Found a Bunch of Smart People in a Room? You must be at MVP Summit!

This week I had the honor of attending the MVP Summit in Bellevue, Washington. This was my 5th Summit, though my first as a Microsoft blue-badge. I was very excited to be able to spent the week with so many smart people in the tech industry, but sad to know that I can’t be an MVP and an Microsoft employee at the same time. Over the last 4 years, I’ve made some great connections through the program and Summit is one of my favorites ways to catch up with colleagues that I only see on-line or via social media.

For those of you who’ve never heard of it, the MVP Program is a reward program for tech-minded people who also spend time contributing to the community. Participating in forums, writing blogs or authoring books, and running user groups that are involved with Microsoft products are some of the ways MVP Awardees make their mark.

Below you’ll find a list of the people I’ve crossed paths with at Summit this year. I’ve listed them primary by Twitter handle because they span the globe and are worthy of you following them if you also use Twitter.  If you aren’t a Twitter user, check out their profiles anyway, you’ll often find links to their blogs and other resources!

First, those who need little introduction:

For the 2nd year in a row, Ed Bott combined forces with three other MVP Eds, because we know four Ed’s are always better than one! So don’t forget to check out the workings of:

  • @ehorley (Ed Horley) – Networking geek, IPv6 expert and soon to be author. Pre-order his book, Practical IPv6 for Windows Administrators.
  • @Pluralsight_Ed (Ed Lieberman) – Technology trainer at Pluralsight and it turns out I’ve only known him for 10 months, though it seems like 10 years.
  • @itpromct (Ed Gallagher) – Whom I met at my very first MVP Summit in a session on Exchange Server, but only learned this year that in addition to technology, he also hand-makes the most FABULOUS jewelry.

It’s hard to pin these guys down for long, but I was lucky to get at least quick moments with:

  • @jeremymoskowitz (Jeremy Moskowitz) – The man behind GPAnswers.com, he’s usually so busy he never comes to Summit so I was pleasantly surprised to spend a moment with him!
  • @grouppolicyguy (Darren Mar-Elia) – Known for his GPO prowess, Darren also speaks regularly about PowerShell, Desired State Configuration and Cloud.
  • @JPBruzzese (J. Peter Bruzzese) – The only Exchange MVP on my list, Peter and I often orbit each other at conferences never crossing paths for more than a few minutes at time. MVP Summit was no exception. If you can pin him down, ask him about Exchange or his book, The Conversational Geek.

My friends from the “North” aka Canada:

  • @darcy_lussier (Darcy Lussier) – My first conversation with Darcy was oddly about his hair, which is good because he’s an ASP.net MVP and I can’t talk about that at all.
  • @jason_miller (Jason Miller) – Jason specializing in the SMB market and is active in the UG communities in Winnepeg.
  • @ToddLamo (Todd Lamothe) – I met Todd two Summits ago when I was crazy sick and he kept me going by sharing his stash of cold medication.  Turns out he can deploy Windows pretty well too.

My California Cohorts and PacITPros Members:

  • @UberGeekGirl (Jessica DeVita) – Do you live in SoCal? Do you need help with your computer? Call Jessica and consider it solved. Seriously.
  • @jldeen (Jessica Deen) – The Bay Area is lucky to have someone who can walk between the Apple and Windows support worlds so easily!
  • @scevans (Steve Evans) – Everything I might happen to understand about IIS I probably learned for Steve. Also, I think he understood DevOps long before it was a buzz word.
  • @dougspindler (Doug Spindler) – The long time leader of PacITPros.org, college instructor and MCT, Doug lives to make sure IT Pros keep learning.
  • @the_yeti (Jeremy Anderson) – Do you have an question about small business server or Server Essentials? This is your guy. I know people who swear by him, I’m not kidding.
  • @alexlewis (Alex Lewis) – I swear I think I’ll followed him on Twitter long before I met him in person, Alex specializes in Unified Communications and Lync and is active in several user groups in the Bay Area.
  • @richardhicks (Richard Hicks) – Another Enterprise Security MVP who’s be a repeat speaker at PacITPro.org events and other popular conferences.

Worlds apart, but they answer to the same name:

  • @ftp_Alun (Alun Jones) – First introduced to me by Ed Horley, Alun always seems to be one of the first people I run into at Summit.  He’s a Washington local who specializes in Enterprise Security.
  • @alanburchill (Alan Burchill) – I met Alan on the shuttle bus at my first Summit and for a while I ONLY ran into him on the shuttle bus. One of the few Group Policy MVPs, Alan makes the trip from Australia and does way more than just ride buses around campus! Remember, when it’s midnight in the US and you are stuck in group policy bind, it’s like 4pm where he is.

Where Tech is “Concentrated”:

  • @concentratdgreg (Greg Shields) – Looking for Greg? Look no further than the popular conference, TechMentor Events. Not only does he act as Chair for that event, you shouldn’t miss a chance to hear him talk about Remote Desktop Services.
  • @theJasonHelmick (Jason Helmick) – The first time I met Jason about two years ago, he taught me some PowerShell. Let him teach you some PowerShell and you won’t regret it.

Since I can’t program my way out of a box, it pays to know some developers:

  • @RobinDotNet (Robin Shahan) – My list wouldn’t be complete with out an Azure MVP. Robin runs the Bay Area Azure Developers group and one of these days I swear, I’m going to make one of her meetings.
  • @scottcate (Scott Cate) – Another ASP.NET MVP, Scott is also the founder of EventDay.com, an event management tool.
  • @m_rosenberg (Mark Rosenberg) – Long time developer and certified trainer, I almost didn’t recognize Mark this year sporting his “Texas” beard!

And finally, these guys could easily stand alone, but what fun would that be?:

  • @joe_elway (Aidan Finn) – I met Aidan for the first time when he came to present at a PacITPros event in San Francisco and it might be safe to say he knows more about virtual machines than you do.
  • @SFoskett (Stephen Foskett) – Every time I talk to him I understand Storage more and more. Plus he’s a pretty awesome speaker.

Phew… no wonder I needed a weekend to recover from Summit. It’s truly special to be able to spend nearly a week with people who not only understand technology, but also get that a thriving community is the only way technology grows.  If I missed you at Summit or accidentally omitted you in my list here… so sorry!  I didn’t even include all the folks from Microsoft that I spent time with this year, for fear that you’d stop reading in exhaustion.

If you’ve gotten this far, I think I might owe you a coffee or something.

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