ValentinoV Finds the Perfect Combination of Luck and Skill

Posted by · July 12, 2012 8:57 am

In 2009, I (Experts Exchange Content Manager, Jenn Prentice) had the privilege of connecting with Experts Exchange Expert Valentino Vranken.  I first took note of Valentino because of the extremely thorough answers he was posting in the SQL Server topic area.  As Experts Exchange Articles were fairly new at that time, I was trying to recruit people to write quality articles and Valentino struck me as someone who would do just that.

As luck would have it, I was right. Since our first email exchange in 2009, he has written 15 articles—almost all of which have received accolades (Community Pick, EE Approved or Editor’s Choice) from the Experts Exchange Page Editors; and he and I have formed a fast friendship that could only be forged through the magic of the Internet.  (Not to brag, but Valentino says that I am one of the top three people he’d like to meet from Experts Exchange along with Mark Wills and Kevin Cross.)

On a personal note

In addition to writing articles on Experts Exchange, Valentino also authors his own personal blog where he writes about all things IT related.   When he’s not helping someone solve a technical problem, Valentino can be found spending time with his wife—the two enjoy finding new restaurants and great cuisine—and playing with his two daughters outside in their garden.

A few weeks ago, however, “playing in the garden” took on a new meaning for Valentino and his family when they won a contest and appeared on Belgian national television (Valentino appeared in his Experts Exchange Sage shirt, of course) in on every special garden.  Here’s the story as Valentino tells it:

“We were watching a show called 1000 Zonnen (zonnen is plural of zon, which means sun). Each day the show puts a chair somewhere no one knows about, and the first person to recognize the location and get there with a specific item wins plane tickets to a sunny place.  Last Friday, the chair was located in the back garden of a castle about 200 meters from our house and the item of the day was a school report.  As Friday was the last day of school before the summer holiday, our oldest daughter’s report was on the kitchen table and obviously we recognized the place.  So we jumped in the car—the kids didn’t even have their shoes on—and my wife ended up in the chair and won tickets to Girona, Spain. Barcelona (which is about 100km from Girona) was on our list of to-do city trips so it’s an interesting destination, and the kids will probably enjoy their first plane trip ever.”

Professionally speaking

In addition to the recognition he’s received for his writing skills on Experts Exchange, Valentino has earned six certificates on Experts Exchange, including the Sage certificate in MS SQL Reporting; and earlier this year, he was awarded Experts Exchange’s prestigious Most Valuable Expert award.

“I started participating on Experts Exchange back in 2008 when I switched jobs, and one of my personal objectives was to reach out and help the community,” Valentino says. “At that time I started blogging and I created an expert account at EE.  Five months later I earned my first Master certificate and shirt.  Nowadays I’m at 1.2 million points and countless shirts.  I guess I got hooked!”

Points and t-shirts aside, Valentino says answering questions on Experts Exchange has helped keep his own technology skills sharp.

“I don’t only help out with questions to which I know the answer straight off the head,” he says. “I actually prefer to engage myself in more complex issues to which I first have to find a solution myself before being able to propose an answer.  The more issues I help others solve, the better my knowledge of SQL Server becomes.  It’s a win-win situation to me.”

Keeping up with technology is especially important to Valentino, who works full time as a Microsoft Business Intelligence Consultant for Ordina, a Belgium-based expertise and knowledge provider.  Being placed on different projects at diverse client locations on a regular basis means he needs to be flexible and a quick learner.

“In my opinion the interesting part about being a consultant is that you get challenged with technical problems which require expert knowledge, not just the regular day-to-day stuff.  This opens additional learning opportunities: you learn how to solve complex issues and get better at it each time,” Valentino says.

Evidently, Valentino is very good at his job. Just a few weeks ago, he received the “Ambassador of the Year” award at his company’s yearly meeting.

“The award is something Ordina started doing this year and three employees (out of 500) received that award for their commitment—it’s more or less the same criteria as the MVE.  The result of that is a cheque of 500 euro to be spend on technology, which is quite nice!  Still not sure what I’ll choose though: iPad or Xbox (I already have an iPhone),” Valentino says.  (Suggestions anyone?)

While Valentino is definitely a lucky guy (look at his beautiful wife and daughters pictured above), it’s clear that he’s worked hard to accomplish all that he has both personally and professionally.  Here’s hoping that his luck never runs out…and neither do his answers and articles.