PASSMN 2018 Board


By Riley Major, 2018-03-30

Back in October, after a successful SQLSaturday, the PASSMN board requested applicants to fill the positions of Jim Horn, Cecil Spivey, and Eric Zierdt who were each finishing the second year of their two-year terms. (Jim Horn stepped down a little early on 2017-10-11, but other board members fulfilled his duties for the remainder of his term.) We began planning for the election we avoided last year.

No Election, Again

We sent out this notice to our official PASS mailing list:


When you look at the PASSMN board have you ever said to yourself, I could do that. Well now is your chance to show that you can do that.

PASSMN is now taking applications for new board members, there are currently three positions that need filling. If you are interested in helping drive your local user group, please send your application to You application should contain a brief summary of why you believe you should be on the PASSMN board.

We will be accepting applications until the second week of November. If there are more applications than open positions an election will be held during the month of November and the winners announced during the December meeting.

We received a total of 5 inquiries, but only 4 led to actual applications. This is more interest than we’ve had in some time; last year we only had 3 interested in the 3 positions. However, as we were discussing how we would run the election, Jim Dorame decided he needed to dedicate more time to his new position as Director of Data and Reporting at Questar. That resulted in 4 vacancies, so with 4 applications, we avoided an election for yet another year.

Technically, there was a wrinkle. Our standard format has been a 6-member board, with each member serving for 2 years, where half the board is up for election each year. Jim was in the middle of his two-year term, so either we needed to convert to a 4/2 election rotation, or one of the applicants needed to serve a 1 year term. Cecil Spivey, one of the board members rolling off, was also one of our applicants, and he agreed to fill the rest of Jim Dorame’s term.

The other applicants were Amanda Crisp, Dan English, and Joshuha Owens. Amanda is new to the board but Dan and Josh have been involved in the past– Josh in 2013 and Dan before that. We welcome them all and look forward to their contributions.

2018 Board

Before his departure, Jim Dorame helped coordinate the transition in roles among the board members. I’m pleased to announce our 2018 PASSMN Board:

Chair Riley Major 2017-2018
Director of Program Development Amanda Crisp 2018-2019
Director of Membership / Treasurer Joshuha Owens 2018-2019
Director of Corporate Development Chris Kramer 2017-2018
Director of Technology Dan English 2018-2019
Director of SQL Saturday Cecil Spivey 2018-2018

2018 Goals

We’ve already discussed several ideas for improving our member experience, some of which came from last year’s user group survey, and agreed on the following list of goals for this year.

  • Join Meetup. We believe Meetup will help us bring our experience to new people thanks to its algorithmic suggestions. Our members agree. We also hope it encourages members to interact more with its conversation features. (Update: Dan already set us up on 2018-01-27 and began posting meetings. Thanks, Dan!)
  • Establish a blog. Currently, we don’t have a convenient mechanism for publishing official information (such as this post) on our main web site.
  • Provide advanced meeting notice. Our members have said they would be more likely to attend if provided more notice so we plan to do so. We commit to sending our official invite at least 2 weeks before the event and we will also announce the next three months of speakers at our meetings.
  • Host more speakers per meeting. We believe we provide more value to members when there are more people at our meetings. One reason members don’t attend is that the single topic covered doesn’t interest them. Having more than one topic increases the draw. We commit to having at least 2 speakers at 3 meetings this year.
  • Welcome new speakers. Our job is to grow our local technology community, and an important component of that is building our base of speakers. We commit to having at least 2 new speakers present in front of our group this year. Please contact us if you are willing to share. We will hound you if you don’t.
  • Plan a social event. We believe our group is about more than just sharing technical content. We’d like to strengthen our community of members, and we think a less formal gathering will help. We commit to setting up at least one gathering in addition to our standard meeting times.
  • Ensure 80% meeting sponsorship coverage. We only had 4 sponsors for our 10 meetings in 2017. Our goal this year is to have at least 8 sponsors for our 11 meetings. So far, we’re batting 1000.
  • Update bylaws. We weren’t sure how to deal with the board changes this year, with the early departures. We should ensure our bylaws address this issue– or at least explicitly empower the board to make those decisions.
  • Update non-profit status. We need to ensure we have all of our filings up to date.
  • Publish SQLSaturday earlier. We didn’t officially publish last year’s successful SQLSaturday #682 until June 19th. We’re aiming for an April launch this year. With more time, we hope to attract more sponsors, speakers, and attendees to our great value paid pre-conference training sessions.
  • Have more developer sessions. Our members want developer sessions, and we haven’t been providing enough of them. We commit to having at least 4 developer sessions this year.
  • Establish user group partnerships. There are several data-related user groups in our area. We should make sure all of those groups’ members are aware of each other. (Update: we have recently been added to the MinneAnalytics group page.)

This is an ambitious list, but we’re already making progress.

We hope our efforts pay off and you get even more value from our group. We look forward to seeing you at our meetings this year.

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