2018 : Community Influencer of the Year
December 28th, 2018
2018 : Community Influencer of the Year
December 28th, 2018

At the end of 2016 I started a tradition of giving a shout-out to someone who has made a dramatic impact on the SQL Server community. Not well-known personalities and long-running MVPs like Brent, or Erin, or Paul, but up-and-comers forging their own paths to becoming SQLebrities in their own right.

The first year, I honored my good friend Andy Mallon (@AMtwo), who later became an MVP and, ultimately, a co-worker here at SentryOne.

In 2017, I called out Drew Furgiuele (@Pittfurg), who – like Andy – became an MVP shortly thereafter.

While I don't believe the MVP nods were borne out of this award, I do like to believe that Microsoft is seeing the same things in these people that I do, and that this is a pattern we can turn into a three-peat! So, without further ado, this year I'd like to call on…

Bert Wagner

Bert is a prolific blogger (bertwagner.com) and vlogger (YouTube). He has a great knack for explaining complex topics in a simple way, and making them useful and accessible to people of all levels. Video production quality is excellent (I don't want to know how much time he spends off-hours on that), and there is always the right mix of humor. This guy cranks out a new video every single week, including weeks where he shouldn't, like this one he put together while on a hiking vacation in Colorado.

How to Learn AnythingLike Drew, Bert keeps a fun, visual timeline of his speaking activities here. He contributes to multiple Open Source projects on GitHub, including the First Responder Kit and the official SQL Server documentation. He's also pretty active in the SQL Server community Slack workspace, where he helps people on both technical and non-technical topics. And on top of all this, he's a fantastic resource for private requests for help, too. Just ask Andy how Bert has helped him learn how to coffee.


I mentioned my selection to Drew, who then said:

"I love Bert's creativity, and he's so much fun to do side projects with. Not only is he a super talented photographer and videographer (and barista), but his topics show great technical depth. I know I've used his videos and posts as examples to coworkers."

Honorable Mentions

Regretfully, in previous years, I didn't outline who else I had noticed throughout the year. Truthfully, there's never just one person that stands out. In no particular order:

  • Jess Pomfret (@jpomfret) – Joined the speaking tour this year, presenting at user groups and SQLSaturdays, adding to an impressive set of influential blog posts. Recently selected for DataGrillen, one of my favorite events abroad. Definitely someone to watch.
  • Malathi Mahadevan (@sqlmal) – Pulled together a very impressive book filled with material from many of the people in our community you already know. This is thankless work piled on top of many other community contributions.
  • Jonathan Stewart (@sqllocks) – Seems like every week there's a new event featuring Jonathan as a speaker; watch SQLLocks.net to see when the next one will be near you!

And that definitely is not it; there are lots and lots of other folks out there making a difference. As always, if someone has a positive impact on you or the community you're in, I'd love to hear about them! And you should consider nominating them to be a Microsoft MVP, if they're not already.

By: Aaron Bertrand

I am a passionate technologist with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. I am a long-time Microsoft MVP, write at Simple Talk, SQLPerformance, and MSSQLTips, and have had the honor of speaking at more conferences than I can remember. In non-tech life, I am a husband, a father of two, a huge hockey and football fan, and my pronouns are he/him.