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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

Big Picture San Diego Blog

May 25, 2016

By Katie Schoenauer, World Trade Center San Diego

For eighty-three years May 22 has been proclaimed as National Maritime Day in order to honor the transatlantic trip the SS Savannah undertook – the first ever steamship to do this. It is also a day to recognize and celebrate the nation’s maritime industry.

“On this 83rd annual National Maritime Day, I not only salute the men and women who comprise our Merchant Marine for their dedicated efforts to furthering trade and security; but remind all that we are a Nation dependent on ocean borne international trade and we must work diligently to assure our domestic ports and intermodal networks are sufficient to continue to bring benefits to American consumers and exporters."  – Chairman Mario Cordero, Federal Maritime Commission

Extending National Maritime Day, the Port of San Diego declared the entire month of May as Maritime Month to celebrate an industry that plays a vital role in ensuring San Diego’s regional economic success. The following are just a few industry highlights:

  • Approximately 8,000 employees work in traditional, exclusively maritime industries.
  • Slightly less than 40,000 employees work in industries classified as maritime technology or with a maritime component.
  • The growing maritime industry is expected to add at least another 6,000 new jobs by 2020.
  • Total direct revenue from the maritime cluster totaled more than $14 billion.
  • Total Gross Regional Product (GRP) contributed by the shipbuilding and repair industry and through its ripple effects amounted to $1.75 billion.

The Port oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 17 public parks, the Harbor Police Department and the leases of more than 600 tenant and sub-tenant businesses around San Diego bay. In celebrating Maritime Month 2016, the Port offered free tours of San Diego’s impressive working waterfront, which was recently earmarked to support a record-setting 87 events in 2017.

Additionally, the Port of San Diego’s major planning projects are being recognized by the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s (SDAF) CONTEXT forum with “A Day on the Bay” on June 2.  

“The Port is place-making on a breathtakingly grand scale spanning more than 5,300 acres touching five cities, and looking far into the future. What the Bayfront will become in the decades ahead is of unique interest to our constituents, as well as a much broader audience”Margit E. Whitlock, SDAF Board Member

Given that May is also World Trade Month, we have been reflecting on San Diego’s efforts to best position itself for global economic connectivity. The Go Global San Diego Initiative lays out strategies to convert broad objectives into actionable approaches. One such strategy is to maximize infrastructure assets, with a major tactic being to “increase exports through the Port of San Diego.” The Port’s continued effort to grow the maritime industry helps maximize the extent to which the region’s infrastructure assets are resources for both importers and exporters, keeping San Diego globally connected. 

May 20, 2016


Download a printable copy of the April 2016 report here.
April proved to be another solid month for San Diego's economy. Here are EDC's top three takeaways from April's Manpower Monthly Employment report:
  1. Unemployment is at the lowest rate in nearly nine years – since May 2007
  2. In preparation for the Summer season, San Diego’s tourism industry saw a large spike in employment
  3. Manufacturing and construction posted slower gains than usual, but service providing industries and retail trade made up for this

As we push into the summer months, San Diego’s economy is performing well. Despite a mild slowdown in manufacturing growth, San Diego still posted its lowest unemployment rate in nearly nine years.”

Phil Blair, Executive Officer
Manpower San Diego

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the April 2016 period. This month’s data shows that San Diego’s labor market fundamentals remained strong, as unemployment dropped 0.2 percent - the lowest since May 2007. 

San Diego’s unemployment rate was 4.5 percent - lower than both the state and the U.S average. The nation had an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent whereas California’s was slightly higher, at 5.2 percent. Regional nonfarm employment increased steadily since March, adding 9,500 jobs. More importantly, year-over-year nonfarm employment went up by 39,600, a 2.7 percent increase. The private sector drove employment growth in April, as private employment accounted for nearly 86.2 percent, or an increase of 36,900 jobs of all employment growth over the year. 

Manufacturers and construction companies drove 19.2 percent of private job growth in April and added a combined 5,200 jobs, although these are slower gains than seen in previous months. However, construction grew by 7.1 percent, a positive sign that the business community is projecting more economic growth in months ahead. 

Professional and Business Services (PBS) accounted for more than 17 percent of private growth, adding 6,800 jobs. Professional, Scientific and Technical (PST), a subset of PBS jobs  and strongly associated with the region’s innovation economy, accounted for 2.8 percent of all private growth. PST contributed 1,900 jobs in April.

Other key drivers for growth included the region’s healthcare sector, which added 6,800 jobs and accounted for roughly one-fifth of the region’s private job growth in April. Tourism experienced strong year-over-year growth, adding 6,200 jobs and contributing 19.5 percent to San Diego’s overall private sector growth.


May 20, 2016
By Jesse Gipe, manager, economic development
EDC, in partnership with more than a dozen organizations across San Diego County, including the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC), has established a strategy known as Operation San Diego to support our military and defense assets in the region. As part of these efforts, I had the opportunity to attend the largest gathering of senior military officials ever hosted by the Governor’s Military Council (GMC) earlier this week. The two-day Defense Summit provided military leaders, support organizations, state agencies and elected officials an opportunity to discuss ways to address some of the critical needs of military bases and the personnel they house. 
While in San Diego it can be hard to forget the impact of our military in our day-to-day lives – with a $45 billion impact to our GRP – other areas in California do not share our military concentration. Recognizing the need for a strong voice from California in support of the military, and through efforts led by both SDMAC and EDC, Governor Brown established the GMC. The all-volunteer board members of the GMC form an impressive roster of retired flag officers from every branch of the DoD and Coast Guard. This group of well-respected former military leaders have answered the Governor’s call to serve on the council and lend their collective expertise to ensure California is proactively supporting the military in DC and at the state level. 
Kicking off two days of activities, the GMC hosted their quarterly board meeting attended by Governor Brown. The council, led by Chair Ellen Tauscher, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, discussed the GMC’s strategy to support bases and personnel in California.  
The following day, nearly 40 active duty commanders and military personnel including some of the state's most senior commanders such as Brigadier General Edward Banta, Commander of Marine Corp Installations West and a strong contingent from Navy Region Southwest flew in to participate in a full day of workshops. In addition to the military leadership, approximately 50 individuals from base support organizations such as SDMAC’s Executive Director Randy Bogle and other key agencies like SANDAG were also in attendance. 
The workshops were designed to help bases and the communities supporting them identify solutions to several common issues. These issues relate to the military’s needs for reliable and secure energy, the impact of the drought on water reliability, the demand for creative funding partnerships to address budget shortfalls, as well as effective ways to transition service members back into civilian life. 
This message has resonated with Governor Brown, who reiterated the significant role of the military in his remarks to the GMC: “There is a very important connection, because without the defense contracts, the aerospace contracts California wouldn't be where it is today.”  Military bases across California not only continue to provide vital national security missions for the United States; they have been pivotal in the establishment of some of our state's most vibrant industries.  Most notably would be aerospace, but bases like SPAWAR in San Diego have created groundbreaking technologies such as radar, that have helped spur commercial innovation in a wide variety of industries. 
Events like this provide unique value for San Diego as we strive to maintain and enhance what has always been one of our region's critical economic and cultural pillars: the military. EDC will continue to work closely with the GMC, and regional partners including SDMAC, the State of California and in Washington DC to support the military as our region continues to grow vibrant non-defense industries. 
Learn more here.
May 19, 2016

Meet our new chairman Jim Zortman, sector VP, strategic operations of Northrop Grumman. This week, sat down with Jim for an exclusive chat about what he hopes to do to further our global identity efforts, and ensure every part of San Diego enjoys economic prosperity. What are your goals in your new role as chairman of the San Diego Regional EDC?
Zortman: Over the past four years, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has introduced a number of important initiatives to expand our regional economy with and through a broad base of partners. For example, in partnership with the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, the “Go Global Initiative” aims to attract foreign direct investment, grow regional exports and strengthen economic ties in strategic international markets, as well as position San Diego’s unique global identity.
As chairman, I am committed to championing these initiatives, but it’s clear that despite a healthy economy, not every part of San Diego is enjoying economic prosperity. I hope to broaden our agenda to focus on economic development issues in communities that have not yet benefited from the region’s development. It is my vision that the broad-based coalition of partners that catalyzed the region’s life-sciences, technology, R&D, defense and aerospace sectors can also come together to develop job opportunities and prosperity for more San Diegans. What do you feel are the biggest economic development challenges in the San Diego market?
Zortman: We have all heard the comment that businesses should operate “anywhere but California.”  We know it is not cheap to do business here. But it is our job as economic developers to understand and leverage our assets and competitive advantages—just as your readers often have to do as real estate professionals. California is number one in economic categories like foreign investment, venture capital and job growth; we rank first in sectors like agriculture, defense, biotechnology and life sciences; our public universities are nationally ranked and produce top-tier talent—the list goes on and on. San Diego plays an important role in each of these fields.
San Diego is home to the largest concentration of military anywhere in the world. It is the underpinning of defense sectors where we have unmatched dominance: cybersecurity, defense, communications, unmanned systems and maritime. San Diego is the epicenter of the future of biotechnology—specifically genomics. We are home to Craig Venter, who was the first person to sequence the human genome, and to Illumina, the company that can now sequence the genome in just over 24 hours for under $1,000. San Diego has more than 80 research institutions, more than any other region in the country.
Not only are we home to a diversity of thriving industries, but we are also a top-tier talent pool driving our region’s growth. Specifically, San Diego gained 72,000 degree holders in 2014 alone, more than any other major metro area in the country. Also, San Diego has the lowest turnover rate in tech and scientific R&D jobs, which is attracting the attention of technology companies across the country.
Continually, we have what talent wants: the lowest average commute time of any major metro area in the country; an influx of creative-office space as seen with iboss Cybersecurity’s space in UTC; competitive wages—ranking second average annual pay for R&D employees—and more.
And if that’s not enough, let me point out that the economy of Texas could pretty much double overnight and still not match the strength of California’s economy. In the end, dispelling myths about doing business here and telling San Diego’s story is our collective responsibility. What do you feel are the biggest economic-development opportunities that are perhaps not being taken advantage of in the San Diego market?
Zortman: One of the biggest opportunities we have as a region is to help companies export their products and services. In 2013, San Diego ranked 18th of the 100 largest metro areas in total export value, export-supported jobs, GDP and population size. But the region was only 61st in terms of export intensity—total export value as a share of the region’s GDP. According to the Institute for International Economics, companies that export not only grow faster, but are less likely to go out of business than non-exporting companies.
World Trade Center San Diego – now housed within EDC – has introduced the MetroConnect Prize to provide small- and medium-sized enterprises with resources and funding to help open new markets abroad. The Go Global Initiative and programs like MetroConnect help San Diego maximize its global competitiveness. What else should our readers know about San Diego Regional EDC?
Zortman: The real estate industry is a key partner to EDC. Every day our team works with brokers and developers to help enable and encourage companies to grow here. Using data on the region’s industry clusters, workforce talent and network of partners, EDC is able to assist companies with expansions throughout the mega region. Some of San Diego’s recent wins include the attraction of tech companies such as Bizness Apps and Wrike.
Real estate professionals should also use the research EDC produces to better understand industry sectors poised for growth. For example, EDC recently released a study on San Diego’s software development industry. The study showed the region’s software ecosystem impacts more than 100,000 jobs in the regional economy, with an economic impact totaling $12.2 billion annually; venture-capital investment in software was up by 38 percent in 2015; and the industry has an anticipated employment growth of 18.1 percent in the next year—all signs that the region’s tech ecosystem is gaining national visibility.
Your readers should also know that EDC’s services are free because of the contributions of about 160 companies, including Northrop Grumman, as well as several public agencies and municipalities. If interested in supporting EDC’s efforts, we welcome readers’ engagement.
May 3, 2016

Voit Real Estate Services is a privately held, broker-owned Southern California-based commercial real estate firm that has been providing strategic property solutions for its clients for 40+ years. Throughout its history, the firm has completed more than $44.8 billion in brokerage revenues encompassing more than 43,000 deals. This week we sat down with Eric Northbrook, managing director of Voit, to discuss what's ahead for the firm in San Diego. 

1) What does Voit Real Estate Services do?

Voit is all about helping our clients get what they want when it comes to commercial real estate. We are a broker-owned firm dedicated to delivering superior service through our great people and top-of-the line tools and resources. The commercial property market is changing every day, and our goal is to always be out in front of what’s going on so that we can deliver on what gives our clients the results they’re looking for. We represent real estate investors and occupiers of all types of commercial real estate, and each one of them has their own needs, objectives and vision of a quality outcome. Our focus is on helping them get all three. We also strive to create the kind of work environment that will allow us to attract and retain the people who share our passion for being the standard bearer for our industry.

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

San Diego has an excellent blend of economic and lifestyle components that make it a great place to live, work and play. The economy is supported by a broad base of major employment sectors that help maintain overall stability, and the area’s highly regarded universities ensure a steady flow of bright, qualified workers to provide for further growth. Defense, aerospace, biotechnology, action sports and most recently, the craft brewing industry are all thriving in San Diego. From a lifestyle perspective, the area is tough to beat. Great weather, beautiful beaches, recreational activities, top-notch food and entertainment, along with a wide variety of housing choices are all just what today’s growing millennial workforce is looking for in a place to call home. It’s no surprise that San Diego continues to outperform all but a few of California’s 58 counties and consistently ranks high in national quality-of-life surveys.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

We think that Barney & Barney MMA, a San Diego-based insurance agency, is a firm that stands out as a firm at the top its game. Founded in San Diego back in 1909, the company has a rich history of superior service to its clients and philanthropic efforts in the community. The leadership team is also focused on developing talent and promoting from within. Recently, nine employees were promoted to Principal, which demonstrates the company’s commitment to see its own people thrive.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

I couldn’t be more excited for the future of Voit in San Diego. We just finished our best year ever and our own Randy LaChance was Voit’s top producer company-wide for 2015. Our new broker-owned business model makes Voit an even better place for real estate professionals to work. We are also committed to hiring recent college graduates who will help us expand our presence throughout the region. Plans are also underway to open an office in North County so we can provide better service to our customers and attract new brokers to join our team.

San Diego’s future is as bright as I see our own. Activity from the border to Oceanside is up, and our healthy job market will keep the economy in growth mode for the foreseeable future. If there’s a problem in San Diego, it’s the shortage of land to build more commercial properties. Space will get harder to find and be more expensive to lease or buy looking ahead. So, growing businesses will have to find new ways to use space more efficiently. If that can be done anywhere, it will be done in San Diego, as this is a place the best and brightest like to call home.

April 27, 2016

by Nikia Clarke, director, World Trade Center San Diego

WTC San Diego is on the road again, with a focus on deepening channels of connectivity between global cities around trade, investment, innovation and thought leadership (as well as herring, it turns out).

I spent last week in Stockholm, Sweden, participating in a Brookings/JPMorgan Chase Global Cities Forum. San Diego joined the Global Cities Initiative (GCI) almost four years ago, led by WTC San Diego founding partners—the City of San Diego, San Diego International Airport and the Port of San Diego—and followed by more than 30 other metros. Stockholm is now joining the GCI and drafting its own internationalization strategy. Together with four other GCI representatives, I spoke on panels and participated in working groups convened by Brookings, the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and CONNECT Sweden to share San Diego’s experience of building a data-driven trade and investment strategy backed by a regional coalition of partners.

And, as is always the case with these Brookings Metro Exchanges, it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn from our peer cities. Philadelphia’s Economy League, together with their very active WTC, just launched a regional export plan, leveraging service provider networks to reach exporting firms. In London, the Mayor’s office and London & Partners are linking with private sector multinationals to create opportunities for 800 SMEs in new markets. Minneapolis-St. Paul has built strong regional economic development infrastructure that drives significant foreign investment to their bi-city region. World Business Chicago has been leading an effort among dozens of counties to move from competition to collaboration in a metro region that is one of the country’s largest foreign investment destinations.

At the close of the forum, the Chamber—along with the Mayor, Governor, Airport Authority, and other public and private sector senior leadership from the region—launched Team Stockholm to drive the effort forward. As the CEO of AstraZeneca—an English-Swedish firm that is the seventh largest pharmaceutical company in the world—spoke to the group about the importance of global connectivity, on the other side of the world, his company inked a deal with San Diego Human Longevity Inc. to sequence more than 500,000 genomes and analyze samples from clinical trials. Indeed, competitiveness is all about connectivity.

So how do we continue to grow this kind of connectivity here in San Diego? Turns out Stockholm is the perfect place to reflect on this question, which is why innovation economy experts, like our own Dr. Mary Walshok, have been building linkages between our two regions for decades. Stockholm and San Diego have a lot in common: we are both metro regions of 2-3 million with world-class research ecosystems, strong life sciences, telecomm and technology sectors and we happen to be two of the top three most patent intense regions in the world. It is why as you drive down the road you see big names in our region that are also big names in Sweden: Thermo Fisher, Kyocera, Trinity Biotech, Ericsson, JLabs, among others.

And in both our cities, so much of the innovation ecosystem is driven by SMEs—which in both San Diego and Stockholm make up around 95 percent of all companies—and the ways in which they are able to engage with large firms and global networks. I visited a number of the institutions that incubate, accelerate and commercialize technology in the region and there is much we can learn from Stockholm. The Karolinska Innovation Institute spins life sciences and pharmaceutical discoveries out of the university research hospital. Sting—a city-university-private sector collaboration that runs a network of incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces in the region—is launching a new digital health accelerator program that will launch firms into international markets.

EpiCenter is an innovation house founded as a temporary experiment in a downtown high rise awaiting redevelopment last year. Now it has 600 members—large tech executives, entrepreneurs and everything in between—who run incubators, accelerators, hackathons and labs. As companies grow and scale they move through the flexible, diverse office spaces throughout the building. It will anchor plans for an expansive downtown redevelopment with hotels, restaurants and office space all linked by aerial walkways. Too cool, right?

I had the opportunity to continue these conversations with a brief stopover in London on the way home to visit co-working spaces, tech hubs and San Diego company Cubic’s new transit innovation center. Cubic already moves 10 million people around London every day as the operator of the Underground’s oyster card payment system. But here they are working with universities, transport providers and entrepreneurs on what’s NEXT for the ever smarter, safer cities of tomorrow? (hint: it might involve talking holograms and buying your ticket with the veins in your hand)

One of WTC San Diego’s primary mandates is to grow opportunities both for local firms in overseas markets, and for foreign ones investing in our region. To this end we’ve spoken with more than 400 investors in Japan, taken a group of water tech companies to England and France and are about to select our 2016 cohort of MetroConnect firms. As we reflect on what’s next for our region in terms of  boosting our global competitiveness, it is clear that international innovation networks are critical. Certainly some great lessons were taken from this trip: creating great spaces, collaborating with diverse partners and being a little wild and very flexible.

As always, at each stop we were sure to leave behind one of San Diego’s best exports: Stone craft beer, this time the Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. No wonder they like us.

Cheers to Stockholm and London, and see you soon, San Diego. 

April 15, 2016

“The local economy finished the first quarter of the year strong, with solid growth in key sectors including construction, healthcare and manufacturing. Unemployment held steady at 4.7 percent for 3 months in a row; a positive sign  of continued economic growth and prosperity for the region.”

Phil Blair, Executive Officer
Manpower San Diego


The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the March 2016 period, as well as revisions for February 2016. This month’s data shows that San Diego's labor market fundamentals remained strong, as unemployment held steady and total employment in the region increased.
The unemployment rate remained unchanged from February’s revised rate of 4.7 percent – still the lowest since September 2007. The rate is down 0.7 points from the previous year. The San Diego rate remains much lower than the statewide unemployment rate of 5.6 percent. The national unemployment rate, while lower than California, continues to remain higher than the regional rate at 5.1 percent.
Total nonfarm employment increased steadily since February, adding 9,300 jobs. More importantly, year-over-year nonfarm employment went up by 39,700, a 2.9 percent increase. The private sector drove employment growth in March, as private employment accounted for nearly 87.9 percent, or an increase of 39,700 jobs, of all employment growth over the year. The total private sector grew by 3.1 percent year-over-year, out-pacing the private U.S. growth rate of 1.8 percent.

Private growth was driven largely by service providers, but goods producers experienced another strong month. Manufacturers and construction companies drove 18.6 percent of private job growth in March and added a combined 6,500 jobs. The manufacturing industry in particular had another solid month, posting 2.4 percent growth. Most notably within manufacturing, Ship and Boat Building has seen remarkable growth at 10.1 percent over the last year. Growth
 in goods producing industries remains an encouraging sign for the region; typically providing above median wages. 
Professional and Business Services (PBS) accounted for over one fifth of private job growth, adding 7,300 jobs. Professional, Scientific and Technical (PST), a subset of PBS and strongly associated with the region’s innovation economy, has seen encouraging growth after a sluggish end to 2015. Accounting for 5.4 percent of all private growth, PST contributed 1,900 jobs in March.

Other key drivers for growth included the region’s healthcare sector, which added 6,600 jobs and accounted for roughly one fifth of the region’s private job growth in March. Tourism experienced strong year-over-year growth, adding 5,600 jobs and contributing to 16 percent growth.
The March report released today showed many continued positive signs for San Diego's economy. The region posted another month of solid yearly job growth, in large part due to the continued growth in the goods producing industries. Unemployment held steady – well below the state and national rates and growth was spread out across a variety of key high-wage and base sectors in the region.

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April 14, 2016

The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit available to businesses that want to locate in or expand in California. Since its launch in 2014 as part of Governor Jerry Brown’s economic development initiative, the California Competes Tax Credit will award close to $380 million in credits to California companies. 

As of  April 14, 103 companies have been awarded more than $68 million in tax credits, which are expected to create close to 9,370 jobs over the next five years. In total, these companies will invest more than $1.3 billion over the next five years, aiding the state’s long term growth.  
San Diego boded especially well in this round. Eighteen San Diego companies are receiving more than $11.2 million in tax credits, ranking second among all metropolitan regions in the state. San Diego also ranked second in the amount of jobs created among all metros, with more than 1,330 jobs. Some of the companies that will be will awarded the credits include Hunter Industries, Sentek Global and many more. These funds will help the 18 San Diego companies invest more than $139.7 million into the community and pay more than $252.8 million in wages over the next five years.
March 31, 2016

The first quarter of 2016 has been jam-packed with activities EDC has led or participated in as part of our strategy to support the region’s military and defense - Operation San Diego. The initiative can best be encapsulated within three major areas of work: advocacy, industry support, and military partnerships. 

Federal advocacy

In February, EDC traveled to Washington DC to meet with the government affairs leads from San Diego-based defense companies for our quarterly Operation San Diego luncheon. Representatives from the Governor’s office, the County of San Diego, the City of San Diego, Dentons, SAIC, CUBIC, ViaSat, Northrop Grumman, BAE and others were in attendance. The topics covered at the luncheon included concerns over continued downward pressures on the DoD budget, the likelihood of BRAC, proposed changes in acquisition reform and specific concerns of the industry partners in the attendance. These meetings are an important mechanism to ensure San Diego's defense community remains informed and collaborative.

In addition to the strategic lunch, EDC met with the Military Legislative Affairs leads from the offices of Senator Feinstein, Congressman Hunter, Congressman Peters and Congresswoman Davis to discuss how the President’s FY 17 budget may impact San Diego. Some of the major focus areas included, but were not limited to, the $1 billion military construction project for the new Navy SEAL base on Coronado, and General Dynamics NASSCO shipbuilding projects.

State advocacy

At the state level, several steps were taken to bolster California’s capacity to support the military and our defense industry. The Governor’s Military Council, an advisory group consisting of senior members of the military from across California, was codified into law with the passage of AB 442 (Irwin). EDC works in close partnership with the GMC to execute their statewide strategic plan and to ensure that San Diego issues remain priority at the state level.

Beyond the Governor’s office, State elected officials are strong partners for our military and defense industry. While San Diego-based legislators are intimately familiar with the value that U.S. Navy and Marine Corp have within our community – with more than 100,000 personnel living and working across the County – other regions of the State, with little to no military presence, are often less supportive of key defense issues. To help educate these legislatures on the value of the defense ecosystem in Southern California, EDC in partnership with Los Angeles EDC, conducted our largest joint research project to date, exploring the scale and scope of our aerospace cluster. One of the many highlights of the study showcased that, while the aerospace industry is changing, there are more than 85,500 individuals employed in aerospace across Southern California, and San Diego has seen the largest percentage growth in employment of any of the eight counties included in the study.

The study was launched as one of the feature events for Aerospace Week in Sacramento at the Capitol, February 30-March 1. Launching the study as part of Aerospace Week – with the support of our key sponsors Northrop Grumman, Bank of America Meryl Lynch and PWC – helped elevate the study’s findings. Having released the study on the steps of the Capitol gave us a chance to arm legislators with the facts they need to articulate the importance of aerospace across Southern California.

Industry support

The City of San Diego in partnership with SDMAC, San Diego Workforce Partnership, the region’s economic development organizations and the County of San Diego have been leading efforts to work with the DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) to receive a grant that will fund local programs to support the regions defense ecosystem. On March 30-April 1, the group traveled to Washington DC for a conference hosted by OEA. At the conference, we heard from other communities across the country about their specific strategies to support the diversification and commercialization of their defense ecosystem through the OEA grant.

San Diego behind-the-scenes

While it is hard for San Diegans to go a day without seeing the mark of the U.S. Navy or the Marine Corps, many critical missions to our country's national security take place with little public visibility. With the support from RADM Mark Rich, EDC offered a behind-the-scenes tour of the Navy Special Warfare Center on Coronado to a group of more than 20 board members. Tours like these provide business leaders an opportunity to gain a unique understanding of the important global role our military members and bases play in San Diego.  

March 30, 2016

By Greg Murphy, executive director, The Maritime Alliance

The Maritime Alliance (TMA) recently concluded a two-week trade mission that included stops in five cities in three countries in Europe promoting San Diego’s BlueTech cluster. Hundreds of contacts were made, seven TMA member companies had three days of B2B meetings in the PACA region of France, and Assure Controls and Teledyne SeaBotix made agreements with three French companies. 

Assure Controls will distribute their ballast water testing kit and education platform through a partnership with France-based Gremco and Quintessence, while Teledyne SeaBotix is partnering with France-based MarineTech on a combined unmanned surface vehicle and underwater remotely operated vehicle system to service an oil & gas client in Abu Dhabi.  Both of these agreements were great outcomes of the trade mission, and more are in the works.

What was clear throughout the trade mission is that San Diego is regarded as an international leader in BlueTech.

TMA President Michael Jones and I were joined by several TMA board members and Matt Sanford from the San Diego Regional EDC at Oceanology International – the world’s largest maritime technology trade show – in London March 15-17, where we announced that San Diego would host Oceanology International North America in February 2017 at the San Diego Convention Center.  This new trade show and conference will bring up to 5,000 attendees and 300 companies from 50 countries the first year, and will be held every odd-numbered year, opposite the show in London.  Mayor Kevin Faulconer provided pre-recorded remarks at the trade show. 

TMA also visited IMERC, the BlueTech cluster in Cork, Ireland where they have developed test facilities and a BlueTech incubator, similar to what TMA has proposed for San Diego. The Irish have a national strategy developed around maritime, and have invested resources to attract companies and support startups. We identified several areas of collaboration with the Irish and look forward to continuing to work with them and other BlueTech clusters around the world as we are spearheading the creation of an international BlueTech Cluster Alliance to promote collaboration.

Collaboration – that’s the key word. TMA is fortunate to have collaborative partnerships with the County of San Diego, City of San Diego, Port of San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC, World Trade Center San Diego and of course our TMA corporate members, international clusters and others.

Promoting BlueTech and Blue Jobs ® – that’s what it’s all about!