The annual Border Security Expo drew a record crowd last week, which organizers said is a sign that companies see the Trump administration's plan for a border wall and other security measures as a chance to do business with the government.
About 500 people attended this year's conference, where tickets for non-government attendees were around $1,400 per person.
"I think it has to do with a number of things," Thomas Winkowski, the conference's advisory board chairman, told the Washington Examiner. "There's a change in this country. Certainly, this administration is looking at immigration and border security differently than the previous administration."
Event director John Moriarty said he believes private sector participants are interested in learning what the government is looking for as it works to get funding for the U.S.-Mexico border system.
"There’s an anticipation that the federal government is poised to make investments in border security infrastructure that include technology, along with brick & mortar," Moriarty wrote in an email.
The event gives Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers a chance to learn about technology and security equipment that they then want to bring home to their local jurisdictions.
It also lets government employees share what they need with business guests and work together to create it. In the past, attendees have worked together on off-road vehicles, gamma ray imaging systems, radar systems, and camera technology.
The conference was also filled with a dozen panels and speeches from senior DHS officials, including DHS Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke, CBP Deputy Commissioner Ron Vitiello, and acting ICE Director Thomas Homan. The conference's final day, Friday, was a day-long demonstration of state-of-the-art technology offered by companies.