I said that I’d write about some good things PASS does, and I’ll make it a point to do so. Despite my complaints and criticisms, I like the organization. I’ve been a part of it since October 1999, when the initial conference was in the basement ballroom of a hotel in downtown Chicago.
Since that time, I’ve attended most of the annual Summits. I’ve missed a few, and the last few years I’ve been on an every-other-year pace, but that’s my issue, not that of the organization.
The Summit has grown from a conference, like every other conference where techies gather to watch presentations, furiously scribble down notes, and then return to their hotel rooms to get a little late night work in for the employer that sent them away to a conference.
That first year was no different for me, though I did meet the amazing Kalen Delaney and managed to ask a semi-intelligent, reasonable question that she answered. I also had my wife, sister-in-law, and infant son with me. We watched the last game of the year at Comiskey Park, smoked cigars and enjoyed wine looking out over the river, and had a great few days in Chicago.
However something happened. I’d like to think that Andy Warren, Brian Knight, and I had a hand in it with our annual SQLServerCentral parties on opening night. Those grew from a line out the door of the reception hall in 2003, to the XBOX debacle and tv giveaway in 2004 to the casino parties with tons of prizes in later years. However we weren’t the only ones and PASS has grown to encompass numerous social events at the Summit and a community of people that greet each other with smile and hugs each fall.
We have more and more attendees that greet larger and larger groups of fellow attendees by name. We have runs, worship services, Women in Technology, kareoke and more, all of which almost overshadow the event itself. They don’t, and there’s lots of information being passed around, but the PASS Summit is way, way more than a conference.
Kudos to the organization, the HQ staff, and the various board members across the last 15 years that have worked hard to build (at times) and let evolve organically (at others), an amazing event.