Cyber Talk Radio: Project Tech at Port San Antonio

Bret Piatt, CTR Host and Jim Perschbach of Port San Antonio - Week 93 of Cyber Talk Radio

Show Summary

This past Saturday, July 7, episode 93 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Jim Perschbach, CEO of Port San Antonio to discuss Project Tech at Port San Antonio and the recent announcement of their first customer, Lockheed Martin.

We start off the first segment discussing Jim’s recent promotion to CEO of Port San Antonio since his previous appearance as a guest on Cyber Talk Radio. For those who aren’t familiar, Port San Antonio is the redevelopment of the old Kelly Air Force Base. It does both aviation work (repairs, etc.) as well as military cybersecurity and related technology. How did the project come to fruition? When the government has an excess military site, they redevelop it within the community, usually privately. Instead, San Antonio decided to keep and grow jobs within the community on those 1,900 acres. The incentives to get businesses to work there include the fact that it is so close to customers, such as those who are on the Lackland Air Force Base. They also don’t have to pay property taxes and there is a huge potential for cybersecurity application and experimentation between multiple industries, such as military, healthcare, manufacturing and energy. Project Tech is one of the buildings on the grounds, and the first one to be exclusively associated with cyber. This brings people with solutions to the same physical platform as people with problems. How do you get specialty firms to people in the cyber industry? There really is no substitute for innovation through collaboration in real life. For example, Plus One Robotics is one firm that is retrofitting industrial robots to see and think for artificial intelligence. Another firm refurbishes old airplanes that still have valuable and working parts, but need to have updated communication and security systems. The goal with Project Tech is to show off San Antonio’s capabilities through its connections to other industries. Port San Antonio is on track to create 1,000 new jobs in San Antonio this year. Look for job listings at How does Port San Antonio use commercial technologies? Innovation is going to the private sector and the government needs to get on board and ditch outdated data acquisition tech. CPS Energy here in town has one of the largest municipally owned technology/energy bases, which has been identified as a good resource to take advantage of in San Antonio in terms of tech.

After the break, I discuss how Project Tech was recently realized in May, though acquisitions and procurement have experienced their challenges within the government. The San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology (SAMSAT) currently displays the history of technology in the city and looks to display current developments to inform the public of what’s going on and give people a chance to identify how they can fill in gaps in the industry themselves. SAMSAT will eventually merge together with the UTSA downtown expansion for cybersecurity research. SAMSAT was a passion project of its founder, David Monroe, who wanted to open up a pathway for young people to get interested in tech and use it as a springboard. This makerspace is now expanding to show people how things work and encourage experimentation with high-tech equipment and resources. Just recently announced, Lockheed Martin is the launch customer of the Project Tech building. Another exciting aspect of Project Tech is the availability of programs that upgrade the skills of people already in the aviation and military industries. The next step in this process is to encourage more connectivity between parts of town. What does success look like for Port San Antonio in three years? Listen to the episode replay here to hear Jim’s thoughts or watch below.**

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