Rushabh Mehta to Become New President of PASS; Strong Turnout Seen at 2009 Conference

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The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) announced its new executive committee for the 2010/2011 term at the PASS Summit last week in Seattle. Rushabh Mehta, managing director at Solid Quality Mentors, will become president; Bill Graziano, owner of scaleSQL Consulting, is taking on the executive vice president, finance, role; and Rick Heiges, senior solutions consultant with Scalability Experts, is joining as vice president, marketing. The new PASS Executive Committee will begin serving its term on January 1, 2010.

"We work really hard to make sure that our executive committee members are the best qualified, most dedicated people that we have within the community. Rushabh is a strong leader. He is tireless, maybe even relentless, in his willingness and ability to give of his personal time and effort to make things happen," current PASS president, Wayne Snyder, tells 5 Minute Briefing. Snyder will move into the advisory role of immediate past president, replacing Kevin Kline, a member of the original PASS board of directors, who is leaving after a decade on the board.

The PASS Summit achieved a strong turnout, with 2,200 delegates at the conference, says Snyder. "That is within 9% of the largest Summit we have had." The event drew attendees from 45 different countries. Forty-two percent of the attendees were at the conference for the first time. Additionally, the conference included 168 sessions, 38 exhibitors and was attended by more that 400 Microsoft representatives.

Commenting on the healthy turnout despite the difficult economy, Snyder said, "I believe that it is a combination of the recognition from the technical folks that in a slow economy, while there are no guarantees, the best thing you can do is to keep your skills sharp. In this economy when you can only pick one thing at most, folks are recognizing that PASS is ‘the thing.' They come here because they know that they are going to get the best from Microsoft while they are here and they are going to get the best from other community leaders." The role of the DBA is evolving, Snyder adds. "You can't describe a DBA as someone who backs up the data anymore," he says. "About 38% of our attendees this year have expressed BI as being their primary interest."

In other changes this year, Snyder says, "We have launched something we are calling virtual chapters which used to be special interest groups. We have about 12 virtual chapters now." These virtual chapters are aligned based on their area of interest such as AppDev; Auditing and Compliance; Business Intelligence (including 5 subchapters); Performance, Virtualization; Women in Technology; and Professional Development. "We have also had two requests from folks who are interested in starting up additional virtual chapters. These groups of people were operating under the moniker of SIG until someone came up with the happy observation that these are really chapters. They are organized the same way, the have the same goals, they need the same infrastructure," explains Snyder. The intent behind the virtual chapters is to support these groups of people as interest in these areas evolve, heating up and then fading away over time, Snyder says.

This year, the PASSion Awards went to Charley Hanania and Allen Kinsel. The PASSion Awards are given annually to a volunteer who demonstrates exceptional dedication to and enthusiasm for the PASS and the SQL Server community. Hanania, winner of the International PASSion Award, is senior database specialist at QS2-Quality Software Solutions and leads the Swiss PASS Chapter. As the 2009 organization committee chair for the PASS European Conference, PASS's second largest event, he was responsible for all conference activities, and invested more than 600 hours of his time to produce the biggest European Conference yet. Kinsel, winner of the North American PASSion Award, is lead database analyst at American National Insurance and has been a volunteer with for PASS for 5 years. He was program manager on the Program Committee this year, as well as serving on the Volunteer and Nomination committees.

PASS also announced that the 2010 PASS Summit will be held November 8-11 in Seattle. The PASS European Conference 2010 will be held April 21-23, in Neuss, Germany. For more information about PASS, go here.