About Straight Path Solutions

Straight Path Solutions is a team of SQL Server consultants with many years of experience and a drive to help our clients succeed. We come from all walks and our team can flex as our client needs flex, but we are all bound together by a common purpose and a love of all things technology, especially in the Microsoft Data Platform stack.

Our Pledge is simple: Relationships matter, and we will do right by each we are a part of.  In every deal, we ask, “Is the deal as good or better for the other side than it is for us?” If it is, then it’s good. You can call this the Golden Rule or you can call this the realization that we are all in it together. For Mike, it comes down to his faith and the way he tries to live his life and the principles he wanted his company to live by. For all of our team, partner companies and folks doing work with us? Their own reasons vary, but the point remains: We only partner with and work with consultants and staff who have this integrity, humility, and client-first focus. We want a trail of committed fans in each relationship we’ve been blessed to be a part of. We chase that first, and so far, we’re still able to cover payroll and take care of our partners and vendors.

Meet the Team

Mike Walsh

Mike Walsh

Founder | President

Mike is the founder of Straight Path Solutions. 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. Before trying consulting out, he had worked as a DBA, Senior DBA or Managing Director at several national companies and small companies – focusing on SQL Server, DBA skills, and tuning.

At Straight Path, Mike is taking the lessons learned from his 20-year career and helping more clients directly or through matching the right top-level skill set on our core team and partner network with the right client need. He is the technical lead for a lot of our engagements, and every client of every size has his cell phone and they know he’ll answer when they have a need or a critical question, even if he isn’t their technical lead.

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 loves watching a client’s face change when their problems die down. He speaks at regional and national conferences, and blogs about SQL Server in his free time (when he has any!). 7 times so far since 2011, Microsoft saw fit to recognize him as a Microsoft MVP for SQL Server, or now the Data Platform.

Jack Corbett

Jack Corbett

Senior SQL Server Consultant

Jack Corbett 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.

Bruce Welch

Bruce Welch

SQL Server Support Analyst

Bruce 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.

Joseph Fleming

Joseph Fleming

Senior SQL Server Consultant

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.

Mike Clark

Mike Clark

Senior SQL Server Consultant

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.

Sheila Welch

Sheila Welch

Office Manager/Chief of Staff

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.

That’s Our Core Team

Mike, Jack, Joe, Bruce, The Other Mike, and Sheila are the core Straight Path team as of mid-2018. We started with just Mike, and our relationship-first mentality has seen steady growth. The team is likely to grow again, but always carefully and slowly. Always aligned with our central values and principles. Drop us a line sometime if you want to join this team, we’re not always looking, but chances are we will be at some point.

In addition to this team, we serve a lot of our customers with partners. Sometimes those are individuals we’ve personally known and trusted for years. Sometimes those partners are firms we’ve believed in for years run on the same principle of “Relationship first.” These partnerships are great ways of having access to core complimenting skills (app dev, advanced analytics, deep dives with data warehouse architecture, etc.), and we often provide those skills to their clients.

Straight Path

We’ve helped clients with projects that were as simple as “come in and help us figure this one quick thing out” to as complex as “help us design this warehouse, get it loaded and tune it as we go.” We have several clients engaged with us in one of our “FlexDBA” remote DBA opportunities where we are a part of their team, minding their databases and data needs for them. This engagement style is great because we come alongside a client in a co-sourcing, rather than outsourcing, model. We teach and mentor. We respond when things get bad. Our proactive touch means things are going bad less and less, too.

You name the industry vertical, and we’ve probably been there. From heavily regulated industries like big pharmaceuticals, banks, credit unions, insurance, hospital systems to small Software as a Service start-ups and everything in between, we’ve worked with their data and our base of industry knowledge is always going up – as is our “sample size” for seeing what companies are doing with SQL Server.

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. Mike loves the diversity of the team he gets to work with and respects the differences of opinion on some of these personal matters of faith.

“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

Guiding Principles

The Bible speaks of the chief end of man being to “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 or “rules” stand. To that end, that’s the 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. Whether they believe in the same things or think the same thoughts or not.

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. We like to think that if Straight Path were a restaurant, every member of the team would notice a glass half full and take the initiative to fill it for our customer if we walked by the table, whether we were the waitstaff or not.

Our “Key Values”:

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 family and vice versa.

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.

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. We don’t make money selling hardware, 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.

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. We’re current, past or future MVPs. We enjoy teaching folks to fish as much as we enjoy fishing. 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.

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