SAS Customer Recognition — Gary Pool
If education counts for anything, I would be a band director today. If an entrepreneurial spirit makes a difference, I would still have one or more of the businesses I started along the way. My first business was recording and duplicating audio cassettes on location, once a unique concept. After a couple of years, and moving to the back of my van to live, I sold the business and got married. With no job to return to from my honeymoon, my uncle took pity and gave me a couple of computer problems to work on while on the trip. I returned with solutions, and became a computer consultant, working on Radio Shack TRS 80 computers. A few years later, my career at BNSF Railway began. I taught SAS® for many years on our mainframe platform. Later, I became a coder and a proponent of SAS.
How long have you been using SAS®?
What SAS products have you used in the past and what products and solutions are you currently using?
Have used: Base SAS, SAS/GRAPH®, SAS/FSP®, SAS/AF®, SAS/SHARE®, SAS/STAT® and some older things that are no longer available. Currently using: Base SAS, SAS® ODS Graphics Editor, SAS High-Performance Forecasting, SAS® Enterprise Guide® and some things I cannot identify.
What is a problem you have solved using SAS?
BNSF Railway deals with transload companies that take freight off a train and deliver it by truck to the final destination for all the companies without direct rail access. I used SAS and Teradata to devise a way to identify and measure the volume of business done with the several hundred transloaders across our system.
What is the most innovative way you have used SAS?
We are always interested in capacity planning for our rail stations. Using SAS, I developed a system to estimate the arrival time of cars to a station and the departure time from the station, based on that station's averages. In doing so, we can determine how close to maximum efficiency a station is operating.
What is your most memorable SAS moment?
At the 2012 SAS Global Forum, I presented my first SAS paper, Common Sense SAS - Documenting and Structuring Your Code. Even though the paper was scheduled on the morning of the last day, after a great party that lasted into the wee hours the night before, the room was full and the paper was well received. It was a great feeling.
How has SAS changed in the time you have been using it?
I have been using SAS since the late '80s, first as an in-house instructor, and later as a developer. Change is not the word. Transformation is more descriptive of what has happened with SAS. As time goes on, it becomes more and more programmer friendly and, at the same time, easier for the novice to produce excellent results.
Have you ever attended a SAS users group meeting or SAS Global Forum? If yes, please list them.
I attended several SUGI events in the '80s and early '90s, three SCSUG Educational Forums, and countless local TCSUG meetings. Of course I attended the 2012 SAS Global Forum, and I lead our internal users group at BNSF Railway.
Has your work with SAS been influenced by any other members of the SAS community?
Our team at BNSF Railway is incredible. There are some innovative users and very skilled programmers. In fact, the panel product in the SAS Business Intelligence suite was inspired by a paper presented a few years ago by BNSF employees on a product they developed internally!
If you could point a new SAS user to one resource, what would it be?
Not long ago, I would have pointed a new user to the online documentation. Today, SAS Enterprise Guide is the best resource for a new user, providing a development environment that is very user friendly.