Chicago Oracle Users Group – Five Years!

Chicago Oracle Users Group – Five Years!

Way back in March, I started drafting this blog post.  As what happens from time to time, work, user group stuff, and life in general got in the way of me finishing this post.  Here it finally is.

As I was driving to work one day in March, it dawned on me that a few weeks earlier, on February 28th, I had celebrated a milestone anniversary with the Chicago Oracle Users Group.  I had been running the group for five years!

We celebrated with a large fireworks show!  No we really didn’t but if you’d like some really nice photos of fireworks, check out my friend Rolour Garcia’s website.

Photo Rolour Garcia

How It Started

The Chicago Oracle Users Group began sometime in the 1980’s but it was the longest standing president, Tony Jedlinski, that ran the group effectively for over 18 years!  He started when the group’s current president said he was looking for someone to take over the group.  He didn’t want to see the group falter so he volunteered to manage the group.  During Tony’s tenure the group ran well and met regularly.

Around 2006, Tony was looking for someone to take over the group.  It was Eric Broughton that stepped up to the challenge and ran the group well for a few years.  Unfortunately, as what happens with many volunteer endeavors, he got really busy with a few startup companies and the group went dormant for almost four years.

Fast forward to Jan 2014. Eric sent an email that he was looking for a new president and needed someone to step up to take the reigns.  I emailed Eric and said that I would be interested.  Finding out later that I was the only one that replied!  I guess it was meant to be.  🙂  You can get more details about how this all transpired from my previous blog post.  The rest, as they say, is history!

COUG Meeting Statistics

What has been accomplished in 5 years?  Well here are some statistics:

  • Added 270 new members.
  • Held 22 meetings (including 2 hands on workshops).
  • 60% of our speakers are in the Oracle ACE program.  40% of speakers are book authors.
  • Added two board members and numerous volunteers
  • Built a new web site.
  • All of our meetings have been FREE!

Mentors and Volunteers

I’m extremely thankful for the folks that gave me advice and helped guide me to run the group successfully.  Our previous president, Tony Jedlinski, was always quick to answer my emails with any of my questions.  Tim Gorman and Michele Hardwick Kolbe took the the time to share their knowledge about their own user groups and how I could incorporate some of their lessons with the COUG.  So many other folks that took the time to help the group or provide encouragement, Rich Niemiec, Steven Feuerstein, Ramesh Ganesan, and so many more.  Ittichai Chammavanijakul and Ben Kim who took the challenge to join the COUG board and have helped make significant contributions.

Lastly, I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Jim Czuprynski , who has helped by presenting at over 30% of our meetings and even helped us to secure vendors to sponsor our meetings.  He has also been a most generous mentor and helping me achieve more than I would have dreamed of with my career.

2019 Outstanding Regional Leader Award

From the time I started drafting this post to the time I attended Collaborate, I found out I would be awarded with the IOUG 2019 Outstanding Regional Leader award.  This was a very surprising and humbling award to receive.  It’s also strange that it coincided with this 5 year anniversary!

IOUG Award - Chicago Oracle Users Group Five Years

IOUG Award

Final Thoughts

I have nothing but good things to say about getting involved with the Chicago Oracle Users Group.  Not only have I been able to find and provide meaningful tech content for our COUG members, but it has expanded my community involvement with other user groups, which includes presenting and being involved on other committees.  I’ve expanded my own tech knowledge, made a ton of new connections, and had the opportunity to give back to others.

Lastly, my only regret has been that I didn’t get involved with user groups much earlier.  Honestly, the thought of doing so was somewhat terrifying but that’s simply not the case!

If anyone is having thoughts of joining or starting up a user group (Oracle or some other tech) but are not confident or certain how, please contact me and I’ll do my best to help you!

I look forward to the future of the group and another successful 5 years!



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