We woke up today to the great news that the Summit is coming to Charlotte in 2013! This is something that we'd hoped would happen eventually, but with all of the back and forth on this topic over the past couple of years, we honestly weren't holding our collective breath. Although Charlotte appeared to be on pretty much everyone's Top 10 list of possible future Summit locations, for good reason, there just didn't seem to be any kind of critical mass. There is a huge group that would be happy if the Summit never left Seattle... and, like us, pretty much everyone else wants the Summit in their city. ;-)
As a SQL Server ISV based in the Charlotte area, we've advocated bringing the Summit to Charlotte at times, whenever folks would listen... but we aren't the loudest bunch, and we're also not ones to get too wrapped up in the political side of things. We keep a fairly low profile, we'll state our case and leave it at that... we're just not going to try too hard to sway anyone in any particular direction, for better or worse.
That said, our partner liaison, Peter Shire (b|t), has worked tirelessly for several years on the Charlotte PASS Chapter to foster a vibrant SQL Server community here, with the help of our local Microsoft offices. (The #2 SQL Server support operation behind Dallas is located here in Charlotte.) In addition, last year volunteers from SQL Sentry and Microsoft helped to pull off a highly successful SQLSaturday event, which I'd like to think helped to put us on the map. It did appear to leave many with a positive impression of our city and its ability to support something like a Summit.
Ultimately, the folks on the PASS Board performed the necessary diligence to find the best possible location, and looking at the criteria board members like Tom LaRock used, they made the right call. Every city has its pros and cons, and although Charlotte may not be the strongest in all areas, overall it's just a tough city to beat – I'd call it "well-rounded." I've lived here since the early '80s, and I've spent time in most major cities around the U.S. and Europe, and without a doubt, Charlotte holds its own against any of them.
As many will find out, Charlotte is not only a great city, it's truly an optimal location to hold a PASS Summit. Will there be bumps in the road? Of course – it's not going to be perfect. There will be gripes about various things, there always are. But on balance I think it's the right move. Bring the Summit to a well-rounded East coast location with a strong Microsoft presence, and expose many database professionals that won't normally make it to Seattle to this great educational and community event.
For me, 2013 can't come soon enough!