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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

Big Picture San Diego Blog

January 30, 2018

On the heels of EDC's 2017 U.K. trade mission, San Diego-based Edico Genome and Genomics England announced a new partnership to strengthen the accuracy and consistency of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis in Genomics England’s Rare Disease Pilot. The partnership will support Genomics England in making NGS the standard of care across the U.K.’s National Health Service in 2018.

Specifically, the partnership will focus on the analysis pipeline − improving alignment and variant calling of whole-genome sequencing data. Genomics England selected DRAGEN for its industry leading accuracy and speed, enabling the organization to accelerate analysis of large clinical genomic datasets.

Read more from Edico Genome.

January 22, 2018

More than 230 regional bids later, Seattle-based tech giant Amazon released the top 20 cities that will proceed in the battle for its second North American headquarters (HQ2). San Diego/Chula Vista did not make the cut.
In response, EDC president and CEO Mark Cafferty released the following statement:
“While disappointed San Diego/Chula Vista did not advance, we are not at all surprised. We knew that this would be a long-shot based on geography and incentive options, but we also know that as a region, San Diego can most definitely compete with others in terms of talent, entrepreneurship, innovation and quality of life.
We are proud of the fact that Amazon is already expanding in San Diego and will employ up to 500 developers and engineers in its UTC office. And we are proud of the partnership and collaborative spirit of the more than 20 organizations and municipalities that contributed to our regional proposal. We know that other positive things will come from this process and we continue to view 2018 with great excitement, optimism and focus.”
This and more from U.S. News, Business Insider, and Xconomy.
January 19, 2018

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers December 2017 data, including unemployment, new business establishments and job postings.
Highlights include:
  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in December, unchanged from November. The unemployment rate is nearly one full percentage point below the December 2016 rate of 4.1 percent, and the lowest since December 2000.
  • Most jurisdictions saw no change in their unemployment rates from the month prior. However, four jurisdictions did see small increases of 0.1 percent.
  • The labor force shed 7,700 workers in December, after adding 4,800 workers in November. The month’s decline effectively halved the year’s gain, which ended up 7,800.
  • Year-over-year, construction growth outpaced all other key sectors, up 4.3 percent.
Read the full Economic Pulse here.
January 2, 2018

"Businesses need to act together to attract talent" was originally published in The Business Journals, authored by EDC president and CEO Mark Cafferty.

With U.S. unemployment hitting a 17-year low late last year, competition for talent has become increasingly fierce for businesses across the country. 
Part of a company's challenge in attracting talent, however, is working with the broader business community in its city, region or state to ensure that it is not only a place where people want to work, but also a place where people want to live.
While focusing internally to find and hire employees, companies must also work with each other — even with their competitors — and public or municipal entities to help foster a favorable quality of life and career mobility that will attract talented workers.
Companies must communicate with clear, consistent messaging in a united front to evoke authenticity and a sense of community that is appealing to today’s top talent. 
Improving perceptions to attract top talent 
Some cities and states have an abundance of career opportunities available but lack the public perception that these jobs exist. Often this divide boils down to a lack of available resources for businesses to tout their local economy.
Talent attraction has become about telling a region’s story, not just selling a company’s individual offerings. 
An influx of high-paying jobs in a region — especially at publicly-facing brands —must be met with the skilled talent required to fill them. Here in San Diego, the region has a high share of the nation’s life sciences and tech jobs, but research recently revealed many senior-level HR managers are struggling to find talent because of the perception of available opportunities in the area.
To address this issue, EDC has launched a campaign to communicate the region’s unique position in the global market, its lifestyle offerings and its community of people looking to change the world. 
The campaign — San Diego: Life. Changing. — serves to tell authentic stories of San Diegans who have discovered the region as not only as a great place to live, but also a place with ample career opportunity, most especially at impact-driven companies and organizations. Through a related work-live-play website,, individuals curious about the region have access to information on its top industries and growing companies, lifestyle amenities and more....
Read the full byline online here.


December 22, 2017

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.

And while everything can't be packaged into neat headlines, we wanted to take you behind the scenes for a look at the work that goes on along the way.

Click the link below for an interactive look at EDC's 2017 in review. Thank you and happy holidays to those who make this work possible: our partners, investors and friends.

Here's to 2018, and a prosperous San Diego economy in the new year.

December 22, 2017

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers November 2017 data, including unemployment, new business establishments and job postings.

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate fell to 3.3 percent in November, from a revised 3.7 percent in October. The unemployment rate is a full percentage point below the November 2016 rate of 4.3 percent, and the lowest since December 2000.
  • Every jurisdiction saw a decline in its unemployment rate in November. El Cajon and Imperial Beach saw the largest declines, both dropping 0.7 percent.
  • The labor force added 4,800 workers in November, after shedding a similar number in October. The labor force is up 8,600 compared to a year ago.
  • Year-over-year, real estate, rental and leasing growth outpaced all other key sectors, up 5.5 percent.

Read San Diego’s Economic Pulse here.

December 19, 2017

San Diego’s 2017 story was one of growth, innovation, global connectivity and collaboration across different communities and industries. And even in a year riddled with uncertainties, San Diegans remained committed to driving positive change – and EDC remained committed to delivering news about this change to your inbox each week.

So, we’re sharing San Diego's top 10 'Good News' stories from 2017 as a reminder of just how lucky we are to call this life-changing place home.

From all of us at EDC, we thank you for being a part of it (and a special thanks to Phil Blair at Manpower San Diego for sponsoring this Good News all year long). Here’s to 2018.

  SD deploys largest IoT platform in the world
San Diego might just have the smartest streetlights in the world. The city of San Diego partnered with GE to upgrade streetlights to reduce energy costs by 60 percent, as well as transform them into a connected digital network that can optimize parking and traffic, enhance public safety and track air quality. With 3,200 smart sensors, it is the largest city-based deployment of an IoT platform in the world. Read more.
  Airport expands, adds new nonstop flights
It was a big year for the nation's busiest single runway commercial airport. A few highlights from San Diego International Airport:
  Cubic moves the world
Cubic Transportation Systems is quite literally moving the world. This year alone, the San Diego transportation technology company netted more than $1 billion in contracts to implement next-gen payment systems for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Cubic also signed contract extensions with Transport for London, and with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the Bay Area
  Amazon expands in San Diego. No, not HQ2
Amazon committed to growing its footprint in San Diego, with more than 100,000 square feet of office space leased from Alexandria Real Estate. While Amazon has a small office in Solana Beach, as well as distribution facilities in the region, this is its first major office/engineering presence in the region – with room for 500 employees. While this move is separate from its highly-publicized HQ2 bid, it does signal that Amazon sees viability in the San Diego market. Read more.
  San Diego's Toni Atkins tapped to lead CA State Senate
State Senator Toni Atkins is set to become the California Senate President Pro Tem. She is the first woman and first openly gay legislator to hold the leadership position – and she hails from none other than San Diego. No stranger to leadership roles, Atkins previously served nearly two years as speaker of the California Assembly. Read more.

Former Google Ventures exec chooses SD as VC fund home
While San Diego may not be viewed as VC heavy weight, this year proved that we can still hold our own in the VC ring. When former Google Ventures exec Bill Maris was closing on his venture fund, Section 32, he chose San Diego as its home. While local companies do command VC (82 deals totaling $903 million as of Q3 2017), there are few funds based here. Maris’ decision to operate out of San Diego brings a new type of VC ecosystem to town. Read more.

  Comic-Con commits to SD through 2021
Staying true to its 1970 commitment, Comic-Con International announced it will remain in San Diego through 2021. With more than 130,000 attendees from across the world, Comic-Con is the San Diego Convention Center’s largest event and is estimated to generate $135 million regionally and $2.8 million in tax revenues for the city. Plus, it makes for some great people watching. Read more.
  SD ushers in new era of precision medicine
As the most patent intensive genomics market in the U.S., San Diego is leading the charge in a new era of healthcare. Kicking the year off, local genomics giant lllumina unveiled a new machine that is expected to sequence a whole genome for less than $100, in less than one hour – down from $1,000 in 2014. Also making waves in the genomics space, Edico Genome set (another) world record by processing 1,000 pediatric genomes in two hours and twenty-five minutes. Read more about the industry in the first-ever genomics study, which EDC released at BIO 2017.
  Local universities expand, bolster talent pipeline
San Diego universities produce a top-tier talent pipeline for employers both here and across the globe. And now more than ever, San Diego State University, UC San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University and other locals are expanding programs and campuses to accommodate increased enrollment and industry needs. This year's university successes include:
  • UC San Diego broke ground on a state-of-the-art facility in East Village that will connect students to downtown's diverse, entrepreneurial community
  • San Diego State University quantified its impact, highlighting $5.67 billion in economic activity and 42,000 jobs supported
  • Local philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $28 million to National University System to address critical needs in teacher education, PreK-12 instruction and nonprofit fundraising
  San Diego tops the charts
San Diego made its presence known in many of this year's national rankings. From the region's entrepreneurial culture to its quality of life, top-tier publications and organizations took notice of what San Diego brings to the table. Here are some of our favorite rankings of the year: 


December 18, 2017

Ensuring Everyone has a seat at the table

A prosperous San Diego means an economy that works for all residents. Despite record low unemployment rates and a flourishing innovation economy, San Diego, and many other regions, have seen a rise in economic inequities. And if not addressed, this rise will have dire economic consequences. 
It started with taking an uncomfortable - yet honest - look at how San Diego can better address strategies for inclusive economic growth and how economic development professionals in San Diego can better address these strategies that impact both businesses and workers.

EDC's still has a long way to go in its mission to help make the competitiveness case for inclusion, but we've come a long way. See more in our timeline below:

    A rising tide hasn’t lifted all boats, and sometimes it take a former Navy  Admiral to make that observation At EDC’s Annual Dinner, Jim Zortman takes over as EDC chair, and challenges uss to re-think economic development and engage communities that have been historically left out of the conversation.  
    San Diego wasn’t the only place having these conversations. DC, 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.
    With the help of the Brookings Institution, EDC completed a narrative to make the competitiveness case for inclusive growth. Economic inclusion is more than just ‘corporate social responsibility’; it’s an economic development imperative.
    In the narrative, EDC highlights key stats about this challenge that frames inclusion as a competitiveness issue: that our demographics are shifting and our ‘innovation economy’ workforce is not reflective of our population; that the educational attainment gap in minority populations will exacerbate company workforce shortages in STEM fields; and that small businesses are not able to compete to grow. All of this is happening at a time when housing prices are at an all-time high and our population’s ability to afford to live here is shrinking.
    EDC took a group of business leaders to Louisville, KY to understand how their region addresses challenges related to inclusion. In Louisville, where socioeconomic and demographic challenges have come into everyday conversation, our group learns to be bold and be direct when addressing these issues. It’s only when everyone can talk about the challenges that they can be addressed, in full. 
  • 2018 - WHAT'S NEXT
    As the region's innovation economy continues to grow, EDC is incorporating lessons learned into its own strategic plan. The plan is three-fold: 1) Developing San Diego's population to meet the region's talent needs 2) Helping SMEs better compete and 3) Highlighting issues of affordability that prevent talent from staying in, or coming to the region. 

We're just getting started. Stay tuned for more in 2018.

December 18, 2017

DiscoversdBIO: Launched to coordinate foreign delegations

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. 
See how in our timeline below:
    WTC organized partners around the community into the Protocol Network in order to maximize the impact that 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 San Diego and Biocom piloted the “DiscoversdBIO” web tool, an automated online system to coordinate foreign delegations traveling to San Diego for the convention. 

  • NEXT UP...
    In 2018, WTC San Diego is expanding the “Discoversdbiz” web tool to encompass the broader innovation economy and automate the platform in order to connect foreign delegations to SMEs throughout the region. SMEs.
December 18, 2017

People: How we attract and retain talent

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. See more in our timeline below:
    It started with research. After conducting an economic impact study on the sports and active lifestyle industry, EDC wanted to put the data into action. Together with UC San Diego, EDC created itrends in sport and active lifestyle – a series that brought sports and brand leaders to campus to talk about career opportunities in the field. The panels were open to students in any major or school, illuminating numerous opportunities – from marketing to engineering to logistics – to work in the sports and active lifestyle industry in San Diego.  
    After the success of the itrends in sports and active lifestyle, EDC partnered with UC San Diego to host two additional industry-themed events around life sciences and cybersecurity. Based on preliminary feedback, students indicated they were more likely to explore career opportunities in San Diego after graduation after attending itrends.
    Other universities started to take notice. EDC renamed the program “Link2 San Diego” and expanded out its list of schools to include San Diego State University, Cal State San Marcos and University of San Diego.
    EDC partnered with UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering to host a Link2 panel at SD Hacks, a hackathon attended by more than 1,000 students throughout the state. Hackathon attendees took a break from their 36 hours of coding to learn more about career opportunities in San Diego. After the success of the first SD Hacks in 2015, EDC hosted an additional Link2 at SD Hacks in October 2016.
    EDC wanted to ensure it was reaching younger students who had not yet determined their career pathways. Partnering with Junior Achievement, EDC worked to expand programming to include high school and community college students.
    in 2016, EDC partnered with the San Diego Downtown Partnership to take students off campus and into the workplace. Together, Link2 Downtown brought more than 30 UC San Diego students to downtown employers to learn about specific companies - including Red Door Interactive, Zeeto Media and others - first hand. Relive it with us.
    Three years later, it was time to test our luck outside the region. So we took Link2 to a 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, Takeda, Solar Turbines and MindBody.

Stay tuned for more from Link2 - which we're renaming "Link to" - in 2018.