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No. 1 in Jobs, Wages & Tech

Ranked number 1 in economic growth and prosperity out of 200 metropolitan cities in America, San Antonio jumped 13 places to land the top spot on the Milken Index in 2011. Factoring jobs, wages and technology performance, San Antonio is leading the nation.

Many people are asking: Why San Antonio?


The Milken Index ranks U.S. metros based on their ability to create and sustain jobs. The 2011 best performing cities benefited from renewed investment in business equipment; have diversified technology bases, which also drive growth in business and professional services; are exposed to America's booming energy sector; and are home to a large military presence. (Milken Institute, 200 Largest Metros)

The economic progress reported by Milken is an indicator the Alamo city is resilient in tough times; however, the city's history is an indicator of what's next in technology-based economic development. The 7th largest city in America, San Antonio is a city of arts and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) innovation. While the Alamo is the symbol of Texas independence, the H-E-B Science Tree House is part of the city's science and technology story.

H-E-B Science Tree House, Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas design by Lake|Flato

 Image Source: Lake|Flato

In 2012, one of the the oldest and largest independent, nonprofit, applied research and development labs in the nation, Southwest Research Institute, performed $548 million in contract research. The University of Texas San Antonio is progressing toward Tier 1 research status, Texas A&M is opening a new campus on the city's south side and the Alamo Colleges are one of the largest community and technical college systems in the nation.

Did you know?

  • The first US Astronaut to walk in space is from the Alamo city and one of the top ten patents of all time, the Palmaz-Schatz Heart Stent, flows from the city's biotech/health industry.
  • San Antonio’s metropolitan area is home to 14 colleges and universities and approximately 118,000 college students and a burgeoning youth population.
  • San Antonio's Datapoint (CTC) Patent #224,415, filed November 27, 1970 is the world's first Personal Computer (PC). The company is also responsible for key technology underlying network computer configurations at the heart of the Internet and even industrial infrastructure such as water and electricity networks.
  • In 1948, one year after the formation of the US Air Force, Harry Armstrong organized a panel in the city to explore the aeromedical implications of space flight and the city became home to communications electronics security--today cyber security.
  • At age 37, Julián Castro is the youngest mayor of the country’s 50 most populous cities.
  • For over 11,000 years Native American hunter-gatherers utilized the lush and varied ecosystems of San Antonio's Olmos Creek basin, the fresh water springs, and rivers leaving evidence of tools and technology here for millennia.

Fort Sam Houston is the birthplace of military aviation (1910) and home to the US Army Medical Department and San Antonio’s new San Antonio Military Medical Center. Lackland Air Force Base is the home of Security Hill and Air Force cyber. Randolph AFB is home to US pilot instructor training and combat systems officer training. Camp Bullis, in the hill country, is where mission support and training readiness begin for medics in the field. The Alamo city is a nexus for first responders--medical, cyber, biological and air transport. The city's history of military medicine, space, aviation, cyber and scientific research and development, create a mature foundation for both capital- and knowledge-based economic growth in commercial and government sectors.

Global financial capital is present in the form of Fortune 500 companies; human and intellectual capital are present in the city's R&D apparatus across commercial, military, non-profit and university sectors; Startech is organizing entrepreneurs, university IP and institutional investors; and Dr. Randy Goldsmith of Texas Technology Development Center and York Duncan from Texas Research Park are organizing private and institutional investors. San Antonio has all of the ingredients of a global technopolis--a high technology regional economy.

San Antonio is a city of the Alamo, Fiesta, and Tejano; however, the city is also one of the nation’s platforms for science and technology R&D. The city’s story of innovation takes off on March 2, 1910. On this day, Lt. Benjamin Foulois leaped into the air in Aeroplane No. 1 from the Parade Ground at Fort Sam Houston forever changing the economic trajectory of the Alamo city.

Benjamin D. Foulois & Philip Parmalee - 1911

IMAGE - Library of Congress Collection, 9-17-07 in

Wings Over the Alamo, KLRN, San Antonio PBS Affiliate

Watch Wings Over The Alamo on PBS. See more from KLRN Specials.


Watch Wings Over The Alamo on PBS. See more from KLRN Specials.

In 1910 the United States was experiencing the end of the third industrial revolution. Factories, machine automation on the assembly line, exploitation of chemicals, urban migration and the birth of aviation all characterize this period. The Fort Sam Houston flight would forever change the possible futures available to San Antonio. Foulois' flight laid the foundation for aviation and created a path to advanced communications, medicine, health care, engineering, information technology, science, space, human performance, construction, architecture and business in the Alamo city.

San Antonio, Heart of Innovation