Rollin' on a River into Chattanooga with the #SQLVacation

Kevin Kline

Published On: July 28, 2016

Categories: Community, SQLPASS, SQLVacation 0

Chattanooga Postcard

Chattanooga is a gem of a city situated on the Tennessee River very close to the junction of Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia in the American Midsouth. For me and the Horde, Chattanooga is the perfect getaway.

It has a great restaurant scene and river front, along with some of the most popular and best known tourist attracts in the region. My kids love places like Rock City, Ruby Falls, the amazing Tennessee Aquarium, and the kid-friendly Creative Discovery Museum, not to mention the historic Chattanooga Choo-choo Hotel (formerly the old Train Station) and Lookout Mountain gardens, site of the Civil War's "Battle Above the Clouds". Anyone who's traveled through the Southern states will remember the ubiquitous barn-side advertisements like this...

Chattanooga Rock City
There's a birdhouse version of this hanging in my backyard

Despite the quaint Southern-isms of the city, Chattanooga is also one of the nation's most technologically advanced. It was the USA's first city to offer gigabit Internet access, for a measly $70/month, way back in 2010. (They don't call it the "Gig City" for nothin'!) That's right, friends.

Chattanooga has been able to download 2-hour HD movies in around thirty seconds since 2010, about 50x the average broadband speed in the USA. As you might guess, this early move into broadband has helped jumpstart a vibrant entrepreneurial community in the city. Economically, Chattanooga is home to the TVA, Volkswagen's Chattanooga Assembly Plant, the enormous insurer Unum, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, and (my favorite) the Little Debbie bakeries.

Me - when I have access to Little Debbie snack cakes.

Chattanoog SQL Server User Group - New and Growing

Larry Ortega

The ChattanoogaSQL Server User Group, the local chapter of Professional Association for SQL Server, is only a few years old, but it is growing rapidly. The user group is now led by Larry Ortega, an enterprise DBA working for the TVA. Larry, though not originally from Tennessee, is a great exemplar of the Volunteer spirit, founding and running the chapter since the beginning. Here's our mini-interview with Larry:

When did you begin your professional career?

It was 1985 at Entre’ Computers selling the brand-new IBM PS2 line of personal computers and installing accounting software.

What’s a normal day at work like for you?

Coffee, backup maintenance and POD meeting, make sure everyone has appropriate paper work for day’s activities, do some archaeology on databases on old infrastructure to prep for migration or retirement, organize some training for the team.


When did you come to this area?

We moved to Chattanooga in 1966 when I was in the 6th grade.

When and why did you decide to help as a volunteer leader?

After going to SQL Saturday #285 in Atlanta I realized that with a little work I could bring a lot of free training to my team and town.

What is the IT community like there?

Burgeoning but fragmented.

chatt ruby falls
Beautiful Ruby Falls cave system near Chattanooga

What do you like about your area? What you recommend someone do there, if they came to town on their own #sqlvacation?

Chattanooga is a perfectly sized city, too small for major gridlock but large enough for lots of things to do with a growing tech community. Drive to the top of Lookout Mountain, see Point Park. Hit the Aquarium and some of the great restaurants. Visit Coolidge Park on the North Shore.

What do you and your family enjoy doing in the area?

Great minor league ballpark, golfing, restaurants, fly fishing in the nearby mountains.

What's Your Vacation this Summer?

Chattanooga is my second to last stop on the #SQLVacation. What's going on with your vacation? Share your vacation photos with the #SQLFamily community and on social media using the hashtag #SQLVacation! Also, don't forget to fill out the entry form at the contest page for additional chances to win more prizes.

SQL Vacation 2016-01

Now until the end of the contest, earn entries in our #SQLVacation raffle by coming to one or more of the events on the speaking tour. Share your photos using the #SQLVacation hashtag to be entered to win a SQL Sentry messenger bag. The winner will be announced on July 29th. User group attendees will receive exclusive SQL Vacation koozies too, while supplies last.


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Kevin (@kekline) serves as Principal Program Manager at SentryOne. He is a founder and former president of PASS and the author of popular IT books like SQL in a Nutshell. Kevin is a renowned database expert, software industry veteran, Microsoft SQL Server MVP, and long-time blogger at SentryOne. As a noted leader in the SQL Server community, Kevin blogs about Microsoft Data Platform features and best practices, SQL Server trends, and professional development for data professionals.


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