At Port San Antonio‘s annual State of the Port address, hosted by the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Port president and CEO Roland Mower thanked the Port’s customers and community partners for helping create more than 500 new jobs on its campus in recent months. Mower said he expects to add even more before the end of 2016.
Councilman Rey Saldaña (D4) introduced Mower and emphasized the importance of quality job opportunities that could lead to fulfilling careers for residents in this part of San Antonio.
“We’re here to talk about the next window of opportunity at Port San Antonio,” Saldaña said. “This part of the city has for a long time gone underserved. Port San Antonio represents opportunities, not just for jobs, but for careers for members of this community.”
Both new and longstanding Port customers have been focused on hiring for various careers in recent months. Currently there are more than 100 different job opportunities available through employers on the Port campus. These include aircraft technicians, cybersecurity professionals, programmers, logistics personnel, customer service agents, commercial drivers and several civilian opportunities through the Air Force. Another recent arrival, Grayco Communications, is seeking to fill numerous positions for well-paid cable technicians.
Up-to-date information about employment opportunities at the Port is available here.
Mower highlighted ongoing redevelopment work totaling more than $100 million, including building retrofits and major infrastructure projects throughout the Port’s 1,900-acre platform, as it continues to attract key industries that are helping lead regional economic growth.
“Of our 1,900 acres, about 40% are developed and generating revenue now,” Mower told the audience. “There’s untapped potential for the remaining 60%, representing opportunities for future development and future jobs.”
Mower emphasized how the former Kelly Air Base‘s 100-year history in aviation technology forms the foundation of the Port’s success today. The oldest continuously operating flying base in the United States Air Force, military aviation got its start at Kelly Field’s industrial airport in the early part of World War I. Over the decades, Kelly Air Force base became a major aircraft maintenance center, with work continuing today at the Port’s industrial airport. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Chromalloy, and StandardAero are all PSA customers servicing both military and commercial aircraft and engines using the former Kelly Air Base’s aviation facilities.
More recently, the Port has attracted advanced manufacturing operations.
In early 2016, the Port welcomed Indo-MIM among its new customers. The India-based company specializes in manufacturing small precision components through an innovative metal injection molding (MIM) process. The San Antonio location is the company’s first in North America, where it will supply customers in the aerospace, automotive, medical device, and other advanced industries.
Throughout 2016, the Port has been working with Indo-MIM to retrofit a facility totaling almost 100,000 sq. ft. where the company expects to begin production in the coming months.
“Indo(-MIM) will create at least 300 new jobs in our city,” Mower said. “They plan to start hiring in the new year.”
Mower acknowledged how key area partners were essential in attracting Indo-MIM to the Port, including the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF), which initially identified and engaged Indo-MIM as the company considered several U.S. locations for its new facility.
The City of San Antonio and Bexar County also played important roles by providing the firm with incentive packages unanimously approved by the City Council and County Commissioners Court. These include a personal property abatement and an Economic Development Incentive Fund (EDIF) grant by the City focused on the creation of new high-wage skilled jobs.
“We are proud to have partnered with the Port and local leaders in creating a powerful business proposition for Indo-MIM,” stated Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, SAEDF president and CEO, in a news release. “And we are excited about what lies ahead for one of San Antonio’s newest manufacturers as it expands in this hemisphere. We look forward to our ongoing work to successfully compete for similar new investments in our community by innovative and transformative industries.”
In 2016, a cybersecurity cluster emerged at the Port to support operations for the Department of Defense and for private companies. Over the past five years the headquarters of the 24th Air Force — also known as the branch’s Cyber Command — have continued to grow its footprint at Port San Antonio. There are currently more than 1,000 cybersecurity professionals who work in the Lackland Annex — a large, secure office complex on the southeastern portion of the Port.
Companies look to relocate near 24th Air Force to support operations there, as well as provide cybersecurity expertise to other sectors, including banking, cloud hosting, aerospace, manufacturing, and the medical field. Cybersecurity companies that have opened at the Port in 2016 include Maryland-based Fidelis Cybersecurity, Texas-based IOMAXIS, Alabama-based Radiance Technologies, and San Antonio-based IPSecure.
With the Port’s available secure office space configured for classified work approaching capacity, Mower discussed the Port’s effort to develop a new complex, potentially totaling more than half a million sq. ft., specifically designed to meet the needs of cybersecurity and other technology firms. The first phase of the project includes a customized 80,000-sq. ft. building directly across the Port’s Roberson Building at 3133 General Hudnell Dr., one that would incorporate the latest technology and security features.
“The Port has done tremendous work to further cement our city’s standing as the place for this industry to thrive and innovate,” Will Garrett, executive director at CyberSecurity San Antonio, a San Antonio Chamber of Commerce supported cybersecurity incubator, stated in a news release. “The expansion plans that Roland and his team have put forth mirror our ambitions for San Antonio to not only be a leading center for cybersecurity expertise in the U.S., but to be at the forefront of global innovation.”
Mower noted the significant infrastructure and other strategic capital improvements that the Port is undertaking in partnership with public and private entities.
This summer, the Port completed the demolition of half a million sq. ft. of obsolete warehouses along Kelly Field. This effort clears almost 200 acres of land for future hangars and other airfield-accessible facilities where new aerospace operations can be located. With about 10 million sq. ft. of current facilities at the Port almost fully leased, the $5 million site preparation effort — a partnership between the Port, the City of San Antonio, CPS Energy, and the U.S. Economic Development Administration — will help reduce future construction costs and increase San Antonio’s competitiveness to attract more aerospace customers. It is one of only three sites in Texas which can accommodate significant new aerospace projects that would require runway access.
Mower ended by discussing the addition of six F-16s coming to Kelly Field. The Port is home of the Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Wing and the Air Force Reserve’s 433rd Airlift Wing. The 149th Fighter Wing supports 18 permanently assigned aircrafts, with six additional incoming F-16 fighters arriving in late 2017.
There could possibly be more F-16s coming to Port San Antonio, as San Antonio is one of six competing locations for the F-16 training units used by the Air National Guard that need to be relocated from Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The official announcement in August states the decision will be made in December.
By the new year, Port San Antonio could have even more good news to share about the growth in new job opportunities.
“We want to build a place where they (workers) can channel their ambition, talents, creativity, and energy into lifelong career opportunities residents and their families,” Mower said. “We will continue to work hand in hand with our partners and educators to create those opportunities for a well prepared workforce. In collaboration we strive to make that vision into a reality.”
Top image: The annual State of the Port address at Port San Antonio. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.