Back in July of 2007 I embarked on a new Journey at Publix Supermarkets. A major grocery retailer located in the Southeastern United States. A majority of Publix stores are located in Florida which is where the retailer started and was founded by George Jenkins. Upon entering the doors of Publix I was greeted by many smiling DBA faces. Chuck Futch, Greg Mathis, Larry Corwin, Thomas Shubick and James Martin were some of the first to welcome me and make me feel at home. Little was I to know that this would be my home for 5 years.
During the time there I saw many faces come and go, however the core part of the team stayed intact. One of the core members Greg Mathis was a DBA thru-and-thru. He could whip out a .sql script like there was no tomorrow. James Martin another DBA who was always able to make an impact and one of the best data modelers I have run into. Larry Corwin a jack of all trades so much that he was a truck driver stunt double in one phase of his life. Larry knew so many technologies it made my head explode. Some made lasting impressions like Bradley Ball who moved on later to Pragmatic works. Bradley is an excellent DBA and would often push me to look for solutions that I would not have looked for normally. Thomas Shubick was a friend and a co-worker. Tom is a DBA and has many cool hobbies such as singing in the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. At this point the yelling you hear is Tom. I brought him back to Publix 6 months ago and left him behind. He’ll get over it (just kidding Tom). I could call out all the DBA’s at Publix by name as I believe that they are a solid core of DBA’s covering just about every database platform you can think of.
During my 5 year tenure at Publix I was involved in many key efforts. One effort was upgrading many application databases from SQL Server 2000 to more current versions of SQL Server. I was instrumental in the implementation of the scaled out SSRS environment which allowed Publix to cutover the crystal reports to SSRS. Supporting and installing a time scheduling vendor application which was accessed by over 1000 stores and 50,000+ employees more or less. Implementing, supporting and upgrading many key project databases that drove million dollar business decisions. And I was a proud member of the SWAT team which was involved in determining and resolving bugs and or performance issues. Suffice it to say I was a busy beaver (Bulldog) on a daily basis.
Over the last year or so I felt like something was missing. I could not put my finger on it and it was bugging me. When out in Seattle I had a moment of clarity. Thru the help of others and a mentoring program which will be mentioned in another blog post. Quick thanks to my friend, confidant and mentor Joseph Sack @josephsack from @sqlskills. I began to gain faith once again that I was a good DBA with a skill set that could take me anywhere. The question was did I want to stay at Publix or move forward with other DBA opportunities. The changing moment was when I received a call from Jason a friend and a recruiter in the industry. To be honest I was dodging his call in the beginning since I did not want to turn him down for another DBA post. He had contacted me in the past and I had said no and I did not want to burn any bridges with him. After another call from Jason I decided it would be best to do the dirty and tell him no. Boy was I a fool for not reaching out to Jason earlier; he had an excellent post which was right up my alley. After a couple of solid interviews I was made an offer by New York Life/AARP.
What pushed me to the point of leaving a stable job at Publix? I can say that it was not an easy decision to leave Publix, but when all the cards were placed on the table it appeared that the best option was to move forward. I can say with confidence that I did not leave Publix for money it was more for personal reasons. Late last year and early this year I was actively speaking at SQL Saturdays and began speaking at user groups. I must give props at this time to Magic Pass out of Orlando. Due to my rigorous schedule at Publix I fell off the speaking circuit and was not able to give back to the SQL Server community as much as I would like to. I was also pulled away from blogging. I had just started blogging and was getting my groove and that groove was interrupted. And finally I felt like I was missing time with my wife Missy and son Parker. Upon speaking with my new employer I felt like I was going to have the ability to gain back these things that in my opinion I had lost. Just the fact that I was able to put out this blog is evidence that change is good.
Today was my first day at the new job. I have to say I was very impressed with the organization. HR was helpful from day 1. Heck New York Life (NYL) has been there for me during the entire hiring process. I was met by Rachelle and Kevin of HR with a firm handshake and a friendly welcome. A couple of other new hires and I were taken down to security for our mug shots and new I.D.’s. I was then brought up to my new team and hiring manager. I was walked around the floor and introduced to many different individuals and teams of which I will most likely insult someone later in the week since I am horrible with names. I am working on this I promise. I also found everything very efficient. All my hardware and access was ready for me by 11am. The longer the day progressed the more confident I became with my decision to leave one power house (Publix) and head to another (NYL) for new opportunities.
I will close on this. Change is good.