About Andy

Hi there! Welcome to my professional blog. I really appreciate you taking the time to visit. I’d like to share a couple things about myself – in case you’re interested. Why? I believe context matters. If you don’t agree, feel free to skip on past this post and enjoy the ten years of content stored here. We can still be friends. Promise! :{>

This post is divided into three sections:

If none of that interests you today, feel free to skip to the end and continue scrolling the content of this blog.

Professional Stuff

Andy Leonard is the founder and Chief Data Engineer at Enterprise Data & Analytics, an SSIS trainer, consultant, and developer; a Biml developer and BimlHero; SQL Server database and data warehouse developer, community mentor, engineer, and farmer. He is author and co-author of several books:

The Biml Book: Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse Automation  Building Custom Tasks for SQL Server Integration Services  SQL Server Integration Services Design Patterns  SQL Server MVP Deep Dives  SQL Server 2012 Integration Services Design Patterns (Expert's Voice in SQL Server)  SQL Server MVP Deep Dives, Volume 2  Managing Geeks: A Journey of Leading by Doing  Professional SQL Server 2005 Integration Services  MCITP Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-441): Designing Database Solutions by Using Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005: Designing Database Solutions by Using ... Server 2005 (Microsoft Press Training Kit)

Professional Passion:

I deliver consulting services and training. I work mainly with Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) and Business Intelligence Markup Language (Biml) from Varigence.

I love learning. I think that’s why I love sharing and teaching and training – it’s like sharing the best feeling ever! I enjoy leading teams – especially teams that perform data integration.

Data integration is a fancy-schmancy word for reading data from one place, transforming it so all the dates and numbers look the same, correcting or removing bad and duplicated data, and landing it in some other place. Does this sound boring? For some it is. Not for me! Data integration is an essential part of Data Science. In fact, data integration is the biggest part of every data science project, taking 50-80% of the project’s time. And if you don’t get this part right, all the shiny, pretty charts and graphs are all but useless.

Personal:

Disclaimer: In this section I share and discuss matters of faith. I am a Christian. If Christianity offends you for any reason, I implore you to read this section and then contact me to tell me why Christianity offends you. That said, I will understand if you skip right past this section.

 

 

 

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My Idea of Church…

…is illustrated in this Zach Williams video:

My Other Ideas of Church…

These pictures are from one of our mission trips to Honduras with The Honduras Project.

In the Beginning…

I wasn’t always a Christian. I believed in something I called “Universal Justice,” which I now realize made me agnostic. I believed in something beyond myself but I didn’t know what that something was. (I wasn’t an atheist. Many people I know who claim to be atheist are actually “anti-theist.” They are angry at God, but I digress…)

Being agnostic, I used to argue with Christian friends in high school. I enjoy debate and the Socratic method.

Three life events occurred during a 10-day period in July 1981:

  1. I turned 18.
  2. My Mom and Dad separated.
  3. I learned my girlfriend was pregnant.

Even though it was 10 days, I refer to that period as grow-up-now-week.

My girlfriend and I got married. We struggled, though, living in a small town where everyone knew everyone’s business. I worked at a stockyard, doing farm chores and mucking stalls; picked peaches and other fruit at a local orchard; and performed with country music bands on weekends to make ends meet. I joined the Virginia Army National Guard.

One National Guard drill Sunday, we were allowed to attend church services since a chaplain would not be visiting our unit that day. I went to get out of the other work our company had planned (true story). I was moved by the sermon some but not a lot – the gentleman was a lackluster preacher. I could easily take apart his logic, socratic-ly speaking.

Later that week, though, some members of that congregation showed up at our door with a few boxes filled with groceries.

I couldn’t debate the groceries.

You cannot debate love.

I believed. I was baptized. And thus began the phase of my relationship with Christ where I acknowledge Him. I write it that way because I now realize I had a relationship with Christ prior to that moment – I just didn’t know it. Jesus was protecting and leading me all my life prior to that moment. How do I know? Romans 5:8 informs me: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He was bringing me to that moment. He’s been leading me since that moment.

Since that moment things have changed. Life hasn’t been all awesome and perfect. I’ve stumbled and suffered for it. I’ve been hurt and hurt others. But… I’ve forgiven and been forgiven. I’ve experienced God’s grace – something I cannot describe – something I don’t believe can be described – grace must be experienced.

I am a sinner saved by grace.

I share this part of my personal history to encourage you. It could be that you’re struggling right now as you read these words. You may have questions about life, the universe, and everything. You may be questioning whether life is even worth living.

In Luke 9:23, Jesus told his followers a hard thing: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Those are serious things, denying yourself, taking up your cross daily, and following Him. I describe this as “dying to myself” and it’s something I pray about daily. Why would anyone want to do such a thing? Jesus’ words in Mark 8:35 provide an answer: “For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for me and for the gospel, you will save it.”

I am here to tell you that’s true.

I ask you to consider following Christ.

Many of you have considered following Christ in the past. Many have had extremely negative experiences with Christians, churches, and people who claim to represent God. I’m not defending those people or excusing their actions, I am asking you to consider Christ Who loved you and me enough to die for us while you and I were still sinners.

I believe God hears and answers prayers. My prayer for you, Dear Reader, as I type these words is that the Holy Spirit would move in your heart, stir your soul, inspire something in your mind that you feel; and that you would respond to that.

Andy

PS – I write about matters of faith at andy.faith(), my personal blog.

Connect with me!