Introducing the IDERA ACE Class of 2020!

by Oct 25, 2019

We are excited to introduce our new 2020 IDERA ACEs!

IDERA ACEs are active community members who have shown a passion for helping the community and sharing their knowledge. Members are selected annually and are up-and-coming data professionals who have shown a passion for teaching and wish to become more active in the community. This program helps active members of the database and data modeling community share industry knowledge by sponsoring their travel for speaking engagements and networking opportunities for a variety of SQL and Data Management conferences and events.

We are looking forward to what this class of ACEs will bring to the community this year. Watch out for these names in upcoming Geek Sync webinars, IDERA Blogs, Twitter Chats, SQL Saturdays, and more!

Learn more about the IDERA ACE program.

Adrian Mee:

A native of Melbourne, Australia – Adrian Mee currently works for Falling Colors Technology in Santa Fe, NM. In this role, he is responsible for Database administration, data security, and infrastructure. Adrian has been working with SQL Server since the Enterprise Manager days of SQL Server 2000. In 2017, he founded the Santa Fe SQL Server User group. When out of the office, he loves biking and hiking the great outdoors.

How long have you been a database / data modeling professional? “Started as a developer in 2004 and a DBA around 2010.”

What are you most looking forward to as a new ACE this year? “I think it’s obvious – the ducks…I do get all the ducks this year, right?? I kid, of course, although those ducks are awesome. I’m really looking forward to contributing more to the community and hopefully inspiring more people to get involved too. Also, the opportunity to see more of this great country is a great bonus.” 

What is a fun fact about you? “I love to bike ride – a lot.  I have a 12 month goal to average over 400 miles every month. I’m currently in month 4, and will complete October’s goal this coming weekend.”

Bill Anton:

Bill Anton is a beaver. Unlike traditional beavers, who waste their time in the woods splashing around in streams with sticks, Bill uses spends his time constructing data warehouses and business analytics solutions using Microsoft tools and technologies. His natural habitats include North American office parks where he is often surrounded by pleased clients or his home office where he is always surrounded by giant ding-dong golden retrievers. His movements can be followed at his blog (

How long have you been a database / data modeling professional? “10+ years… first job out of college was writing SQL queries against a Kimball-style data mart.”

What are you most looking forward to as a new ACE this year? “Traveling to more conferences and sharing what I’ve learned so far on this amazing journey. Also looking forward to providing input/feedback to the IDERA product teams on monitoring tools for Azure Analysis Services and Power BI.”

What is a fun fact about you? “Went to college for 6 years and not a doctor.”

Deborah Melkin:

Deborah Melkin has been working as a database professional with SQL Server for 20 years. She spends her days helping programmers with all aspects of database design, queries, performance, and deployment. In 2016, she began her blog, Deb the DBA. Soon after that, she began speaking at SQL Saturdays and user groups. She is a board member of the New England SQL Server User group (NESQL). In her spare time, Deborah can usually be found doing something musical.

How long have you been a database / data modeling professional? “I have been a database professional for 20 years and I was a network admin for about a year and a half before that.”

What are you most looking forward to as a new ACE this year? “I'm looking forward to reaching out further and sharing with the #sqlfamily community beyond just the New England region.”

What is a fun fact about you? “My alter-ego is a musician: I am the alto section leader in my choir and I'm in a bluegrass band.”

Eric Cobb:

After a 14-year programming career as a web and software developer Eric Cobb shifted to the "dark side" and became a full time Database Administrator, earning his Data Platform MCSE and Data Management and Analytics MCSE certifications along the way. Eric now serves as the Database Development Manager at a healthcare organization in Nashville, TN, overseeing a team of 19 SQL Server professionals. During his time as a DBA, Eric realized how many SQL Server mistakes he made as a developer, and how many misconceptions he had. Because of this, he now regularly blogs about SQL Server at, with a focus on teaching database administration and design concepts to the developer community, and frequently speaks at Developer and Database conferences throughout the country.

How long have you been a database / data modeling professional? “Since the late 1900's. I grew up on a farm in Southwest Georgia, and knew that I didn't want to drive a tractor the rest of my life. I took some web development classes at a local community college, and got my first IT job during the dot com boom. I've been doing it ever since.”

What are you most looking forward to as a new ACE this year? “Getting more involved in the SQL Server community. Most of my conference speaking has been focused on teaching SQL Server to the developer communities at non-SQL Server related events. Becoming an ACE will help me engage more with the SQL community.”

What is a fun fact about you? “I stay up way too late on Friday and Saturday nights binge watching old sci-fi TV shows. I also love Star Wars Legos. My desk is covered with Lego sets that my kids have given me.”

Janice Gerbrandt:

Janice Gerbrandt has been designing and implementing database solutions to improve business functionality since 2001. She is an active PASS volunteer and leads her local user group and the Professional Development virtual group, as well as organizing SQL Saturday Victoria. While she does enjoy organizing and bringing people together, she has started presenting to her local user group and at SQL Saturdays and plans to move forward as a presenter. Janice lives on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada.

How long have you been a database / data modeling professional? “Since SQL Server 2000! I've been a developer since 2001, transitioning to almost exclusively SQL Server Database development for the last 10 years.”

What are you most looking forward to as a new ACE this year? “Developing new presentations and getting out to new events to show them off!”

What is a fun fact about you? “I'm a bike nerd. Whether commuting to work, exploring the countryside on weekends, or tearing up and down a mountain, you can often find me on two wheels.”

Jeff Iannucci:

Jeff Iannucci is a Senior Database Administrator for DriveTime in Tempe, Arizona. He has over 20 years of SQL Server experience as both Database Administrator and T-SQL Developer in diverse environments such as health care, finance, retail sales, and government. He loves solving database problems and sharing these experiences through presentations, blog posts (, and tweets (@desertdba).

How long have you been a database / data modeling professional? “Somewhere around the time Val Kilmer was Batman, I started my career in IT as a junior-level Network Administrator. But I soon became an ‘Accidental DBA,’ and SQL Server and I have been old friends ever since.”

What are you most looking forward to as a new ACE this year? “I’m incredibly grateful to IDERA for the opportunity to travel to more community events and engage with more members of the SQL Server community, so we can share lots of database solutions with others!”

What is a fun fact about you? “In my days at Arizona State I was both a sports announcer and a disc jockey for the university radio station. And yes, I played actual vinyl discs.”

Joshua Higginbotham:

Joshua Higginbotham is a Data Services Manager at Republic Bank based out of Louisville, KY.  

He's worked in various roles including Software Development, Database Administration, and Business Intelligence. He’s an active speaker within the SQL community and the Co-Chapter leader of the Louisville SQL Server and Power BI User Group.

How long have you been a database / data modeling professional? “I've worked in the IT field for the last 6 years. Working in areas that ranged from software development, Database Administration, and Business Intelligence.”

What are you most looking forward to as a new ACE this year? “I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences with the community and hopefully help mentor and guide data professionals that are attempting to broaden their skill sets and their careers.”

What is a fun fact about you? “I've spent the last 13 years in the Army National Guard and currently serve as an Artillery Section Chief.”

Marsha Pierce:

Marsha is a Database Solutions Architect with Pure. She has been involved with databases for more than 18 years. Prior to joining Pure she was a Database Architect at Asurion and HCA.  Marsha has a background in healthcare, banking and insurance industries. Marsha's specialty is SQL Server, but has worked with most databases and has experience designing solutions for them, along with NoSQL and Big Data. She has implemented both Agile and DevOps methodologies. She has a lot of experience in designing highly available solutions, HA, DR, and virtualization. She is passionate about improving the communication between VMware Admins and Storage Admins. The key to improving these conversations is metrics, which is why she loves to monitor databases. In her free time she works with her daughter’s Boy Scout troop and helping her daughter and other young ladies earn their Eagle Scout! She loves hiking, camping and kayaking.

Matt Cushing:

Matt is a BI Developer for Applegate Farms as well as a Part-Time Lecturer for Rutgers University School of Communication and Information. After realizing that his first accounting job was not what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, he made his way into IT via a help desk position. Moving from there to web development to databases, he's had just about every position in an IT department that's possible. Finding his passion for data, he spends his days learning more about Azure and visualizing things in PowerBI. He's celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary this New Year's Eve, has two kids pursuing their bachelors, and his wife is pursuing her master's degree at NYU. An avid cyclist, he regularly does a 300-mile charity ride every September.

How long have you been a database / data modeling professional?I've been working with data in some capacity for my whole career, even back in the 90s with Lotus Notes. REALLY working with data since 2006 when I got into SSIS hardcore.”

What are you most looking forward to as a new ACE this year? “Meeting people at events that I wouldn't be able to get to myself, hoping to get in a little scuba diving somehow (not sure how, but I'm gonna try!!!). It will give me a chance to travel to where audiences don't know me or my presentation. I also made a promise to myself that I would create a new technical session(s) to increase the amount of possibilities for speaking at events across the US, and or Europe.”

What is a fun fact about you? “I participate in a 3-day, 300-mile bike ride from Cooperstown, NY to NYC every September to raise money to help and awareness of AIDS. I have a 2nd-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I got my job in IT because when I worked in accounting, I used to help people defrag their machines to run faster and taught people macros for Excel.  The VP of IT called me into his office and flat out said, ‘You have to come work for me, you're wasted in Accounting,’ to which I heartily agreed and here we are 20+ yrs later.”

Peter Shore:

Peter is a seasoned IT professional with nearly 25 years of experience as well as a frequent speaker at SQL Saturday, User Groups, and other conferences. He took the accidentally intentional DBA plunge in 2013 and has discovered that he loves to find the stories the data has to tell. Peter is comfortable working with both physical and virtual servers where he tries to apply best practices to attain performance improvements. He is also adept at bridging the gap between technical and business language in order to bring technology solutions to business needs. Additionally, Peter is the president of CBusPASS in Columbus, Ohio and co-organizer of SQL Saturday Columbus.