Brigadier General Laura Lenderman, Commander of 502d Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio, hosted an inaugural Chamber Summit, convening Chambers of Commerce and their leadership from throughout the Alamo Region to discuss the fundamentals of Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA). The summit also provided an opportunity for networking and building connections and partnerships with the JBSA team of experts from a variety of areas from contracting and logistics to community development and environmental sustainability. Paula Gold-Williams, 2019 Chair of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and President of CPS Energy, attended along with the Chamber’s Vice President for Military Affairs and Leadership Development, Lori Stinson.
JBSA is the largest joint base in the Department of Defense and is home to 10 major commands and more historic buildings than Williamsburg, Virginia. With more than 266 mission partners and a total force of 565,000 personnel, the invaluable connection between the military service members, the missions, and the business community is a key to ensuring the strong future of this vital industry. With a total economic impact of $30B to Texas and adding $13B to the local economy, JBSA’s military missions employ 1 in 8 personnel in our region. These servant leaders live, work, and have fun in our local communities, proving the importance of partnerships and relationships between the military personnel and the communities which support them. The summit included a discussion around education, employment, healthcare, and transportation as vital areas of interest where San Antonians can invest in support of our service members’ quality of life, as well as continue supporting the value of our military missions – not just locally, but in regards to the security of our Nation.
“The missions are growing, with new service members moving to San Antonio all the time. We are always looking for ways to be grateful community members and show our appreciation for this great city in which we live and work,” said Brigadier General Lenderman. “Opening our doors to the community helps us to keep those lines of communication open, so that we know what is offered outside the fence line and so that community members know what great work is being accomplished within.”
Topics such as urban growth, encroachment, traffic patterns and challenges, as well as air space congestion were also discussed as ways in which our Chamber leaders can educate businesses on how growth might impact supporting current mission, as well as future missions. With tight federal budgets in the near future, building partnerships has been a priority for JBSA – utilizing Public-Public, Public-Private (P4) opportunities to meet the needs of the military mission. Offer of gifts, Intergovernmental Support Agreements (IGSA), mutual aid, and opportunities for Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grants (DEAAG) as well as funds through the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program (REPI) were highlighted as ways that our missions can receive financial support and meet the growing needs of sustaining our large installation. Providing for clean, safe and affordable housing for our service members, providing support for the shortage of on-base quality childcare, and offering meaningful careers for military spouses were additional topics of discussion where Chamber leaders can show direct support for our military neighbors.
“Our San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Council and our Chamber leadership routinely engage our business members and our military, provide opportunities for partnership and collaboration, and encourage an active promotion of the value of the military as an industry. By advocating for those who can’t advocate for themselves, we can ensure that Military City USA will remain strong well into the future,” said Stinson. “By leveraging our resources and networks, our businesses can find ways to boost the economy of our great City, as well as make certain that our talented and dedicated military professionals want to remain in San Antonio, transitioning their talents in serving our nation to serving our local businesses and communities.”
With events such as the historic birthday balls being held for the Army, Navy and Air Force, the 2020 Department of Defense Warrior Games hosted by the Marines in September 2020, and the always exciting Joint Base San Antonio Air Show to be held in November of 2020, there are many continuing opportunities for your businesses and organizations to support JBSA’s military efforts and the people who provide these missions. If you are interested in supporting any of these initiatives or events, please contact Lori Stinson, Vice President of Military Affairs and Leadership Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.