Out of the Jungle and into the Capital: SA to DC 2019
As you may know, Jungle Disk is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, and we are very active in our community. Because of our creative efforts in providing tech internships to local college and high school students, we were asked to join our local Chamber of Commerce on the annual SA to DC trip. This was the 41st year of the trip for the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
This year, the event was a partnership between the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Chamber of Commerce, San Antonio Mobility Coalition, South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Because San Antonio is such a collaborative community, it’s not really a surprise to see all of the chambers represented.
In addition to the attendees from the different chambers, there were many leaders from local industry and academia. In total, about 180 attendees from San Antonio were in Washington to advocate for issues that are important to San Antonio. The issues for advocacy were organized into the following areas: aerospace, cybersecurity, education and workforce development, energy and sustainability, healthcare and biosciences, international trade, military affairs, transportation, tourism and hospitality, and lastly, water and general business.
As part of the cybersecurity delegation, I was wearing two hats on this trip. One for Jungle Disk and another for CyberFortress. For Jungle Disk we were asked to talk about our internship program we put on last summer with SA Works at Highlands High School, thanks to the SAISD Foundation. They really wanted to hear about how, as a small company, Jungle Disk was able to support 20 high school interns and 9 college interns in one summer. The fact of the matter is that it only succeeded because of all of the different organizations dedicated to the effort. As we are going to participate in the program again this summer, you can bet we’ll continue to share our efforts with our elected leaders.
With my CyberFortress hat on, we advocated for a variety of issues, including information sharing on critical infrastructure, acquisition reform, local cybersecurity efforts like the 24th and 25th Air Force, support for modernizing government information technology (MGT Act) and advocacy for the creation and funding of a cyber infrastructure investment zone in San Antonio that stretches across the state and serves as a national cyber innovation and research corridor. Our intent was to help shape the cybersecurity conversation at local, regional and federal levels.
To these ends, we met with the offices of Senator John Cornyn, Federal CIO Suzette Kent, the Office of the General Services Administration, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy, and the offices of Congressmen Michael McCaul (TX-10) and Chip Roy (TX-21). They were quite receptive to our message and emphasized their interest in cybersecurity and workforce development for our community.
When it was all said and done, it was a successful trip. We had great conversations and created a foundation for increased collaboration around workforce development. When I took a step back from my role on the trip, the part that I didn't expect to be surprised about was how 180 people took the time to make the trip to advocate for issues that are important to San Antonio. They represented our city well and I returned home with a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing how many of our local leaders work hard to make our city a better place to live.
If you’re interested in reading more about the trip, here’s the San Antonio Business Journal’s recap.