Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
Jim Perschbach, who has led Port San Antonio on an interim basis since former President and CEO Roland Mower resigned in March, will be the organization's permanent top executive, the Port's board of directors decided Wednesday.
A former attorney counseling companies in the aviation, aerospace, and advanced manufacturing, Perschbach came on board in October 2014 as the Port's executive vice president of business development. In that role, he helped implement a strategy to grow the high-tech industry – with an emphasis on cybersecurity firms – at the former Air Force base.
The Port in recent months has welcomed the arrival of national defense firm Northrop Grumman's cybercenter; substantially completed its $20 million, 90,000-square-foot Project Tech facility for cybersecurity and other advanced technology operations; and announced global security company Lockheed Martin as the first tenant of that space.
“Since his arrival at the Port three years ago, and particularly over the course of recent weeks, Jim has time and again shown remarkable and tireless leadership," Board Chair Victoria Garcia said. "He has brought together our team and worked collaboratively with our customers, our industry partners, public officials and, in particular, with the surrounding neighborhoods to grow our momentum."
Mower, who left his post amid pressure from the board for new leadership, is serving as a special advisor through Dec. 31 and earns $330,000.
Some board members at the time expressed a lack of confidence that Mower could execute a bold vision and lead the organization through a growth phase.
In addition to the recent developments in the cyberspace at the Port, the 1,900-acre campus in Southwest San Antonio has also seen its aerospace tenants announce expansions in their facilities and workforce.
Longtime Port customer Standard Aero renewed its agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense to continue support of engines that power military transport aircraft. The company is also adding jobs following an agreement with Rolls-Royce as well as maintenance of refurbishment of Boeing 757-powering commercial engines.
"In three months Jim Perschbach, in my view, has exceeded any expectation for someone in the interim president and CEO role," said TJ Mayes, who serves on the board and is Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff's chief of staff. "It only makes sense to appoint him as permanent CEO so he can continue to build on that momentum."
Home to about 12,000 workers and more than 70 employers in the areas of cybersecurity, aerospace, manufacturing, and logistics — among other industries — the Port had a more than $5 billion impact on the economy in 2016, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.