B/CS in DC: New concerns this year include cybersecurity, enhancing partnerships

Bryan Mayor Bobby Gutierrez was one of those leaders speaking with members of Congress this week. He says everyone needs to be paying attention to cyber security.


BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – Residents, businesses and government entities have fallen victim to hacks and scams, losing billions of dollars and compromising information for people across the country. The Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce brought local leaders to Washington D.C. with a long list of pressing issues from the Brazos Valley. This trip started two decades ago, but cybersecurity was a new topic this year.

Bryan Mayor, Bobby Gutierrez was one of the leaders speaking with members of Congress this week. He says everyone needs to be paying attention to this topic.

“We as the citizens need to be vigilant on it, but I think we do need the businesses to help, our state needs help, our cities need help with any kind of funding we can do to battle the cybersecurity crimes that are out there right now,” he said. “It feels like weekly we’re doing some kind of cybersecurity training to keep us well informed on what’s the latest new thing that they have coming out for us and the responsibility is together to avoid losing valuable information and money.”

Scott Smith works as the City of Bryan’s Chief Information Security Officer. He works daily to ensure resident information won’t be compromised from their systems and even makes sure they’re collaborating with local experts on how to prevent the latest cyber attacks.

This includes having open lines of communication with Texas A&M, Brazos County, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and more. Smith says these partnerships are vital for his position, but the resources they provide him need to be widely available.

“These partnerships are really good, half the battle is knowing that they’re out there right and that’s the challenge. I think that’s because the smaller cities and the smaller entities, private as well as public just don’t have the staffing or the time to know that kind of thing is out there,” he said. “It’s very important and it’s very public. I mean just look at the news almost every day there’s some major breach again of our data.”

The group in Washington focused on speaking with national leaders about expanding access to those partnerships in addition to many local pressing topics like education, healthcare and more.

“I’d like to really thank the Chamber for putting this together. I mean I think us as a community and as a business community in Bryan-College Station, it’s very important that we stay in tune and stay in touch with our representatives here. It seems like they’re a long way away, but we know them all personally and the chamber does an excellent job at making sure that we always keep the needs of Bryan, College Station and Brazos County at the forefront.”

The chamber group returns to town on Thursday.