As the Community Program Manager for Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professionals (MVP) Program based in Chicago, I have the immense privilege of working with the area’s most impactful and influential technology and community leaders.
What is the MVP Award?
The Microsoft MVP Award is Microsoft’s way of saying “Thanks!” to outstanding community leaders throughout the world. The contributions MVPs make to the community, ranging from speaking engagements, to writing books, to helping others in online communities and forums, have incredible wide-sweeping impact. The MVP Award program began over 20 years, and today we have over 4,000 technical experts and community leaders across 90 countries. To show our appreciation, MVPs receive early access to Microsoft products, direct communication channels with our product teams, and are invited to the Global MVP Summit, an exclusive annual event hosted in our global HQ in Redmond. They also have a very close relationship with the local Microsoft teams in their area, who are there to support and empower MVPs to address needs and opportunities in the local ecosystem. MVPs are awarded for their contributions in several different areas including development, IT pro, and Office technologies.
Who are the MVPs?
Microsoft’s MVPs are technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community. They are always on the “bleeding edge” and have an unstoppable urge to get their hands on new, exciting technologies. They have very deep knowledge of Microsoft products and services, while also being able to bring together diverse platforms, products and solutions, to solve real world problems. MVPs are driven by their passion, community spirit and their quest for knowledge. Above all and in addition to their amazing technical abilities, MVPs are always willing to help others – that’s what sets them apart.
MVPs in Chicago
There are currently eight Microsoft MVPs who reside in the City of Chicago and 41 based in the state of Illinois. Our MVPs empower others with technology on a daily basis – in both their “day jobs” as well as in their free time through community contributions. One Chicago based MVP, Juan Soto, leveraged his technology and community leadership skills to help the Chicago Police Department (CPD).
How a Chicago Based MVP Used Technology to Help CPD
Juan Soto, Chicago resident and Access MVP, has been a Microsoft MVP for the past 6 years. Juan is the president of IT Impact, Inc., a Microsoft partner and minority owned Software Company specializing in custom software solutions. A Chicago based law firm, responsible for modernizing CPD’s forfeiture tracking systems, enlisted Juan’s help in modernizing the database used by the Chicago Police Department to keep track of confiscated items. CPD’s IT department did not have the internal resources to update the existing Access application, so they called on Juan for assistance.
Juan and his team upgraded the existing Access database to SQL Server 2016 Express edition, added code to update the software automatically when a new version is available, trained 12 of Chicago’s finest police officers on how to maximize the use of Microsoft Access, and redesigned some of the interface to make it easier to find records.
The new updates were a big hit. The Access training Juan provided helped increase productivity – allowing improved response times on the phone with the owners of the asset.
Juan’s team is now planning a second phase of improvements including overhauling the user interface, and adding an additional Paradox database to the new Access + SQL Server system. This impactful project echoes Juan’s customer focused motto: “Discover the power of your data!” with Microsoft Access and SQL Server.
I am extremely proud and humbled by the everyday actions of our Microsoft MVPs who help empower others through technology. As a Chicago resident myself, it is incredible to see how Juan’s work impacts our community. Thank you to Juan and all the MVPs who are creating positive change.
If you are interested in learning more about the Microsoft MVP program and how to be nominated, you can visit our website at https://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/.
Lisa Anderson is the Community Program Manager responsible for leading Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professionals (MVP) Program in the Central United States. She is based in Chicago, and has been working at Microsoft Chicago for four out of her nearly five years with the company. You can find Lisa on Twitter, LinkedIn, and on her website.