SAS Customer Recognition — Martin Porter
Senior Data Consultant
Health Data Innovations
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?
Base SAS (starting with SAS 79 – now SAS 9.2), SAS/GRAPH®, SAS/ETL®, SAS/FSP®, SAS/AF® and SAS macros. Currently, most of what I do is using Base SAS (writing and using libraries of macro code), with some PROC SQL.
What is a problem you have solved using SAS?
In the 1990s, I worked with a company that used C++ GUI, and needed to communicate in real time with a process based on SAS. We ended up using DDE to message between the C++ and SAS applications. More recently, I've developed code that searches for input files by matching user-specified wildcard naming patterns and then processes them, reading multiple related files in a single DATA step.
What is the most innovative way you have used SAS?
I think that would be using SYSTASK so that one SAS program submits other SAS programs to implement and manage parallel processing to reduce overall run time for a project. I've also used ODS to generate user-friendly reports in multitabbed Excel worksheets, with hotspot links in cells within tabs to take the user to related information in other tabs.
What is your most memorable SAS moment?
When I first started using SAS, it was in the bank investments department of a large Cleveland bank. Our SAS programs helped the bank manage its own investment portfolio. The CFO was quoted in American Banker as saying that he had "wizards in the back room" helping manage the bank's investments. In the 1990s, I worked for Pfizer Health Solutions, and my analysis of clinical data was used in a submission that led to Pfizer Health Solutions receiving the C. Edward Koop National Health Award.
How has SAS changed in the time you have been using it?
For one thing, the amount of documentation available related to different aspects of SAS has dramatically increased. When I started there was the SAS manual – a huge book, but only one book. The ease of use has improved. As new data-related problems have surfaced, SAS has evolved with functions, formats and even products to help address them. Some tasks that previously required several lines of code or even entire DATA steps are now handled by functions. The SCAN function is quite useful, and the ability to use PROC SQL simplifies some tasks that would be difficult using DATA STEP processing. One thing that has not changed is the reliability – I've often said that no matter what data situation I'm faced with, I can find a way to code around it using SAS.
Have you ever attended a SAS users group meeting or SAS Global Forum? If yes, please list them.
Yes, I was actively involved in organizing the Cleveland Area SAS Users Group in the 1980s. I have attended SUGI several times, including one in Dallas, one in Orlando, FL, and SUGI 30 in Philadelphia.
Has your work with SAS been influenced by any other members of the SAS community?
Yes, I've picked up some pointers from Rod Cody's books, and find helpful tips in users' papers in the SAS Users Group Proceedings and in the SAS Tech Report emails.
If you could point a new SAS user to one resource, what would it be?
For online documentation, support.sas.com and all of the information it can lead to!