My adventure started on Friday when I climbed aboard an AirTran flight from Akron/Canton airport to Orlando. I love flying out of CAK. It’s so friendly and easy. We had a great flight down to Orlando. After landing, I called Chad Miller (Blog | Twitter) who had graciously volunteered to pick me up at MCO. After getting lost twice in the airport, I finally found Chad and we were on our way. We went over to the hotel and checked in and then over to Logan’s for some fellowship with the organizing committee and other speakers. The food was excellent. We had Steak Tenders, chicken sandwiches, and half burgers. Dan Stolts (Blog | Twitter) from Microsoft and I talked for quite a while about all things IT.
On Saturday morning , I got up early and headed down to the breakfast area where I ran into Michael Wells (Blog | Twitter), the leader of the Sarasota PASS chapter. We chatted a little about the improvements to his awesome SQL Server deployment system using Powershell that is on Codeplex. Michael and I then headed over to the event at the ITT building.
The event was well run by both volunteers and ITT staff. We had some great food for breakfast and Dunkin donuts coffee. Thanks for the fruit and OJ, Blain! Since my session started at 9:45 and I still had a few tweaks to it, I decided to sit in Alex Funkhouser (Linkedin | Twitter) and Russ Fustino (Blog | Twitter) doing an mock interview for an IT position for the session: Your IT Career: For love or money. There were lots of great questions and comments during the session. Afterward I was up for my session on: Networking for IT Pros. I had about 12 people for my session which was a little thin but not being from the area, I half expected this. There were lots of great questions, however and I think it went well.
Afterward, I stayed and watched my friend Andy Warren (Blog | Twitter) present on Professional Development Plans. Having seen this session before, I was happy to be the IT guinea pig as Andy painted various career development scenarios for the attendees. The room was packed as he explained that each person needs to take charge of their own career first and foremost.
After an awesome BBQ lunch, I recorded a brief video podcast on the event with Russ Fustino from sponsor Grape City PowerTools. You can catch the RussCamTV video here After that, I was able to catch a ride to the airport with PASS community evangelist Karla Landrum (blog | Twitter).
In summary, I like the IT Pro Camp format. I think it fills a void between the SQL Saturday world and the Developer oriented code camps. Having a mainstream appeal, however, poses some marketing and advertising challenges in that the event doesn’t cater to specific groups (example: Sharepoint or SQL Server)