Scuttlebiz: Georgia Cyber Center trumps Texas’ Project Tech

Scuttlebiz: Georgia Cyber Center trumps Texas’ Project Tech

The Georgia Cyber Center’s Hull McKnight Building opens July 10 as one of the nation’s largest cybersecurity facilities.

By Damon Cline

Posted Jun 30, 2018 at 3:25 PM Updated Jun 30, 2018 at 3:25 PM
Link to original Article on Augusta Chronicle website 

I’m hesitant to brag, but I’ll do it anyway: Our cyber center is bigger than yours.

I’m talking to you, Texas.

They say everything is bigger in The Lone Star State, but Port San Antonio’s new 90,000-square-foot cyber center, Project Tech, is less than a third the size of the 332,000-square-foot Georgia Cyber Center under construction at Augusta University’s Riverfront Campus.

The first phase of the Georgia Technology Authority-owned complex – the soon-to-open 168,000-square-foot Hull McKnight Building – is, taken by itself, larger than the Texas facility that opened in May on the 1,900-acre grounds of the former Kelly Air Force Base.

The significance of that shouldn’t be lost on anyone.

You may recall a delegation of community leaders visited San Antonio – and Port San Antonio in particular – in June 2016 to learn how to emulate the Alamo City, which in recent years has taken to calling itself “Cyber City USA.”

San Antonio is essentially a larger, more developed analogue of the Garden City. Like Augusta, it is home to a National Security Agency cryptologic center and a military branch’s cyber headquarters (the 24th Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base is that branch’s version of Fort Gordon’s future Army Cyber Command).

But San Antonio’s 15-year headstart in cyber gives it a much more robust information security industry, with more than 80 defense contractors and civilian cybersecurity firms calling the nation’s seventh largest city home.

And it’s cyber-education institutions are considered the best in the nation. The University of Texas at San Antonio, for example, is one of only 20 universities in the U.S. with the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations designation, an NSA seal-of-approval for programs training future national security professionals.

AU is, of course, pursuing the same designation. There is, after all, a 600,000-square-foot, 4,000-employee NSA facility in its backyard.

Though San Antonio can claim to have the most information security professionals with top-secret clearances outside of Washington, it can’t say it has the biggest cyber center. The more than $100 million Georgia Cyber Center is, in fact, the largest to-date investment any state has made in cybersecurity.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s commitment, along with the relocation of Army Cyber Command to Fort Gordon, is one of the reasons Augusta was listed last year (albeit as a “dark horse”) in Fortune magazine’s now locally legendary article on seven cities that could become the “World’s Cybersecurity Capital.”

San Antonio, you may recall, didn’t make the list.

The Garden City’s inclusion and the Cyber City’s omission is either a sign of Augusta’s rapid ascendancy in the cyber realm or proof-positive one shouldn’t put a lot of stock in speculative and subjective “list” stories.

If Augusta is to live up to its cyber hype, next week’s ribbon cutting on the Georgia Cyber Center’s Hull McKnight Building next month should be viewed as the start of a journey, not that we’ve already arrived.

Remember folks, it’s not the size of your cyber center, it’s how you use it.

So I’ve heard.

SPEAKING OF CYBER CENTERS: Have you noticed the state – thankfully – has taken to referring to the cyber center in a more truncated manner lately?

What started off as the “Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Center for Innovation and Training” has morphed during the past couple of months into simply the “Georgia Cyber Center,” which is pretty much what everyone called it anyway. The “Hull McKnight” part of the name – in honor of local community leaders James M. Hull and William D. McKnight – is now only used when referring to the project’s phase-one building.

You have to admit, the full name is a mouthful. I suspect state and local officials finally realized that, which is why they opted for an abbreviated version of the name.

I like to think it was a suggestion from one of my January columns to call the facility “Hullie Mac” that pushed them over the edge, but the revelation probably occurred when someone from marketing placed an order for coasters, koozies, and other giveaways.

It’s a little tricky fitting “Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Center for Innovation and Training” on a pen.

LEVEL-ONE UPMANSHIP: Like any hospital, AU’s academic health center, Augusta University Medical Center, is concerned with image.

So it took notice this spring when market share rival Doctors Hospital announced its trauma center was boosted from a Level III to Level II by the American College of Surgeons’ verification review committee. The national designation put the HCA-owned hospital on roughly equal footing to AUMC’s state Level I designation.

AUMC administrators told the AU Health System board of directors this past week they are seeking Level I national certification from the American College of Surgeons to go along with its Georgia Department of Public Health Level I designation.

Most academic medical centers have national Level I designations, AUMC’s CEO Lee Ann Liska told board members Thursday.

“Being of the competitive nature that we are, we looked at ourselves and said, ‘Do we want to be state-designated or do we want to go for the nationwide academic assignment from the American College of Surgeons,’ and we decided to compete,” she said.

Liska said the two-day consultative visit in late May with the association’s representatives went very well, and that verification review documents could be submitted before the end of the year.

HEALTH CARE WITH ‘APPEAL’: The metro area could know before the end of the year whether AU Health can act on its state-approved “certificate of need” to build a 100-bed hospital in Columbia County near the Grovetown exit on Interstate 20.

Actually, it could know before mid-July.

That’s when the 30-day clock runs out for Doctors Hospital to appeal the Superior Court of Fulton County’sruling in favor of AU Health’s plan to build a $150 million project the county’s elected leaders solicited more than four years ago.

Doctors Hospital filed suit after state regulators granted the state-affiliated health system permission to build in November 2014 by challenging the funding mechanism that put county taxpayers on the hook for 20 percent of the hospital’s construction costs. A judge ruled June 13 the county-funded component was “reasonable and consistent” with previous state licensing decisions.

Yes, that’s an oversimplification of the issue. I thought you might prefer that to the billable hours-version.

Bottom line: If Doctors Hospital appeals before the 30-day window, the Georgia Court of Appeals would have 60 days to hear arguments before making a decision. Another appeal would send the case to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Stay tuned.

THIS IS THE NEW STUFF: If you think it’s silly for state regulators to decide who gets to build hospitals where, be thankful doctors don’t have to get bureaucrat permission to build an office. Otherwise, Pediatric Partners of Augusta LLC’s new Grovetown office at 5135 Wrightsboro Road, Suite B, might have had its grand opening when snow is on the ground instead of on Monday in balmy summer weather.

The office, previously home to Covenant Pediatrics, is Pediatric Partners’ third after 411 Town Park Boulevard in Evans and 1303 D’Antignac St., Suite 2600, in downtown Augusta.

What else is exciting and new? Well, Jordan Trotter Commercial Real Estate announced a whole slew of businesses on tap for Augusta, including infusion/home care management company BioScrip at the Discovery Plaza building; South Carolina-based sandwich chain Groucho’s Deli in the Johnson Building at the corner of Eight and Broad streets; and Jake’s Fireworks in the former Prestige Appliance showroom on River Watch Parkway.

Also this past week, Dallas car dealer Alan Reuber said he plans to open a Hyundai dealership in North Augusta at the intersection of Jefferson Davis Highway and Interstate 520, food delivery company Uber Eats launched service in Augusta, and local landscape designer Roby Jacobs of Jacobs Land Management announced his intent to build a casual restaurant near the intersection of Boy Scout and Skinner Mill roads.

Metro Diner said it would open its second metro-area store in the former Atlanta Bread Co. store on Whiskey Road in Aiken and Hibbett Sports opened its newest area store at Grovetown’s Gateway Plaza.

What else, what else…oh, it’s not technically new – I first told you about it a couple weeks back – but Bowlero upgrading its Brunswick Zone National Lanes bowling alley on Washington Road to a Bowlero next year.

That’s news that’s worth repeating.

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