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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Economic Development 101

September 23, 2013

The expansion of the San Diego Convention Center has been front and center across the region, with everybody from sports fans to politicians expressing their views on the project.  With years of legwork done on the expansion’s behalf, the planned contiguous expansion promises to be a waterfront asset with public space as its focal point. When complete, the expanded San Diego Convention Center will create $700 million in economic impact and $13 million in additional hotel tax revenue.

Of course, keeping the Chargers in San Diego is a priority, but this is not seen as an either-or situation. San Diego can have a world-class convention center and a world-class football stadium. It would be a service to our economy and community to have both. The majority of San Diegans have worked hard to get to a place where we’re on the same page about the fate of the contiguous expansion. We need to move forward now. We need to show potential conference visitors and the rest of the world what we already know: San Diego is a great place to live and work.

For starters, we can take a look at the medical conventions hosted at the San Diego Convention Center. With six medical conventions slated for Fall 2013, the industry brings a reported $293.3 million in economic impact. Hands down, Comic-Con has the largest economic impact of any conference in San Diego. As Convention Center expansion proponents note, it is essential not only for economic impact, but also for maintaining the region’s cultural foothold. However, the Society for Neuroscience will bring 32,000 attendees and generate more than $131.9 million in economic impact. That’s nearly 75 percent of Comic-Con’s impact, with only a quarter of the number of attendees. Compounded with the region’s strong life sciences research – thanks to Sanford Burnham and others - and strong healthcare facilities, it would be hard to argue that these are not the exact type of people we want to attract to the region. Conferences are one way to get them here and we cannot delay the process any longer.

Every year, there is a plethora of conferences that San Diego cannot host simply because we do not have the capacity.  Our convention center business is already booming, but as conference organizers continuously expand, we cannot rest on our laurels any longer that our nice weather will bring people here. Yes, it helps but we need the capacity. The airport’s new Green Build just added 10 additional gates and numerous commercial opportunities. The expanded San Diego Central Library is slated to open next week. Now the convention center needs to follow suit.

Build it and they – the talent, the conferences, the investors -will come.

Now we’ll let the infographic do the rest of the talking

 

 
July 29, 2013

Aerospace is part of a large and thriving Aerospace, Navigation & Maritime Technologies (ANMT) cluster in San Diego. Among the 25 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas, San Diego ranks second in the concentration of ANMT employment behind longtime aerospace leader Seattle.

 The cluster accounts for more than 20 percent of San Diego’s innovation economy, more than any other cluster except Information and Communication Technologies. San Diego’s growing unmanned aerial systems (UAS) sector presents a unique opportunity for companies in the Aerospace industry, with cutting-edge applications being developed in San Diego and throughout California. Currently, 60 percent of U.S. technology development in unmanned systems is performed in San Diego County, according to National University System Institute for Policy Research. With the rise in commercial and consumer uses, this industry sector is well positioned to carry the aerospace industry forward and continue to attract top engineering talent to the region.

  Since the aerospace industry shares many components with other industries in the ANMT cluster, it is difficult to break down aerospace companies and employment from the rest of the cluster. Some of the key aerospace-specific components of the cluster include: Search, Detection, Navigation and Guidance; Aeronautical and Nautical System and Instrument Manufacturing; Aircraft Manufacturing including Aircraft Engine and Engine Parts Manufacturing; and Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Manufacturing. San Diego Regional EDC analyzes key economic metrics that are important to understanding the regional economy and San Diego's standing relative to other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. For more information about San Diego’s aerospace industry and the full run down on how San Diego is faring compared to other major metropolitan regions, see the July 2013 Economic Snapshot.

 

 

 

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July 2, 2013

San Diego Venture Group Cool CompaniesIn 2012, the San Diego region raked in upwards of $1.1 billion in venture funding, beating Texas, Colorado, the DC Metroplex and other locales. At the San Diego Venture Group’s Annual Venture Summit on July 12, participants will be able to interact with more than 120 VCs and 30 “cool” companies.

The Venture Summit is one of the most popular events produced by SDVG and connects numerous top entrepreneurs from the region with many investors from Southern California, the Bay Area and other areas to showcase how the innovation climate thrives in San Diego. The Summit will feature a keynote by Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX, as well as other San Diego innovators including Chris Anderson (3D Robotics), Dr. James Mault (Qualcomm Life) and Larry Stambaugh (San Diego Zoo Bioinspiration Centre.)

For the second year in a row, the Venture Summit will include 30 San Diego “Cool Companies.” From social media to software and algae biofuels, companies making this year’s roster include Roambi, Sapphire Energy, and Embarke. They are indicative of the dynamic industries that fuel San Diego’s innovation economy.

Venture Summit is not the only venture-related activity that’s happening in San Diego on July 12. On that day, companies from around the globe will hand in WBT logotheir submissions to present at WBT Innovation Marketplace. Now in its 11th year, WBT Innovation Marketplace brings together the largest collection of vetted and mentored companies and technologies emanating from top universities, labs, research institutions, and the private sector. More than 10 years of research shows that one in three WBT presenters goes on to license, secure venture funding, or sell their IP outright. Last year, the show moved from Arlington, Texas to San Diego, so it could benefit from the region’s world-class talent pool and strong venture capital community.

Companies are invited to apply to present at the Oct. 22 showcase.

With all of the venture activity going on throughout the region, it’s no wonder San Diego has been identified as a high-tech challenger to Silicon Valley.


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June 27, 2013

He ought to say "Move over Jon Stewart." Beaulieu had an EDC audience laughing about economic forecasting. Not exactly an easy thing to do. Humor aside, Beaulieu - who serves as principal at ITR Economics - has an impressive record of accurate forecasts - 96.2 percent accuracy looking 12 months into the future. In a fast-paced and animated presentation, Beaulieu gave the crowd what they came for: actionable information about the coming year. He says while GDP has been growing at a tepid pace in 2013 there will be a slowdown in 2014 as industrial production slows. He cautioned not to project 2013 growth rates into 2014. "Focus on efficiencies, training and outsourcing," he said. And as the country grows toward energy independence, Beaulieu sees an increase in manufacturing in the U.S. Longer-term he looks for good years in 2015 – 2018. However, according to Beaulieu’s research, this will be followed by a noticeable recession in 2019.

"The U.S. is fundamentally healthy," he said. "There's more upside than things to worry about." He pointed out that California maps to the U.S. in terms of trends.

Beaulieu mentioned a list of problems including Europe’s financial stability, China’s slowing growth rate and sequestration. But he parried these with quick explanations. Germany and France are committed to the European Union and will exert a strong influence on policy. China will not melt down; the new leadership is taking a longer view and is letting growth slow down as the government sets up for economic stability. Using a chart to contrast projected spending before and after sequestration, Beaulieu made it clear that the delta between the two is small compared to overall spending.

The presentation included some very positive observations about Mexico’s economy. “Their manufacturing index is up, they are producing better goods, and their management is national now – not ex-pat,” Beaulieu said, at one point calling it “Canada to the South.”

You can check out Alan's presentation here.

 

 

June 19, 2013
EDC dashbaordEDC has set out to chart the health of the regional economy through our new dashboard. Statistics on the economy can often be confusing, and are rarely packaged together in one place. We’ve sorted through data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, International Trade Administration and others to find the most compelling and indicative statistics on the San Diego economy. Using simple design principles, the dashboard is our one-stop shop for quick, at-a-glance data about our regional economy.
 
The dashboard provides baseline indicators on 20 different metrics to track the region’s standing among the 25 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas. They range from conventional economic indicators, such as unemployment rate and Gross Domestic Product, to less familiar quality of life indicators, like sunshine hours. Along with our Economic Snapshot, launched earlier this quarter, this new comparison format helps us understand how San Diego stacks up with other major metropolitan areas across the nation. 
 
Although the indicators will more or less stay the same, the numbers will be updated as new data becomes available. 
 
Please contact mpc@sandiegobusiness.org if you have any ideas on how to improve the dashboard. 
 
May 21, 2013

 

 
Boxing analogies abound around San Diego. Media coverage about the release of the San Diego Metropolitan Export Initiative last week included a quote that San Diego is punching below its weight in exports. 
 
A few days later, EDC’s President and CEO Mark Cafferty is quoted saying about San Diego “We’re punching below our weight.”
 
The U-T profile, penned by John Wilkens, took a deep dive into life in San Diego and at EDC with Mark, exploring his goals for EDC and San Diego, and most importantly, how he views the region:
“When you are speaking economically, San Diego has a lot of great things that happen here that are either in the shadow of other places when I don’t think they need to be, or the laid-back persona starts to cross over into places where I think we need to project a little stronger and bigger and smarter.”
 
With Mark’s guidance, EDC has strengthened its focus on economic development with the goal of creating jobs and maximizing the region’s economic prosperity and global competitiveness. 
 
 
Read the complete profile: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/May/18/cafferty-EDC-San-Diego-image/?#article-copy
 
 
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May 16, 2013

At EDC, we're always looking for new ways to tell San Diego's unique story. With the release of the Brookings Metropolitan Export Initiative was a good time to try it out. Using Storify, we integrated pictures, tweets, quotes and other forms of media from the event. Here's what we came up with:

 

Help us keep the conversation about the critical role exports can play in the region's global competitiveness strategy 

April 22, 2013

 

The cornerstone of a successful economic development program is having strong data to ensure that we are making informed decisions about growing the economy. At EDC, we have been fortunate enough to partner with and benefit from the countless area organizations, companies and universities that have provided substantial economic data. Although we don’t see these partnerships slowing down, with the launch of our new research bureau, we will be putting out a quarterly snapshot of our own. 
 
We’ve heard countless times that San Diego has a strong VC cluster, a healthy tourism industry, and a world-class talent pool, but as we strive to make our region globally competitive, we want to know how we stack up with other metro areas. Our Q1 snapshot is our data-driven approach to answering that question.
 
The quarterly snapshot will report on key economic metrics that are important to understanding the regional economy and San Diego's standing relative to other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. Please take a look, share with friend and colleagues, and let us know what you think. 
 
http://www.sandiegobusiness.org/sites/default/files/EDC-SnapShot-2013-0415.pdf

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April 19, 2013

The Sunrise Powerlink is a 117-mile, $1.88 billion 500kV electric transmission line from Imperial Valley to San Diego. At the recent regional economic forum Michael R. Niggli, SDG&E President & COO, presented a case study on the Sunrise Powerlink project detailing the economic impact of the project and some of the ways in which the project worked to protect sensitive species during construction. The project was the largest infrastructure project in SDG&E's history. Completed in June 2012, it has already made a tangible difference in system operations and is crucial to alleviating the summer capacity shortages that threaten the area due to the ongoing outage at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Economic impact:

  • It's a veritable “renewable energy superhighway” that delivers 1,000 megawatts of power – enough energy for 650,000 homes
  • Generated an astounding $3.2  billion in economic activity and 23,000 jobs for California
  • Injected $1.7 billion into the U.S. economy - $1.1 billion of which was spent in Southern California
  • Catalyst for renewable energy construction; local projects currently under construction generating more than $5 billion in spending and 3,000 jobs

Protecting sensitive species:

  • Created a 13-mile construction free zone for bighorn sheep lambing season from January 1 – June 30
  • Established no-fly zones of more than 4,000-feet around golden eagle nesting sites from December 1 – June 30
  • Relocated hundreds of flat-tailed horned lizards relocated Imperial Valley construction yards and protecting them with specially-designed exclusion fencing
  • Installed special fencing to protect arroyo toads in project locations
  • Preserved in perpetuity more than 11,000 acres of scenic habitat for future generations to enjoy

Sunrise Powerlink enhances reliability, accesses renewable energy and significantly boosts economic development. Businesses are looking for a healthy, reliable power supply. Sunrise Powerlink provides that - while at the same time it is encouraging renewable projects and promoting cleantech industries.

April 15, 2013

Photo Credit: Tony Manolatos

On the plane ride from Coronado to the U.S. Navy’s secluded San Clemente Island, more than one person made a reference to the hit dramatic series “Lost” and the eerie remoteness the TV show shared with our destination. From the plane you could see there wasn’t much to look at on this rugged and narrow stretch of land about 70 miles northwest of San Diego.

San Clemente Island is a place few civilians know about and even fewer see, but it plays a critical role in preparing the Navy to protect and serve. Every Navy SEAL, including the ones who took out Osama bin Laden, trains here at some point. Two “towns” have been built to resemble communities in the Middle East. It’s here where the SEALs, who train for two years before their first combat mission, practice missions at night. Snipers firing at moving targets inside buildings is just one of numerous clandestine training operations carried out routinely on the island.

At the far south end, Navy ships fire ashore while helicopters zero in on targets below. The U.S. Marines also use the island to conduct amphibious assault training and the FBI works there with Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams.  

The 21-mile island is just part of the story; to the west, an ocean area the size of California is where Naval ships and aircraft practice maneuvers.

No one lives on the island year-round and on off days you’ll find less than 100 people. The convenience store is stocked with chewing tobacco and is next door to the lone bar - the Salty Crab. All of the common areas, including the mess hall and the gym, are spotless. The Navy acquired San Clemente Island in 1934. Before that, it was home to goats and farmers.

Today, it is the Navy’s only remaining ship-to-shore live firing range, but it’s facing potential cutbacks due to sequestration. The Navy recently invited a Photo Credit: Tony Manolatoshandful of San Diegans to the island so we have a better understanding of the role it plays in military preparations.

During our visit, we heard just as much about the environment and wildlife as we heard about training exercises. On one part of the island, SEAL hopefuls were on Day 2 of “Hell Week” - which wasn’t even an afterthought among the biologists and botanists working to protect native plants and wildlife.

If the Navy encounters endangered species it stops training until the animals are safely removed from the area - a process that can take months and cost millions of dollars.

From a recent U-T San Diego story:

“The Navy spent more than $7 million last fiscal year to protect the island’s endangered or threatened species, which include 10 federally listed animals and plants.

"Now the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is considering delisting or downgrading the status of three protected species - the Island Night Lizard and two plants - because they are flourishing, said Sandy Vissman, the federal agency’s coordinator for the island.”

Adm. Dixon Smith and Capt. Gary Mayes led our visit of the 56-square-mile island on Tuesday (April 9), and we couldn’t have asked for better hosts.

These two men, and other men and women we met, care deeply about San Clemente Island, the training missions and the plants and animals who flourish there. They took the time to talk to each of us individually and answer all of our questions.

These are difficult times financially for the Navy and other military branches, but leaders like Adm. Smith and Capt. Mayes make it difficult for you to focus on the negative. We are fortunate to have such exceptional people committed to serving America.

As we said our goodbyes and left the island, we were again reminded of the TV series "Lost.”

The show frequently made viewers aware of one of life’s great lessons - it’s easier to succeed, and survive, with the help of others. Lost’s fascinating cast of characters constantly found themselves in need of support from others - in both obvious and unexpected ways.

On the plane ride home from San Clemente Island, we realized we now have a role in supporting the men and women on this remote patch of land. It was clear to us that it was our job to bring you their story, to write about our experiences, to do what we could to support the fascinating cast of characters we had just met.