By Bret Piatt
Nov 7, 2017
This past Saturday, November 4, episode 58 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Iris Gonzalez, the technology and bio science writer at the Rivard Report.
Iris began the show by introducing herself and talking about her two year’s of writing at the Rivard Report, during which she has written over 200 stories covering cyber security, bio science and more as she put it “all things technology, all things San Antonio.” She explained how this has led her to surprising discoveries about our city. As Military City USA, very few San Antonians would be surprised to discover that the military is our biggest industry, contributing $48.7 billion annually. What would surprise many, however, is that bio science not tourism is our No. 2 industry, contributing $32 billion to our GDP. Iris explained how her privileged position at one of San Antonio’s most well regarded publications gives her insight in many different fields. From NSA Texas the NSA’s second-largest center in the country to Air Force Cyber Command at the 24th Air Force, San Antonio’s military and defense industry has always been at the center of our wider technology ecosystem (for more see my interview with Sherri Hanson on the 24th Air Force’s Cyber Operations). Iris explained how this is building out in Port San Antonio, next to Kelly Field and Lackland Air Force Base, cornerstones of Joint Base San Antonio America’s largest military base, to become a national hub for the cyber security industry.
At the same time Iris told me about countless other San Antonio firms transforming other areas through technology, from EasyExpunctions.com founded by St Mary’s University law grad Yousef Kassim which is using AI to automate the process of criminal record expunging reducing costs and helping people reintegrate into society, to the Southwest Research Institute’s pioneering work on self-driving cars Iris told me how San Antonio companies are at the forefront of many of the technologies which will define coming decades.
In the second half of half of the show we spoke more specifically about the cyber security industry in San Antonio, Iris noted that there are 400,000 job vacancies in the cyber security space and many more go unadvertised because employers don’t think there are qualified candidates out there. In San Antonio alone there are 1,500 cyber security vacancies with the Air Force, and in the private sector Iris suggested the city has now attained critical mass. Geekdom our local tech hub now has more than a thousand members, many in the cyber security space. On the education front, UTSA’s world leading cyber security program is also helping to build up talent in our city.
While startups often attract a great deal of attention Iris also turned our conversation towards work being done by CaptureRx and the Texas Research and Technology Foundation’s planned innovation center which herald continued investment and growth for the San Antonio technological ecosystem.
Iris ended the show by turning the tables and asking me how recording Cyber Talk Radio for over a year had changed my views of San Antonio and its technology industry. I told her my number one observation has been the scale the of our technology industry, in particular our cyber security observation. At the same time I’ve been really impressed by the city’s job development efforts, and for more on that, listen in for next week’s episode, where I’ll be interviewing Shauna Goodman and Nicole McNish from SA Works.
To learn more about cybersecurity, listen to the full episode replay available here!
Episode 59, November 11: [SA Works, job training in San Antonio]
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