IEEE Texas Technical Tour attendees gather outside of the Alamo during their stop in San Antonio. / Photo: Garrett Polhamus

The IEEE Texas Technical Tour was conducted 9­­–19 October 2019. The 10-day excursion, built around the IEEE Milestones and Stepping Stone Awards in Texas, included visits to technical sites in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas. Highlights included NASA Houston; University of Houston superconductivity research; Rice University research in robotics and communications; and Southwest Research Institute robot “paint removal from airplanes,” the institute’s role in the NASA New Horizons Spacecraft project to observe Pluto, and its energy-storage research. Other highlights were the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology, the University of Texas research on power, the Texas supercomputer center, and the Texas Instruments IEEE Milestone plaques and its Richardson fab facility.

Additional unique experiences were also included in the tour, such as riding the river in San Antonio, dropping in on the Texas Ranger Museum, and first-hand exposure to the Fort Worth Stockyards—and that’s not including all of the Texas cuisine that was on the menu. With more than 40 participants from the United States, Australia, Japan, Canada, Germany, and India, this event provided attendees with unique exposure to some of the very best Texas has to offer.

During the course of the tour, we met up with many local-area IEEE Life Members. At the close of the tour, some participants even asked about the possibility of more events like this in the future; one person requested an international tour along with ones to the areas around Boston, New York, and Silicon Valley, California.

The Texas Technical Tour was organized by Scott Atkinson (chair), Garrett Polhamus (vice chair), Ernest Franke (San Antonio city guide), Kai Wong (Austin city guide), and James Brakefield (chair, San Antonio Life Members Affinity Group). The tour advisors were Bob Harris, Tom O’Brien, Richard Wiggins, and John Lyons. Additionally, Fawzi Behmann and Bill Martino provided assistance from the IEEE Central Texas Section leadership.  We cannot express our thanks enough to all the folks that provided onsite technical coordination for our tour to visit their facilities.