend who worked for Microsoft mentioned “DBA”.  I had to look it up when I got home; I had no clue what a DBA was.  From there I started teaching myself T/SQL and VB 6.  Eventually I landed a job as an Access developer at the company I still work for.  This quickly transformed into SQL Developer and now SQL Server DBA – a position I’ve held for almost 10 years.

Chris: When you go to a conference, what is the biggest attraction for you?  What speakers do you like to see, where do you learn the most?

 Tim: I used to seek out the “Tips & Tricks” sessions when I was starting out.  Now I’ve seen the intro sessions dry up a bit.  That is why I’m focusing on providing intro-level sessions at SQL Saturdays I present at as well as pushing for more intro-level sessions at the annual PASS summit.  At this point in my career I know most of the speakers.  I seek out those that give solid, deep talks on their favorite subjects.  I am leary of naming names because I know that I’d leave out someone.  I also find that I get the most value from conferences now by sitting with fellow SQL Server Professionals and kibbutzing over the issues we’re dealing with back in the office.  It’s amazing how many problems I’ve been able to get solved quickly while at a conference just because of this.

Chris: Thinking about SQL Server 2005, 2008, and 2008 R2 what is your favorite feature?

 Tim: Without a doubt: Dynamic Management Objects.  I also like tables.  It makes storing data much easier than if a database didn’t have them.

Chris: What is next on the list for you to do?  Where will you be speaking?

 Tim: SQL Cruise is coming up in August.  Brent Ozar and I have developed a new form of training that will have us as well as 15 students on a Carnival cruise ship for a four-day cruise to Cozumel (and supposedly back) from Fort Lauderdale, FL.  It really is a no-brainer for the attendee and it should be so for their manager.  Where else are you going to get five two-to-three-hour-long sessions by two MVPs (one of which is also an MCM) for under $300?  Not to mention room and board of about $100 per day?  We plan to do two of these per year, with additional speakers and tracks (B.I. perhaps) starting in 2011 after this next cruise.  More details are available at sqlcruise.com.

Chris: One final question,  SQL server agent or an SSMS productivity pack(Sorry I could not help myself)?

Tim:  I kick it old school as my nomme-de-plume suggests: SQL Server Agent.

 

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