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Economic Development 101

June 11, 2015

Recently, EDC released its April Manpower Monthly Employment Report. Since then, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released April employment data on all U.S. metros, which allows us to analyze some key indicators across geographies. Click on images to enlarge in a new window/tab.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • At 4.8 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate ranked 11th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From April 2014 to April 2015, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -1.3 percentage points, which ranked 4th.
  • San Diego's total employment grew by 2.6 percent from April 2014 to April 2015, which ranked 7th.
  • San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 6.4 percentwhich ranked 4th.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew by 1.9 percent from the previous year, the 9th highest growth rate.

[Unmployment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the April 2015 period for all U.S. metro areas. At 4.8 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell by 1.3 points from this time last year. This was the 4th largest drop in the nation, among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. That fall kept San Diego's rank at 11th among major U.S. metros and it remained below the U.S. overall rate of 5.1 percent.  

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, San Diego remained well above the national average. From April 2014 to April 2015, the region's employment grew by 2.6 percent, which ranked 7th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate was at only 1.4 percent. Growth has slowed substantially across the U.S., but San Diego has consistently outpaced the national employment growth this year and has been among the top 10 competitive metros in the nation.

[PST Chart]

San Diego's innovation economy is largely driving the region's growth. The region is outpacing nearly all other major metros in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) growth. PST is a sector of the economy very heavily associated with the region's innovation clusters. Much of the companies and employment in clusters like biotechnology, biomedical products, cleantech and information technology fall within the PST sector. Employment in the region's PST sector grew by 6.4 percent since last April, the 4th most out of any metro studied here. This figure was nearly double the U.S. average and only behind Seattle and California peers San Francisco and Riverside, which is a positive sign for the state and region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

San Diego's manufacturing sector growth picked up a bit in April. Manufacturing is another key industry for growth in the region, not only because manufacturing jobs are accessible and pay well, but also because certain manufacturing subsectors are critical to the region's innovation clusters. From April 2014 to April 2015, manufacturing employment grew by 1.9 percent. San Diego's manufacturing employment growth was above the U.S. rate of 1.6 percent. The region recorded the 9th highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. San Diego's position remained unchanged this month, but it's employment growth is much higher than it has been in past months. In the previous 12 months, the region's average annual growth rate was 1.3 percent, so the 1.9 percent growth recorded in April is a good sign for manufacturing employment.

While overall employment growth and growth in our manufacturing sector again wasn't comparatively stellar, the region's economy is still generally tracking well above the U.S. average and many of its peers. Unemployment is lower than average and experienced one of the largest annual drops in the nation. Meanwhile, our PST industry continues to be among the fastest growing in the nation.

EDC will be releasing the Manpower Employment Report with May 2015 data for San Diego on Friday, June 19thThank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research.

June 5, 2015

Last night, we were joined by more than 800 of our closest friends at SeaWorld to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. A lot has changed over the past 50 years, but one thing has remained constant: through it all, we’ve told a story about a region that we’re proud to call home.

These are some of the people that have helped write that story:

EDC legacy leaders

And as we embark on the next 50 years, we know the faces will probably look at little more like this:

EDC present leaders

Our fearless chairman Vince Mudd summed it up when he said “While we know technology and science will continue to change at light speed, we also know the same principles – innovation, leadership and collaboration – that carried and guided us in the past, will continue to carry and guide us long into the future."

Thank you to all who celebrated with us last night.

#EDCturns50

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May 29, 2015

Earlier this week, the Brookings Institution published The 10 Lessons from Global Trade and Investment Planning in U.S. Metro Areas.

As one of the pilot cities in the development of a trade and investment plan, San Diego has learned a lot about itself in its ability to better compete globally. Below are the lessons learned:

 

(1) The primary benefit of global trade and investment is increased competitiveness, not quick jobs.

There is a reason the goal of the Go Global initiative is to maximize San Diego’s global competitiveness and prosperity through increased global engagement: increasing exports and attracting foreign investment (FDI) take time. Once a company decides to go global and export, it takes the firm 18 months on average to finally get its product abroad. 

 

(2) The most important firms are the ones you already have.

When more than 98 percent of the national job growth comes from startups and business expansions, it’s hard to ignore San Diego’s most important assets – its own companies.  When Takeda Pharmaceuticals, one of the oldest and largest companies in Japan, decided to condense its West Coast operations, it chose San Diego – closing the San Francisco office and moving those jobs into the region. 

       

 

(3) FDI and exports are closely linked.

Innovation-based industries that export San Diego’s leading products and services are also the drivers of FDI into the region. Reinforcing this relationship, FDI in these industries has catalyzed international exports as parent companies open new markets for San Diego establishments.  Aerospace products, pharmaceuticals, communications equipment, and semiconductors – all of which are strong exporting industries and large sources of FDI. 

 

(4) Leading with real specializations opens doors for firms.

Case in point: Go Global San Diego Strategy 4, Tactic 5: Reinforce research institutions leading innovation. Leading with San Diego’s premier research institutions will enable the spillover effects these institutions create – starting new companies and growing jobs. Hybritech, San Diego’s first biotech company, was co-founded by two professors from UC San Diego. Since then, UC San Diego’s faculty, staff, and students have founded more than 640 companies. 

“Our location is key for collaboration and talent recruitment with institutions like UCSD and Scripps. These assets make San Diego an attractive place for foreign firms to establish U.S. beachheads.” – San Diego pharmaceutical company                                                

 

(5) The middle market offers outsized opportunities.

EDC’s MetroConnect prize, funded by JPMorgan Chase, will assist small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in their ability to go global. SMEs represent more than 99 percent of businesses in the region and are responsible for much of the innovation and job creation activity that propels our economy. The success of these firms is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success.

 

(6) Mergers and acquisitions are the dominant form of FDI.

Of the FDI that came to San Diego between 1991 and 2011, 60 percent did so through M&A activity. This represents more than 72,600 jobs that transferred from domestic to foreign ownership. Post-acquisition, some of these companies continue to grow. Althea Technologies, acquired by Japanese food and chemical company Ajinomoto, has had access to new markets and new capital previously unseen by the company, growing by more than 20 percent since its acquisition.

 

(7) Global engagement must be a demonstrated priority.

Focus on high impact trade missions. Implement a global identity campaign. Build a proactive protocol network of civic and business organizations. Retain and attract international flight routes to key markets.

One thing these tactics have in common is that organizations throughout San Diego must have a mindset and culture that is global in nature. Having one organization carry the weight of interacting with global players is a lot of work. Having a network of organizations that work together in attracting new flights, execute trade missions, and implement a global identity ensures San Diego can reap the benefits of global connectivity. 

 

(8) Global commerce is driven by relationships and networks.

San Diego is one of the most active binational cross-border regions in the world. Global trends are making Mexico, and Baja California in particular, an increasingly favorable location for manufacturing. Their proximity to San Diego gives our region a clear competitive advantage.

 

(9) Metro areas are unsure of how to harness emerging forms of global capital.

When it comes to global patent intensity, San Diego ranks third, yet when compared to U.S. cities, it ranks a distant eighth in terms of the amount of venture capital activity in the region. Because of this, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, research institutions, and a whole host of other entities are increasingly looking to alternative sources of capital – EB-5, limited partners, sovereign wealth funds, corporate partnerships. Finding ways to leverage these resources can help bridge these capital gaps. 

 

(10) Competing on a global scale requires that metros intensify efforts on other critical economic issues.

“Workforce and infrastructure have consistently surfaced as the two issues that are increasingly threatening the competitiveness of companies and regions.” Feeding talent to companies and releasing the bottleneck from inefficient infrastructure can improve economic competitiveness and help grow the economy. Hence why the Link2 series, activating alumni networks, and modernizing key infrastructure assets are all key tactics of the Go Global San Diego initiative.

 

May 22, 2015

Manpower_Monthly

Download a printable version

“San Diego’s unemployment rate is the lowest in nearly eight years as tens of thousands of San Diegans are finding jobs thanks to steady economic growth. We are seeing fewer unemployment claims as thousands return to the labor force.”

Phil Blair, President and CEO
Manpower San Diego


Highlights image

This post is part of an ongoing monthly series dedicated to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) monthly employment release and is brought to you by Manpower. Click images to enlarge in a new tab/window.

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the April 2015 period. This month’s data shows that unemployment continued to fall in April, as the economy continued to grow at a steady rate.

The unemployment rate fell below 5 percent for the first time since December 2007 and it is the lowest it has been since June 2007. At 4.8 percent, the rate is 1.3 points lower than the previous year and 0.3 points lower than the previous month. The U.S. and California average rates also fell substantially to 5.1 percent and 6.1 percent respectively.

UE_04_15

Unemployment fell so sharply from March to April because the labor force fell by 3,200 and unemployment claims fell by 4,900. While it is concerning that the labor force fell over the monthly period, it isn’t uncommon for the period due to seasonal forces. More importantly, the labor force increased by 17,400 and unemployment claims decreased by 18,900 from April 2014 to April 2015.

When looking at monthly or seasonal employment, San Diego County employers added 4,900 jobs from March to April. Goods-producers like construction and manufacturing experienced slight seasonal decline, while tourism and health care accounted for nearly all of the seasonal growth.

From a year-to-year or non-seasonal perspective, NFE_04_15 the region’s economy continued to grow around 3.0 percent, adding 38,300 jobs from April 2014 to April 2015. The year-to-year growth rate has been consistently above the 2014 annual average of 2.2 percent. So far in 2015, that annual average is at 3.1 through April.

The private sector economy accounted for 93.6 percent of the year-to-year job growth and grew by 3.4 percent. This rate also outpaced the U.S. growth rate, which was 2.6 percent over that same period. This job growth continued to be fueled by key sectors. Construction grew by 5.3 percent and added 3,300 jobs, despite a mild seasonal decline. One of the region’s key manufacturing sectors ship and boat building grew by 18.6 percent and added 1,100 jobs. However, manufacturing growth continued to grow at a slow pace of 1.8 percent, which remains a concern given the importance of the industry to the region’s economy.

Innovation service sectors have continued to show high job growth through 2015. The professional, scientific and technical services (PST) sector grew by 6.39 percent year-to-year, PST_04_15and accounted for approximately one-fifth of the annual job growth. This sector represents many of our innovation employers. More specifically, scientific research and development services, a subsector of PST that represents many cleantech and life science companies, grew by 5.26 percent since last March.

The region’s tourism continued to show high year-to-year growth as well. The leisure and hospitality industry added 6,500 jobs over that period, which is about 3.72 percent growth. Food service and drinking places accounted for 6,500 of those jobs. Health care services experienced high seasonal and non-seasonal growth. Education & Health services added 400 jobs from March to April and 5,900 jobs since the previous year.

YoY_04_15

The April labor market report continued to show positive indicators about the health of our regional economy. The unemployment rate fell below five percent for the first time since 2007. There remains concern about the slow return of the labor force from year-to-year since the recession, but unemployment claims are consistently falling and firms are steadily adding jobs. Growth remains concentrated in our traded economy sectors and in middle-wage industries like health care and construction. It will be interesting to see if this steady growth encourages greater labor force participation in the coming months.

Note: Our Economic Indicators Dashboard will show how our unemployment rate compares to other US metros and the US total rate when that information is released in the coming weeks.


 

May 22, 2015

This past week, EDC traveled across the Pacific - by way of our direct JAL flight -  to release the National Geographic documentary in one of San Diego’s largest international trade and investment cities: Tokyo.

Tokyo based companies employ more than 6,300 people in San Diego, ranking as the largest source of foreign employment. When looking at advanced industries, these companies primarily invest in audio and video equipment manufacturing, semiconductor manufacturing, and medical equipment and supplies manufacturing. According to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), companies that fall into these industries reported they will record a surplus in business profit in 2014 – a positive sign for San Diegans employed by these very same companies and our economy.

As part of the trade missions, EDC met with Japanese companies and organizations which have San Diego ties in order to strengthen relationships and learn more about specific challenges they face.

Day 1

EDC, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, San Diego Tourism Authority, and Supervisor Ron Roberts met with Japan Airlines. The Airport gave an impressive update to JAL, stating that the flight has been very successful since the launch. The Airport, along with the other delegates, impressed upon JAL that the direct flight between San Diego – Tokyo is among the most important for the region, continuing to strengthen the business ties and drive investment into the respective regions.

JAL team along with the Airport, Supervisor Ron Roberts, EDC, and SDTA

EDC met with the U.S.-Japan Embassy following the JAL meeting. This meeting served as an important connection for San Diego, as many of the Embassy staff in Japan focus on industries important to the region – aerospace, life sciences, cybersecurity and defense. Having Embassy staff understand the strengths and assets of San Diego help to build a bigger and better portfolio for staff, especially when they are meeting with companies important to the region.

Day 1 concluded with a dinner at the American Club in Tokyo. JPMorgan Chase sent their commercial industry representative, Mr. Satoshi Yamamoto, who gave an overview of the Tokyo economy and companies that are and will be important to San Diego.

Day 2
Day 2 began with a 2 hour ride to Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Kanagawa. As one of the largest pharmaceuticals companies in the world, and the largest in Japan with more than 3 million employees worldwide, Takeda is one of San Diego’s most important companies. After consolidating the San Francisco office into San Diego, more than half of all research and development now occurs in San Diego.

Following the morning’s meeting with Takeda, EDC participated in a lunch with Al Pisano, Dean of UC San Diego’s Jacobs Schools of Engineering, and UC San Diego alumni located in Tokyo. The lunch proved to showcase the many interesting and important people UC San Diego brings through its campus – with alumni working on robotics to running their own business in Tokyo.

After lunch it was off to San Diego’s iconic example of how an acquisition can be extremely beneficial to the success and profitability of a company; Ajinomoto. Ajinomoto acquired Althea Technologies in 2013. Since then, Althea has proved a successful venture for Ajinomoto – forging a strong pathway for the company’s expansion into the healthcare sector.


Ajinomoto’s Dr. Osamu Kurahashi and Masahiko Oshimura with EDC’s Mark Cafferty and Lauree Sahba

Good thing regenerative medicine is becoming a focus in Japan, because San Diego has plenty of resources to go around. Whiz Partners, a private equity firm located in Tokyo, helped bring insight into what funds in Japan are focusing on and what companies in the near future will look for.

Mark Cafferty presenting on San Diego’s economy to Tokyo business leaders
Mark Cafferty presenting on San Diego’s economy to Tokyo business leaders

The evening’s activities began with the Jacobs School of Engineering seminar. Dean Pisano gave a presentation about some of the incredible research being undertaken at the university – from microchip processors that are small enough to be a patch to monitor a premature baby’s vitals to technology around a smart grid, analyzing data to improve and streamline energy use on campus.

The premiere hosted more than 140 Japanese business leaders – including executives from Toray to Toshiba to JAL to Panasonic.

UCSD alumni attending the premiere


Overflow room for Nat Geo Premiere

Day 3
The final day of the trip EDC met with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). JETRO acts as the commercial service office for the country of Japan. They annually dispatch companies to the west coast from the gaming, tech, and life science industry. JETRO has an amazing incubator for foreign businesses. Any foreign business who wishes to do business in Japan, JETRO has a one-stop shop where business can lease space in an office which houses a representative from every branch of government in order to expedite the formation of their business.

Special thanks to all of the support from the delegates who traveled to Japan to strengthen San Diego’s connections to Tokyo and Japan – SeaWorld, Qualcomm, San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, Port of San Diego, County Supervisor Ron Roberts, and UC San Diego. We look forward to hosting more missions to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Lastly, what would a trade mission to Japan be without a trip to a ballgame?


 

 

May 18, 2015

 

We all have to start our career somewhere. And that ‘somewhere,’ whether it’s running the local paper route or dipping cones at the local ice cream shop, has a strong impact on the rest of our careers. While these first jobs may not uncover one’s lifelong passion, they often do translate into invaluable skills you carry with you for the rest of your career.

That’s one reason why CONNECT2Careers (C2C), a youth summer employment initiative administered by the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP), has launched the #MyFirstJobSD video campaign. To raise awareness for the need to increase youth employment in San Diego, C2C asked a number of prominent San Diegans to reminisce about their first job—what it was, what it taught them and what advice they would give their younger selves. The result is a series of short, inspiring #MyFirstJobSD videos. Featured San Diegans include Mayor Kevin Faulconer, NBC 7 anchor Marianne Kushi, San Diego Regional Chamber CEO Jerry Sanders, and State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. New videos will continue to be released through June.

“The #MyFirstJobSD campaign is meant to remind us what our first job meant to us and encourage the opening of doors to our future workforce,” says Peter Callstrom, CEO of SDWP. “Summer employment through C2C is a great way to gain experience and for employers to invest in the up-and-coming talent pool.”

C2C encourages San Diegans to use social media to spread the word about the #MyFirstJobSD campaign, share your first job story using the hashtag, ask others what their first job was, and keep the conversation going. 

May 8, 2015

Recently, EDC released its March Manpower Monthly Employment Report. Since then, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released March employment data on all U.S. metros, which allows us to analyze some key indicators across geographies. Click on images to enlarge in a new window/tab.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • At 5.1 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate ranked 11th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From March 2014 to March 2015, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -2.0 percentage points, which ranked 3rd.
  • San Diego's total employment grew by 3.1 percent from March 2014 to March 2015, which ranked 10th.
  • San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 7.2 percentwhich ranked 3rd.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew by 1.5 percent from the previous year, the 9th highest growth rate.

[Unmployment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the March 2015 period for all U.S. metro areas. At 5.1 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell by 2.0 points from this time last year. This was the 3rd largest drop in the nation, among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. That fall brought San Diego's rank to 11th among major U.S. metros and placed it below the U.S. overall rate of 5.6 percent.  

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, San Diego was above the national average. From March 2014 to March 2015, the region's employment grew by 3.1 percent, which ranked 10th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate was at only 2.3 percent. San Diego has consistently outpaced U.S. employment growth this year and has been among the top 10 competitive metros in the nation.

[PST Chart]

San Diego's innovation economy is largely driving the region's growth. The region is outpacing nearly all other major metros in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) growth. PST is a sector of the economy very heavily associated with the region's innovation clusters. Much of the companies and employment in clusters like biotechnology, biomedical products, cleantech and information technology fall within the PST sector. Employment in the region's PST sector grew by 7.2 percent since last March, the 3rd most out of any metro studied here. This figure was roughly double the U.S. average and only behind California peers San Francisco and Riverside, which is a positive sign for the state and region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

San Diego's manufacturing sector growth has slowed in recent months. Manufacturing is another key industry for growth in the region, not only because manufacturing jobs are accessible and pay well, but also because certain manufacturing subsectors are critical to the region's innovation clusters. From March 2014 to March 2015, manufacturing employment grew by only 1.5 percent. San Diego's manufacturing employment growth was just below the U.S. rate of 1.6 percent. The region recorded the 9th highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. Clearly, manufacturing has slowed in most major metros across the U.S. outside of Detroit, Denver and Portland, so this is not a sign unique to San Diego. However, it will remain important to track manufacturing in the coming months to see if growth accelerates.

While overall employment growth and growth in our manufacturing sector weren't comparatively stellar, the region's economy is still generally tracking well above the U.S. average and many of its peers. Unemployment is lower than average and experienced one of the largest annual drops in the nation. Meanwhile, our PST industry continues to be among the fastest growing in the nation.

EDC will be releasing the Manpower Employment Report with April 2015 data for San Diego on Friday, May 15thThank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research.

May 1, 2015


In an effort to further the region’s global competitiveness, a delegation of San Diego business leaders will be heading to London next week to increase existing synergies between one of San Diego’s most important international partners.  Building on existing relationships, the delegation will host the London premiere of National Geographic’s “World’s Smart Cities: San Diego” documentary, meet with key companies with San Diego ties, and promote opportunities in industries that matter most to San Diego’s competitiveness such as life sciences and connected health.

The San Diego – London ties run deep. Findings from the Go Global San Diego Initiative, released in March 2015, confirmed just how intertwined the two regions' economies are.  Collectively, the U.K. accounts form 25 percent of all foreign employment, or 12,340 jobs in San Diego. Some of these major London-based companies with San Diego ties include BAE Systems, Cobham, GlaxoSmithKline and Mirum. San Diego is also home to Cubic, a transportation innovator that powers London’s OysterCard system.

Key agenda highlights from the mission include a UC Alumni Event Showcase, where UC San Diego Dean Al Pisano will lead a discussion with UC alumni working and living in London to activate stronger ties in the life sciences, telecommunications, cybersecurity and software engineering sectors. The delegation will participate on a joint panel about driving down the cost of healthcare (arranged by Biocom and its UK counterpart, OneNucleus) and visit “The Catapult,” London’s urban innovation lab that aims to strengthen quality of life, economies and the environment in cities around the globe. While overseas, the delegation will also meet with key partners and companies including the U.S. Embassy in London, British Airways, BAE and Ebsta.

The trip builds off exciting exchanges between the two regions. London is the first international city to join the Global Cities Initiative (GCI), a joint project between the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, which works to help leaders reorient their economies towards greater engagement in world markets. San Diego has been a member of the GCI since Fall 2012. This affiliation has incubated a strong relationship with London + Partners, the economic development arm of the city of London. In February, Mayor Faulconer joined London Mayor Boris Johnson at the Brookings Institution  in D.C. to discuss how these two regions can strengthen their global connections.

The delegation includes:

  • Al Pisano, Dean, Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego
  • Andrew Lee, President & CEO, ESET
  • Diane Law, Parachute Marketing
  • George Guerra, Vice President, HALE Enterprise Strategic Ventures, Northrop Grumman
  • Hampton Brown, Director, Air Service Development, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • Iris Magid, Director of Industry Engagement and University Relations, UC San Diego
  • Jennifer Landress, Senior Vice President & COO, Biocom
  • Joe Terzi, President & CEO, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Joe Timko, Director of Public Relations, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Julian Parra, Senior Vice President & Market Executive, Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Kerri Kapich, Senior Vice President of Marketing, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Lauree Sahba, COO, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • Neva Parker, Head of Laboratory Operations, WhiteLabs
  • Phil Blair, President & CEO, Manpower San Diego & Chair, San Diego Convention Center
  • Robert Brownlie, Managing Partner, DLA Piper & Vice President, UC San Diego Alumni Board of Directors
  • Robert Gleason, Chairman of the Board, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • The Honorable Scott Peters, Congressman (CA 52)
  • Sean Barr, Vice President, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • Shelley Lyford, COO, West Health Institute & President, Gary & Mary West Foundation
  • Thella Bowens, President & CEO, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • Vince Mudd, Chair, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • William Burfitt, Executive Director of Development, UC San Diego

If you’re a company that wants to increase its engagement with foreign markets – such as London – apply for the MetroConnect prize. Thanks to the generosity of JPMorgan Chase, EDC is providing select San Diego-based companies with up to $10,000 in matching funds to help with each company’s next steps in going global. The deadline is Monday at noon.  

Follow the conversation at

April 24, 2015

While San Diego is known to the rest of the world as “America’s Finest City,” it also happens to be one of the world’s smartest cities.

At least that’s the way the National Geographic Channel sees it. San Diego is featured in Nat Geo’s “World’s Smart Cities” documentary, a one-hour documentary special uncovering what makes this unique city one of the most innovative, forward thinking cities across the globe. The documentary begins airing tomorrow on the Nat Geo Channel at 8 a.m.

In anticipation of tomorrow’s public premiere, we’ve pulled together 9 reasons Nat Geo calls us a Smart City.

Here it goes:

  1. We don’t just drink beer, we make it too.

    Home to nearly 100 craft breweries, San Diego is serious about suds. But it’s not just about drinking it; it’s also about brewing it. In the documentary, you’ll meet Neva Parker, director of laboratory operations at White Labs, who talks about cultivating brewer’s yeast, a key ingredient in the brewing process.
     
  1. Our grid is smart.

    Today, 32 percent of San Diego’s electricity is renewable, and there is no coal in SDG&E’s energy portfolio. Jim Avery of Sempra Energy discusses the Smart Grid which increases the use of renewable energy and helps manage the region’s power.
     
  1. Our port makes us a  “plug-in.”

    Speaking of clean energy, the Port has fully switched to a shore-power system that improves air quality and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by allowing cargo vessels to "plug in" rather than run their diesel engines while in port.  You can catch some sweeping views of the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal in the documentary.
     
  1. We cultivate the innovators of the future.

    Most San Diegans know the story of Qualcomm, the region’s largest private-sector employer, but what many people in San Diego (and across the world) don’t know is about their focus on cultivating future leaders. In the documentary, Host Andrew Evans visits Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™, equal parts innovation lab and art studio, that provides students from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds in San Diego with access to hands-on experiences in engineering. They are ensuring San Diego remains a “smart city” for generations to come.
     
  1. We’re home to one of the smartest universities in the world…and they just created the world’s first algae-based surfboard.

    UC San Diego campus is one of the top 15 research universities in the world and is an innovator nationally in solar and other renewable technologies. At the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, which host Andrew Evans visits, UC San Diego researcher Stephen Mayfield is turning pond scum into fuel for the next generation of transportation. He also turned this pond scum into the world’s first algae-based surfboard, which he showed off at the San Diego premiere Tuesday evening.
     
  1. Innovation is in our DNA.

    When it comes to the field of genomics, San Diego is second to none. Evans pays a visit to Illumina, the first company that cracked the $1,000 genome challenge, to get his DNA mapped by Chief Medical Officer Rick Klausner. Illumina was called the “World’s Smartest Company” ahead of Samsung, Google and Tesla by MIT Technology Review. It’s no coincidence the “World’s Smartest company” is headquartered in one of the “World’s Smart Cities.”
     
  1. We make the things that go where no man can go.

    From the frozen Arctic to the coast of Africa, the Northrop Grumman-built NASA Global Hawk has flown all over the globe conducting unprecedented scientific and environmental missions. Evans explores San Diego’s dynamic aerospace industry through the eyes of Northrop Grumman, where he has the opportunity to meet with George Guerra, an unmanned aircraft expert.
     
  1. Lifesaving innovations are applied to multiple fields.

    SeaWorld is more than just a theme park operator – they’re also an innovator. In the documentary, we meet Todd Schmitt, senior veterinarian at SeaWorld, who discusses SeaWorld’s Zoological Stem Cell Bank Initiative which contributes to the scientific advancement of stem cell use in marine species and has the potential to replace drugs in the treatment of many chronic diseases, especially in older animals.
     
  1. Our people care.

    San Diego resident Rob Machado is a surfing hall of famer and legend. Yet rather than focusing on his sport and why it’s important to the culture of San Diego, he chose to focus on the volunteer work that he and others are doing through the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) to help children with disabilities learn to surf, develop confidence in themselves and connect with the ocean and nature.

It’s easy to see that San Diego is more than just the beach. Make sure not to miss out on the full picture, see why we’re one of the “World’s Smart Cities.” The program will air Saturday, April 25, 8-9 a.m., and Saturday, May 2, 8-9 a.m., on the National Geographic Channel.

April 21, 2015

National Geographic Channel features San Diego, one of only four cities in the world and the only U.S. city on the list, in its acclaimed documentary series “World’s Smart Cities”. San Diego was chosen for its strong technology sector, local innovators, green practices, smart public planning and an unparalleled quality of life. Other selection factors included San Diego’s size of population, demographics/cultural diversity, livability, economy and business climate, educational institutions, leadership and strong sense of community.

The documentary will be shown in over 60 countries reaching approximately 250 million households world-wide.

Watch the trailer...


Watch the premiere on:

National Geographic Channel

 

 

Current Show Schedule (based on country feed)

Country Date Air Time
United States April 25, 2015 8:00 AM (All Time Zones)
  May 2, 2015 9:00 AM (Check your local listings- may vary by time zones)
     
Australia May 7, 2015 18:30
  May 10, 2015 12:00
  May 12, 2015 10:30
  May 15, 2015 14:30
  May 19, 2015 8:30
     
Brazil May 8, 2015 19:00
  May 9, 2015 15:00
  May 17, 2015 13:00
  May 23, 2015 18:30
  May 25, 2015 15:00
     
China May 22, 2015 TBD
     
France May 9, 2015 18:30
  May 11, 2015 23:55
  May 14, 2015 8:40
  May 17, 2015 12:50
  May 23, 2015 10:20
     
Germany May 5, 2015 23:55
  May 6, 2015 10:05
  May 8, 2015 9:15
  May 9, 2015 14:25
  May 10, 2015 8:25
  May 11, 2015 13:45
  May 13, 2015 9:15
  May 14, 2015 8:25
     
Italy May 4, 2015 17:00
  May 8, 2015 18:00
  May 9, 2015 10:00
  May 11, 2015 12:00
  May 16, 2015 10:00
     
Japan May 10, 2015 20:00
  May 15, 2015 16:00
  May 19, 2015 8:00
  May 20, 2015 15:00
  May 24, 2015 19:00
     
Korea May 6, 2015 19:00
  May 7, 2015 8:00
  May 9, 2015 11:15
  May 10, 2015 12:00
  May 13, 2015 10:00
     
Russia May 4, 2015 17:00
  May 8, 2015 11:25
  May 9, 2015 18:00
  May 10, 2015 8:50
  May 11, 2015 11:25
     
Spain May 5, 2015 18:10
  May 10, 2015 9:30
  May 16, 2015 11:15
  May 20, 2015 18:10
  May 24, 2015 10:20
     
United Kingdom May 8, 2015 17:00
  May 9, 2015 8:00
  May 10, 2015 9:00
  May 10, 2015 0:00
  May 11, 2015 8:00


Partners

The documentary features leading companies and institutions that are based in San Diego and provide world-class research, education, and innovative technologies. We thank them for their participation and support of this project.