Live To Inspire: Will Garrett ’06
September 9, 2015
Will Garrett didn’t grow up in San Antonio, but he got there as fast as he could. As the new Director of Cyber Security for the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Garrett ’06 has always loved the city and vibrant community. He began working at the Chamber in 2007 and became vice president of economic development in 2010 before taking on the role of cyber security director this past June. His new position will capitalize on the base of cyber security knowledge already in San Antonio and incorporating new day-to-day operations from the city.
“Cyber security is a relatively new term and area of technology where there is a ton of opportunity for innovation and growth,” Garrett said. “If you ask someone what cyber security means, you’ll get 100 different answers. However, it basically means security of anything within cyber space, especially critical personal information.”
Ranging from identity theft to national safety issues, cyber security is crucial to protect citizens from a breach of information. Garrett said this was one of the many areas he oversaw as vice president of economic development, but his new position will solely focus on San Antonio’s growing cyber security market.
“Two staples of the city’s economy are tourism and the military,” Garrett said. “San Antonio is commonly referred to as Military City, USA and a single core focus of mine in this position is support for the military outside of business. Back in 2007, cyber security was a piece of the military’s operation but not at a major level. The argument started being made that this was an area they should put more emphasis on and San Antonio—not Washington, D.C.—should be the headquarters.”
Because of the critical mass of Department of Defense missions and established companies already doing cyber security work in San Antonio, a large commercial industry has emerged.
“We want to grow existing companies,” Garrett said. “We want to develop defensive strategies that would prevent something like an information breach, but we also want to develop strategies that utilize cyber security to protect. San Antonio can be a leader in this. We have a unique mix of programs in our community. Military and civilian collaboration will help protect the U.S.”
Garrett, a communication studies and international studies double major, said understanding the importance of recognizing what others can offer to the collective good is something he learned at TLU.
“I had the opportunity to relate to people from all types of backgrounds and experiences,” Garrett said. “All the skills I learned at TLU—public speaking, marketing, communications, etc.—have been a key to my success with the chamber. I’m in a people-driven environment and I often relate things I learned at TLU to what I’m doing here. The faculty and staff made the biggest difference for me and they always challenged students. But, they did so in a way that set you up for success. Going to TLU was a great decision in my life and I wouldn’t change one thing about my experience.”
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