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EP 31: Troy LeMaile-Stovall, CEO of TEDCO

Podcast Transcript

James Mackey  0:00  
Hello and welcome to Talent Acquisition Trends and Strategy. Today we're joined by Troy LeMaile-Stovall. Troy, welcome to the show!

Troy LeMaile-Stovall  0:18  
Thanks, James. Appreciate you having me on today.

James Mackey  0:21  
We're pumped to have you here. And before we jump into everything, would you mind sharing a little bit about your background with everyone?

Troy LeMaile-Stovall  0:27  
Oh, sure.  I'm an engineer and computer scientist. Got my MBA from the dark side institution of all, Harvard Business School. And I have been blessed to have worked as an engineer and a consultant at places like McKinsey and worked at places like Southwestern Bell in the old Bell Labs. I've worked at a number of education institutions, higher education institutions. But now I run an entity here in Maryland, called TEDCO and we are responsible for the venture capital arm that does the early-stage technology investments for the state. So that's just check writing James, it's also supporting them and wherever else they might need beyond just a check. Right?

James Mackey  1:12  
That's great. And you work with all sorts of different companies, right? I mean, it's not specifically within one sector of tech. 

Troy LeMaile-Stovall  1:19  
Yeah, the term was tech agnostic, which is what we are. But because we're here in Maryland, we do see a lot of bio life sciences, med tech, as well as cyber but we got a range of other entities that we've been able to involve everything from unattended flight vehicles, B2C, a lot of stuff in a bunch of other industries beyond just cyber and life science.

James Mackey  1:45  
Got it.  And you were saying to its earlier stage company seed rounds, Series A, is it all like post revenue? Or do you do some pre-revenue companies as well?

Troy LeMaile-Stovall 1:53  
Definitely, I'd say, from a staging point of view, we get them as early as what I call a pre-map and the post-napkin when it's coming off the napkin, and we have one of our funding vehicles that work directly with our research institutions. So we work with those to tech to the tech transfer. So again, this is that stuff that's early, very, is pre-concept, pre MVP, many cases, and pre-de-risked. And then we take them through that we take them to the seed stage, get them to a revenue stage, Series A, B, and so our cheque sizes can at the early stages are in the 150 to 253 range, and then we'll go all the way up to 2.5 and $3 million, and it's Series A, B.

James Mackey  2:35  
Okay, that's great. That's very helpful. Just so everybody understands your point of impact in the world, your corner, the world that you live in, right, and what you specialize in. So thank you. So we were talking about a couple of talent principles that are shifting from, you know, how it was maybe 10,15 years ago to what we're seeing accelerated due to COVID. I was hoping you could walk us through the talent landscape, as you see it from the perspective of an investor working with tech companies. What do you see out there?

Troy LeMaile-Stovall  3:06  
Yeah, it's a different place. There was always remote work, particularly in the technology space, there were always people who were physically in one spot with a job. And I think COVID has enlightened a larger set of individuals, a lot of firms, to enlarge those sectors to the fact that there still can be a pretty significant number of productivity, even with individuals not physically located on a consistent basis. And I think there are a couple of keywords in that sentence. And I start to end, a consistent basis, I think the notion of five days in the office for most industries, not all are dead, I think is dead as a dinosaur. I think this notion of, you know, having periodic time in the office because there's still a huge amount of value in coming together, I do believe, I do believe that we have lost what I like to call the spontaneity, innovation, you know, when when I've got an idea, and I can just walk down the hall to James, and we can get on the whiteboard and sketch it out. Now I gotta get time on your zoom calendar, right before I can get to you. 


So I think that although we've seen fairly consistent productivity, I would argue that innovation and spontaneous innovation, there's been lost. And I also think what's been lost is, you know, when I first started this job now, two years ago, Zoom was brutally efficient at making the meeting, I can email you not both, or you can do meetings after meetings after meeting two, there's no transition time. And that's I think, part of the problem because it so transitions time, but building relationships is missing. And so when I put all that together to answer your request, pull it together, particularly for an entity like TEDCO, whose job one of our missions is to create an innovative culture and entrepreneurial culture from Maryland for Maryland and net it to be blunt about how to create entities and jobs for the state of Maryland. Well, when all of a sudden, some of those when talent doesn't observe, you know, I'm here in Maryland, and we're just south of us at the Potomac River in DC, in Virginia and DC and the North versus Pennsylvania and Delaware to the east. Talent doesn't know anything about those boundaries. Matter of fact, particularly in the DMV area, talent very easily moves, you know, back and forth between the district, Maryland and Virginia, the DMV, for some of your listeners, they don't know that's called the DMV. 


And so I think part of the real issue is not a talent and a metrics issue. Because we got metrics, we got legacy metrics that made the assumption that the job and the person were in the same physical space. And I think what's happening now is that the job and the person are not always going to be in the same physical space. But our metrics are still assuming that's the case. And so it's a question of both metrics, as well as talent acquisition, or the war for talent, as many people call it. Because now all of a sudden, where's James, you used to fight for people coming together, because there was a great place to live because there was a proximity to your job. All of a sudden, like here in Maryland, we got data, I guess, towards the latter part of 20. And the first part 21, was good for you listeners that don't know, we have a thing called the Eastern Shore, which is a nice part of the state.


And then we have Washington, Maryland, the new housing stock and the eastern shore in Western Maryland, had gotten to an all-time low, because then people woke up and said, you know, what, we don't know where this thing called the Bay Bridge, which takes you back and forth. And there's a long region that doesn't like today, Friday going out, you don't want to be on the Bay Bridge today, it's you just don't blink, just trust me, for those that aren't living here. My point is, there are people who say, I can do it once a quarter, once a month, once a whatever, I have to drive from the eastern shore to Rockville, Bethesda, or Baltimore, I can do that. I can live somewhere where I don't have to be near my job. And so that's changing the dynamic of how people have to think about recruiting talent is changing the metrics for entities like TEDCO, and other entities like Tibco, across the United States. So I think it's a combination of talent acquisition, as well as how we measure where that talent is, and what the definition of economic development is going to be.

James Mackey  7:25  
So one question for you that I have. I do agree with you that in-person can be very valuable from a relationship perspective. You know, I agree with the efficiencies of remote work, there are several zooms, as you said, transition times, but obviously, from an overhead perspective, less office space can mean that money can be reallocated into demand side motions to increase salary to get better talent. There are other benefits there too. But, on the flip side of the coin, you have creativity, innovation, deep relationships, empathy, you know, things that are very important to companies and even to us on a human level can be a little bit lost. 


So, particularly, I'm curious about your series A companies that maybe they're establishing a small team, maybe they're 10 people to 30 people kind of within that range, in terms of full-time headcount. As you said, there's a war for talent. And, interestingly, what's happening in the market right now is that it looks like we could be potentially entering a recession, however, the talent pool is still incredibly tight, which is a little bit unlike what we've seen in the past. So I'm curious to hear what message you are sending to founder CEOs of these series A companies as it looks, open it up remotely and widen the talent pool. You can also compete for talent and areas where maybe either it's less expensive salaries? Or are you still saying you need to find people that can be hybrid and come into the office? What message are you sending to your poor?

Troy LeMaile-Stovall 8:55  
Yeah, that's an outstanding question and a difficult one. For me, this is where I'm schizophrenic. Because, as the CEO of TEDCO, I have to say, try to get that talent in Maryland. That's what I have to say. Right? But as someone who understands and has been a venture capitalist, understands, you know, attracting talent wherever that talent is, I'm telling them to go get it, where they are gonna get it.  And so that's the schizophrenic you know, because of the nature of what I do, but your answer implies the latter, right? But the answer implies, you know, where can you go to get the best value, and I'm going to use the word value, talent. 


I have a thing about words, James. When we use the word cost, your mind will immediately go to the lowest, regardless of anything else, it will go to the lowest. If you use value, you might think about the lowest, but that's not the one thing. You're going to think about other things to take into account in terms of utilization, in terms of the longevity of it long term, you know, lifetime value, all those things will be taken into account. Lowest might still come into play, but it's not going to be the sole determinant if you use the word cost. And so I think it is a value point that we need to talk about talent. And also, you're not saying this, but I think it's not just the acquisition of talent. But I think more and more companies have to be very intentional about what they do with their talent. And I think, if you think about talent, there's this pipeline of activities, there's everything from the sourcing, and actually how you write the job description, to how you onboard talent, to how you develop that talent, to how you compensate that talent, to how you groom and coach and develop the talent and events, eventually, how you exit that talent. 


And I think enough, companies don't think that whole value chain through and think about how you're taking someone through that, and investing in them along the way. And creating a sense, you know, people all the time, say, whether it's an early stage, or fortune 500 company, that the people are the most important asset. But the reality of it is, most companies don't invest in thinking through how that happens, they tend to just assume it's an HR thing. And I'm one of these persons actually, everywhere I've been including here at TEPCO, I've renamed the HR departments, in talent management, or talent optimization, because it's about talent. It's not about human resources, it's not some clerical thing that's, you know, worrying about, you know, making sure people get paid, it's about its talent, that most important, that person should be right in my side, as I'm thinking about strategically, all the things we're trying to consider, and what's the talent gaps, and we need to fulfill, can we groom it, or do we have to go and gain it to make that strategic plan work,

James Mackey  11:59  
Right, and in particular for your portfolio at that early stage of scale,  there's a huge difference between getting top people on your team, and getting potentially people that are not the best fit,  to help you scale. Because there are certain people that can help you scale, and there are others that might be better at maintaining, or they might be a little bit better once you have process and technology in place where you can kind of just plug them in. To get those people that can go from zero to one and help you build that initial scale, you need top talent. And I think at a high level intellectually I think founders and CEOs get it. But I think that sometimes they just fall into this trap of thinking sheer velocity, just sheer speed, and they don't necessarily slow down and think about the value of top talent. And you know, just the lesson, as you said, the value, right? People are the primary driver of value. It doesn't matter if it's a product company or a services company, people are producing products, right? So if you have the best possible person in that job, you're going to get a superior outcome. And if you can get the best possible person repeatedly, you're gonna have an exponentially different outcome of where you can scale your business to. So I agree with you. It's a good point. 

Troy LeMaile-Stovall  13:11  
So you remind me, I had a venture capital a long time ago, I got a chance to go when I started. I got to go back to the 90s, I got to go to Sand Hill Road which was a very famous street there in Silicon Valley, where all the venture capitalists still are. And I got to look at some of the giants of venture capital out there,  and those guys and all of the best folks who I spoke to said the same thing. They said two things, they said, You look, you're going to lose more than you win, but you want big wins to make up for all the losses. Number two, and the most important thing was We always invest in quality people James, would be quality plans, and never the reverse. Never the reverse. Never quality plans would be quality people. 


And I will tell you the first question I get asked when a team brings me in, in a particularly early stage, and even at later stage deals. But one of my first questions is how coachable this person is. Because more than me, you know, entrepreneurs, mostly, to be an entrepreneur, part of the DNA in an entrepreneur, there's an ego, there's a high level of confidence and ego with them. And that's, there's a value to that. But like anything, too much of something is a bad thing. And confidence can become arrogance. And so what we want is if you want our money, then if you want I would argue most venture capitalists' money, you have to be in a position there's humility that has to be added to that DNA mix. And you have to be willing to stand that your idea might be pretty good but to make a damn good, you need some help and you Need some counseling and you need someone to help you craft it? And I think you know, and I can tell you I consider a conversation in 10 minutes with an entrepreneur and figure out if they're willing to listen, versus if they already think they have the answer. And I was like, you know, God bless you good luck, you know, and maybe there'll become the next  Elon Musk. That's great. But they won't do it with us.

James Mackey  15:20  
Right. I mean, even Elon Musk though, like, we watched some of his older interviews, and he's talking about his company. So like, yeah, it was given him about a 50% chance of succeeding. I mean, there's, you know, I'm sure he's very confident and whatnot. But there's also a certain level of just really kind of expectations, and enough kind of doubt, to push them to work hard on these types of things. I think you're right, I think people who are going to achieve it at a very high level, need to have that confidence and not second guess themselves. But they always have to be finding ways to poke holes in their logic that you go in, try to figure out where their blind spots are, right? Like, you have to be obsessed with figuring out, Where's the thing that can kill our momentum? Right? Where is it? If I don't see it, it doesn't mean it's not there. It just means I haven't found it yet. Right? 

Troy LeMaile-Stovall  16:05  
To have people around you who are willing to challenge you and can challenge you. And that's the whole point of this, these conversations, you know, we spend a lot of time in newspaper print or podcasts minutes, talking about founders, and those are important people don't get me wrong. But, one of the things we're intentional about at TEPCO is what I called effort employee number three. Because I know a bunch of serial entrepreneurs, James, who have never founded who never been called the founder of their company, they've always been employed three through, pick a number, you know, early, you know, the number, and they just kind of, you know, been recycled and recycled and recycled and recycled. And that's just as much part of the entrepreneurial process as being the founder. The person who gets all the headlines maybe does get the really big check and keeps and keeps pounding. For the people who are never in the headlines, employees 3567, acquiring that talent is just as critical as the founder coming up with the idea and getting it funded.

James Mackey  17:10  
Oh, yeah, I agree that the founding team is just so critical. And I forget who said this, but they talked about how special the founding days are. And if you screw those up, it's hard to rebound.  I'll put it out there, I messed up a lot of my initial hiring seven years ago when I started my company. It took me like four years to dig out of that hole. There are a lot of lessons learned, I started young. It was my first you know, it's my first company. So it took me about five years to figure out, okay, how to scale. But,  if you're getting the initial team right, and obviously, I wasn't to be clear, I'm not putting on the team, I wasn't the right leader at the time I had to learn so I'm taking ownership. You know, it's one of those things like getting that initial team right, is critical. And you're right employees, one through 10. I mean, that's, that's where it's going to have the most significant impact on your trajectory. Even more important than the idea, right? Like, this is kind of I think everybody's heard this at this point. But you know, what you think is going to make you successful probably isn't, you know, you're probably going to have to tweak and change the product or the service is going to tweak and change as you speak to customers and learn about the market. And where do you kind of fit within it right?

Troy LeMaile-Stovall  18:22  
I use the word team, intentionally because they have to come together to meet at times they don't know one another. And they're coming together. Now, a lot of these guys are taking their network. And that brings up a separate politics that we're focused on here in Maryland that we get that people want to get people around them that you know, you know, come from the same kind of community and as usually around a university, or fraternity or some other group or previous venture. I grew up in Houston, Texas, and I used to work at the Johnson Space Centre for a couple of summers. And so I wanted to be an astronaut, but it didn't work out for a bunch of reasons. But I still talk like that. 


So I talk about this notion of orbits. And I think others like us, have to be intentional about creating orbits that collide. We have to force orbits to collide that would not have collided, but for our intentionality. And if you see orbits that collide, those orbits create a new gravitational constant, a new celestial body. And that celestial body has elements and elements of the two and other elements that they get attracted to because of the gravitational forces that get created. And that's what we want to do. And I hope that visual people get it because, you know, if you combine the two things that already have the same stuff, that new thing, the new com isn't that exciting. It's just not, it's just another thing that gets blown together. But if I can create two entities that don't have the same things, that new body gets created. That's a beautiful celestial body that gets created.

James Mackey  20:03  
That's a cool analogy. I like that one. I might take that one. So one of the things you've talked about is creating jobs and opportunities in Maryland. I would love to hear your thoughts on how you go about tackling something like that, whether it's economic development or creating jobs, or maybe providing training programs. Is there a high-level way that you tackle that in terms of certain pillars or principles that help guide your tactics?

Troy LeMaile-Stovall  20:37  
Well, I just mentioned, one is that we were going to be much more intentional, you know, when we invest in companies, we're so we'll be launching what we call a talent portal, as part of our Maryland entrepreneur hub. And, I'll talk about that in a second as well. But that's going to be a place where individuals can go to look for talent that's outside of their normal orbits, you know, to stick with that analogy for a second. And we're going to be the intention. So we can't make anybody go. You know, we can't make somebody from Johns Hopkins go hire somebody from Frostburg or Bowie state or some other great universities here. But we can at least introduce the work, introduce those orbits, and hopefully, those orbits will come together. 


I mentioned the American entrepreneur hub because we believe that there are three real questions every entrepreneur faces or three issues. Those three issues are, they lack time, James, they lack talent, and I need the third T, so I'd use the word treasure. And treasure is both fiscal resources, as well as other things they need in particular, you know, they might need a wet lab, they might need access to 3d printers, they may need a lawyer, they might need talent, whatever those other things are. So what TEDCO does is we give them back a minute, and we have this thing that we call the Maryland entrepreneur hub, where we have all these great resources in the state. But what do you have to do as an entrepreneur, you got to go hunt them down, you got to go spend time finding them. What if you can put a profile about your company, Where you are? What are you looking for? And we go through an AI algorithm and bring them to your desktop or your laptop, I just saved you a minute. Right? 


And I just mentioned talent, we're going to launch as part of that we're going to launch a talent portal. And then on treasure, you know, that's what we do, we help you not just help you get a check and help you and we love watching people we call our capital stack formation. We love stacking our funds and getting someone to walk them through the preceding and then seed funds, and then our Maryland venture fund. And we just had a young man through a B2C company, he's got a great company called remodelmate, he's one of our first companies to go through all three stages precede seed, and we just wrote a million-dollar check out of the venture fund. And so it's just an amazing story. So that's the kind of stuff we do to not just give them those fiscal resources, but introduce him to talent and let me also say, introducing the customers, we're working with a couple of customers, a couple of port codes myself, and introduce their opportunities in the ecosystem where they can get either a beta test site or actual customer site. So we're doing that too, we want to make sure that here's a real point. 


And then TEDCO puts in a dollar, at the early stage. And we normally exit, you know, in a Series C or D, you know, pick a letter there. And we want to multiply dollarsllar that we put in. And we normally do pretty well. But to do that, we got to have these other venture capital firms, some of them are in Maryland, some are not themselves Maryland when they invest, James, we want them to say not only was that a good idea that's in that company, it's a good company. And I think that's the two things back to talent, right? You know, there are always these good ideas, but have you built a real, scalable company around that good idea.?And what we want people to see is that we not only have good ideas, good market-based ideas but potentially good scalable companies, we want them to be true. And we believe if we get the funct we will get better multiples when people invest in Maryland-based companies that have TEDCO portfolios.

James Mackey  24:19  
I love that. And I have a quick follow-up question there. So it sounds like your team has decided to be very intentional about providing a  support structure for early-stage companies. There are a lot of different philosophies and approaches within venture capital. Some companies are trying to create more resources available, while others are just saying no, we're just gonna send you a check and that's our level of involvement.  Part of the reason Y'all are so involved is because you're working with such early-stage companies that they just need a lot more support or philosophy. How did you make that decision?

Troy LeMaile-Stovallr  24:53  
Well, we were 2,3 years old. So you know, I've only been here for 2, 3  years so we've gone through an evolution of that, but yes. That was the early stage and normally it's not just the early stage, James sometimes the first time. And you know, they're coming from communities where they don't know what entrepreneurship is. And they're smart people, they've got a great idea. But they don't know how to put it together. They don't know, they can see the idea. And, you know, there's the adage, you know, that necessity is the mother of invention, I changed a little bit, I think inconvenience because a lot of these ideas come from both inconvenience. But I also believe I'll just, I just had lunch the other day with a couple of banks, big banks, these are big, you know, money center banks. And I say, you know, the other thing is that this generation is challenging the legacy institutions. I mean, this is, you know, there's so much money going into FinTech because people are asking the question, why do I need a bank? What's the broader bank, and you and you see so much innovation comes out of the incidence or the inadequacy of a traditional bank?


And so I think, part of what we're seeing is these great ideas, or people have been inconvenienced, or they're questioning the status quo, but they don't know how to take that great idea and build a firm, as I said before, around, and that is, yes, we spend a lot of time doing that. But I'll tell you, I just met with one of our latter-stage companies that had breakfast with him just yesterday. And so they are still some of the same questions. They're trying to figure out how to pivot, you know, what's going to be that inflection point for them, they, they've got a great product this was one of our ones that made da device that sold in CVS, you can buy it on, you can buy it on Amazon, but they got a separate surgical product that they want to launch. And so their question is, what's the scale? We don't? How do we start to pivot? And how do we start to scale to create, you know, a really big multiple, so it's a, it's a, a similar type of conversation, but with a different type of response that's required of us.

James Mackey  26:59  
I love it. I love it. And I also just think, just from a business philosophy, perspective, and values, I feel like this is a much more fulfilling way to do business, right? When you can provide resources and help people and contribute and provide value in more than one way. It just seems more, at least for me, I feel like that's just more fulfilling overall.

Troy LeMaile-Stovall  27:17  
No, I can tell I'm passionate about it. And I've been doing this for two years. But to me, this has been a toll. My board set a board meeting yesterday. It's an accumulation of everything I've done in my career, I've been an engineer, I've been a consultant, work in higher ed, been a venture capitalist, and I've started my own companies. And so I've done all of those pieces. Anlly every day, I take pieces of that and bring them to bear for these. And to have some of the conversations that we have that I get to have individually with portfolio companies, with ecosystem partners, with folks to for us to think differently about what that means in Maryland from innovation and entrepreneurship. I do get excited about the potential and the opportunity, not just for the state, but for the region. We're having conflict about what this means for the region.


What does that mean for the DMV? How do we begin to be in a place where there is where to your earlier point of this conversation talent not going to just care about Maryland or Virginia talent is going to look for it. And so how do we create a place that's attractive for that talent? Regardless of state lines?

James Mackey  28:20  
Yeah, I agree Georgetown's doing some cool things. They have Venture Labs in DC for startup incubators yeah, I still would love to see a lot more startup eco ecosystems in the DC area. I think you know, here we get a lot of Gov con services, which is nothing wrong with it. It's just a lot of innovation, right? It's just basically staff org. And so I'm excited every time I get to speak with somebody in tech or VC in this area. I'm like, I'm hoping more and more people get involved in this space in this area.

Troy LeMaile-Stovall 28:53  
Yeah, I'm hoping to, I'm hoping that we're either the TEPCO likTEPCO-like the t in Virginia. He's because CIT, I keep forgetting the name, they just changed the name recently. So they do some very similar things in Virginia, I talked to them, their hearing, Bob Solian. We're talking as well about how to crane. We're talking to others here in the DMV about how to create a regional fund and talking to the folks in DC about how to create a tech co-like into-like DC because I think it's all needed. So I don't see it as a competition. I see it as a way to aggregate and elevate and scale what we should be doing here for the DEA.

James Mackey  29:28  
I love that by the way, I'll just put it out there. I'd love to get involved if there's an opportunity there. Something I'm passionate about as well. So I'd love to talk to you offline about that too. So the other topic that we had up for today is DE&I and you're in a really special position to influence that for a lot of companies. I would love to hear about how you communicate DE&I with your port CEOs and not only have the conversation but ensure that real progress is being made. Do you have Any thoughts on that? 

Troy LeMaile-Stovall  30:01  
Yeah, I mean, part of this was my orbit analogy, you know how to be intentional to create, you know, the celestial bodies. That's the kind of l of it. We are very involved with the Maryland Tech Council, I sit on the comTechee for the Maryland tech counter symbol board and Maryland to council and I sit on the committee and relative council with our technology innovation, and inclusion initiatives in the Tand I two initiatives. And, you know, that is how to work with the midship for the Maryland tech council to be more intentional and give them tools. So we hope to announce here in the next actually few weeks, our initial foray to do kind of an RF P I forget the last letter, but something that level announced an aggregator to look at the different technologies and services that we can post with no attribution but saying, Hey you tried to do something around VDI for your firm, here are some tools that you can use. And we've been together about 17, or over 20. Other folks have signed dei pledges that are up on the Maryland tech Council site. But we're intentionally being transparent about the journey that we're on both the successes and the natural successes that we're doing along the way. But as it relates to the port coast, I mentioned the ta pool, we're going to open up and let people see that there's talent available. But I'll say this, that normally when this conversation comes up, it's normal access around gender, or race o,r socio-economics And those are true, and there's nothing wrong with that, I would say the other axis that we wanted to revolve around for Maryland least is geographic, the opportunities need to be as plentiful in Western Maryland and Southern Maryland. And they'll show as they are around the 95 corridors. And so we have to be intentional about both that geography acts as we are about the race and gender axis, as well, James,

James Mackey  31:57  
That's interesting. So I haven't heard the target broken down like that before in terms of geography within states. So how did you do it? How did you come to that realization?

Troy LeMaile-Stovall 32:09  
Well, the fact that I'm Maryland, the logo on this side, I guess, I got, I am the state of Maryland. But in my short time here, I have visited every part of the state, I have spent time in Western Maryland and Southern Maryland on the Eastern Shore and in northern Maryland, Baltimore, and Montgomery county, Prince George's County. And what I have found is that there is just talent, there is innovation. And there is opportunity happening the challan enge like anything, another opportunity isn't evenly distributed. And so part of what we have to do is, is better Lake, that talent, that innovation, and opportunity. So that exists across the same opportunity. 


So for instance, there are 30 ish accelerators, and incubators across the state of Maryland, some of them operating at different levels of impact and effectiveness. While we are working with all 30 of them to ensure that they all are operating at a certain level of efficiency with a certain level of data utilization and a certain level of output such that regardless of what, zip code, you are in the state of Maryland, you will have access to a high-class network that's networking. And by the way, they may not have exactly what you need. So you need something that they don't have, we know exactly where it is. And we can get you those services out of another incubator, whether it's 3d print, whatever it is, we can get it from somewhere else, because it's in the network. And so you don't have to scale up something that may only be needed once if someone else had needed it 20 times. And you only needed once out here. And so it's rethinking that, but more importantly, for the state, if we can, back to this whole notion of remote work, if all of a sudden, the element, the parts of the state that haven't had as much economic activity are elevated, all of a sudden, I get excited about the idea that we can create entrepreneur activities in Western Maryland because all of a sudden there is there's been some real movement migration of individuals moving to Western mountain moving to the eastern shore. And so that allows us to latch into those ideas and find ways to do that while at the same time tapping into some record natural resources or the natural talent, or the natural types of technologies that are happening in those that each area has its own little thing that they've got, we have this cool little map that shows the circles of different parts of the state and kind of where they've got some strengths. And so how do we make sure all that's happening and elevate all of those as well.

James Mackey  34:45  
I love that. And one of the things that I think it's interesting about remote work too, is that it does in terms of inclusivity. I think it does kind of spread opportunity, right? It makes it easier for people that may not be able to come into the office for whatever reason whether they're local or not. I think it opens Got opportunities for people that otherwise wouldn't be able to take advantage of those opportunities too.

Troy LeMaile-Stovall  35:04  
Yeah, I think the other part of the answer to the question is, I don't get I'm a big stickler for words, you know, people talk about the wealth gap between blacks and whites particulars was talked about and, and my challenge with that is, to close the gap, those who have which are mostly whites, you got to go get money from them, which then has to be paid back. And so their bar is always now yeah, you know, this bar is moving to, but the gap to me mathematically will be very difficult. And so I think the language has to become James around wealth, inclusion, and wealth expansion, we have to include more people in these wealth opportunities. And we have to expand it. This, we just, you know, talked about to those who have not been included before. And so this language has to change. And I'm, you know, an old engineer, I think we have to change the wealth equation, not trying to address the wealth gap, but change the equation of who has access to work, creating an opportunity for wealth opportunities.

James Mackey  36:06  
I love that. I love that. And we are coming up on time here. So I wanted to be cognizant of that. And I just wanted to say thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for a tonne of value here. And we've touched on some topics that we haven't before on the show. So I know everybody listening is going to learn a lot and I hope they implement some of the lessons you're sharing with us today. So Troy, thank you, and we'd love to have you back on the show. If you're open to it. Just name

Troy LeMaile-Stovall  36:33  
Just name the day my friend during the day. And again, as I said, we'll get together and talk about the dmv.

James Mackey  36:38  
Alright, let's do it. For everybody else tuning in, thank you for joining us and we'll see you next time.

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