30 in Their Thirties: Bob Zhang // 37
Director of IT and Customer Service | Strategic Staffing Solutions, Detroit | Employees: 2,700 |
Revenue: $265M | University of Michigan
Born in Shanghai, Bob Zhang arrived in the United States when he was 7 years old.
“Our family was in search of opportunity,” says Zhang, director of IT and customer service at Strategic Staffing Solutions in downtown Detroit. “My parents started a restaurant in Ann Arbor (Beijing Restaurant), and it was there that I developed a strong work ethic. It was the typical American dream. My parents saved every penny they had to open the restaurant.”
During his teenage years, Zhang gained experience juggling multiple tasks — bus boy, cook, waiter, and cleaner. Following high school, he earned degrees in computer science and mathematics at the University of Michigan while working at a startup business that was focused on developing technology services. In 2004, he joined Strategic Staffing Solutions as IT director, and later added the role of director of customer service.
“Today we have 25 signature clients, and our focus is to be their No. 1 business partner,” he says. “We work closely with our customers and help them identify efficiencies and cost savings with IT as the foundation.”
The firm’s clients include Fortune 500 companies in multiple industries, including insurance, biotech, utility, and financial services.
“Apart from our day-to-day activities, I really enjoy working on our community service programs where we help change people’s positions in life, whether it’s the homeless or underprivileged children,” Zhang says.
The company supports a diverse range of organizations, including the Detroit Zoo, Michigan Humane Society, Eastern Market, the North End Youth Improvement Council’s Adopt a Child for Christmas program, and Mosaic Youth Theatre, among others.
“Everyone pitches in to help out in one way or another,” Zhang says.