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Big Picture San Diego Blog

January 31, 2014

global sd cover

Throughout the nation, and the world, the role of metropolitans is becoming more pronounced. Due in part to political gridlock in D.C., metropolitans have become living incubators for ideas and innovation. Although the rise of the metropolitan region can be seen by anyone who picks up the paper or flips on the T.V., it’s the Brookings Institute that has given this movement new momentum.

San Diego is one region to embrace this "metropolitan first" ethos. This week, EDC – along with numerous regional partners – released the “Global San Diego Export Plan” which focuses on growing our metropolitan economy and creating jobs through exports. The release of the export plan is part of San Diego’s continued participation in the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institute and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

In 2012, San Diego was selected by Washington-based Brookings Institute as one of the first eight U.S. cities to participate in a national initiative to pioneer new strategies that boost exports and global economic competitiveness. The Global Cities Exchange has now grown to include 20 U.S. metropolitan areas.

A focus on exports means a focus on all sectors of San Diego’s economy, from the established defense and communications sectors to emerging industries such as craft beer. Companies that export not only grow faster, but are 8.5 percent less likely to go out of business. Additionally, if you work at a company that exports, on average, you will earn a 10-20 percent higher wage than you would if you worked at a company that didn’t export.

San Diego’s Core Team Partners are streamlining four strategies to implement the export plan:

·         Leveraging the diversity of regional markets

·         Developing and increasing small- and-medium-sized enterprises’ capacity to export

·         Concentrating on San Diego’s unique infrastructure assets

·         Leveraging the trade potential of the CaliBaja Bi-National Mega Region

A newly-formed Global Competitiveness Council, comprised of key leadership from the Core Team Partners including elected officials and university leadership, will move forward on implementation of the strategies and provide insight into the region’s trade and investment plans.

In San Diego, we’re not just exporting San Diego products; we’re exporting San Diego culture as well. Core Team Partners have included a Global Outreach component to encourage San Diegans to adopt a more global mindset and use this initiative as a platform for communicating San Diego’s global fluency.

In the coming weeks, the Core Team will continue to push out information regarding San Diego’s plan to increase exports.

In the meantime, here’s what Brookings and some members of the Global Competitiveness Council are saying about this plan:

Brad McDearman, fellow and director of Metro Trade and Investment at Brookings said: “San Diego was selected to be part of the Global Cities Exchange due to its unique cross-border dynamic, Pacific Rim location, demonstrated regional collaboration, and commitment to being more intentional about positioning the region globally. San Diego is a region with tremendous potential in international markets.”

Councilmember Mark Kersey, City of San Diego, 5th District said: “Expanding trade opportunities for San Diego companies is critical to our binational economy. Although we currently have companies utilizing our regional opportunities for trade and commerce, there is a lot more potential. This initiative will provide businesses with concrete information to help them tap into the unique opportunities being a border region provides," said

Thella Bowens, president and CEO of San Diego County Regional Airport Authority said: “The Airport Authority is pleased to see the concrete steps laid out in this plan to improve our region’s export potential, based on the market assessment completed last spring. In terms of air passengers, air cargo and aviation infrastructure, San Diego International Airport plays a crucial role in our region’s export performance. We are committed to working with our partner agencies and the City of San Diego to enhance the export potential of the region”

Mark Cafferty, president and CEO or San Diego Regional EDC said: “We know companies that export not only pay their workforce higher wages, but also create more jobs. This plan is a solid foundation to not only boost employment, but to also start shaping the region’s distinct global identity. The good news is that we have room to grow.”

Brennon Crist, JPMorgan Chase market manager for Middle Market/Commercial Banking said: "Exports of goods and services represent a tremendous opportunity for San Diego businesses to grow and create jobs. The strategies outlined in this Export Plan will be instrumental to helping our region’s employers realize their export potential. The plan serves as a great example of the public-private sector collaboration that’s so critical to ensuring our region’s long-term economic success in a highly competitive global economy.”

Bob Nelson, chairman, Port of San Diego said: “Leaders throughout San Diego share a desire to improve our region’s competitiveness in global markets, which is driven in large part by our goods movement capacity at the Port of San Diego. With two marine cargo terminals, the Port of San Diego is a major player in our region’s export activity. The release of our Brookings Institution Metropolitan Export Plan signals that our San Diego region as a whole is serious about offering businesses a simpler, easier path to exporting – and that we’re willing to work together to get there.”

More statements can be found here.

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January 16, 2014

A new pot of money brings discretionary economic incentives to the Golden State. Let’s make sure San Diego gets a piece of the pie.

Gov. Brown at Soitec dedication cermony

Pictured above: Gov. Brown speaking at the dedication of the Soitec factory. Soitec is a french semiconductor manufacturer that chose to open its North American headquarters in San Diego, creating approximately 450 jobs throughout the region.

Every day we hear from companies both in San Diego, and those looking to move into the region, that are impressed with all the county has to offer businesses. We have top-tier universities that churn out one of the most qualified talent pools in the country. From Oceanside to Otay Mesa, we have a diversity of commercial space that suits virtually every industry. And of course, we have near-perfect weather that helps create a work – lifestyle balance that is second to none.

But for all the things we have, there is one thing we don’t: discretionary economic incentives. All of that is about to change.

Last year, Governor Brown introduced the Governor’s Economic Development Initiative (GEDI), which is designed to give California the edge it needs to continue to attract, retain and expand businesses. GEDI has three main components: a Statewide Sales & Use Exemption for Manufacturing Equipment, which helps companies obtain qualified manufacturing equipment without having to pay the state portion of the sales tax; a New Employment Credit, which helps employers in designated regions around the state hire employees that meet certain criteria; and the California Competes Tax Credit, a discretionary corporate income tax credit available to businesses that want to come to, or stay and grow in California. GEDI went into effect on January 1, 2014.

San Diego can naturally lead the pack in the first two areas. The new employment credit is applicable to the hiring of recently separated veterans, of which the region has in abundance. Due to a strong biotech cluster, the region also has a plethora of high-tech manufacturers that can benefit from the equipment credit. But it’s the California Competes section that really peaks our interest.

Until now, states such as Texas have commanded headlines with grandiose economic incentives, while the perception is that California has no incentives to offer businesses. In reality, we know that more than 70 percent of a company’s productivity - and often its decision to operate in a region - depends on talent availability, but it’s frequently these economic incentives that give a competitive edge to regions looking to attract new investment. Yes, to many San Diego sells itself. But it’s a competitive market globally, and we can’t rest on our laurels any longer, hoping people will come to California because this is where innovation happens.

Starting Jan. 1, California Competes created a $30 million fund for companies that want to come to, or stay and grow in California. Interested employers can apply for these tax credits through the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz), which will negotiate the credit before it is sent to the newly created California Competes Tax Credit Committee for approval. The fund will increase to $150 million in July of this year and $200 million in July 2015. GO-Biz has gone to great lengths to make sure that California remains competitive to businesses of all sizes, by marking 25 percent of the credit for small businesses (less than $2 million in profit).

When it comes to GEDI, EDC’s goal is to make sure that companies throughout San Diego County are aware that there are incentives available, and to ensure that as a region, we are taking advantage of them to attract new companies, and to support and grow those already here. California Competes is a competitive process, and we want to make sure San Diego gets its fair share of the benefit.

Here’s where EDC comes in: we realize that like many government processes, this one may be a bit complicated, and we’re here to help you navigate it. Contact us at info@sandiegobusiness.org to get started and help us by spreading the word about these valuable credits.

The next big idea- and employer- is out there somewhere. It is likely here already. If we add these economic incentives to the existing list of reasons to operate in the region, before long, even more innovators and innovative companies will be able to call San Diego home.


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December 31, 2013
The story of the San Diego region is one of collaboration. This means when events take an unexpected turn, we can lean on one another to move the region forward. We have companies - that many would perceive as competitors - working together to secure San Diego’s cyber infrastructure. We have public/private collaborations working to increase the region’s global footprint. We have everyone from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies looking to invest in the region. And we have a strong group of universities that are working together to produce one of the most talented workforces in the nation.
 
 “Good News” is all around us. For the second year in a row, we've compiled a list of some of the greatest moments of the year. As 2013 draws to an end, let’s reflect on the remarkable accomplishments across our entire mega-region, and raise a toast (preferably a San Diego craft beer) to another year of positive headlines.
 
With unwavering appreciation,
Team EDC
 

 

Convention Center expansion is green lighted
In October, a coalition of local union members, business leaders and elected officials showed up at the California Coastal Commission hearing to advocate for a the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. When the Coastal Commission voted unanimously to move forward with the expansion, they were not only voting for a larger facility with more waterfront access, but also to bring an additional $698 million in economic impact and 6,685 jobs in the region. The expansion of the Convention Center means we can make way for many of the mega-conventions, such as Comic-con, that had their San Diego presence threatened by lack of capacity

 

Unmanned Center of Excellence adds 300 jobs to economy
San Diego has emerged as an Unmanned Systems hub. Recognizing the talent and opportunities present in the region, Defense innovator Northrop Grumman designated San Diego its Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence. The designation meant 300 more jobs at the company's Rancho Bernardo location.

 

 

San Diego Central Library completed 
A great city needs a great library. With the completion of the San Diego Central Library, San Diego residents now have a library they are proud of. The new East Village location boasts local art installations, an expanded career center, a charter school, and more workspace, in in a visually stunning iconic building.

 

 

 


We live in the most inventive region in the U.S. 
Although we've tried not to focus on rankings, this is one we simply can't ignore. In July, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development released its ranking of the world's most inventive cities. Second on the list - right behind Eindoven, Netherlands - was San Diego. The city claims 8.9 patents for every 10,000 residents, thanks to companies such as Qualcomm. 

 

 

 

Cross Border terminal makes Mega-Region more accessible 
As the U.S. and Mexican governments launch a new initiative to build stronger business ties across the border, they are looking at San Diego's Cali Baja Bi-national Mega-Region as a model for finding ways that industry clusters in both countries can work together. Many examples show the strength of the mega-region, but it's the new cross border terminal that has grabbed headlines recently. Border infrastructure has been improving, and the new cross border terminal will allow travelers from San Diego and Tijuana to hop on flights out of the neighboring cities. 

 

 

San Diego Airport's Green Build takes off
Improvements at the airport have finally landed. The San Diego International Airport's Green Build expansion culminated in August ahead of schedule and under budget. The stunning new new terminal features 10 new gates, pet-friendly amenities, extensive public art displays and is infused with local dining favorites so travelers can get a taste of San Diego while they wait. 

 

 

 

Pivot to the Pacific sends resources to San Diego
The United States defense strategy has deemed that a Pivot to the Pacific, aligning defense resources with the Pacific Rim, is a crucial foreign policy strategy. Because of San Diego's location and existing military footprint, this meant the region was well-positioned, despite sequestration, to gain valuable resources. The USS Reagan and its 2,500 person crew returned to San Diego after a year in maintenance. The USS Vinson, and its 6,000 plus crew, also returned to its port in San Diego. According the SDMAC Military Economic Impact Study, the two aircraft carriers home ported here will each add about $500 million to the economy.

 

 

 

Kickstarter backed films puts San Diego on Hollywood's radar
San Diego may never be Hollywood (we're fine with owning technology and innovation), but a few features have put the region on the map. The year started with 'Inocente', a story about a homeless San Diego teen, becoming the first Kickstarter backed movie to win an Oscar. Fans turned to Kickstarter again to fund a film version of 'Veronica Mars,' a series that chronicles the life of a teenage San Diego detective. The trailer premiered at Comic-con in July. Although San Diego's favorite fictional news team may not have been backed by Kickstarter, with the release of Anchorman 2, the phrase "Stay Classy, San Diego" worked its way back into lexicon this year.

 

 

 

Intellect leads innovation economy
San Diego's top tier universities are essential for priming a talented workforce that helps push the economy forward. When President Obama announced his BRAIN initiative in April, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. was invited to Washington. Given its strong cognitive sciences program, the university - which raked in more than $1 billion in research funding this past year - will be one of the academic institutions leading the charge. Cal State San Marcos welcomed its biggest class and held true to its 'vet' friendly reputation.  San Diego State University found itself among the nation's highest ranked universities in terms of affordability and ROI, which may be one of the reasons it recently announced a record number of applicants for 2014. Point Loma Nazarene has been identified as one of the best value private colleges in the U.S. University of San Diego's part time MBA programs broke the Top 20 on BusinessWeek's list. Online education pioneer Ashford University partnered with Forbes to create cutting-edge materials for its Forbes School of Business. National University, a leader in policy research, has partnered with EDC and other regional organizations on studies to quantify the sports and active lifestyle and cybersecurity clusters. 

Construction on desalination project begins

Construction on the largest desalination plant in the western hemisphere began in early 2013. The construction of the plant will provide more than 2,300 jobs and will sustain 575 jobs when it is completed in 2016. Not only does the Carlsbad facility employ ground-breaking local technologies, but it also promises to transform about 50 million gallons of seawater into drinking water each day, which will meet 7 to 10 percent of San Diego’s water needs.

 

 

 

Brookings lays framework for global competitiveness strategy
Last fall, San Diego was selected as one of eight U.S. cities to participate in the Brookings Metropolitan Exchange Initiative, a project that helps regions implement customized export plans. In May, a collaborative made up of representatives from the Port of San Diego, San Diego Regional Airport Authority, UC San Diego, JP Morgan Chase and others came together to release a market assessment, the first phase in delivering a plan. Since then, working groups have been addressing infrastructure, talent, small and medium-sized enterprises, and market diversity to come up with a plan to boost the region's exports. The collaborative will release the final export plan - which will help with the region's overall global competitiveness strategy - in early 2014.

Craft Beer powers regional economy
Look out Munich, we're nipping at your heels. The San Diego region, which is home to more than 70 craft breweries, is commanding a growing percent of the nation's craft beer production. The region embraced its craft beer culture, with places like the Airport integrating beer into in the region's identity. From Men's Journal to The New York Times, people worldwide are also catching wind of breweries such as Stone, Ballast Point, Karl Strauss. This year, the industry hosted its first "SD Craft Beer Hospitality and Tourism Summit" to talk about how San Diego can propel its image as a premier craft beer destination forward. 

 

 

December 2, 2013

California Economic Summit

Imagine 500 people agreeing on anything.  Now imagine that they come from all over California, from the remote Redwood Coast through the Central Valley down to San Diego.  Different interests, different needs, vastly different experiences.
But as the 2nd Annual California Economic Summit concluded in Los Angeles on November 8th, swift agreement was reached by all on what many called the big question of our time:  how do we overcome the divide between the two Californias?  It pervaded all discussions during the two-day session hosted by California Forward and the California Stewardship Network – a 10-member network that includes San Diego Regional EDC.
 
We are living in two very different worlds in the same state,” said Gavin Newsom, California’s Lieutenant Governor. He labeled it the "Gatsby Curve," demarking the more well-to-do coastal regions and those who continue to struggle in the inland valleys.
 
The Summit briefing book provided the evidence, using census and labor statistics compiled by Collaborative Economics.  While Orange County and Silicon Valley enjoy unemployment rates at 6.7 percent or less, the San Joaquin Valley’s jobless rate hovers at 12.7 percent and Imperial County’s is 26 percent, far exceeding the statewide average of 9.3 percent. One out of every 15 residents in the Central Valley have a Bachelor’s degree or better but here in San Diego the figure is one in two.  Average wages in Silicon Valley are $98,079 per year yet the average for those living at the Redwood Coast is just $34,826.
 
Those who assembled in Los Angeles knew that the answer that would unlock prosperity for all Californians won’t come from a person on a white horse, but up from the regions – regions rising together. They also knew that while a strong economy is critical to closing this gap, economic growth alone is not sufficient. Opportunity that extends to all Californians requires a focus on the triple bottom line:  advancing economic growth, environmental quality, and social equity simultaneously. 
 
Summit-goers spoke intensely about education as the predicate for everything else we do. Of infrastructure to link us, careful rulemaking to guide us, capital to fuel us.  More than just talk, attendees from business, government, and nonprofit organizations signed on the dotted line, committing to specific actions they would take to improve things for the better.  Hundreds of commitments were captured. 
 
This is as it should be. We need to have a statewide movement that connects and unites us all for a full recovery to take hold.  This is what it will take to move the world's 8th largest economy.
 
The California Economic Summit provided the data, inspiration, and a diverse network of leaders who came committed to action. There’s no time to delay.  No person on a white horse to save us.  As the Lieutenant Governor explained, "we are the leaders we have been waiting for.”  
 

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November 11, 2013

Illustration of GroundMetrics oil producing technology

 

GroundMetrics CEO George Eiskamp recently demonstrated a talent important to any entrepreneur building a company – extemporaneous speaking. Asked to give a quick update on his company at the closing lunch of the World’s Best Technology conference (WBT), Eiskamp whisked the audience through his firm’s financing wins and in the process showed that it takes a proverbial village to get a company up and running.

Founded in 2010, GroundMetrics is developing a new class of sensor system for advanced ground-based electromagnetic survey and monitoring services for resource exploration, production and environmental integrity.

Eiskamp’s early funding set records with San Diego’s Tech Coast Angels. His first round of financing in 2012 was the largest investment ever raised from a single chapter ($1.2 million). A Small Business Innovation Research grant (SBIR) from the U.S. Department of Energy soon followed and in October of 2012 GroundMetrics was selected to present at WBT.

Eiskamp’s story was welcome news for the WBT class of 2013. Since participating in the program last year, where the company won a Gold award as one of the most promising technologies showcased at the event, GroundMetrics took second place in the San Diego Venture Group’s PitchFest, closed a second round of financing – again led by San Diego Tech Coast Angels – and secured an additional SBIR grant from the Department of Energy as well as a $1.8M grant not earmarked for small companies.  The company also added the world’s 6th largest and 20th largest oil companies to its customer base in addition to repeat business from the world’s largest oil company.

San Diego Regional EDC’s Matt Sanford (who met Eiskamp at WBT 2012) introduced him to Tom Van Betten and Kaley Severn at Cassidy Turley San Diego, who helped him locate office space in Kearny Mesa and referred him to James Morrell at Veteran Solutions to renovate the space. In a follow up email, Eiskamp was very positive about his experience. “I’d highly recommend them to other early stage companies, which are the real economic drivers in any community and especially tech clusters like San Diego.”

GroundMetrics is currently in due diligence for a Series B round of funding with two organizations he met via WBT in 2012. It was a meeting with one of those groups at the site of WBT 2013 that led to the last minute request for what turned out to be an inspiring story for companies currently in the hunt for funding.


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November 7, 2013

California group photo with Sec. of Commerce Pritzker

EDC recently joined a delegation of nine California organizations, organized by the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), at the inaugural SelectUSA  Investment Summit in Washington D.C. The goal was to promote the golden state as the prime spot for international trade and investment. Hosted by the Department of Commerce, the summit connected top-level corporate executives and investors from the U.S., and around the globe, with the nation’s economic development organizations at the state, regional, and local levels.

Despite the federal government shutdown a few weeks prior, it was business as usual in the nation’s capital.  “The United States is open for business,” President Obama told a sold-out room at the conference. 

The two-day conference welcomed more than 1,000 attendees from nearly 60 international markets and 47 U.S. states, three U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Featured speakers, in addition to the President, included Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Secretary of State John Kerry, Bill Simon (President and CEO of Walmart U.S.), Parker Harris (Co-Founder of Salesforce.com), and Ludwig Willisch (CEO of BMW North America).  The summit also featured more than 70 high-level speakers covering topics such as workforce development, public-private partnerships through infrastructure investments and exports.

Why is foreign direct investment (FDI) important?  Direct investment in the United States – from foreign or domestic firms – is a critical factor in economic growth and job creation.  In 2012 alone, the U.S. attracted more than $160 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), making us the world’s top destination for FDI.  In 2011, foreign-owned companies in the U.S.  were responsible for employing 5.6 million U.S. workers. 

Where does California stack up in comparison to other U.S. states?  In April of this year, California Governor Jerry Brown announced more than $1.8 billion in deals making the state number one for attracting FDI.  Foreign-owned companies account for more than 700,000 jobs in the state.

At the conference, President Obama  announced the first-ever comprehensive effort led by the federal government to attract job-creating foreign investment to the U.S. through the expansion and enhancement of the SelectUSA initiative. The initiative seeks to grow FDI as the nation emerges from the recession and becomes an increasingly competitive location for attracting investment due to rising productivity, abundant low-cost energy and rising costs elsewhere.  With the announcement,  regions like San Diego can expect a smart FDI strategy that integrates export promotions, workforce development, innovation cluster creation and land use planning.   Such a strategy will reap the many benefits of international trade and investment—including new better paying jobs, new tax revenues, knowledge spillover and global connectivity. 

What does this mean for San Diego?  San Diego’s active role in    the State of California’s collaborative and coordinated investment promotion efforts is needed to engage and attract future investors;  our partnership with the Brookings Institution on the Metropolitan Export Initiative will create a regional export strategy that will boost the local economy and create jobs; and our ongoing involvement with the Global Cities Initiative to spur and strengthen regional global engagement puts San Diego on track for creating a blueprint for  global competitiveness.


posted by Daichi Pantaleon

November 1, 2013

101 San Diego Companies made Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies

Earlier this week, Inc. magazine released its annual Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies. More than 100 companies in San Diego metro made the list, including four EDC Investors: SKLZ,Sentek GlobalD&K Engineering and VAVi Sport and Social Club. Other prominent San Diego region businesses made the list, such as Stone Brewing and Quality Controlled Manufacturing, who recently participated in San Diego Manufacturing Day with EDC and other regional partners. 

The Inc. 5000 list ranks companies by revenue growth from 2009 through 2012 for companies that are U.S.-based, privately-held, for profit, and independent with 2012 revenues greater than $2 million. The 101 San Diego companies on the list totaled more than $1.75 billion in annual revenue in 2012. Among all US metros, San Diego had the 13th most companies on the list. 

This list shows San Diego's businesses are gaining steam. While we're home to one percent of the nation's privately-held businesses, San Diego companies make up 2 percent of this year's Inc 5000  list.

Click here to see the full Inc. 5000 list. Click here to see the full list of San Diego metro businesses.

October 31, 2013

NACIC 2013 panel image

Earlier this week the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and The Mexico Business Center hosted the North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference (NACIC). The conference focused on cross border trade and business opportunities between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. 
 
One of the most popular panels focused on developing workforce talent and was moderated by EDC’s CEO Mark Cafferty. The panelists were Bill Bold, sr. vice president of QUALCOMM, Lauren Friese, CEO and founder of TalentEgg from Ontario, Canada and Rafael Sostmann, professor of practice for education innovation and special advisor to the president of Arizona State University.
 
Mark opened the session by explaining that San Diego Regional EDC’s attraction efforts focus on corporate executives and talent, specifically young people just graduating from universities. He said competitiveness for North America is about talent and asked the panel: “How we develop the workforce of the future?”
 
Rafael, an engineer by training, is also the former president of Mexico’s largest private, nonprofit educational system, Tecnológico de Monterrey. He suggested that industry linkages with universities are critical. At ASU, student startups are supported through on campus incubators and on campus industrial parks leased to businesses.
 
Lauren explained that she started her company, an online tool that connects young talent with job opportunities, after she finished graduate school in London. She discovered that linkages between students and industries were much stronger in the United Kingdom than in Canada. Inspired by the tools she saw working in the UK, she replicated the networking platform through TalentEgg. She suggested that too often employers only want to hire young people with “the right” degree, when there are plenty of people who can be trained for just about any career. 
 
Bill spoke about the investments and partnerships QUALCOMM has with students and universities to grow its future workforce. As a world leader in mobile communications and computing technologies, QUALCOMM licenses its innovations to smart phone manufacturers. QUALCOMM is also the world’s largest producer or semiconductors. Of its 31,000 employees worldwide, 81 percent have a degree in a STEM field. The mobile giant is dependent on international markets; While 92 percent of the company's revenues are earned outside the U.S 67 percent of its workforce is in San Diego because they care about hiring locally. Bill said Qualcomm is intense about recruiting – pursuing only the top one percent of graduates from the top five percent of universities – likening it to college football recruiting. Last year Qualcomm had 1,100 paid interns, of whom 300 got offered full time jobs, and 250 accepted. The company recently invested $20 million in a new engineering center at Berkeley to build a cutting-edge program blending art, architecture and engineering. 
 
Responding to a question from the audience about the best ways to prepare young people for careers, the panel pointed to the German apprentice-style model. Germany’s vocational education system pairs classroom studies with on-the-job learning. Students apply for a specific apprenticeship at a company. For two to three years they spend a few days a week at a work site, getting paid a stipend from their employer, and one to two days a week in a classroom learning theory. They graduate with a certificate that signifies they know all the basics to begin working professionally in their fields. Not only are the certificates standardized throughout Germany,  but they are also well-respected and often a necessary requirement for jobs. Companies like Siemens have brought the work experience aspects of the program to the U.S. offering students here similar opportunities. 
 
If San Diego wants to maintain its share of talent, it would be in our best interest to explore similar programs. 
 
October 28, 2013
On the heels of the government shutdown, Congress’ perceived inability to work together and collaborate has become a serious issue. But if we look more closely at the San Diego’s delegation’s recent activities, we might have a different story to tell.
 
This past week, San Diego’s congressional delegation unanimously backed efforts to secure an unmanned systems test site in Southern California. Citing the region’s diverse terrain and existing aerospace stronghold, Reps. Susan A. Davis (D ), Duncan Hunter (R), Darrell Issa (R) , Scott Peters (D), and Juan Vargas (D) signed on to a support letter with the understanding that the site will help create jobs and further drive the Golden State’s economy. 
 
"Our entire delegation came together to support our defense and aerospace industries because they provide good jobs to thousands of San Diegans and groundbreaking technologies," Rep. Peters said. "This is how it's supposed to work: the private and public sectors, and leaders from both political parties coming together to support our economy and our national security." 
 
A recent study by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International found that California was poised to gain 18,161 jobs from unmanned systems - more than any other U.S. state. The industry would pump approximately $90 billion into the economy in the next decade, generating an estimated $70 million in tax revenue. 
 
“There’s no region more suitable than Southern California to be used as a UAS/UAV test site. In particular, San Diego, with its strong ties to the defense and aerospace community, is a premier location with its diverse training areas and support infrastructure already in place,” said Rep. Hunter. 
 
In the letter of support the delegation notes that San Diego already has an edge on the industry, with two of the nation’s leading UAS manufacturers based here. The region’s six universities are already taking steps to guarantee that the workforce is prepared with the technical skills to help the industry thrive. 
 
The FAA modernization and reform act of 2012 mandated the FAA to create six test sites across the country with a goal of working to integrate this technology safely into our airspace. The proposed testing site would start at the U.S./Mexico border and run to Bridgeport in Mono County to the North and to the Arizona/Nevada border to the East. As regulations do not allow testing within a 30-mile radius of installations including Lindbergh Field and McClellan-Palomar Airport, San Diego’s most densely populated areas would be excluded from the testing range. 
 
“As San Diegans, we are fortunate to have leadership that’s willing to reach across the aisle for the good of the economy and the people,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. “Our delegation recognizes that this is about more than just defense. With uses including wildfire fighting, food production and disaster surveying, unmanned systems is on course to have a strong impact on our region’s ability to be a global innovation hub.”
 
Although there are many things we may never agree on, it’s nice to know that San Diego’s congressional delegation are united when it comes to the importance of job creation in our region.
 
 
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October 21, 2013

Illustrating some of the dynamic uses for unmanned system.

Illustrating some of the dynamic uses for unmanned system. Clockwise from top left: Drone used for newspaper delivery (The Atlantic), prepping a wildfire- fighting drone for launch (The New York Times), simulation of a lifeguard/lifesaving drone (AUVSI), agricultural drone used for weed control (3dRobotics/ Diydrones.com) 

If you stopped 100 people on the street and asked them to name a technology in the past 20 years that has changed the world, it’s safe to assume that the internet would be a top choice. Yet if you ask people about the origins of the internet, many would have to pause for a second to think. In the 1950s, the internet was developed as a tool for military communication. It wasn’t until the mid-90s that the internet was adopted and commercialized for broader use. 
 
San Diego is used to seeing military innovations adopted for commercial use. In fact, many of the region’s largest and most well-known companies – including Qualcomm – were born out of military innovation. 
 
Now, a new technology is being developed for commercial use and San Diego, with its strong military history, trained talent, and diverse terrain, has a decent chance of playing a big role in something that has already began to revolutionize the world. 
 
Unmanned Systems – or drones as they’re often called – have uses ranging from agricultural production to disaster monitoring and wildfire fighting.  
 
A jobs generator 
 
Recognizing the importance of unmanned systems, the FAA has issued a call to establish six test sites across the country, with a goal of working to integrate this technology safely into our airspace.  A recent study from the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International found that California was poised to gain 18,161 jobs if they created a test site- more than any other U.S. state. This does not even take into account the impact of non-aerial unmanned systems for marine and farming use, which will help create even more jobs. The industry would pump approximately $90 billion into the economy in the next decade, generating an estimated $70 million in tax revenue. 
 
In partnership with San Diego Military Advisory Council, EDC and other San Diego partners joined the CAL UAS portal. The proposed testing site would start at the U.S./Mexico border and run from Bridgeport to the North and to the Arizona/Nevada border to the East. The regulations do not allow testing within a 30-mile radius of installations including Lindbergh Field and McClellan-Palomar Airport, meaning most of San Diego’s metro airspace will not be included in testing ranges.
 
San Diego is at a significant advantage. Not only do we have one of the most diverse testing sites in the U.S., but we also have a strong private sector that would help support a testing site. Companies such as 3Drobotics, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics and 5d robotics provide a well-qualified talent pool to help the sector thrive. 
 
Maybe 10 years from now, if we ask people about a technology that has profoundly impacted society, unmanned systems will float to the top of the list. Our hope is that when it does, San Diego is thought of as a leader in this field.
 

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