PowerPivotPro

PowerPivotPro is Coming to Atlanta

March 20 - 22, 2018

Registration for 2018 Public Training is now open!

AVAILABLE CLASSES

**Use the discount code “3ORMORE” when signing up 3 or more people.

MARCH 20 - 21

Foundations: Power Pivot & Power BI

Instructor: Austin Senseman

Super charge your analytics and reporting skills with Microsoft’s dynamic duo. Designed to handle huge volumes of data, these tools will transform the way you work! Two Days in our class and you are EMPOWERED!

  • Learn Microsoft’s secret weapon behind Power Pivot & Power BI: DAX
  • Taught by Austin Senseman – PowerPivotPro Partner
  • You don’t need to be an IT professional – most of our students come from an Excel background
Atlanta Public Training Classes
Atlanta Public Training Classes

MARCH 20 - 21

Level Up Series: Advanced DAX

Instructor: Ryan Sullivan

The Advanced DAX Course was such a hit in the first half of 2017 that we’ve expanded the course to 2 days!

Overview

  • This advanced DAX training class is taught completely in Power BI Desktop
  • Students are encouraged to take our Foundations course and have hands on experience with the DAX language
  • Taught by Ryan Sullivan – Principal Consultant
  • Class material drawn from usage of Advanced DAX applications while consulting with hundreds of international firms

MARCH 22

Level Up Series: Power Query for Excel & Power BI

Instructor: Ryan Bergstrom

The second class in the series is our Level Up Series is Power Query for Excel & Power BI.

  • Students are encouraged to take our Foundations course and have hands on experience with Power Query in Excel or Power BI Desktop
  • Taught by Ryan Bergstrom – Principal Consultant and Trainer
  • We will cover common to unique business challenges made easy with Power Query’s data wrangling capabilities
  • Intermediate to Advanced Level Power Query best practices distilled into easy to understand patterns to apply to your most common business challenges
Atlanta Public Training Classes
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P3 Journey

My Story, My Journey, My Passion

Buckle in folks, this is going to be a long and engaging article. As we enter 2018, I realized that I’m approaching the one-year anniversary of my first blog post here at PowerPivotPro! So many things have happened since then. I’ve traveled across the US as a BI Trainer, co-developed with some of the world’s biggest companies, and a few months ago was given the position of EDITOR here at P3. Given all that’s happened I thought it appropriate to take a step back, reflect, and share my story of how I got here.

You see, when I was first hired here at P3 and shared my story with others, I was told that someday I NEEDED to blog about it. While I’m not one to toot my own horn, I’ve been told my career path was very non-typical (to say the least)! So here I am today, finally ready to share that journey with you, our readers. Because here at P3 we want to be more than just bloggers, we want to give a personality and face behind the articles you read. In fact, my goal is for this post to be the first of MANY! With the hopes that our core authors will all eventually get the opportunity to share their stories with you. So, sit back, enjoy your coffee, and learn a little more about how I got here.

Life Ah…Finds A Way…Eventually

road signStepping back into my way back machine, let’s travel back to the early 2000’s! Young me was in high school, and eager to work in the tech industry. By the way, you’re not getting any photos of me from then…let’s just say frosted tips was a BAD lifestyle choice… Anyways, I threw myself into computer hardware, and even got an A+ Certification by 16. However, I got disillusioned by the monotony of software coding and COMPLETELY changed directions after High School.

Instead, I invested in Psychology for my B.A. Thinking psychology was the career path for me. Turns out it’s really REALLY hard to get a soft skills job in 2009 WITHOUT EXPERIENCE. Worst. Time. Ever… to enter the job market…yeah. So instead, I ended up working as a behavioral instructor with autistic children for about four years, random right? During my time there I invested in a Master’s Degree in Organizational Development, hoping to get a leg up in the business industry.

After graduating, and after probably spending a few hundred hours sending my resume to (I swear!) nearly every analytics company that existed in the greater Northwest, I got a response back from MICROSOFT. They wanted to fly me down to Texas for an interview for an Account Manager Position. Not only was this the FIRST time I’d ever been flown to an interview, it was MICROSOFT! Needless to say, I was thrilled! However, even though my interviewers LOVED my personality, and even thought I’d be a great fit with the culture there…I didn’t have enough technical skills. Yup, that’s right, I didn’t get the job.

Light My Data Fire

Not all was lost though! I got one bit of sage wisdom from an interviewer down there. Go back and get a technical certification in something. So, I did! Some thorough research into growing industries, and data showed me that analytics and business intelligence was one of the fastest growing fields. So, I began looking for certifications related to that. I eventually applied for a business intelligence & database certification to be exact, at Bellevue College.

loves dataLet me tell you, I threw my body and mind into that certification, and by god did I come out the other end with flying colors. In fact, my capstone professor even wrote me a glowing recommendation. She stated that I was one of the top three students she ever had (trust me, this plays out later). So here I am, with a freshly printed certification, and bright eyed and bushy tailed for a new job opportunity. Of course, I did what any job applicant does, check all the online job websites for postings in the area.

You know where this is going though right? I very quickly exhausted EVERY SINGLE job posting in the area, and NO bites. A couple nibbles…but no bites. Do I give up though? Hell no! Fresh out of online job postings, I instead began googling analytics and business intelligence companies in my area. That’s right, I cold emailed about 30 companies that looked like they could use someone like me. Finally, after a few dozen emails with NO reply, one responded!

The Beginning Of Something Great

video training p3They brought me in for an interview, an interview that lasted FOUR HOURS! I got the hint that the interviewer (company owner) really liked me, and he told me he wanted to bring me on board. I was given a learning role, where I’d get hands on training and resources to quickly ramp up to a deployable consultant. Now I want to point out RIGHT NOW, that until I got hired here, I hadn’t used Excel or PowerPivot AT ALL. Like zero, nil, zilch, none. So I’m learning completely on the fly, and quickly learn all I can from YouTube videos and Googling blog posts. Now at this time, almost every time I Googled a PowerPivot question, PowerPivotPro and Rob’s posts would show up!

So I convinced my boss to buy Rob’s video training for me, and I threw myself headfirst into the content. I quickly absorbed everything in those videos…taking copious amounts of notes along the way. But I wanted more! I craved DAX and Data Modeling like a fat kid craves candy. So what do I do? I go back to Bellevue College and take a class on PowerPivot. Now low and behold…my capstone professor from my certification was teaching this class (told you this would come back).

Almost IMMEDIATELY I realized I knew all the material being taught already, I even helped out the instructor a few times when she got stuck! Fast forward about two weeks after the class finished, I get an email from her. In this email she said that due to multiple projects and responsibilities, she wouldn’t have time to teach the class next quarter, and asked if I would like to step in! Yes, you read that right. Let me pause right now, and remind you that I’ve been using PowerPivot for only A FEW MONTHS! Yet I’ve somehow been given the opportunity to teach it at a college…

Teaching Became Its Own Reward

The idea of teaching TERRIFIED me. However, I knew that having instructor on my resume would give me a huge boost, so I swallowed my fear and said yes. Now, before the class even started, I spent an INSANE amount of hours learning and improving the class material. I memorized it, practiced what I’d say, added content, etc… All in hopes I wouldn’t be a nervous wreck come class day. While it did prepare me for class, it did very little to dispel my fears. Come the day of the class, I was sweating bullets by the time class started…

By the time that first class ended I was positive it went HORRIBLY. On the drive home I was even thinking how I’d write a resignation email, after this class was done. I’d thank them for the opportunity, but that I wouldn’t want to do another class after this. THANKFULLY each class at Bellevue College includes an instructor evaluation on day one. The evaluations included a one to five scale review of various aspects of the class, plus written feedback. The feedback is typically released back to the instructor the next day, so I went to bed that night dreading what the results would be.

teacherBy the time I opened the email the next morning with my evaluation results, I was still convinced that it would be terrible. To my surprise, the reviews were almost all fours and fives…OUT OF FIVE. I honestly had to re-read the evaluation multiple times, not believing how good those reviews were. Not only were my fears hyperbolic, they apparently really LOVED the class. I later found out that I received one of the highest marks for a first-time instructor ever!

Since that day I’ve come to LOVE teaching, and honestly, it’s now the most rewarding thing I do. If you’d asked me even a year before this, would you ever teach? My answer honestly would have been HELL NO! Funny sometimes how life throws you random opportunities, especially one’s you end up being really good at!

Stumbling My Way To Success

So the entire time I’m working as an analyst and teaching, I’m also attending a local Excel Meetup Group. At one point shortly after I start teaching at Bellevue college, Rob does a remote presentation during one of the monthly meetups. After the presentation there’s a general Q&A section at the end. Of course me being me, I ask for the mic. I tell Rob that I don’t have a question, but just that I wanted to thank him for the blog, and the online course he made, because it literally helped me get a job as an instructor.

Rob mentioned how AWESOME that was, and that’s why he loved doing the blog. He mentioned a few other words of affirmation, and then I handed the mic off to the next person. Nothing else came of it that night, but this moment, this exact moment, was the start of the next phase of my career. I’d just lit a spark in the room that day, I just didn’t know it yet!

P3 LadderFast forward another six months or so. I noticed one day that there was a job posting on the PowerPivotPro website, asking for Principal Consultant applications. Now at this point I hadn’t personally met ANYONE from P3, and in my mind, they were the Jedi Masters of the BI world. So I ALMOST didn’t even apply, but a voice in the back of my head kept telling me…DO IT! So I applied, and even got a response back from Rob, containing a DAX test.

Let me tell you right now, that test is HARD. For my skills at that time, capitol H A R D. I went through a few iterations with Rob, and FINALLY got to an acceptable answer. Never mind you, a few grey hairs from how much thinking that test required. Unfortunately, because it took a few attempts, Rob was hesitant to hire me out right. Not all was lost though! I once again found myself doing something no one else had done (at that point).

Rob told me that every other test taker either A) Ninja’d the right answer on their first go, or B) Completely failed! Until I came along, NO ONE had ever stumbled their way to success like I did. Which is why I didn’t get a NO, instead I was told he wanted to think about my situation a bit. Still a damn good result from an application I almost DIDN’T submit, and an overall win in my book. This is now the second spark I’ve lit without knowing it! These sparks would collide in the most wondrous way later that fall.

Enter PowerPivotPro

rocket-shipLet’s hop in the Delorean, and shoot forward another two months. I’m at one of the monthly Excel User Groups I regularly attend, with a presentation being given by a local principal consultant for PowerPivotPro. Being the extraverted networker I am, I go up and talk with him. As we’re talking I mention who I am, that I teach, etc… All of a sudden he asks me if I was that same person from last year’s meetup. The one where I told Rob about how the blog and training helped get me the teaching position.

Apparently he was there, heard my story, and was AMAZED by it. He’d been wondering who I was ever since. He’d also shared that story with a few other people since then, as an example of the quality and success Rob’s video training can provide people. So we scheduled some time to get some coffee later that week. About half way through having coffee I realize these questions seem very interview like, and that it seems like he’s vetting me as a potential hire. I mention that I’d applied earlier that year with Rob, and explained Rob’s interesting scenario with me. He told me to send over the test I’d given to Rob, and that we’d go from there.

All the pieces then fell into place! The coffee talk went very well and I’d given off a fantastic impression, so they now had a personality to put to the DAX test I’d submitted. That was now enough to convince Rob to bring me on as a Principal Consultant. It was like a series of fortunate events, all leading to an amazing career opportunity. The rest as they say, is history. It’s been a rocket ship of a roller coaster ever since.

Consultant, Instructor, Writer, Editor, Oh My!

teacher with screen no tieThat was about a year and a half ago now. Since then that rocket ship hasn’t slowed down one bit! Pretty quickly after getting hired, I voiced an interest in writing for the blog, and sent my draft to Rob. His feedback was overwhelmingly positive, even including a few colorful words I probably shouldn’t write in this post. Turned out I had a knack for writing, that was very inline with the P3 style! That article can be found here. Before I knew it, I was churning out a post or so a month, and quickly became a core blog contributor.

2017 was a year with so many amazing events happening. I’ve traveled all over the country giving training’s under the P3 name, which has been so rewarding. My writing style, contributions, and continued interest in the blog eventually landed me an offer to become the editor of the blog here at P3. I took the offer without missing a beat, and have taken on that role in full stride.

The opportunities didn’t stop there! Because of my experience at Bellevue College I had a colleague from Microsoft recommend me as potential course developer at the University of Washington. So in general, you may have noticed that I’m often a yes person. I take opportunities when they come my way, even if it’s scary or hard. Same thing applies here. I took on the job to develop a data visualization course for UW, knowing full well it might bury me with work. Needless to say, it did. It was a ROUGH six months of development. But I stuck with it, and produced some awesome content.

Part of the course development required me to record about 15 HOURS of online content for the university. This was a very new experience for me! I’m the first to say I really HATE photos or videos of me, ESPECIALLY hearing my own voice. So I wasn’t sure how the recordings would go. Oddly enough, almost everyone involved in the recordings asked if I’d done it before, because apparently I appeared very relaxed on camera. So thankfully it seemed like I was a natural, and that my personality translated well on camera.

Life In Perspective

thinkingOn top of everything else, I’ve even been nominated for an MVP Status at MICROSOFT this year…so fingers crossed! Looking back, I’m AMAZED at how much progress I’ve made in the last four years. It’s been such a mixture of opportunities, tenacity, and perseverance that has brought me here. I’ll be the first to say how grateful I am to have had these opportunities.

I’m INCREDIBLY exited to see what 2018 has in store. If 2017 was any indication, this year will continue to blast through the atmosphere with opportunities. I want to also take this moment to point out what an amazing company, and team PowerPivotPro is. Besides the opportunity for travel and blog writing, the sheer amount of brains and knowledge within our company is amazing. At the touch of a keyboard, any one of our consultants can reach out and ask each other questions. This has proven invaluable for learning. Here at P3 it feels like mixture of colleagues and family, not just having to help each other, but wanting to.

With that being said, that wraps up most of my journey through today. It’s been such an incredible ride, and with some truly incredible people. I’m here with you readers for the long haul. So expect many many more posts from us, and me. Thanks for sticking through with this post as I shared my story, and I’ll see you in my next article. Smile

Forget bending spoons with your mind – there’s no money in it.

It takes a special kind of mindset to “bend” data (and software!) to the human will.  As this article demonstrates, we at PowerPivotPro can twist Power BI into a pretzel if that’s what an organization needs. (A robust, trustworthy, industrial-strength pretzel of course).

The data-oriented challenges facing your business require BOTH a nimble toolset like Power BI AND a nimble mindset to go with it. And as Val Kilmer / Doc Holladay once said, we’re your huckleberry.

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Reid Havens

Reid Havens is a Principal Consultant for PowerPivotPro. His passion is collaborating with individuals and organizations to help them understand their business. Using his formal backgrounds in technology and organizational management Reid has worked with various local and multi-national companies. He is also an adjunct professor at Bellevue College, guest lectures at the University of Washington, and provides corporate trainings centered around Business Intelligence, Reporting, & Design. 

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Hey Reid..I read the whole article and have enjoyed every bit of it.I can relate a little as I got a job at the same BI company that had previously rejected me 🙂

    1. Hi Shungu, that’s fantastic to hear. Sometimes you have to first fail to succeed in life. Glad to hear you got that job eventually.

  2. Great article! Thanks for sharing this! Just an fyi – one of your blogs is what prompted me to take the PowerPivot Online course. I’m in the middle of it now. It’s Wonderful! – thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    1. Hi Heather, love to hear that! Anytime I can light the spark to get someone interested in this technology is another great day for me. 🙂

  3. I was in Reid’s class at Bellevue College. I have been fascinated with Powerpivot ever since. Because of Reid’s class and many years as an Excel user, I am taking on a new role as a BI Analyst.

  4. What a great story to read. You & Rob in this story remind me a little of the movie Ratatouille: “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.”

  5. Reid, great story. Very inspirational for a guy that’s wanting to switch from advanced Excel accountant to BI analyst

  6. That test is certainly an interesting one… haha! I may just have to reach out to you for whatever tricks they are trying to pull on me or what I’m not seeing in the data model – my brain of brains has solved the problem but for some reason the data just isn’t telling the story I want it to.

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