Troy A. LeMaile-Stovall believes that the way to rev up Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies is through inclusive entrepreneurial innovation.
As CEO of Columbia-based TEDCO, LeMaile-Stovall, 59, has ensured that the state’s tech industry continues to find support as it grows.
“[We want to] serve the entire ecosystem and all those in it to ensure that all ideas, all innovations have a place to be seen, heard, nurtured, launched and grown in Maryland. For all races, demographics, and geographies,” said LeMaile-Stovall, who has more than 25 years of experience in investment management, higher education, telecommunications, information/communication technology and management consulting.
During his tenure as CEO, TEDCO has dispersed nearly $81 million via investments, program grants and awards.
The company has also made it a priority to invest in minority businesses, with 56% of all investments in the last three years going to minority founders — at least five times the national average, according to the company.
Among the investments by TEDCO:
- In June, $350,000 in Tao Treasures LLC (dba NanoBioFAB), a woman- and minority-led health care technology company. That investment, combined with previous TEDCO funding, resulted in a $550,000 investment in that company.
- In May, $250,000 in CarrTech Corp., a woman-owned medical device company in Frederick.
- In February, $250,000 in NasaClip, a woman- and minority-led startup, which created a new device that creates a painless, hands-free method for stopping nosebleeds.
- In February, $200,000 in Elite Gaming Live, a Black-owned and -run organization focused on educating students about careers in video game design and other technological areas.
Before his work at TEDCO, LeMaile-Stovall was chief operating officer at the University of the District of Columbia. According to his company bio, he has also worked as the interim president of Zenith Education Group; a principal at Butler Snow Advisory Services; executive vice president and chief operating officer of Howard University; and senior vice president and chief financial officer at Jackson State University. There, he was named Thurgood Marshall HBCU CFO of the Year.
In addition to starting the management consulting firms LeMaile-Stovall LLC and GTMS Partners, LLC, he co-founded GulfSouth Capital and was its first president and CEO. He has also worked at McKinsey & Company, Southwestern Bell Telephone (now AT&T), AT&T Bell Labs, and Rockwell international, per his company bio.
LeMaile-Stovall, who earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Southern Methodist University, also has a computer science master’s degree from Stanford University, and an MBA from Harvard University.
The triathlete has coached youth robotics and is a USA Swimming-certified stroke-and-turn coach and chief judge official.
LeMaile-Stovall, who resides in Bowie, is married to Sonya L. Wiggins and is the father of Zora Lauren and Langston Anthony.
The Baltimore Banner recently asked LeMaile-Stovall about various issues. His answers have been edited for clarity and length.
What role will AI, or artificial intelligence, play in shaping tech?
I truly don’t know, and anyone who does is either guessing or lying. We don’t know if it will make us more efficient or be Skynet from the “Terminator” movies. But what I do know is what we are seeing now is version 1.0 and it does give me pause to consider what version 3.0 might be. Because the real question isn’t what is the impact of AI on tech, but what is the impact of AI on society?
What are the racial ramifications of AI on the tech landscape?
Again, not clear but given that these algorithms are programmed by humans and are an attempt to mimic the “intelligence” of humans, that equation leads to this tech also being able to mimic the limitations, prejudices, and inconsistencies of humans. This isn’t a tech conversation, as I said before, it is a societal [one] at the very moment that society cannot agree on much.
How important is it to have diverse representation in tech?
I have been having this conversation and struggle for over 40 years and the numbers are not getting any better. Again it’s a societal issue — the question and foundation to address must be done in elementary school and we must elevate those of color that have succeeded in this space as much as [we] elevate athletes and entertainers. We must have diverse representation across all sectors of our economy.
Did Maryland miss out on the tech trend?
Not sure what “tech trend” we missed, as Maryland is a leader in cyber and part of the COVID vaccine was developed here. Could we do better as [far as] tech-based job growth? Yes. We were asked to lead a study Cultivate MD that speaks to this. We have the proper elements to lead but as Gov. Wes Moore has said — “we are asset-rich but strategy poor.” With his leadership and the Cultivate MD, we seek to change that.
How can Maryland establish itself as a tech destination in the US?
We are working on that with the governor’s team via our Cultivate MD. It will take the four S’s — we need to be scaling the level of our investments, stitching together to work collaboratively to create that scale, once we scale and stitch we do data-informed storytelling to gain access to more resources to scale, stitch and story tell more. The whole point is to create a high level of stickiness for Maryland-based firms to be ideated, started, invested, grown and scaled.
What is the biggest obstacle that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) people face in tech?
Being not seen and underestimated but also for BIPOC folks to succumb to the impostor syndrome — they believe that they don’t belong. They do and it takes a combination of coaching, mentoring, and advocating for that talent to be seen and valued.
What is the future of your company?
For TEDCO — we will continue to invest in our team. We will continue to lead via our core values — accountability, collaboration, integrity, respect and stewardship — and in doing so make Maryland a top state for innovation and collaboration.