Lockheed Martin, which was set to leave Port San Antonio after its aerospace engine manufacturing declined, has done an about-face to become the first tenant for Port San Antonio’s Project Tech, a cybersecurity-focused facility across the street from the 24th Air Force’s cyber command. The location becomes a strategic placement for collaboration between U.S. Department of Defense contractors and the government sector, Port leadership said.
While Lockheed Martin expects to launch its tenure at the Project Tech facility in early 2019, Jim Perschbach, interim CEO and president at the Port, said he expects tenants to move in sooner.
“We look at what [Lockheed Martin is] doing in cybersecurity – and you can talk about it as electronic warfare – it really is an evolution of what Lockheed has traditionally done in terms of supporting the nation’s warfighter,” Perschbach said. “Now they’re really getting even more involved in cybersecurity than they have been traditionally and seeing them put this type of foothold in San Antonio we think is fantastic.”
Lockheed Martin’s operations at the new facility will span 15,000 square feet with a team of more than 100 employees, including systems engineers, software developers, and cyber architects, according to a press release.
“We are inspired by our customers’ missions and seek to partner with them to make the world a safer place,” Deon Viergutz, Lockheed Martin vice president of Cyber Solutions, said in the release. “By increasing our investment in the area of cyberspace mission support, we are better-positioned to support the growing needs of organizations on or near the Port, such as the 24th and 25th Air Forces and the National Security Agency.”
Being nearby the 24th and 25th Air Force, NSA Texas, and other DOD contractors located at the Port was a big factor in Lockheed Martin’s decision to join the cyber facility at the former base, said David Hathaway, who leads business development for Lockheed Martin’s Cyber Solutions Division.
“Location does matter,” Hathaway said. “You can say, ‘Well it’s cyber – Can’t you just do it from anywhere?’ That’s true, but when you’re trying to coordinate, understand requirements, and work back and forth with a customer, being next door is critically important.”
The company’s Project Tech workspace should be completed by the end of the year, he said, and if all goes well with its application for information assurance certification and accreditation, Lockheed Martin’s facility will be operational next year.
The firm currently has about 15 cybersecurity professionals in town, Hathaway said, and hopes to hire locally for its facility at the Port.
The Port is home to about 12,000 workers and more than 70 employers in the areas of cybersecurity, aerospace, manufacturing, and logistics, among other industries. In 2016, it had a more than $5 billion impact on the economy, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
The Port securing Lockheed Martin as the inaugural tenant for its Project Tech facility not only further solidifies the Port’s cybersecurity ecosystem – which represents more than 1,000 cybersecurity professionals, according to the Port – it’s symbolic, Perschbach said.
He credits Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, who previously led the firm’s San Antonio operations, as seminal to the development of the city’s cybersecurity sector.
“She did an awful lot of good for San Antonio,” Perschbach said. “We could not be more excited to have Lockheed as our launch customer in this stage of our evolution.”