A chance encounter with a disgruntled colonel inspired Stuart Title to make a lasting commitment to the Fort Meade Alliance.
An active member of the Laurel Chamber of Commerce, Title had been asked to sit in on a meeting of the recently formed Alliance. As the group discussed business items, a colonel from Fort Meade raised an unexpected issue.
“He was a little upset that we had given two foursomes of golf for the Commander’s Cup to board members rather than offering them to enlisted on the post and he made that very clear at the meeting,” Title said. “I said, ‘Colonel, we sometimes just don’t understand your world.’ He replied, ‘I sometimes don’t understand yours either.’”
Before the meeting ended, Title realized that the FMA presented an opportunity to become better informed and provide meaningful service. “I was hooked and I never looked back,” said Title, who has served on the FMA’s Board and Executive Committee and is currently the FMA Transportation Committee Chair.
Although Title serves as a broker and Vice President of Development for A.J. Properties, Inc., “I didn’t join the FMA to generate business. I signed up because I wanted to make an impact on the community that I work in and that my company has investments in,” he said.
And for Title, who had helped manage transit initiatives by the Laurel Chamber of Commerce, “transportation was a clear way that we could improve communities,” he said.
Over the next two decades, Title became recognized by county and state officials as a subject matter expert on regional transportation as he tackled multiple initiatives to improve commuter traffic around Fort Meade. The complexities of political rhetoric and government funding meant that not every initiative was successful. But Title and the FMA’s Transportation Committee helped grow the percentage of Fort Meade workers using transit or carpooling services from 16 percent to 22.5 percent.
Title also expects that extensive work by the FMA on creating a framework to transfer ownership of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to the state and enable needed highway improvements will become even more important as construction begins on the new FBI headquarters in Greenbelt.
In addition to creating opportunities to address transportation issues, the FMA has always enabled members to meet and learn from extraordinary individuals, Title said.
“We have been through a lot of colonels at Fort Meade and they were all different. But every one of them with all their different talents was the right person at the right time for the post,” he said.
Among the membership, “the people I have met along the way have been such first-class people. I have been honored to connect with them,” Title said. “I have learned so much from people I revere and in subject matters that are not my area of expertise.”
One of his favorite FMA memories to date was being invited to participate in this year’s FMA roundtable with the head of the Federal Reserve of Richmond.
“I was awed by the level of people at that meeting and hearing ideas about the economy from those different, expert points of view,” he said.