Look Beyond The Headlines For A Peek At The Names And Faces That Will Help Define Local Business In 2005

Washington Business Journal

To cover business in a meaningful way, you have to drill down to the people.

We are fortunate in Greater Washington — the cast of characters in our business community is vast, varied and very interesting to watch.

From scientist-CEOs who are scrambling to discover the next big cure for what ails you, to deep-pocketed titans who want to buy our new baseball team, to entrepreneurs who put their money where their mouths are, this region is filled with people who make business run.

For us, like for you, watching them is sport. We cheer when they win. We analyze why they lose. We study their missteps and try to anticipate their next moves.

Along the way, we work hard to explain why what happens to them should matter to you.

Our choices for this year’s People to Watch are as varied as the business community they represent.

Some of them are obvious — the headlines in 2004 were big and clear. Some aren’t so obvious — they’ve flown under the radar until now.

Each has a story to tell about success, failure and everything in between. The lessons they teach, the experiences they share and the challenges they face provide us with a road map of what it takes to make a name for yourself in Washington business.

S. Kathryn Allen And Donna Fitzgerald Shuler Wanted A Change

The partners started Answer Title last year and found that the new venture was a good way for them to maintain the relationships both have accumulated throughout their careers.

Allen and Shuler — perhaps two of Washington’s most recognizable female bankers — found themselves searching for work outside of banking. The creation of a title company was a natural evolution, they say.

It helps that both have real estate experience. Shuler is a Realtor and Allen is a real estate attorney.

Allen and Shuler, who have known each other for four years, plan to spend most of their time in 2005 hiring people and calling on old friends who may not know about their new company.

The goal is to build Answer Title into one of the largest title companies in the region.

But they had to leave their old gigs before being able to go after their new shared one.

Allen, former D.C. banking commissioner, was a flip-of-the-switch away from opening Legacy Banc in Washington. However, those plans were foiled when her successors in the regulatory office were concerned with the appearance of a conflict.

Shuler resigned as president and CEO of District-based Independence Federal Savings Bank after an exhaustive years-long proxy battle. In June 2003, Shuler left the bank, which her father founded in 1968.

But that’s the past. Now Shuler and Allen are focused on Answer Title. [Tim Mazzucca]
© 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.

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