Why You’re Here. Why We Exist
We don’t believe you should be slowed by wading through all of the questions that come with SQL Server or your cloud data platform – Licensing, many permutations of High Availability options, cloud vs on-premises vs hybrid, all those versions with upgrade questions, virtualization, uncontrolled sprawl, and performance frustrations. You should be free to focus on what makes you and your organization great.
We’re Straight Path Solutions. We can help. We’re passionate about what we do. Let us be passionate about keeping your data protected like it was our own! This is co-sourcing with a team that joins your team, not outsourcing to a faceless company.
Our Pledge is simple: Data matters. People matter. Relationships matter, and we will do right by each we are a part of. With everything we do, we ask “Is this better or as good for the other side than it is for us?” If it is, it’s a safe decision. Our team is empowered to make the right decision with your best interests in mind. In business life, clients and money can come and go – but relationships last. We’re passionate about data. We’re passionate about doing the right thing. We’re passionate about being advocates for you and your data as your business keeps pushing forward. Each client relationship is a blessing that we cherish.
Meet the Team
Founder | President
Mike loves mentoring clients on the right Systems or High Availability architectures because he enjoys those lightbulb moments and loves watching the right design and setup come together for a client.
He started Straight Path in 2010 when he decided that after over a decade working with SQL Server in various roles, it was time to try and take his experience, passion, and knowledge to help clients of all shapes and sizes. Mike is a husband, father to four great children, and a Christian. He’s a volunteer Firefighter and EMT in his small town in New Hampshire, and when he isn’t playing with his family, solving SQL Server issues, or talking shop, it seems like he has plenty to do with his family running a small farm in NH raising Beef Cattle, Chickens, Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Honeybees and who knows what other animals have been added!
Mike loves working with SQL Server, He loves data and is a SQL Server Consultant. He speaks at regional and national conferences, and blogs about SQL Server in his free time (when he has any!). 8 times so far since 2011, Microsoft saw fit to recognize him as a Microsoft MVP for SQL Server, or now the Data Platform.
Senior SQL Server Consultant
Jack loves teaching a client how to write better-performing database code because he gets to see folks develop a better understanding of how SQL works and watching their customers or users benefit from the improved experience and responsiveness as a result of those lessons being applied.
He began working with SQL Server, Access, and VB in 1999 when he served an apprenticeship with a good friend who was the software development manager at the local paper mill. He found his niche and has concentrated on SQL Server development and administration since late 2000. He has worked with SQL Server through version 2017 and was a Microsoft MVP for SQL Server from October 2011 to October 2016. Jack has presented at many user groups and SQLSaturday events. Jack joined Straight Path as a senior consultant helping focus on both the Database Administration practice and Database Development practice. His background and combination of skills made him a perfect “crossover” resource with strengths in both areas.
SQL Server Support Analyst
Bruce considers problems as puzzles to be solved knowing the end result will improve the customers’ environments, taking away that unneeded stress.
He joined Straight Path in January 2017 as a Database Support Analyst after 28 years in the printing industry in technical support and technical analyst roles. He brings years of customer support and technical troubleshooting experience to the team. Bruce has been married to his wife Sheila for 28 years. They have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and two grandsons. In the fall Bruce spends his spare time hunting.
Senior SQL Server Consultant
Joseph enjoys (no, seriously!) setting up replication and working to make sure users are aware of its current status given its finicky nature. This leads to peace and calm for all involved.
Since starting his SQL Server career in 1998, Joseph has developed experience with each new version of SQL Server and specializes in the operational aspects of the DBMS, including Replication, Clustering, Availability Groups, Backups, HA Design, Performance Tuning and Partitioning. While he prefers to rejoice in triumph, he’s seen his share of catastrophes and worked long nights learning lessons from them. He’s also developed a passion for sharing that joy and pain with others by leading a PASS user group, organizing and volunteering at SQLSaturdays, and presenting on SQL Server topics.
Office Manager/Chief of Staff
Sheila enjoys walking new clients through our onboarding process, making it as simple and easy as possible for them. She gets a kick out of making other people smile.
Sheila is a mom to 2 grown sons and a daughter-in-law and Grammy to her birthday twin grandsons, Samuel, 5, and Levi, 3. When Sheila is not adulting, she can be found with her grandsons playing Legos, laying Hot Wheel tracks, or reading to them.
While working for a local school district’s crazy, busy Special Education Department, the processes she implemented over an 18 month time period allowed the team to work more efficiently and complete tasks within the state-mandated timelines. Sheila looks forward to doing the same at Straight Path Solutions, allowing the team to care for and service customers in a streamlined and cohesive manner.
Sheila believes part of the success of a company is a strong organized person taking care of the things that can hinder others from doing the job they are more skilled at. Her specialty is taking the hectic and crazy, and making an organized chaos out of it.
Senior SQL Server Consultant
Mike gets great satisfaction in helping clients find and solve their performance pain points. Helping a client speed up their environment brings a smile to his face at the close of his day.
Mike joins Straight Path Solutions after 20+ years of working for Fortune 100 companies and Silicon Valley startups. He was drawn to database early in his career as a way to get involved in key projects that solved critical business needs. This has continued to grow and he enjoys working in cross-functional teams on high demand mission-critical systems.
Mike began working with SQL Server in 2001 after the company he was working at had acquired a company that used analysis services and the rest is history. He grew into database administration roles, database architect roles, and performance tuning roles. He loves to help systems run faster and build business continuity solutions. He has been a contributing member of the SQL Server Community since early 2004 and a PASS Virtual Chapter Leader since 2006.
When Mike isn’t helping folks with their databases – he can be found working with High at Risk young men aging out of the Foster Care System.
Senior SQL Server Consultant
Tara loves working on performance problems. If users are complaining about the system being suddenly slow, she wants to troubleshoot it and save the day.
She started working on SQL Server in 1996 when she was a student worker in the DBA team at the County of San Diego. She was hired full time as a Junior DBA when she graduated from college. The rest is history as they say.
She was a Microsoft MVP for SQL Server from July 2007 to July 2017. She answered thousands of questions on SQLTeam.com, which led to her being awarded and renewed for 10 years.
When Tara isn’t working, she is spending time with her family or hiking.
Senior SQL Server Consultant
Tom enjoys implementing data migration projects, whether it’s between applications or moving to the cloud, he likes to see a project get delivered and pay off for all the customers involved.
Tom has been tinkering with computer technologies since childhood when he got a hand-me-down computer from his a relative and he’s been hooked ever since. He even bought Visual Basic at a computer show “back in the day” for his own learning!
Tom got his professional start in 2003 when he supported SQL Server in Point of Sale systems for a retail chain. Since then you might call him a hybrid as he’s always straddled the line between DBA and Developer. More recently his experience in SaaS companies allowed him to expand into Data Architecture and Data Engineering while always maintaining a focus on operational rigor. He loves to work smarter through the use of automation and scripting whenever possible.
In his personal time, you might find Tom hanging out by the pool with his family in the warm season and in colder months he’ll probably be indoors playing a video game or working on his next homebrew recipe. On occasion, you may see him checking in some code to help out with open source projects in the SQL community. Check out his github also
Tom Starts on 5/23/2019.
A bit more…
Some people like to know more about what makes us tick. We care more about what you need and how we can show you the experience of working with our team! We’ll oblige, though –
We started with just Mike Walsh, and our relationship-first mentality has seen steady growth ever since. We keep onboarding new clients and adding to the team slowly. Always adding new clients to our “Straight Path Family”, as we call it. We say “Hello” a lot, but rarely seem to have to say “Bye”. When we grow, it’s careful… Always aligned with our central values and principles. Customer first. Team first.
About Our Clients
We consider them all “Family” – and we mean that. We root for them. Most of them root for us! We don’t just press a button, tick a box and move on. We care deeply about their industries (and we serve many!), their teams and their success.
Our clients engage with us on a variety of projects, but they all have to do with data, and they all have to do with tapping into our expertise, our availability, or both. Our FlexDBA clients sometimes have their own DBAs and just need a second set of hands or eyes. Sometimes they have an “accidental” DBA (“Can you spell SQL? Congrats!! You’re the DBA!”) that need our help. Quite often they have great developers and systems folks, but no database soothsayer in the middle. That’s where we come in. Each of our clients will tell you that we’re a trusted partner and advisor who has their interests in mind. If they can’t? We’ve had a failure in our principles and that’s our fault!
Why “Straight Path”?
Straight Path’s name comes from the “straight path” that Mike was called to walk when he became a Christian and he was “attacked” by a grace he had no deserve for, and wasn’t searching for! Through Straight Path, he hopes to glorify God through our work, living out the truth of the verse he selected as a “company verse” and treating folks fairly. While Straight Path has this story in its founding, not all of our partners, employees, or consultants have that same background. One of the principles found in the Bible is this sense that “we are all in it together” – we are all created the same way, with the same traits. We believe you can love people, treat humans fairly and deliver great service no matter who or what you pray to or don’t pray to.
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Col 3:23-24
The Bible speaks of the chief end of man being, “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and love your neighbor as yourself” In fact, Jesus says it is on these two truths that all the commands in the Bible stand. To that end, that’s the core guiding principle of Straight Path – Is it honoring to God? Does it demonstrate a love for a neighbor so deep as Jesus described? If it does, then it’s probably the right track. If it doesn’t? Then something needs to change. And who is our neighbor? Everyone. Every client. Every partner. Every business associate. Even every competitor!
We try and “preach” core values internally – focused on the words below in particular. But they are all summed up in the sense of loving our neighbor. The team is empowered to do what’s right for the client. We treat our clients we’d want our families to be treated. There is no punishment for a quick action that is right for our customer, even if it is a short-term head scratcher for our company! Relationships matter.
We do have some key traits we try and model and try and hire around, though:
Flexible – We don’t watch the clock or adhere to strict rules first. We bend to help our clients. When someone is in need, they get help. We’re flexible to our customer needs and are willing to color outside of the edges where needed to best serve them; our staff has flexibility and trust to manage their workload.
Ethical – We would rather help you than bill you. When we reward our staff based on happy customers, long relationships and loving our neighbors, we create a transparent environment that allows ethics to flourish. Without a sales staff, we live or die by referrals and long relationships with clients who have joined our Straight Path family!
On-It – This is our reliability, stick-to-itiveness, persistence, and attentiveness to our client’s needs. This intentionality happens internally for the staff, but we also breathe this with our clients. We never say “Ooh! You have an issue! good luck!” We dig in, dig deep, understand the how and why and advise. We’re with a problem until it is solved. Even when a customer hasn’t engaged in the 24/7 piece, we don’t say “ooh sorry, it’s the end of the day, good luck!” When we are on it, we are on it. Even when it probably isn’t the database, but we can help? On it!
Trusted Partners – This gets at our trustworthiness and the fact that we are partners with our clients. We are there for you. For your best. And we’ll tell you when something is ugly. We have nothing to gain by hiding or sugarcoating. We don’t make money selling hardware, licenses or hosting and we don’t make more money when you have more problems. We’re there to be your advisor. And we seek to earn and keep that trust. Sometimes our love is expressed fighting the demons outside! Sometimes it’s sharing a hard truth about something inside!
Always Teaching – Some of our clients just want us to solve an issue and move on and let them know “you are good!” and that’s fine – but the people of Straight Path love teaching and mentoring. We’re current, past or future MVPs. We take time off to go to training. We speak at and learn at the big conferences each year. We enjoy teaching folks to fish as much as we enjoy fishing for or with our clients. We want your team to succeed and with our FlexDBA clients, it’s a measure of success when one someday reduces their billing level because we’ve taught them to fish and solve some things on their own.