The ballots have been counted and the 2013 vEXPERTS were announced in a VMTN blog post by John Troyer. I was fortunate enough to be awarded this honorable designation for a fifth consecutive year (I’m going to link that Five Timers club skit from SNL because I still get a laugh out of it). What’s interesting about this journey for me is that for quite a while I had worked in and contributed towards Microsoft Windows, Active Directory, Networking, Design, and related communities striving for Microsoft MVP recognition. That never happened. Quite honestly I probably didn’t give it enough time and there are metric ton of brilliant Microsoft people already with their MVP status to compete against. Once VMware came into my life, I quickly gained interest in the technology and its potential for businesses as well as end users world wide. As a result, I shifted my career to focus solely on VMware and datacenter virtualization which did not stop short of leaving a great company I had been at for 11 years to make that change stick. Although John Troyer at one time denied it and may still, I think the vEXPERT program is very much like Microsoft’s MVP program and the individuals who are awarded vEXPERT are very much like MVPs in terms of giving back and community involvement. Although I appreciated the recognition and gifts going back to the first vEXPERT awards in February 2009, I think I took for granted what the award really meant for me as an individual. With my virtualization blog already successful and my name pretty well known from spending a few years on the VMTN forums, an accolade here or there was quickly put in the trophy case and with the motor perpetually running, I moved on to the next thing. In the back of my mind I knew what awards meant but I didn’t really take the time to stop and recognize that what I had tried to accomplish in the Microsoft programs and failed, I’ve now achieved many times over in the VMware community. In the long run I think it has been a lot more beneficial for me and hopefully for the relatively new and growing virtualization community as well. I’ve learned a lot, met a lot of people, made many good friends, have a great job, and I sincerely hope that I can continue making a positive community impact into the future. My thanks to John Troyer, VMware, and the incredible community that I am a part of. I’d also like to thank TrainSignal, Tintri, and Veeam for their generous gifts to vEXPERTs current and past.