The Final 15 Revealed: DBA in Space


Today, the final 15 competitors were announced at the DBA in Space website. To get into the final 15, the contestants first had to successfully answer all 14 tasks and questions from the competition, and then submit what would be their first Tweet from space. According to the rules, the Tweet had to be 140 characters or less and include the #redgate hashtag. Assuming they got this far, the Tweets that met this criteria where then judged based on the following criteria: (a) relevance to the database administrator community; (b) how innovate the Tweet is; and 3) relevance to the theme of space.

The final 15 Tweets were selected by the three judges by using a blind rating system. In other words, the judges were able to read each Tweet, but they did not know which DBA wrote each Tweet. The judges did not know the name of the DBA, their gender, their database specialty, their nationality, not anything at all about the DBA, other than reading their Tweet. This way, the judging would be impartial, solely based on the Tweets submitted for the competition. Each of the three judges rated the Tweets, and the top 15 with the highest overall scores were announced as the final 15.

The final 15 (in alphabetical order) are listed below, including a short biography (provided by the contestant), and a photo. You may notice that some of the final 15 are not SQL Server DBAs. This is because the contest was open to all DBAs, no matter what database software they use. You can find out more information about each contestant, including their winning Tweets, at


Phillip Beazley

Phillip Beazley is a Database Administrator for Dallas National Insurance Company in Dallas, TX. He is married and blessed with two daughters and one son. Growing up in the small West Texas town of Odessa, he always had a strong interest in astronomy, and the desert was a great place to be a stargazer. His curiosity and hunger for adventure led him to the U.S. Marine Corps after high school and on to several exotic locations. Although life is now fuller than he ever dreamed, the mystery and magic of space still pulls his eyes toward the stars.



Simone Burcombe

clip_image003Like many, I’m an accidental DBA or, to be more precise, an accidental Data Analyst. I began my SQL adventure when I was on the operational side of a large staffing firm, and landed on a software implementation project. Somehow, that turned into a project lead role, then providing both operational and database support. I learned my first T-SQL (select … where …) by watching the vendor’s tech support guy and scrambling to write down everything he typed in on my machine. That led to entire worlds opening up for me. I’m now working with a great BI team for a heavy equipment distributor, and I am an active member of the local and international SQL communities.



Gerald Drouin

clip_image004I’m a manufacturing software developer and accidental DBA.  I’m married with two beautiful daughters.  When I’m not working, I’m spending time with them and doing yoga. Personal geek firsts:  Computer – VIC20, BBS hosted – EBBS (C64); All-nighter video game – Civilizations; DB experience – Access 2.0; SQL crash – tempdb full; Biggest dream squashed by the reality of cost and lack of technological advancement and then revitalized by this contest – going into space. A poem sums it up:

I can do airplane
I can do tree
But what I really want to do
Is experience micro-gravity


Tim Ford

clip_image006Tim is the Lead SQL DBA at Spectrum Health and has 12 years’ experience using SQL to aid in patient care. He’s been a volunteer for The Professional Association for SQL Server since 2002, is a presenter, and has served as leader for West Michigan SQL Users Group. Tim started SQL Cruise in 2010. On SQL Cruise, he takes 15 students and provides training from SQL professionals along with networking and relaxation. He’s an author, presenter, goofball, and Nerd. He has been a SQL Server MVP since 2009. Follow Tim on Twitter as @sqlagentman or read his blog at


Richard Fuller

clip_image007Hi there, I’m Richard Fuller. I work at Marshall Motor Group in Cambridge, and have been the lead developer / DBA for over 10 years now. I live just outside Cambridge with my wife Emma, three kids Abigail, Edward and Robert, and our Beagle Roscoe. When I was at school, my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up – I told her I wanted to be an astronaut and go into space…she laughed at me. Please help me prove Mrs. White wrong and vote for me to win the trip of a lifetime. Make me your DBA in Space.




Michael Hirst

imageI’ve been working with databases for over twenty years – massive DB2 mainframes, to mid-sized SQL Server farms, to tiny Access mdb files. The past thirteen years I’ve been supporting medical systems on SQL Server. I’m the administrator, the architect, and the guy who gets the call if the database seems slow. I’m also the answer man who can trace third party SQL calls and find which of the four hundred tables stores the patient’s shoe size. My home is the St. Louis area in the US with my wife, six kids, and a cat.



Victoria Holt

clip_image009I am a senior certified MCITP Database Administrator at Eduserv, and I am very passionate about data and databases. I have the experience of managing a large SQL Server Estate throughout the database lifecycle. With the database landscape continually changing, I proactively look at ways to improve the management of SQL Server. I am also currently looking at the adoption of SQL Server 2012, database infrastructure for the cloud, and architectural designs for relational and BI platforms. Some of my out of work activities include part time research for a PhD for improving database management systems, and involvement with the SQL community through SQLBits.


Mark Johnson

clip_image011I am married and father of three, a DBA for a medical device company, and huge Sci-Fi geek. I have always wondered what it would be like to go into space, but never dreamed it would be possible for me. When I entered the DBA in Space contest, I thought about taking the cash prize and paying off my kids’ student loans, but they insist they would rather see me in space. So, with your help, something I thought was impossible can become possible. The SQL Community is an amazing group of professionals, and I’d like to thank you all for the knowledge and support I have received throughout my career.


David Kennaway

clip_image012David is one of the country’s top up-and-coming Lion Tamers. In his spare time he enjoys being a DBA. Fresh faced, having graduated from the University of Bath in 2010, his enthusiasm for 4am corruption issues has yet to fade. At work, he partners closely with developers and has quickly built up a rapport, often being affectionately called "that guy who never agrees to anything." Outside of work his interests include climbing, travel and writing about himself in the third person.




John Kiernander

clip_image013I’ve been working in and around databases for about 10 years now and I’m starting to get the grey hairs to prove it! Originally from Somerset, I now live in Cheshire where I work as a Solutions Architect for PMSI Consulting.  We process and host data for a range of clients in a variety of different ways, and the ever changing nature of our work means there are always plenty of new challenges to keep me busy. My wife and I had a baby boy this year, so when I’m not working I’m usually racing around the living room on my hands and knees. In fact I’d really love to go up to space just for a bit of peace and quiet!



Joe Miller

clip_image015When I was a kid, I had a dog-eared old paperback on the history of the moon race. It was full of arcane details about space sextants, gimbals and Guidance Computer command sets. I read that book cover-to-cover more times than I remember (often when I should have been paying attention in class). I used to draw pictures of Redstone, Titan and Saturn V rockets to hang up on the walls, and models of Mercury and Gemini capsules had a permanent spot on a shelf over my bed. I won’t say they were entirely responsible, but those childhood dreams of spaceflight certainly nudged me towards a love of computers and software, and in a small way led me to where I am today, administering and developing software with PostgreSQL. My little brother still has my models, sitting on a shelf covered in dust. It’s been nice to dust off the dreams.


Jay Miner

clip_image017I’m somewhat of an accidental DBA. My first job in tech came when I found myself in Mexico and in need of work to support a trip that had run long. Since then, I’ve interspersed my travels with stints as a DBA – some long, some short – and a few years in West Africa with the Peace Corps. It would be incredible if my next trip could be into space, and if you would vote to help me get there, I’d really appreciate it.





David Nicholls

clip_image018Currently working in London as an Oracle DBA looking after several large statistical databases, David Nicholls was born and raised in Edinburgh and remains very proud of his Scottish heritage. If he wins first prize in the DBA in Space competition, David aims to become the first ever DBA (or indeed person) to play the bagpipes in space. Whilst in space, David also intends to wear a kilt and make attempts at eating haggis, drinking whisky, Scottish country dancing and tossing the caber (subject to health and safety restrictions).




Jim Thurston

clip_image019I wasn’t always going to be a DBA. Though I discovered an aptitude for computers at an early age, after university I fooled myself into thinking that I’d do something else for a living. But, times were changing…the World Wide Web was here, dotcoms were booming everywhere, and suddenly all computers were as cool as the Atari my best mate had when we were ten. Finally, the time had come to release my inner geek. A decade later and I’m still at it – as DBA at, I’ve combined a lifelong passion for music with something I can actually do.


GP Van Eron

clip_image021I have been a DBA for 10+ years, primarily linked to SQL 2000 – 2008 R2. Besides the emotional and physical trauma a DBA can undergo, I truly do enjoy playing this role and working with SQL Server (battling Replication aside). I may not possess the gift of high intelligence. But with deep experience and resourcefulness, I excel continuously and perform my job proficiently.





Now That the Final 15 Have Been Selected, What Next?

All of the contestants now have about one week to promote themselves, trying to get votes for themselves in order to win the contest. Hopefully, we will see some creative self-marketing in the next week as the voting continues.

Anyone can vote in this contest, but you are only allowed to vote once a day for your favorite contestant.  Voting begins at, as per the contest rules, “over a period of 7 days commencing at such time as the Finalists are announced on 6 December 2011 and closing at 12:00 (UTC) on 13 December 2011.”

Don’t forget to vote and make some DBA’s dream to go into space a reality!

One thought on “The Final 15 Revealed: DBA in Space

  1. Please please please vote for my dad Mark Johnson.
    He really deserves this for all the hard work he does.
    I have type 1 diabetes and my little sister is profoundly deaf.
    He works so hard to provide for all of us.
    When he is not at work, he is working at home and really deserves this wonderful award.

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