A double Terp, Steve Washington earned his bachelor's in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, and went on to pursue his master's in electrical engineering at Howard University before returning to UMD for his Executive MBA degree. With a knack for solving problems and keen analytical skills, Steve took a strong interest in software development, and became a civilian contractor for the DoD, supporting national defense agencies. Continuously learning and always seeking new challenges, he dove into the commercial sector after six years of working in the defense sector, where he gained hands-on experience in internet protocols, networking and web development.
In 1999, Steve started an electrical contracting company, building smart homes systems and solutions to be internet and wireless ready, it was the early phases of installing technology for the home. Business quickly took off and he secured several large contracts with home builders and local government contracts such as structured wiring for a prison in Maryland. Fast forward five years, the company had achieved considerable success, but Steve didn't stop there. He jumped at the opportunity when a friend from his DoD contracting days reached out to him about starting a company together, leveraging predictive analytics to improve business decisions and operations for businesses. Together, they started a predictive analytics firm, and scored contracts with big names such as Intel, Sysco, Kraft and Heinz.
As the company steadily grew, Steve wanted a solid business foundation to help him make better decisions to take the company to the next level, and that's what led him to the EMBA program at Smith in 2015. He returned to the classroom to fortify his skills, exchange insights with his peers, and was inspired by new ideas that he took back to his company. He learned a lot about himself through feedback from classmates, self-assessment tests, and introspection. He realized there is no set formula for success and that there is more than one way to reach your goal, understanding this gave him confidence. Part of being successful comes from good decision making, but also not second guessing yourself. When you doubt yourself, it holds you back. Steve explained that you are always making the best decision you can with the information you have at that particular time.
When asked about fearless ideas, Steve stressed the importance of being bold in the face of uncertainty. Even in the smallest of victories, it instills a sense of confidence, and small wins amount to big accomplishments over time. He also talked about how he has overcome his obstacles by trying new things that are outside his comfort zone, and even from a negative trial, you learn something. Having that perspective will give you that extra boost of confidence to go for it. Believe that you have what it takes, don't be afraid to hypothesize, test, and learn from mistakes. To keep up in this fast paced world and what sometimes feels like swimming against the current, adaptability and staying agile is key.
While his ventures keep him extremely busy, Steve is committed to giving back to his community in Baltimore, where home is. With STEM programs and technology jobs on the rise, he shares his expertise and knowledge by volunteering his time to tutor his community in software applications. He hopes to help build skillsets that will open doors to a wider array of opportunities, and show more people that with the right training and tools, software development jobs are accessible.