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Seventy Years Of Southwest Research Institute

Southwest Research Engineers construct one of their first Satellites.

"We're not the one with the monkeys," goes the joke from Southwest Research Institute staff when talking to stakeholders or describing themselves to San Antonians.

They are distinguishing themselves from the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, the other prominent independent research organization on a patch of land near Interstate 410 and Culebra. 

Started by Tom Slick Jr -- the son of an oil magnate -- in 1947, Southwest Research started out on the science of cattle production. Now with their satellites circling the Earth studying hurricanes, and their scientists pioneering probes circling both Jupiter and Saturn, they are decidedly off the ranch.

But space is just one fast-growing aspect of the 2600 employee organization with offices across the country. Southwest Research has been active in the automated vehicle arena. Their fuel lab has been contributing to the growing efficiency demands on car engines across the country since the 1970s. They work on deep-sea submersibles.

Southwest Research is a leader in many areas...but they still have to tell people they're not the one with the monkeys. 

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive