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Back at the end of last year, friend and HDE council member David Hull moved on. After David left, the HDE program floated along quietly. And one day a few weeks ago, we got an email from Craig Cmehil, asking after the HDE program.

Craig is a SAP Mentor Alumni, hacker, friend and fellow SAP journeyman. It was funny, because when Craig got in touch, I noted that we were looking for someone to help support the program from an operational perspective. I realized when Craig let us know some of his ideas and passions, that we had totally forgotten the original purpose of the HDE program!


And so Craig joins the council to bring back the essence of the HDE program, strategy and a whole load of energy. We already have some very cool stuff under way, which we’re not ready to share yet. But I can definitely say that Craig has already brought value to the council, before this was even announced!

So here is a short interview with Craig and please welcome him. We are incredibly excited to have his experience and energy on board!

Tell us a bit about how you got into the SAP ecosystem

Way back in 2003 I got put onto the SAP team at my company, was a long time web developer. Around that time SAP was trying to launch SDN so it just was a right place at the right time type of deal where I really got excited about what SAP could do with a community and that started an amazing journey where I ended up at one point being responsible for that very same developer community.

What have you been doing since you left the SAP Community Network?

You never really leave a community, sure you may not be ask active in one area or another but you are always there. Each role I took on at SAP I tried to tie it back into the community and then I finally wrote and published a book on the community.


Why are developers important to you?

Because I am one, and I know if given the right chances, opportunities and environment developers can really feel empowered and then able to make the innovative changes that a company needs to survive this changing world. I enjoy helping to enable and encourage those developers just as I have been throughout my career.

You’re a hacker right… have you done any jamming in HANA?

Did I drink Jolt cola and sit up til the wee hours of the morning with my computer hooked to a phone line, “exploring” the connected world – yes. Do I enjoy trying different aspects of technology to see what is possible, yes! In 2012 I created an event series called the CodeJam which was modeled after the Hacker Night from TechEd past and I became a self taught HANA guru initially then had the great fortune of having great friends like Thomas Jung and Rich Heilman who have helped me learn even more since then that has enabled me to give people hands on access to SAP HANA and teaching countless numbers how to do their first HANA XS app or basics with modeling and such.

What do you hope to bring to the HDE council?

I believe in the concept behind the program and after having had one grandfather who was a Master Masonry and the other that was a Master Machinist I’ve often thought we are losing sight of the “craft” when it comes to technology and I hope to inject some of that into the program and help to grow the “craft” of Distinguished Engineers.

Can you give us a sneak preview about what you have planned with HDEs?

Initially I really want to start to enable tighter communication between the various DE’s and SAP and to help open lines of communications and to bring a broader awareness of what it means to carry that title and how you can be proud to know that you are mastering your “craft” as well.

Can you share a classic developer moment?

That’s a loaded question, if I think back to when I was 8 years old coding in Basic on a Commodore 64 in our living room or later in High School when I had my own development consulting firm, or perhaps back to one of those late weekend nights when I was running my own BBS or “exploring” various modems connected to various phone lines. So many moments in the almost 30 years of being “connected” so many projects, so many apps. I think I might reserve some of these moments for over a beer.

Tell us a bit about Craig outside of work!

Well I’m a father of two boys and when not working I strive hard to spend time with them and friends and my girlfriend of course to achieve that lovely work life balance. I enjoy taking photos and writing (not just technical stuff).

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6 Comments

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  1. Jon-Paul Boyd

    About time someone with a proper developer background represented (C64 and sprites, yeah!) 😉

    Really encouraging and inspiring to see a spread of HDEs with differing backgrounds, there’s hope for the rest of us.  Congrats Craig.

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  2. Jon Reed

    Craig it’s been a while since we got to misbehave together in a semi-official capacity. Seriously, great that you are on board and I am already excited because I know what you are capable of and I know that passion for not just community but promoting real skills mastery is going to fuel us – and, I hope, have some positive impact on real world projects.

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