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Meet Derrick Wong

May 02, 2022 SSAI Spotlight Series

This month, we’re spotlighting one of SSAI's Senior Talent Acquisition Specialists, Derrick Wong.  Since joining SSAI in August 2021, Derrick has quickly become an integral part of SSAI’s TA team, working to fill highly specialized engineering and science roles for our customers. 

With his energetic, go-getter attitude, Derrick is always willing to do what it takes to help his team succeed. He’s recently taken the lead on SSAI’s job fair presence, planning virtual and in-person events for SSAI to meet top talent from across the country.

Let’s get to know Derrick!

Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist Derrick WongWhat excites you most about your work?
Helping people find their dream jobs! It’s an amazing feeling when candidates tell you how much they love their new jobs.

What did you want to be when you were a kid? 
At one point, I remember I really wanted to be a professional poker player. I had recently learned how to play the game and fell in love with its combination of skill, luck, and most of all - psychological warfare. Kind of interesting how that same combination translates into recruiting!

Would you rather live somewhere remote or urban, and what is it that attracts you most to that environment?
Definitely urban! I grew up in the Los Angeles area and I enjoy all the fun things you can do in the city. There’s always amazing food to eat, amusement parks and pop-up museums to visit, and new restaurants and breweries to try. 

What is your favorite hobby? What got you started on it and when did you pick it up?
I have too many hobbies to get to them all! I love basketball, not only playing – both in real life and in fantasy leagues – and I’m also a huge Lakers fan! I also enjoy volleyball, video games (currently loving playing Valorant and League of Legends), snowboarding (even though I’m not very good at it), ping pong, chess. If you couldn’t tell – I love any sort of competitive game! Whether it’s sports, video, or board games – I’m in!

What’s something about you that not many of your colleagues know? 
I’m an aspiring real estate investor. I recently started my real estate journey by purchasing my first home, which has an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) that I plan on renting out for additional income! I love listening to the “biggerpockets” real estate podcast. I’ve listened to 100’s of their podcasts at this point and am working through reading all the books they recommend to get an edge on investing trends.  I’m currently reading The Book on Advanced Tax Strategies by Amanda Han and Matthew Macfarland – which would probably be a surprise that that’s what I do in my spare time to my colleagues!

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
I’m not sure if this is the best, but it’s definitely one of my favorite pieces of advice I’ve come across: 

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffet

A tree takes time to grow, as do most smart investments. Start early, be patient, and let your money grow. That’s probably why I’ve taken such an interest in Real Estate investing. I know if I start small now and continue to build on it slowly, one day that small investment will pay off and I’ll have a whole forest of properties – or at least, that’s the plan!

 What is your life philosophy?
Work hard, play harder!

What do you wish you had more time for? 
Like a lot of people probably, I wish I had more time to travel.  So far, I’ve traveled to 12 out of 50 US States – including North AND South Dakota, which I think is a little impressive, as well as Washington, Nevada, New York, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, Illinois, and Hawaii! Internationally, I’ve visited Mexico, Japan (x2), Korea, Puerto Rico and various Caribbean Islands. For my next vacation, I’d like to visit somewhere in Europe.

If you could time travel, what time period would be the first you’d want to visit and why?
The future, so I can learn all the winning lotto numbers! 

Thanks for interviewing with us, Derrick – all the best as you continue to make such positive contributions to SSAI!