Any conversation with Troy LeMaile-Stovall will always be punctuated by action words that lead to a more inclusive and productive environment. The new CEO and Executive
Director for the Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO) earned his undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University, then earned his master’s at Stanford before moving on to Harvard to obtain his MBA.
During his varied career, he has worked at Jackson State, Howard University and University of the District of Columbia – all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). It’s with a spirit of inclusion and connection that LeMaile-Stovall plans to run TEDCO.
What’s the first thing you want to do at TEDCO?
I prefer to come into a new place with my eyes open and with the idea that I want to bring people together. I knew the resources in Maryland were here but they have not been knitted together as tightly as they could. When we can do that, I think we can make our state’s innovation ecosystem bigger.
What is the depth of your integration into the innovation community?
I’ve worked in various locales around the U.S. and have also spent time working in Washington, D.C. as well as in Maryland for about 10 years. I am connected to many of the universities in Maryland and have consulted with several Maryland-based firms.
How does Maryland rate as a desired location to start a new venture?
It generally rates very well. It has some of the most highly educated citizens per capita in the country with Ph.Ds., federal labs, military bases and world class higher education as well as a number of HBCUs. So, we have great assets but they need to be amplified collectively. We also have to stand behind people who are doing things well and eliminate duplicative efforts.
What don’t you have that would help you in your mission?
We need more business plans to help disadvantaged groups. I’ve had discussions with many of our hardworking politicians and told them that if we really want to see something different, we will need to rethink the state’s funding mechanisms. Also, we really need to learn more about adapting to the next pandemic and to be more intentional about including more people in the economy.
What’s your take on the strength of the venture capital market?
It’s good. We have some great companies here in the life sciences sector as well as better leverage and can take advantage of our location in the DMV (the District, Maryland and Virginia). So, it’s good but not great. I think we can do more.
What’s your take on the diversity of Maryland’s ecosystem?
We need to have it be more inclusive and more expansive, not just for a gender or a race, but also for different socioeconomic levels in all parts of Maryland, from Western Maryland to the Lower Eastern Shore to Southern Maryland.
Considering racial tensions, how can TEDCO turn economic development into economic empowerment?
We’re trying to involve more people in the early stages of a business’s development so people feel a sense of involvement. We also need to reduce the degrees of separation by introducing the professor at The Johns Hopkins University to the student from Bowie State, for example.
How has the ecosystem fared during COVID-19?
We have been spending time supporting our companies by working with the Department of Commerce on funding and legislation and have made investments in companies that have been specific in the response to the pandemic, such as ClearMask, Longeveron and emocha Mobile Health.
As we move ahead, look at 9-11 as an example for how our world changed after a horrific event and then how we had to adapt. This time, we’ll see behavioral changes. It will be part of the post-COVID-19 evolution and technology will support these changes.
Where do you want TEDCO to be in three years?
We’re putting together a three-year plan within our five-year plan. The first pillar is to invest in our people and operate within our core values; the second is demonstrate how to support the development of our ecosystem; and the third is, “How do we tell our story and raise the brand for TEDCO?”
What do you consider the greatest challenge of your career?
I am a man of faith and I like to say, “I am what I believe and I believe in what I am.” So, meeting that balance is a daily challenge in what I do.
What has been your greatest career triumph?
I’m a pretty good coach. I’ve enjoyed seeing the people I’ve worked with during my career become better people and better leaders.
What about your career would surprise people who meet you?
I sing a little bit and enjoyed doing so in front of our church congregation. Also, my mom taught me to work to make a difference in one person’s life but she also said that during my journey I wouldn’t know who that person might be – so to treat everyone like they might be that person. I think that approach has defined my career.
By Mark Smith | Senior Writer | The Business Monthly | January 2020 Issue