When Xiaoyan Zhang, the president and CEO of KIT Solutions LLC, founded the company in 1992, he thought the combination of his social science and IT knowledge would be a perfect match to challenge the traditional software development contract model. And eventually it was. The company now has 70 employees. That success is a testament to Zhang’s determination and vision.
One of the first troublesome issues arose when Zhang tried to secure contracts with government agencies. Government agencies had always used internal IT resources and, therefore, were reluctant to work with KIT. Zhang refused to take no for an answer and eventually secured the coveted contracts by proving KIT’s reliable performance and innovative model.
Zhang’s persistence led to his first five-year, multimillion-dollar federal government contract in 2007. Today, 17 federal, state and local agencies rely on KIT’s services. One social service program that used the company’s online, real-time software reduced its unusable data from more than 30 percent to about 8 percent.
Zhang’s strong leadership became evident as he guided the company through the dot-com bubble burst.
After the dot-com crash, KIT almost went bankrupt. Driven by his loyalty toward his team and the products they produced, Zhang went as far as selling personal stocks and dipping into his savings to pay the company’s debts. He based KIT on his personal philosophy that success is achieved with hard work, integrity, technology excellence and exceeding customer expectations. Nothing was going to change for the company that was Pittsburgh’s 12th largest minority-owned company in 2009.
The reasons for the company’s success can be seen in other areas, as well. Zhang likes to stay ahead of the competition in the IT industry.
A native of China, Zhang recognizes the important relationship between the economies of his home country and the United States. He understands government agencies in each country will face unique challenges when it comes to managing data in the years to come. He is looking to expand the company to work with government sectors in both countries and recently spoke at the 18th Annual Chinese Association for Science and Technology National Convention on the topic.
How to reach: KIT Solutions LLC, (412) 366-7188 or www.kitsolutions.net