Organization will offer programs, exhibits inspiring young people to pursue STEM-based careers
SAN ANTONIO — Port San Antonio will be home to the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology (SAMSAT). The non-profit organization, created in 2016, will find an initial placement for their preview and headquarters location in the heart of the Port’s 1,900-acre campus.
The 14,000-square-foot Mabry Conference Center at 102 Mabry Dr. will enable SAMSAT to deliver an array of STEM-based educational programs in partnership with area educators and other stakeholders beginning this summer.
The building will provide a large area for SAMSAT to develop a preview facility, a STEM center and an eventual museum in the months ahead to showcase an array of technological displays dating from the 1800’s to the modern era. The vast collection was accumulated by SAMSAT founder David Monroe—hundreds of items that range from early computing machines to first-generation inventions that have revolutionized the world, including wireless networks, camera phones and cybersecurity hardware. Of particular significance, the space at the Port will also support SAMSAT’s programs that engage area educators and students and their families.
“We are excited calling southwest San Antonio our new home in a space that is ideal for us to advance our work and inspire young people to pursue technology careers right here in our community,” said James Castro, SAMSAT President and CEO. “The Port campus—the site of the former Kelly Air Force Base—has a 100-year history of innovation in fields that include aerospace and cybersecurity.
“Our new facility gives us a solid foundation to deliver programs and engaging demonstrations and displays connected to these and other fields,” he added. “Among our many projects, in the months ahead we look forward to exhibiting our collection of technical artifacts that tell the story of humankind’s key milestones over the past century, including the special role that San Antonio has played over the course of that history. We are eager to collaborate with the Port, schools and other partners to expand our reach to those whom we serve and advance our mission to build innovative minds through the exploration of the past, present and future of science, technology, engineering and math.”
SAMSAT’s new home will be 102 Mabry Dr. in the heart of the Port campus.
“SAMSAT is a perfect strategic partner as we continue to attract modern industries and grow the number of good jobs they provide today’s and tomorrow’s generations,” said Port San Antonio President and CEO Roland Mower. “For us to succeed in these efforts, we need to nurture bright and talented minds throughout our community. So it is essential that we connect with area schools and families through innovative efforts like SAMSAT to reach young people early in life. This will help them see first-hand how technological advances over the past century have revolutionized our lives and, most importantly, how they can personally focus their ambition and education so they can have a role in writing the future chapters of that history.”
“Our city’s southwest is home to generations of hardworking families who have helped drive our region’s economic growth by providing the talent that powered places like Kelly and now the Port.” said San Antonio City Councilman Rey Saldaña, whose District 4 includes the main Port property where SAMSAT is located. “As we seek to guide and inspire the next generation of talent, it is very fitting that SAMSAT has selected the heart of the Port as its new home—a place that is itself rich in history and opportunities as a center of technological innovation. SAMSAT will help inspire and attract generations of future engineers, scientists and other technology professions that we are growing right here.”
Mower also underscored that the Port’s 1,900-acre campus has long been a place where important activities in global technologies have unfolded. One hundred years ago, the property began as Kelly Field—one of the world’s first major military aviation platforms which employed generations of San Antonians who worked as engineers and technicians charged with supporting and upgrading scores of military aircraft.
In recent years, the Port has also become a central hub for San Antonio’s thriving cybersecurity industry.
Since 2010 the Lackland Annex complex on the southeast side of the Port has been home to several Air Force agency headquarters. Among them is the 24th Air Force, also known as the Cyber Command, where today over 1,000 uniformed and civilian professionals ensure the integrity of the Air Force’s information technology assets around the world.
The presence of the 24th Air Force headquarters has been a catalyst that is attracting an increasing number of private-sector firms to the Port. Among those tenant-customers are leading cybersecurity innovators who serve both military operations and the private sector. Their work includes securing the networks, systems and data of banking, manufacturing, aerospace and cloud-hosting clients around the world.
“We have a sharp focus on continuing our leading role in expanding the region’s already sizeable cybersecurity community,” said Mower. He cited the upcoming construction of a new cybersecurity campus at the Port to accommodate additional information technology operations and over 3,000 future employees in the years ahead. That complex, totaling over 500,000 square feet upon full build-out, would be in close proximity to the museum’s facilities.
Aerospace work also continues its strong presence at the site. Over the past 20 years, global companies that include Boeing, StandardAero and others have established large operations where thousands of employees provide a wide range of support to both military and civilian aircraft, including some of the world’s most modern and advanced platforms. Those employees lead several activities, including multiple aircraft maintenance projects as well as engineering and research functions.
Marquee names in aviation have large operations at the Port’s Kelly Field.
“The presence of SAMSAT at the Port will literally be the front door to help San Antonians have a better and more clear appreciation of the work that is literally unfolding in their back yard,” said Castro. “This will inspire them to follow educational paths in STEM and we plan to help connect them to those important opportunities in the century ahead.”