Like so many stories at Fearless, Avery Smith’s begins at UMBC.

He and Fearless founder, Delali Dzirasa, went to college together and Avery says they started their careers at the same time. Delali headed to Raba Technologies and Avery worked in web development for various companies in Maryland and became a consultant in 2012.

“I help design experiences on the screen,” he said. “So when people interact with web applications I’m the person who creates that presentation.”

After working on his own thing but keeping in touch with Delali and seeing an opportunity to continue his career with a company that cares about his technical and leadership skills, Avery was ready to become a purple cow. He said he was drawn to Fearless because of its core message and heart.

“Fearless is a place that really cares about people, and the community, and Baltimore,” he said. “And that’s very important.”

Software with a soul is the Fearless mantra but it’s a mindset Avery had before he zipped up that first purple Fearless hoodie.

“I’m more focused on creating software to help improve society and not just create software to increase shareholders revenue.”

Among his side projects, Avery counts software that is working to help people cure skin cancer through artificial intelligence and a project inspired to integrate racial data like what’s on University of Virginia’s Racial Dot Map.

“It’s a map that plots points of all the citizens in the US by race and then integrates that information with the HUBZone map,” he said. “The goal is to show imagery of where opportunities are in HUBZone areas, to show the impact that can be made on communities.”

At Fearless Avery has left his mark on projects that are impacting thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country. He’s part of the team updating the experience people have when they check out and the programs they offer like the SBA Business Guide for Entrepreneurs and the soon to be released Size Standards Tool.

Avery is bringing previous experience with government sites to our SBA contract, helping ensure we end up with a site that will make an impact on small business owners in the US.

“I previously worked on,” he said. “It’s an enormous, public facing digital experience and I learned a lot from that experience and I’m bringing that knowledge to Fearless”.

In 2016, the last year Avery was involved with, more than nine million people selected health insurance through the site.

Fearless is a bit smaller than nine million people, but Avery says the close family atmosphere is a definite plus at work.

I like that it’s not a competition between team members,” he said. The leadership does a great job of being inclusive of people’s personal goals.”