SAN ANTONIO, Texas—Port San Antonio thanked its customers and community partners for helping create over 500 new jobs on its campus in recent months, with more expected before the end of the calendar year.
Roland Mower, the organization’s President and CEO, commemorated the milestone during the annual State of the Port address, hosted by the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. He also highlighted ongoing redevelopment work totaling more than $150 million, including large new facilities launched this year, major building renovations and big infrastructure projects throughout the Port’s 1,900-acre platform as it continues to attract key industries driving San Antonio’s economic growth.
“This year marks a century since this very large and unique San Antonio asset was launched in 1917,” said Mower, citing the birth of the former Kelly Air Force Base —the large complex which the Port has been redeveloping since the late 1990’s. “Over the past 100 years, this place has adapted to a changing world and evolving technologies and connected people in our region with those opportunities. Today, we continue to grow the flexibility of the Port’s assets to create an environment that allows San Antonians to pursue new career paths that are local, regional, national and global in scale.”
He reminded the audience that the Port’s more than 70 private- and public-sector customer tenants directly employ about 12,000 people and generate over $5 billion in regional economic activity each year. With half of the Port’s land currently developed, he indicated there are many important avenues to continue growing this impact even further to the benefit of the entire community.
Mower pointed to the site’s 100-year legacy in aviation technology as the cornerstone of its present-day success. The Port’s industrial airport at Kelly Field is where military aviation first took flight at the dawn of World War I. Over the decades, Kelly Air Force base became a major aircraft maintenance center. That work continues today at the Port’s industrial airport at Kelly Field, with marquee names that include Boeing, StandardAero and Chromalloy occupying large facilities where they support an array of military and commercial aircraft and engines.
The site has also become home for advanced manufacturing operations.
Last year the Port welcomed Indo-MIM among its new customers. The India-based company specializes in manufacturing small precision components through an innovative metal injection molding (MIM) process. The San Antonio location is the company’s first in North America, where it will supply customers in the automotive, medical device and other advanced industries.
Throughout this year the Port worked with Indo to retrofit an industrial facility totaling almost 100,000 square feet where the company is now ramping-up production. Its startup workforce of about 100 employees is expected to grow to more than 300.
Mower praised the role key area partners played in attracting Indo-MIM, including the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (EDF), which identified and engaged the firm as it considered several U.S. locations for its new facility.
The City of San Antonio and Bexar County also played important roles by providing the firm with incentive packages based on job-creation that were unanimously approved by the City Council and County Commissioners.
Elsewhere at the Port, cybersecurity firms ramped-up operations in support of Department of Defense and private-sector clients.
Today, San Antonio has the country’s second-largest concentration of cyber professionals, and the Port campus has become a strategic center to support industry growth. In recent years the headquarters of the 24th Air Force —also known as the branch’s Cyber Command —have continued to add personnel within the Port campus. There are now over 1,000 cybersecurity professionals who work at Lackland Annex —a large, secure office complex on the southeast part of the Port.
In his remarks, Mower highlighted recent expansions by customers IPSecure and Booz Allen Hamilton, who support Department of Defense cyber operations. Earlier this month, Northrop Grumman announced the launch of its new cyber facility at the Port, which is also focused on serving military clients. And newcomer Dynamic Advancement, headquartered in Hawaii, has used its new home at the Port to provide certification and training programs to more than 200 area professionals so far this year.
These and other cybersecurity firms have created dozens of new career opportunities at the Port, including network and intelligence analysts, engineers and programmers.
With the Port’s available office space approaching capacity, and with ongoing momentum from cyber firms that work in both the government and commercial sector, this spring Port San Antonio launched the first phase of its Project Tech vision: A multi-facility community in the heart of the campus that provides modern spaces for information technology professionals and their customers to collaborate and execute projects.
Construction of the first $20-million building is now underway and will be completed in early 2018, said Mower. The upcoming state-of-the-art 90,000-square-foot facility is directly across the Port’s Roberson Building at 3133 General Hudnell Drive where several cyber firms are already located.
Similarly, with the availability of industrial facilities continuing to tighten, Mower highlighted the recent launch of another new development project. This spring, the organization broke ground on two flexible industrial buildings totaling more than 200,000 square feet. They are located at the corner of 36th Street and Billy Mitchell Boulevard., across from similar industrial facilities that are now almost fully occupied and with quick access to area highways. That $20-million project is funded by the Port and will also be completed in early 2018, providing additional space for employers that require manufacturing, logistics and office spaces.
Mower also pointed out that new and longstanding Port customers are hiring for an array of careers. Currently there are over 200 different job opportunities available through employers on the Port campus. These include aircraft technicians, cybersecurity professionals, programmers, logistics personnel, customer service agents, commercial drivers and several civilian opportunities through the Air Force.
Up-to-date information is available at www.portsanantonio.us/jobs.
He also highlighted significant infrastructure projects that are in the works.
In the heart of the property, the City of San Antonio is completing a half-mile extension of 36th Street. This represents the final phase of an approximately $60-million effort that began in 2005 to create a new two-mile thoroughfare into the campus. The extension provides redundant access to accommodate the growing number of daily commuters and logistics activity. The project will also enable the closure of smaller streets along Kelly Field for the expansion of aerospace sites.
The City of San Antonio has also been instrumental in helping the Port address critical drainage infrastructure needs, said Mower. The San Antonio Municipal Bond approved by voters in May allocates $24 million for a large drainage channel that promotes worker safety and operational efficiency. It is also essential for the development of new facilities, such as the ongoing Project Tech complex and the two industrial buildings now under construction. The City of San Antonio will lead construction of the drainage infrastructure as well.
Mower also emphasized the many ways that the site is a growing center enriching San Antonio community life and the surrounding neighborhoods.
This year, the Port welcomed the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology (SAMSAT). In a 15,000-square-foot facility in the historic center of the property, SAMSAT has launched an exhibit space showcasing a vast collection of artifacts that tell the history of transformational technologies, including computing and telecommunications.
The collection places special emphasis on innovations that took place in San Antonio. The organization’s mission seeks to inspire people, particularly the young, to pursue an education for careers like aerospace and IT/cybersecurity that are growing throughout the region. A central part of SAMSAT’s work centers on offering STEM-based programs in partnership with area schools and helping students connect with those educational and career paths.
Mower also applauded the efforts of Paws for Purple Hearts. Just this week, the California-based nonprofit opened its first Texas facility in a former Air Force office building at the Port. There, it is training service dogs that support veterans and active service members who suffer from PTSD or traumatic brain injuries as a result of their military service.
In his closing remarks, Mower acknowledged the important role several Port customers and members of the U.S. military played at Kelly Field in response to recent hurricanes along the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.
As part of rescue and relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Port’s fixed-base operator, Atlantic Aviation, in partnership with Port customers GDC Technics, Air Methods and Bario Aviation, provided important support to dozens of military aircraft and hundreds of personnel who were staged at Kelly Field and flew rescue and relief missions to areas impacted by the storms.
Following the devastation of Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean region, Atlantic Aviation and Pinnacle Logistics supported several air cargo flights providing much-needed food and supplies to the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands —an effort led by former San Antonio Spur Tim Duncan.
“It’s a tremendous time for us and our customers old and new and their thousands of employees,” said Mower. “We continue to lay the foundation that allows current and future industries to grow strategically and compete globally. And, of equal importance, we continue to work hand-in-hand with our partners, our customers and our neighbors to ensure that this big and iconic place continues to support the dreams and ambitions of people throughout the community today and in the century ahead.”