SAN ANTONIO—Over 200 guests gathered to celebrate a major milestone at Port San Antonio—the 1,900-acre industrial platform that, beginning a century ago as the former Kelly Air Force Base, became an epicenter of innovation and expertise in applied technology.
On May 23 the Port officially inaugurated the first facility at Project Tech, advancing the organization’s vision to grow a tightly-knit community of bright minds who are applying their expertise to address pressing challenges and capture important opportunities in the digital technologies that power the world’s leading industries: aerospace, advanced manufacturing, energy, telecommunications, medicine, defense and financial services, among others.
The just-completed 90,000-square-foot facility represents the cornerstone of a vision that will add more spaces in the immediate surroundings. These will include new state-of-the-art offices and secure research and testing laboratories for cybersecurity experts to collaborate alongside partners and clients as they develop innovative solutions that safeguard and improve the digital platforms that billions of people around the world depend on—a reliable supply of energy, safe transportation, productive factories, secure banking and effective medicine.
Future phases of Project Tech will also add training facilities alongside spaces that showcase and demonstrate the technologies that are already evolving at the Port and throughout the region.
The Port is already home to more than 80 employers and 13,000 workers. Among them are more than 1,000 cybersecurity experts.
They include the 24th Air Force / Cyber Command headquarters, as well as leading industry names that have recently established operations to serve both defense- and private-sector clients. Those Port customers include Northrop Grumman, IPSecure, IOMAXIS, Booz Allen Hamilton, Dynamic Advancement, DC Industries, Red Knight, RedCell, the San Antonio Multidisciplinary Security Operations Center (SAMSOC), and Radiance Technologies..
The new building is also near the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology (SAMSAT) which, alongside partner SASTEMIC, has formed an educational cornerstone that is delivering STEM-based programs to area schools and guiding students toward educational paths and future careers with technology employers at the Port.
“Project Tech honors the 100-year history of this big place and the women and men who built that legacy. It also charts a clear path for our community in the century ahead,” said Port Interim President & CEO Jim Perschbach. “We have global industries right here at the Port,” referencing the large operations that aerospace marquee names like Boeing and StandardAero established on the campus 20 years ago.
“Now, by growing cybersecurity and other digital industries alongside aerospace and additional mature sectors of San Antonio’s economy, our region has a clear advantage as the digital innovations that are developed here can be applied to a clientele that is national and global in scale,” he added.
“Today is the culmination of a lot of planning and hard work by many very talented people,” said Port Board Chair Victoria Garcia. “Just a few years ago, ‘cybersecurity’ and the eventual connectivity of all our hardware—from our phones to our aircraft to our powerplants—was something that very few of us could conceive. And yet, that defines the world in which we live. Project Tech will empower San Antonio to leverage our expertise to address challenges and capture a world of opportunities in today’s digital era that will translate into more great jobs right here.”
Project Tech will promote collaboration between cybersecurity and the thriving aerospace industry at the Port.
“Days like today make it clear that San Antonio’s standing as ‘Cyber City, U.S.A.’ is not a catchy slogan. It’s a well-deserved, hard-earned distinction that is the outcome of a lot of innovative thinking and the result of having some of the very best minds in the world right here in the Alamo City—solving cybersecurity’s toughest challenges head-on,” said Joe Sanchez, Chairman of the CyberTexas Foundation.
“We applaud Port San Antonio for its partnership with our industry and for taking us one big step forward with the vision that is powering Project Tech,” he added. We have a lot of tremendous resources throughout our community: security experts, educators and the industries they serve. By coming together and collaborating at places like Project Tech, we are stronger and more competitive.”
“It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago we were standing on an empty parking lot as we broke ground for this facility,” said Will Garrett, Director of CyberSecurity San Antonio. “Today, we are standing inside what can be best characterized as a powerful beacon for our community.”
“This effort—and the speed with which it came together—is a bold affirmation that the Port and its partners have a true vision and commitment as they take giant strides forward. It’s a cornerstone upon which San Antonio’s tech community can continue to build its future.”
“Communities around the country and throughout the world compete vigorously to attract the very industries that are thriving in San Antonio,” said Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, President & CEO of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF).
“What the Port has done through its Project Tech vision, and now the launch of the first building, is the creation of a very powerful value proposition as SAEDF and our partners promote our community to the world: San Antonio is home to unique expertise, and our community offers true value and a competitive edge to some of the world’s largest and most advanced industries,” she added.
“Few industries have expanded as quickly and touched the lives of so many ordinary citizens as cybersecurity,” said U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro, whose district includes Port San Antonio. “The Port clearly understand the needs and challenges of a rapidly-evolving technology that can greatly benefit countless people and industries.”
“This new development, and the innovation community it creates, will serve as a foundation to grow San Antonio’s ability to capture important new opportunities in the century ahead and to keep our nation safe from rogue actors or enemy states intent on stealing our intellectual property, undermining our military or harming our infrastructure.”
“It’s amazing to see what is taking place at the site of the former Kelly Air Force Base and how it continues to transform our community,” said Texas State Representative Philip Cortez, whose district includes Port San Antonio. “I distinctly remember when the closure of Kelly was announced over 20 years ago”
“The fact that we are here today in the middle of a thriving campus that is already the home of leading technologies and thousands of good jobs—and that we have a sharp focus on the future—is a testament to the collaboration that has been led by the Port team and supported by industry and public partners,” he added. “I’m really looking forward to the next 20 years and beyond, and how my colleagues and I in the legislature can support this bright shining example of Texas’ can-do attitude.”
“The women and men of San Antonio have a proud and unparalleled record for hard work and innovation,” said City Councilman Rey Saldaña, whose District 4 includes the Port’s main property. “Like Kelly did for most of the past century, Project Tech will provide our community current and future generations of workers a physical place and a support network to apply their skills and channel their ambition as they connect with exciting industries that are growing regionally, nationally and around the world.”
“Just like Kelly, Port San Antonio is a true community asset,” said District 8 City Councilman Manny Pelaez, who chairs the Mayor’s Committee of Innovation and Technology. “All sectors of our city benefit from what is taking place here at the Port in the city’s southwest side. And the vision of Project Tech is a very important reminder that, as San Antonio works to hold on to and grow the global industries that are already here, and as we seek to capture new opportunities around the world, this is a future that can be best achieved by banding together and continuing to burnish our reputation as a global center of technological breakthroughs and know-how.”
This construction of the $20-million building inaugurated today was managed by the Port’s in-house Real Estate Development team. The project was completed on time and within budget—paid through Port funds and a construction loan from San Antonio-based Broadway Bank.
The City of San Antonio also played an instrumental role in the effort—conducting infrastructure improvements valued at $1.5 million on the building’s site.
The first phase of Project Tech was designed by Beaty Palmer Architects and the lead contractor is SpawGlass. Both firms are locally-based.
SpawGlass relied on an array of subcontractors, 98 percent of whom are also locally-based, including electrical, landscaping, construction and other firms. Almost half of those subcontractors are Small, Minority-, Women- and Veteran- Owned Business Enterprises (SMWBEs).
Dallas-based broker Peloton Commercial Real Estate is supporting marketing efforts through its San Antonio office, which is also promoting the project nationally.