On evenings and weekends, Rabbi Robert “Tzvi” Hochstadt studies the Tanach, the Hebrew bible; but weekdays, he’s immersed in the world of information technology in Downtown Detroit.
Hochstadt, who received a bachelor’s degree in Talmudic studies from Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and also became an ordained rabbi there, is the first participant in the “QuickStride Career Pathway,” a training program started by the Detroit-based IT company QStride.
The technology solutions provider helps mid-market and Fortune 500 companies better leverage their data to increase metrics and profits through business intelligence analytics consulting, software, and specialized IT consulting services.
Each day, Hochstadt travels from Oak Park to a suite on the eighth floor of Chrysler House at 719 Griswold, where he is learning how to pair companies with top information technology talent from Michigan and across the country. He began the new role in August after previous careers in the kosher food industry, Jewish education, sales and recruiting. He also served in the engineering corps of the Israel Defense Forces in 1991.
“For the most part, this is all new to me,” Hochstadt says. “As a rabbi, I’ve done speaker training. I even taught English and public speaking at Yeshiva Gedolah high school in Oak Park; but I’ve never worked in IT recruiting.”
Realizing the common theme in his various lines of work, he begins to grin. “I guess you could say they all involve talking to people and trying to help them find what they’re looking for — to take them where they want to go,” he says.
Atop Hochstadt’s desk are the types of things you’d expect from someone studying a new discipline: binders, sticky notes, a laptop computer and an empty 2-liter bottle of water. The 52-year-old husband and father of four is a quick study, according to QStride CEO Shane Gianino and Eric Kornbleuth of Oak Park, who handles the training. Kornbleuth — like Hochstadt — is Orthodox. The two were already friends when Kornbleuth recommended the high-tech recruiting job opportunity and brought the rabbi on board.
Following the three-month training program, Hochstadt is now a full-time talent acquisition sourcing specialist. QStride intends to expand Detroit’s growing IT market by helping passionate people enter the information technology field.
“At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come Downtown for work — driving, parking, all the hustle and bustle,” Kornbleuth says. “But once I started, I felt the energy of the city right away. I find myself energized by it.”
“It’s a really special community in Detroit,” Hochstadt says.
This week, QStride is moving into its new Downtown Detroit headquarters on the 16th floor of the landmark One Woodward Avenue building, owned by Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services. QStride is consolidating its former Troy headquarters and offices at Chrysler House and filling 30 new technology jobs. The fast-growing technology company has multiple lines of business.
“Not every company knows what they’re doing when it comes to IT work, but they need something — maybe an app,” Gianino explains. “We find the minds each company needs to get the job done efficiently and effectively.”
It’s a great ecosystem of mutual benefits: IT professionals get a string of high-paying corporate jobs, companies with little technology experience get results, and QStride helps people like Rabbi Hochstadt break into the computer world.
“I’m excited about this new opportunity,” he says. “Detroit continues to grow and change with an emphasis on technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. There is tremendous opportunity to make an impact here, and I’m proud to be playing apart in the city’s historic resurgence.”
To learn more about job opportunities at QStride and the QuickStride Career Pathway training program, visit www.qstride.com or email your resume to email@example.com.
Written by Martin Michalek | Special to the Jewish News