I am pleased to present another outstanding issue of the Southwest Research Institute Annual Report. This report provides insight into some of our technical successes and summarizes the financial accomplishments of Fiscal Year 2019. Unlike previous years, we have organized the technical content by client service areas to highlight the unique value the Institute can provide when we combine the competencies of multiple technical divisions to solve problems. This client-based perspective is much different than the usual operating division-based organization of the Annual Report. I hope this new viewpoint gives you a better sense of the tremendously important impact of Southwest Research Institute on some of humankind’s most challenging problems, from Deep Sea to Deep Space®.
On the first day of 2019, the SwRI-led New Horizons mission performed humankind’s most distant exploration as it flew by Arrokoth, a Kuiper Belt Object approximately four billion miles from the Earth that was previously known as 2014 MU69 or Ultima Thule. While flying by Arrokoth, NASA’s New Horizon’s spacecraft collected important data that is already helping us get a better understanding of the origin of our solar system, and others. And this mighty explorer now continues to work perfectly while on its one-way mission to the edge of our solar system and beyond. In contrast, SwRI was tapped by the Royal Australian Navy to develop a state-of-the-art remotely operated submarine rescue system. The system will feature both shallow and deep-water vehicles designed to connect with disabled submarines to rescue those trapped on board. Deep Sea to Deep Space is not hyperbole at Southwest Research Institute.
Other research highlights of the year include advancing novel electric energy generation and energy storage systems, as well as evaluating the fire resistance of novel construction materials. In another fast-moving field, our ballistics experts achieved speeds approaching Mach 15 with our light gas gun, which is being used for groundbreaking research in hypersonic flight. SwRI is also advancing the state of the art in cybersecurity for today’s increasingly computerized vehicles, evaluating threats to onboard GPS receiving technology, and developing intrusion detection and isolation systems for commercial and military vehicle networks.
Two SwRI programs were selected as 2019 R&D 100 Award winners. Every year, the 100 most significant innovations are recognized by R&D Magazine, and the awards ceremony is sometimes referred to as the international “Oscars of innovation.” SwRI’s Lotus Superhydrophobic Compositions and Coating Process (LotusFlo™) and AF-360 VHF/UHF Terrestrial Direction- Finding Antenna were selected this year, bringing SwRI’s tally to 45 R&D 100 Awards since 1963.
The fight against disease stimulated a collaborative effort by San Antonio’s four largest research institutions to create the new San Antonio Partnership for Precision Therapeutics. The partnership will focus on breakthrough treatments that can benefit specific patient populations or provide devices and therapies for individualized patient care. Other collaborators include UT Health San Antonio, Texas Biomedical Research Institute and The University of Texas at San Antonio.
While our research portfolio is quite broad, our focus continues to be on serving our clients and satisfying our mission. By using this strategy, we have enjoyed successive years of growth — growth that is necessary to keep our organization healthy and enable our staff to thrive. And while our research highlights are critically important, our staff also works hard to enter new research areas and apply innovative business strategies to grow our research programs. As a nonprofit research organization, we put our net income to work by funding internal research projects, modernizing our laboratories and facilities, and adding staff members to assist with our mission. As we begin Fiscal Year 2020, we enjoy a sizable backlog of funding and contracts and expect new opportunities to arise as we maintain our commitment to be our clients’ first choice for independent advanced science and applied technology solutions.
We are thankful for the support of our dedicated Board of Directors and talented Board of Advisory Trustees. And again, I want to acknowledge our incredible staff, without whose work and dedication we could not accomplish the great achievements of the past year. This next year we will continue to advance the Institute’s mission and maintain our reputation for excellence in innovation.
Adam L. Hamilton, P.E.
PRESIDENT & CEO