Economic development is about more than just ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings. It involves long-term, strategic support of companies large and small, often over the course of several years.
Not everything can be packaged into neat headlines. We wanted to celebrate all of the work that went into creating the headlines.
So we’re diving in and unpacking our 2017. Some of the items might still be a work in progress, but we think it’s something worth highlighting along the way.
San Diego holds such tremendous opportunities for candidates, yet when recruiting top talent from outside of the region we still encounter the false perception that career options here are somewhat limited. The San Diego: Life. Changing. campaign reinforces the message we’ve been telling candidates for years: San Diego is a dynamic, rich environment with incredible opportunities to have both the career and life you want, that you just don't find in other regions.
- Melinda Del Toro, Senior Vice President of People & Culture, Viasat, Vice Chair, San Diego Brand Alliance
In 2015, we brought 20 companies around the table to discuss San Diego’s global identity. What we found was that many senior-level HR managers feel like they are missing out on key recruits because these potential employees are not aware of the career opportunities that exist here. We also found out that economically, the biggest talent needs were at life sciences and tech companies.
20 companies soon grew to 90, as many eagerly joined together to create a Brand Alliance.
Before we officially launched the campaign at the San Diego Padres game in September, we wanted to preview what we’d been working on. Cue: the Masters of Change event.
Thanks to our friends at Alexandria Real Estate, this was a night of local food and drinks, a sneak peek of the campaign and toolkit and remarks from San Diego’s number one pitchman, Bill Walton. We even mingled with San Diego’s very own celebrity chef, Brian Malarkey.
On September 19, in front of a 15,000-person crowd at Petco Park, we officially launched San Diego: Life. Changing. – a regional campaign that serves to attract science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) talent to the region.
As a medium-sized company, time and money are very precious and scarce resources. Because of our relationship with EDC and World Trade Center, we were invited to a dinner with a visiting delegation from Shanghai, China, which has turned into not only Gafcon being appointed as development manager for a 3,000-acre project in Shanghai but also an investment partnership in a large project we are undertaking in San Diego. Who would ever have imagined that one meeting and six months of relationship building could lead to this?
- Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen, CEO, Gafcon
World Trade Center San Diego (WTC), an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC, is dedicated to growing international trade and investment opportunities for the San Diego region. WTC aims to cultivate a pipeline of export-ready firms, maximize foreign investment opportunities and enhance the region’s international identity in order to boost San Diego’s global fluency and competitiveness.
Now in its third year, with another 15-company cohort in full swing, the MetroConnect program continues to support companies in their international expansion efforts.
In an increasingly globalized world, cities are on the road more than ever before, forging connections and opening doors for the growth of their economies. Mayors of cities – from Paris to London to Louisville – are traveling alongside their businesses and startups to drive deals.
In 2016, leaders from the Global Competitiveness Council – the voice of the global business community here in San Diego – asked San Diego Mayor Faulconer to join them. And he said yes.
Biotech startup Phoenix Molecular Designs announced its expansion into San Diego and the creation of 15 jobs.
Cubic Transportation Systems and TransLink, metro Vancouver’s transportation provider, announced 2M Compass Cards in circulation.
San Diego joined London’s city-to-city Business Welcome Program, which offers direct services to companies looking to set up locations on both sides of the pond.
BioMed Realty announced a development project to build more than 100,000 sqft on Cambridge’s Babraham Research Campus.
San Diego secured three direct international flights: Edelweiss’ direct service to Zurich, Switzerland, Lufthansa’s direct service to Frankfurt, Germany and Alaska Airlines’ direct service to Mexico City, Mexico.
Guided by research, WTC and EDC assisted the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority in making the business case for the three flights.
Delegations from around the world travel to San Diego to forge connections with businesses in our innovation economy. However, when they visit, they often meet with the large institutions already ingrained within the international market and are not exposed to San Diego’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that encompass a wide range of opportunities. We wanted to level the playing field for SMEs.
WTC organized partners around the community into the Protocol Network in order to maximize connections for foreign delegations visiting San Diego and, in turn, provide potential investment and partnership opportunities to the region’s SMEs.
When the BIO Convention brought 16K biotech and pharma leaders to town in June 2017, we knew it was an opportunity to put the Protocol Network into action. WTC and Biocom piloted the “DiscoversdBIO” web tool, an automated online system to coordinate foreign delegations traveling to San Diego for the convention.
When TuSimple, a Bejing-based startup with R&D facilities in San Diego, was trying to get its autonomous truck into testing phase, EDC stepped in to help. Both SANDAG and the City of Chula Vista are part of an autonomous vehicle proving ground – one of 10 in the country approved by Department of Transportation. EDC connected TuSimple with project leads at both entities to explore testing options right in their backyard.
EDC then connected TuSimple to the Department of Motor Vehicles to help navigate the regulatory framework to allow for autonomous testing of trucks in California.
EDC supports companies across multiple industries. Some projects take years to come to fruition; others happen over the course of 30 days.
Scroll through to learn about some of our 2017 work:
*EDC defines a project as a significant transactional activity that supports the expansion, attraction and retention of companies in the San Diego region.
In 2014, MIT Technology Review released its list of World’s Smartest Companies. Topping the list was not Google, Samsung or SpaceX – it was San Diego-based Illumina. The genomics giant develops next generation sequencing technology that is changing the face of personalized medicine and has helped spawn San Diego’s growing genomics industry along the way.
Here’s how EDC came to work with them:
“Through Qubitekk’s connections with EDC staff, I was invited to present on our quantum encryption technology as part of the DoD CIO tour. This unique opportunity to be able to, in one room, speak directly and frankly with nearly 30 senior DoD officials about our technology was a great privilege for our company and has led to follow-up on several opportunities that may turn into major projects for Qubitekk.”
- Duncan Earl, CTO, Qubitekk
Bucking the trend of choosing Silicon Valley, Boston or New York, the Department of Defense (DoD) brought a delegation of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to tour San Diego companies.
EDC and partners worked to set up tours and introduce the DoD CIOs to some of the innovative companies in San Diego. Based on an introduction via Innovate78 partners, Quibtekk, a Vista-based quantum technology company, presented its technology to senior DoD CIOs.
Because of this connection, subsequent requests have been made of Qubitekk from the CIOs that may turn into projects and business for the company.
By 8am on September 7, EDC staff had collectively received dozens of emails and calls about Amazon’s search for a second headquarters, promising 50,000 jobs and an influx of investment opportunities.
To win a bid like Amazon, EDC knew it was going to take more than shipping a giant cactus or leaving 1,000 Amazon product reviews. It was going to take deep-seeded collaboration that few regions in the country could match. And we had six weeks to pull it off.
So we got to work. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the work transpired:
Tax credits are awarded to companies to lessen their state tax liability over a five-year period.
In 2013, the California legislature chose to forgo the reauthorization of the Enterprise Zone program and replaced it with Cal Competes – a discretionary tax credit for companies that want to stay and grow and California. Since then, EDC has worked to ensure San Diego companies get a fair share of the tax credits.
With a $1.6M federal grant awarded to the city of San Diego, EDC worked alongside Propel San Diego partners to execute specific programs to enhance the resiliency of the region’s defense industry. Propel San Diego was awarded an additional $1.8M in federal funding to execute programs in 2018.
EDC, on behalf of San Diego, was selected as one of three regions from around the country to participate in a learning lab, spearheaded by the Brookings Institution, focused on inclusive economic development and how organizations engage in this complex topic. EDC convened partners in the community who were embedded in these issues to come around the table.
Now in its fifth year, San Diego Manufacturing Day is part of a national program celebrating the manufacturing industry and the technical workforce that drives its growth. Underwritten by Samsung, EDC supported more than 30 tours of facilities on both sides of the border including Samsung, Action Drone and more.
By connecting San Diegans with key industries, EDC is ensuring the continued growth of jobs and investment in the bi-national region.
Talent drives corporate decision making and galvanizes innovation. In 2017, EDC developed programming – to complement San Diego: Life. Changing. – to attract and retain talent throughout the San Diego region.
Some of these were piloted for the first time and some were about taking an existing program to the next level.
While we maintained our local programming focused on industries ranging from defense to gaming to cleantech, we wanted to test our luck with Link2 outside of the region. We took Link2 on the road, and headed to another California university and hub for STEM talent – Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. More than 40 students showed up to learn about career opportunities in San Diego from Viasat, Intuit, Solar Turbines and MindBody.
With new life sciences companies popping up each day in San Diego, there is a need for qualified bioinformatics talent. With our economic development committee’s help, EDC hosted a two-day immersion tour of San Diego’s life sciences ecosystem for students from around the country.
Research is the cornerstone of our work at EDC. We conduct objective research that helps inform policy and economic decisions.
EDC launched two full-scale economic impact studies, while maintaining its regular publications, the Economic Pulse and the Quarterly Economic Snapshot. EDC also developed regional profiles for the cities of San Marcos and Vista.
211 San Diego • Ace Parking • AECOM • Alexandria Real Estate Equities • Alma Life Sciences • Ardea Biosciences • Ashford University • AT&T • AVRP Studios • BAE Systems • Balboa Travel • Bank of America Merrill Lynch • BD • Best Best & Krieger • BioMed Realty Trust • BNBuilders • BNY Mellon Wealth Management • Booz Allen Hamilton • Bridgepoint Education • Brown Law Group • Burger Construction • BW Research • California Manufacturing Technology Consulting • California State University San Marcos • Carrier Johnson + CULTURE • CBRE • CDC Small Business Finance • Chevron • Cisterra Development • City of Carlsbad • City of Chula Vista • City of Encinitas • City of Escondido • City of Oceanside • City of San Diego • City of San Marcos • City of Vista • Chesnut Properties • Chuao Chocolatier • Colliers International • Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown • Cox Communications San Diego • Cubic Corporation • Cultura • Cushman & Wakefield • Dentons US • Dexcom • DLA Piper US LLP • DPR Construction • Duty Free Americas • Eastridge Workforce Solutions • Elite Lifestyle Management • ESET North America • Evans Hotels • Fletcher Paddison • Fox Sports San Diego • Gafcon • Gary & Mary West Foundation/West Health Institute • General Atomics • General Dynamics NASSCO • Gensler • Gexpro • Gildred Companies • Greater San Diego Association of Realtors • H.G. Fenton Company • Hale BioPharma Ventures • Hines Interests • Human Longevity, Inc. • Hotel Solamar • Iberdrola Renewables • iboss Cybersecurity • Illumina • Innovative Commercial Environments • Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation • Japan Airlines • Jerome’s Furniture • JetBlue Airways • Jones Lang LaSalle • JPMorgan Chase & Co. • Junior Achievement of San Diego County • Kaiser Permanente • Kilroy Realty Corporation • Kyocera International • Lankford & Associates • Latham & Watkins LLP • LBA Realty • Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group • Lufthansa • MAAC Marsh & McLennan Agency • Manchester Financial Group • Manpower • Microsoft • Mirum • Moss Adams LLP • Murphy Development Company • National University System • NBC San Diego • Newport National Corporation • Northrop Grumman Corporation • NRG Energy • Nuffer, Smith, Tucker • Oakwood Temporary Housing • Otay Mesa Energy Center • Pacific Western Bank • Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP • Point Loma Nazarene University • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP • Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP • Qualcomm • RA Capital Advisors • Raserver • Red Door Interactive • Regency Centers • ResMed • Ryan Companies US • Samsung • San Diego County • San Diego County Regional Airport Authority • San Diego County Water Authority • San Diego Fluid System Technologies • San Diego Foundation • San Diego Gas & Electric • San Diego Housing Commission • San Diego Padres Baseball Club • San Diego State University • San Diego Unified Port District • San Diego Workforce Partnership • Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute • Scripps Health • San Diego/Imperial County Community College Association • SeaWorld San Diego • Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek • Sempra Energy • SENTRE Partners • Sharp HealthCare • Silvergate Bank • SLP Urban Planning • Solar Turbines • Southwest Airlines Co. • Stone Brewing Co. • Strategic Communications • Sudberry Properties • SYSTRAN • Takeda California • Taylor Guitars • TaylorMade Golf Company • Teradata • The Burnham Foundation • The Clay Company • The Marine Group LLC • Thermo Fisher Scientific • Torrey Pines Bank • Townshend Venture Advisors • Uber • Umpqua Bank • Union Bank • University of California San Diego • University of San Diego • US Bank • Verizon • Viasat • Voit Real Estate Services • Walmart • WD-40 Company • Wells Fargo Bank • Westfield Corporation • Willis Allen Real Estate • Willis Towers • Watson • YMCA of San Diego County
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