MAY 26, 2022 — Staff members from the UTSA Institute for Economic Development and researchers from across UTSA recently brought their expertise to a first-of-its-kind conference and convention that is bringing together academia, researchers, the defense community and an array of startups in a joint effort to better deliver the latest technologies and talent development to America’s service members.
FORCECON 2022 encompasses a week of activities at Port San Antonio’s new Tech Port Center + Arena. This year’s inaugural event is a collaboration between the UTSA Center for Government Contracting (CGC), the Port, ASM Global, startup accelerator Capital Factory, the Air Force's Air Education and Training Command (AETC), the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center (AFIMSC), Air Force Gaming, Space Force Gaming, the Air Force's internal innovation accelerator AFWERX and esports firm Rally Cry.
UTSA’s key contributions to the collaborative event took place earlier this week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 24 and 25.
Known as a collider, this portion of FORCECON included discussions and presentations by an array of subject matter experts to an audience comprised of several members of the defense community and several startups that are developing new technologies that could greatly benefit the U.S. military.
UTSA’s two booths featured its Department of Computer Science, the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the School of Data Science, Office of Technology Commercialization, SBDC Technology Commercialization Center, and the National Security Collaboration Center.
Concurrently, the CGC, a specialty center of the IED’s Texas South-West Small Business Development Center, provided resources to participants interested in supplying Department of Defense agencies that support the U.S. military services’ mission around the world.
The collider also included an Air Force pitch competition. Presenters showcased their innovative ideas for improving military training, with the top ideas receiving funding for further development.
“For 42 years, the UTSA Institute for Economic Development has helped over 5,000 businesses open their doors and created more than 58,000 jobs in the Texas economy,” said Rod McSherry, UTSA associate vice president for Innovation and Economic Development. “When strong partners such as UTSA, the U.S. military and Port San Antonio collaborate and innovate together, the inevitable collisions that take place position academia, industry and the military to collaboratively develop beneficial solutions to advance our community, state and country.”
Will Garrett, Port San Antonio’s vice president of Talent and Technology Development and Integration, added, “We are proud of our strong and ever-growing partnership with UTSA. The strategic business support and the technical expertise that top-tier UTSA faculty contributed during FORCECON made this an impactful event for participants—especially startups. It underscored San Antonio’s spirit of collaboration in our shared efforts to support and build a 21st century defense community.”
UTSA National Security Collaboration Center director Guy Walsh, a retired Air Force Brigadier General, kicked off the conference as the opening speaker, followed by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. Several UTSA faculty and staff members participated in panel discussions and served as technology-judges for the pitch competition.
The remaining portion of FORCECON 2022 includes a concert on May 26 and an esports competition on May 28 and 29, featuring the first-ever matchup between teams from all branches of the U.S. armed forces. Admission to the latter is free of charge and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
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