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ABOUT THIS STORY

SA Heart of Innovation is a movement to cultivate the Alamo region's story of innovation. The story is based on Jim Brazell's speech San Antonio: Heart of Innovaiton 1910-2010-2110. March 2, 1910 marks the birth of San Antonio as a city of innovation. From this date forward, aviation and its accompanying spirit of innovation are the platform upon which virtually all San Antonio technology-based industries are built.

San Antonio's $19 billion Bio-life and health science industries are rooted in San Antonio’s history of medical and surgical research by the US Army and Air Force. Manufacturing, $14 billion, is rooted in the cities history of aviation logistics and maintenance ranging from Foulois innovations to the invention of reverse thruster for jet air craft. The city's $10 billion telecommunications and information technology industry is rooted in the 1948 founding of the US Air Force Security Service now propelled by CyberCityUSA. San Antonio innovation firsts include:

  • Materials inventions including tiles for the Space Shuttle, improved silicone rubber skin for robotic dinosaurs in the Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, improvements making liquid paper scientifically viable (SwRI)
  • Contributions to the Human Genome Project, a landmark study in the Journal Nature “A physical map of the human genome,” Naylor and Garcia, UTHSCSA)
  • Invention of the Palmaz Stent revolutionizing the care of heart disease and one of the top-ten patents of all time (Palmaz)
  • Largest Phase I cancer clinical trials program in the world (CTRC’s Institute for Drug Development)
  • Central repository of human-effects data for non-lethal weapons (Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Human Effects Center of Excellence)
  • Discovery of “floating air” principle enabling open-air frozen food display in your local grocery store (Friedrich Air Conditioning)
  • A method to remove the peanut butter from molds at M&M candy factories
  • First network intrusion detection system (Wheel Group)
  • First telecommunications phone-system firewall (SecureLogix)
  • Invention of the first personal computer, the de facto standard for network configuration (Star topology), and providing the first personal computer-based protocol (ARCNET) for industrial monitoring and control (Datapoint)
  • Dark Screen, Pale Horse, Alamo Alert – pioneering work in the medical, infrastructure protection and remediation aspects of homeland security and preparedness (City of San Antonio, Industry, Academia and Military)
  • First multi-directional panoramic photography (Goldbeck)

Source: Jim Brazell, San Antonio Firsts Speech, siteTREK Bus Tour, SACCESS, September 20, 2003

Ever since Foulois’ first leap into the air at Fort Sam Houston, necessity has accompanied the need for invention. San Antonio’s ambitions; however, have always been inspired by an old-west, can-do attitude and goals that often reach beyond the grasp of what is thought to be possible. Our legacy of science and technology innovation is rooted in 1910 but San Antonio’s spirit of innovation was forged by a struggle for independence and the realities of a rugged existence that required vision, integrity and ingenuity to survive. This is the spirit of San Antonio—the spirit that transformed a once agrarian and military town into a world class center of science and technology innovation--the spirit of the Maverick.