It’s Sunday morning. You stretch slowly awake and stare at the ceiling. Or, you’ve been up since 5:30 because your kid has a ski race or a hockey tournament and you’re driving three members of the team to an unknown ski hill or hockey rink in eastern or western Ontario. And, as your mind is floating away in space you’re suddenly sidelined by a cement building block. Wham!

“I forgot my mom’s birthday!”

No matter how old we get, it’s just one of those things that shouldn’t skip our minds.

Or...

You turn off your computer at work, stuff the loose stuff in your desk drawer, turn off the photocopier and close the door. You’re feeling on top of the world... a satisfying day at work with lots of those loose ends tied up. Comfort city and now it’s time to go home.

As you drive along Mapleview (or Innisfil, or Bayview, or Dunlop St) that cement block comes along again and hits you on the side of the head. Wham!

You forgot that important report you were supposed to email to a client by 5 today.

Or...

You know what I mean. Sometimes those major deadlines that we are sure we will never forget have a way of slipping through the cracks. Even though you have it in the daytimer, even though you thought you’d brought it forward in your internal data retrieval system, somehow it slipped off your mainframe and disappeared into your trash.

I have a personal theory that most of the world’s stress is caused by people on red-alert constantly because we have so many “to-do’s” in our brief 24-hour days. It’s a lot to carry around, especially if (like me) your hard drive memory bank is getting a little old and way too filled up. (I often think I’d like to go to my computer support guy, Doug Bruton of Power Edge Systems, lie down on the technicians table and get an extra gigabyte or two installed in my brain).

Anyway, I digress.

You might say if you look at the work of Gilles Lafond that he’s in the business of saving our hides. Gilles is a database expert. His company, Simcoe Database Solutions, is geared to customizing databases to meet every use a person might have for managing information.

In my own case, while I would make tremendous use out of a client database, I think I’d make even more use out of a “friends” database. I’d love to be able to hit a button and have all the February birthdays pop up so I don’t forget cards and good wishes. I’d like to be able to record who gets Christmas letters so with one button I can select them and print labels for Christmas envelopes. I’d like to record who’s died without deleting them from my database so I remember them and so I have those dates. I’d ... well, you get the idea. A “friends” database would really help my personal retrieval system.

And at work... well, imagine! Debbie Sitzer is a local chartered accountant and she let her imagination really flow when Gilles spent time developing a custom database for her. Deb just dreamed and Gilles listened. “My wish list would contain little notifiers when my clients’ GST reports are due. It would ring me when PST dates come. And quarterly reports notification would let me go directly to the client involved. And I’d like year ends to be instant notices, with one-week warnings for each of my clients who have their own year end. And of course I want to record their phone and fax numbers, email addresses, websites etc., and I’d like to be able to organize them geographically, or sort by alphabet or collect just emails for a group notice.”

Deb dreamed on and on and Gilles just listened.

When you’re really good at what you do (and Gilles is) you take in what your customer wants and you deliver even more.

Deb says today that the database Gilles built for her is one of her major business tools. Gilles ability to add to what she already has makes him an important partner in her business growth. And yet Debbie, as an accountant, is equally important in the growth of her clients’ businesses.

Gilles Lafond didn’t always do databases for a living, but when he started Simcoe Database Solutions just over a year ago, it was the beginning of a dream come true. He had been downsized from his former employment, and decided to take courses at the Barrie Learning Centre. And his first computer course opened a window on technical information retrieval possibilities that have changed his life. As Gilles worked and learned, he developed a real mastery for the analytical style needed to build a database. You might say database development became a real ‘passion’ in his working life.

Today, Gilles is building database solutions for huge companies and for sole proprietors like Deb Sitzer. It sure takes the monotony out of routine work, and the stress off trying to keep all that stuff recorded manually. If we see an improvement in road rage, I’m convinced we have Gilles to thank.

Meanwhile, yesterday was my mom’s 77th birthday. And tomorrow would be number 74 for my dad, who’s been flying with the angels for some time now. So, happy birthday folks!

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