Cyber Talk Radio: Cybersecurity Development at Port San Antonio

Bret Piatt, CTR Host, and Will Garrett of Port San Antonio - Episode 129 of Cyber Talk Radio

This past Saturday, March 16, episode 129 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Will Garrett, vice president of cybersecurity development at Port San Antonio to discuss how the port is encouraging cybersecurity growth with local capital and talent.

Since the last time our show hosted Port San Antonio with CEO Jim Perschbach, a lot has happened over there. I ask Will to talk about Build Sec Foundry, a cybersecurity incubator, and his previous role at Cybersecurity San Antonio. Will recently transitioned to his position at Port San Antonio, where he’s working on cybersecurity development at the Port and the policy and advocacy side of cybersecurity with public and private sector representatives. For those who are unfamiliar, I ask Will to give listeners a brief explanation of what Port San Antonio actually is. Contrary to its name, the port has no water access, but instead plenty of rail and airfield access, with robust space and equipment for manufacturing. It was previously Kelly Field Annex for the U.S. Air Force Base, which was transformed to a private sector property that still supported the military’s needs. There’s value in the physical assets on the property, namely the ability to safely test equipment in large facilities. I let Will discuss how he got involved in cybersecurity with no formal educational background in it. He started in the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, realized that the city has foundational assets for a cyber industry and then attempted to market that info outside the city. This endeavor grew to an industry focus group. He got to know all the cybersecurity firms in the city and found what they needed from the city. Will’s now at Port San Antonio working with the economic development and growth for the industry’s private sector employers. The large defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, is now at Port San Antonio, their formal announcement to be here is important for the city’s growth and credibility. I ask if there’s more stuff being planned out there? Will says they’re building more workspaces because demand is increasing. Looking at the growth of transportation and connectivity in this city, the port is located close to downtown San Antonio. Before the break, we chat about the Port’s new Innovation Center, where the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology will be an anchor to connect people and education with opportunities to access the government and private markets.

In the second half of the episode, I ask Will to explain why a company should move to San Antonio for either tech or security space. The easy answer is that the city has the capital, talent and huge military customers! It marries traditional defense contractors and a new set of innovative companies. Education here is pushing cybersecurity and tech in a huge way, which will impact the amount of local talent in the future. There is a solid entry-level workforce fresh out of great schools and a good pipeline of service providers. There is plenty of available space and unique cyber assets, such as the NSA and FBI. Although many don’t think of it this way, the aerospace industry strongly connects to cybersecurity and manufacturing. We finish off the episode talking about the artificial reality and robotics used in these jobs, and integrating that into other, more traditional workplaces. San Antonio is at a critical point, which means that many companies may not have a presence here, but the talent and resources continue to draw them in!

Listen to the full episode replay to learn more about cybersecurity growth at Port San Antonio.

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