Harjit Joins Microsoft!

The time has come to let the ๐Ÿฑโ€๐Ÿ‘ค out of the bag and make the formal announcement. On May 21, 2021, I wrote a blog post where I mentioned that I left my 18 year career in Higher-Ed as a Senior Systems Administrator at the University of Vermont.

I am excited to announce that as of today, June 7, 2021, I have joined Microsoft as a Customer Engineer for Microsoft 365. My role covers a variety of solutions under the Microsoft 365 umbrella including Modern Management which I’m very passionate and super excited about. I can finally say that I’m now a “Blue Badge” and my dream of joining Microsoft has come true!

There is so much that I want to mention and perhaps, I’ll start with my family. My wife Jenny and my daughters Sabrina and Hannah have been my rock, strength, motivation, strong supporters for what I do, and they highly encouraged me to pursue my dreams and passion. Thank you!

I’ve been privileged and honored to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2017, and I have grown and learned so much since then, as well as had many amazing opportunities, from guest blogging, consulting work, product reviews, NDA opportunities with Microsoft, Subject Matter Expert (SME) on various webinars and technical user groups, speaking engagements with several conferences including Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Microsoft Ignite The Tours in Milan, Johannesburg, and Dubai (unfortunately COVID-19 cancelled my speaking gigs in Zurich, Mumbai, Bangalore, Tel-Aviv, and Chicago), TechMentor, IT/Dev Connections, and the one close to my heart and my favorite MMS aka MMSMOA, to name a few. During this journey, I developed strong bonds, positive reputation, respect, and trust among Microsoft product groups, MVP Program leadership, fellow Microsoft MVPs, vendors, event organizers, IT Professional community, mentees, my wonderful followers, and close friends. Thank you to all of you for your support, guidance, encouragement, and friendships.

Today also marks the end of the road for my Microsoft MVP award, which is something one has to give up upon joining Microsoft as an employee. I will continue to be a valuable resource not only to the MVP Program, the leadership, but to the IT Pro community as well, and will continue to empower everyone and help improve what I can. Thank you Betsy Weber, Rochelle Sonnenberg, and Christian Talavera for allowing me to do what I do, and most importantly for all the amazing opportunities as well as for my inclusivity as one of the trusted leaders within the MVP program. Also, Thank you Cathy Moya for the same and so much more. It’s amazing that we are all colleagues now. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿฑโ€๐Ÿ‘ค๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ‘

There are a few people who I would like to mention and recognize, who have been instrumental for my next career phase with Microsoft. The offline chats, references, internal recommendations, referring to open positions, keeping me in check, pushing me harder, motivations, encouraging me to stay positive, mentorship, discreet conversations, trust, friendships, and so much more, meant a lot to me and I’m forever appreciative and grateful. I know I am going to miss mentioning someone or another, and for that I apologize in advance and please forgive me. In no particular order, Thank you very much Noel Fairclough, Rod Trent, John Deardurff, Art Hogarth, Cathy Moya, Heather Poulsen, Kerim Hanif, Kris Loranger, Joe Lurie, and last but not least Julie Andreacola.

Thank you to Prayer Solanky who I consider my brother, and has been there for me in good times, during challenging moments of my life, provides tons of valuable advice, keeps me grounded and humble always, and who I trusted with my journey to Microsoft.
Also, Thank you to my wonderful friends Mick Pletcher, Anoop Nair, Richard Hay, John Yoakum, Jen Sheerin, Ben Dumke, Mary Jo Foley, Scott Ladewig, Ben Whitmore, James Petty, Jitesh Kumar, Octavio Rodriguez, Damien Van Robaeys, Nick Pilon, Benoit Lecours, Brian Mason, Greg Ramsey, Mirko Colemberg, Johan Arwidmark, Anne Baker, Peter De Tender, Adnan Hendricks, Team MMS, The Krewe, Team Devops Collective, Team SCDudes, and so many more. Last but not least, my close “Ignitable” friends (Pat, Dean, Brandon, Kenji, Stu, Henrik, Stuart, Joe, Travis, and Jin.

As I celebrate this happy occasion, I’m also reminded of my brother Amarjit who passed away on this very day (June 7th) in 2015. I miss him very much, but I know he is proud of me and is watching over me from heaven. ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

With all that said, it’s time to kick start my new adventures with the company and people I love, embrace the unique opportunities, advocate and evangelize modern technologies, support the IT Pro community, and I’m ready to “empower every person and every organization to achieve more”! ๐Ÿฑโ€๐Ÿ‘ค๐Ÿฑโ€๐Ÿ‘“๐Ÿฑโ€๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿฑโ€๐Ÿ‰๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ™โœ”

End of An Era

Today, Friday May 21, 2021 was my last working day as a Senior Systems Administrator at The University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. I hung my hat after almost 18 years of my dedication as an IT Professional at this institution of higher learning.

I have a lot to be Thankful, for the last 18 years here, including the experiences I have gained, the relationships I had built and cherish, the beautiful friendships, the wonderful opportunities for my professional development, the highly technical work I did, the ability to advocate and implement enterprise level technical solutions, the numerous kudos for the assistance I provided to other IT colleagues as well as the people who used the technologies, solving challenging problems, and much more. I have seen medical students become doctors and surgeons, students become engineers, teachers, lawmakers, and technologist to name a few. It’s thrilling to know that somehow big or small, I had some part in their positive education experiences leading to their successful careers.

I won’t deny that while I liked and enjoyed working at the university, there are several things that I wasn’t fond of and I definitely will not miss. However, working this long at one given place, it becomes part of who you are, it’s the identity that forms you, it’s the livelihood that provided for your family and so on. Therefore, it is bitter sweet to leave what I have known and accustomed to, the people who I worked with and also those who I supported, the higher education culture, and the beautiful campus which is the icon of the city of Burlington, Vermont. However, I have an amazing and wonderful opportunity to work at an amazing huge firm where I will be able to take my career to the next phase, be empowered to do amazing things, advocate for the top of the line technical solutions, have lots of growth and learning opportunities, and much much more. I’m super excited.

Where is Harjit headed to next? What’s he going to do? Well, I will officially announce the news of my next adventure in the next 2 weeks, so please be patient. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you are one of a few people who has been privy to this knowledge, I kindly request for your trust and confidentiality, and allow me do the honors when I feel it’s the right time to do so. Thank you!

Stay tuned and more to come soon! Cheers!

Harjit has left the building………

Microsoft MVP 2018-2019 Renewal

I’m so Thankful, honored, and excited to receive the above email from the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award team confirming my award renewal for the 2018-2019 year. This is my second consecutive award since receiving my first one on January 1, 2017. It has been a wonderful, exciting, fun, challenging, and rewarding experience with endless opportunities.

The MVP award has provided some great opportunities for me in terms of my career growth, skill development, and avenues to give back and help others in the IT Professional community. I have been invited to speak at conferences such as Microsoft Ignite (Orlando 2017), MVP Community Connections (Boston and New York City), TechMentor, IT/Dev Connections, MMSMOA, user groups, webinars, as well as opportunities to guest blog, expert panelist, review technical books, test and evaluate software, provide technical expertise, guest podcaster, community reporter at Ignite 2017, community engagement specialist at various events, and much more.

I am very grateful and appreciative for my MVP award and various opportunities provided to me over time. Thank you very much to each and every one of you for making me successful in my efforts as a MVP, IT Professional, and community contributor, and for providing me with the valuable resources and networking opportunities. Thank you!

Happy New Year 2017

Greetings and Happy New Year to all. Wishing you lots of happiness, good health, abundance of love, wealth, prosperity, safety, adventurous travels, kindness, and much much more.

Here’s my vlog message for you!

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T-Bone > The Crash!

So, this happened today! We (Francisca from Chile and Lewis from Sweden and I) were involved in a bad car crash this morning at the entrance of the Richmond VT park-and-ride as we were about to pickup Faryal (exchange student from Pakistan). We were going to travel to Randolph for an AFS Vermont event with other exchange students.

As I crossed Main St on a green light from the I-89 Southbound off-ramp (exit 11), a lady driving a Jeep Wrangler T-boned my car at approximately 50 MPH (she beat a red light) causing my car to spin and airbags were deployed. There were no skid marks to indicate that she braked, so my car ended up as her brakes. Judging from her demeanor and eye-witness accounts of her conversations, she was driving distracted. My passengers were screaming and crying due to the impact and bruising Incurred to their legs and body but they were okay. They were transported by ambulance to the hospital emergency room for evaluation and later released. Both kids are doing fine but are sore and bruised. I’m glad that they didn’t sustain any physical injuries or internal complications. I’m so glad that I asked Fran to sit at the back so she could have a conversation with Lewis. Otherwise, she would have sustained some very severe physical injuries as the front passenger side was the most impacted and was badly crushed.

Thank you to the awesome first responders for their professionalism and for taking good care of us. A special Thank you to Faryal and her host momย Maribella for the amazing help, support, and comfort on-scene and for spending the time with us at the ER. I’m sorry that these three wonderful kids had to miss their retreat with their friends today but I hope to make it up to them soon. Also, a big Thank you to our friends Aly and Larry for taking care of our daughter, Hannah while we dealt with the crash situation.

I was informed by the firefighters that we were very lucky due to the type of car I drove. The Hyundai Sonata was designed well and kept us safe. I have always loved this car and even more now. The car is a total loss but it can be replaced. I’ll have to deal with all the insurance stuff, DMV reports, etc next week which will be an inconvenience but will need to be done. As for me, I guess I’m okay. The shock has started to wear off and the stiff neck is starting to sink in. I’m sure if I was t-boned on the driver’s side, I wouldn’t be here posting this message. So, that’s a good thing! Thanks to everyone who has reached out to me to check in on our situation.

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Check out the video of the aftermath:

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I Voted!!

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I voted for the first time today as a US citizen! ย It’s even better that I voted for CHANGE and in a historic election in the USA. ย 
By the way, I also wrote in my name for Justice of The Peace and voted for myself! ย I’m awesome! ย 
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I’m Harjit Dhaliwal and I approve this message!
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**ย ย These pictures were taken with my cellphone.

The New Citizen!

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As of 10;00AM on October 16, 2008, I became a US citizen.
I have been living in the USA for about 15 years and decided that it was about time that I got my citizenship. The whole process took about 15 months from the time I applied in July 2007. I took my test on Tuesday, October 14, 2008, and my oath on the next morning in a private ceremony.
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By the end of the day, I had registered to vote and had applied for my passport.
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