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Inside EDC

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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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. 

April 8, 2013

As an inveterate reader of the New York Times (online 24/6 and thick, wonderful print copy on Sunday) I was thrilled when I saw the Travel section was going to highlight San Diego in one of their “36 Hours in …” profiles.

Imagine my dismay when from the very first sentence I felt like the writer was describing a bad cartoon, poorly illustrated and lacking a solid punch line. Why should this matter to an economic development professional? Because not only is San Diego's convention and visitor industry the third largest industry in San Diego, it is also one of the ways we attract talent.  As one of the top 10 visitor and meeting destinations in the U.S., with more than 30 million visitors a year, it is no surprise that many of San Diego's knowledge workers first visited the region as a tourist or convention delegate.

So you can imagine that sentences that start with “If San Diego has an identity at all…” and a comparison to the movie Pleasantville (where two teens are sucked into their television into a black and white 1950's world which they slowly transform into color) would set a local’s teeth on edge.

I’d love to hear from the biotech entrepreneurs and the wireless communications wizards if that’s how they saw San Diego when They Came Here. And by the way, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, which is mentioned in the article, is across the street from some of the most advanced medical research facilities in the world. Believe me, the researchers love running the beach and the trails at lunch – year round.

Set aside for the moment whether the characterization is true or not (it’s not) and think about whether this kind of description would make you want to visit any location. Even Sioux Falls, South Dakota would want to be described in a more flattering way.

San Diego’s tech community has a reputation as open and welcoming and that’s one reason we’re successful at attracting the best and the brightest to work in our diverse technology clusters that range from defense to sports innovation, life sciences and clean tech.

Maybe it’s part of the California culture but it’s more than just “easy, breezy Southern California casualness.”

April 3, 2013

What Makes San Diego an Ideal Home for Your Business?

 

Regional leaders will convene soon to participate in a unique process designed to determine priorities for the region that will ultimately "roll up" to help set a state-wide agenda to revitalize California. The forum, sponsored by San Diego Gas & Electric, will highlight projects that illustrate how local assets, policies and economic development tools led to successes and job growth. The audience will use interactive voting devices to prioritize policy matters in the areas of workforce, innovation, infrastructure, regulatory process, and capital. The discussion and findings will be summarized into recommendations that will inform the development of a regions-driven shared agenda for state action through the California Economic Summit process.

The event is one of 16 local forums taking place across California. The California Economic Summit uses a "triple-bottom-line" model based on economic, social and environmental factors that affect prosperity. Prosperity is defined as a function of good jobs, rising incomes, and community health. Good jobs offer opportunity for upward mobility. Rising incomes for all Californians demonstrates that prosperity is widely shared. Community health includes quality of place, health and environment. Maintaining and enhancing the productivity of natural resources - both as ecosystems and economic drivers - is key to maintaining California's vitality now and in the future.

With input from the San Diego region (which includes San Diego County and Imperial County) and the other regional forums, a steering committee will identify widely shared priorities and convene action teams to work on specific plans to address the priorities.

As part of the forum, a case study on the Sunrise Powerlink will be presented to illustrate how one project can impact job growth throughout an entire mega-region.

For more information about the California Economic Summit, see the San Diego Forum Briefing Book.

March 12, 2013

175 projects. 6, 215 jobs. What a year 2012 was. Check out our annual report, detailing some some of the highlights and programs from last year.

To all of our investors, partners and the rest of the San Diego business community, thank you for helping us carry out EDC’s mission is to maximize the region’s economic prosperity and global competitiveness. 

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February 26, 2013

Mayor Bob Filner was the SD Press Club's first Newsmaker of 2013; Mark Cafferty will be its second. Join the San Diego business and journalism community for a breakfast this Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 a.m. Mark will provide new EDC updates including the recent successes the organization has had generating and maintaining jobs throughout the region. He also will tell you how he really feels about attempts to lure businesses from California to Texas, and you'll get the latest update on efforts in Washington to curtail across-the-board budget cuts (known as Sequestration) scheduled to take effect Friday. You won't want to miss it.

Everyone is welcome! Please find more details and RSVP here

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February 13, 2013

As a provocative speaker and evangelist for building innovation economies, Rules of the Rainforest author Greg Horowitt asks questions, lots of questions. Horowitt was back with the EDC board recently and came with a list of questions that demand to be asked and answered if we aspire to take the regional economy to the next level of prosperity and raise awareness of San Diego as a global player. Here is the first question:

  • Who are your leaders and what are their characteristics and effectiveness?

It’s a good group to ask about leadership. Depending on what you read, you might look around to find the “San Diego 20,” as a Voice of San Diego article quoted someone calling them. If you’re a fan of Jim Clifton’s book “The Coming Jobs War,” you might see San Diego’s “tribal leaders.” Representatives of San Diego’s trade associations and the venerable CONNECT in attendance personify what economic competitiveness guru Michael Porter calls the “informal networks” that make San Diego’s innovation economy work.

Assuming that – by any definition – many of the region’s leaders were present, how can we describe their characteristics and effectiveness? As a long-time observer of San Diego’s civic organizations and institutions, I offer these primary traits of San Diego’s leaders:

They are open – here’s how Hank Nordhoff put it in a recent UT San Diego article: … "there’s an informality and unpretentiousness about San Diego. People will welcome you to these various boards, and you can have an impact almost immediately…” Nordhoff is the former CEO of Gen-Probe (now Hologic Gen-Probe) and current executive chairman of Banyan Biomarkers. He is also a past chairman of EDC. But at one time he was a new guy in town and he clearly never forgot the warm welcome.

They get along – In the last year, EDC, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and CONNECT, along with other partner trade organizations, convened a coalition of senior business leaders from their boards of directors and key contributors to focus on the global competitiveness of the region. They also defined their terms so that everyone is speaking in the same language about the economy.  The groups agreed on four fundamental pillars of our economy—Military, Innovation, Tourism, and Local. Just having a common vocabulary has made communicating the strengths of our region more effective.

They are curious – Why else would they ask Greg Horowitt to come back a second time? They want to understand what’s working and they really want to understand what’s not. Being curious means looking at barriers and judging how high to jump, not how fast you can stop. Being curious gives you the confidence to engage in self-reflection without the baggage of doubt.

Posted by Andrea Moser. How would you describe San Diego’s civic leadership? We’re open to feedback. Tweet us @SDRegionalEDC and let us know.

January 2, 2013

 

A message from our President & CEO:

With 2013 already under way, and some elements of the fiscal cliff addressed and/or postponed through last minute actions in Washington D.C., we wanted to take a moment to share what we still foresee as significant challenges for San Diego’s economy in the months ahead.

While both chambers of Congress did eventually approve a deal to fend off certain elements of the fiscal cliff, their plan postpones decisions about sequestration; the $110 billion in spending cuts that would deeply affect the military and many other sectors of the economy that receive funding from the federal government. As we have been noting over the past year with our colleagues at the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC), here in San Diego this could most notably impact our military/defense sectors as well as the research that is the backbone of our technology industries.

According to today’s Washington Post, “The legislation, which President Obama supports but had not signed as of Tuesday night, would delay across-the-board budget reductions known as sequestration for two months, setting up likely fights in Congress over the federal debt ceiling over the same period. The fiscal-cliff deal would offset half the cost of a delayed sequestration with cuts to discretionary spending split evenly across defense and non-defense programs. The other half would come by way of new revenue raised.” 

Even when a deal is reached regarding sequestration we will still see significant reductions in funding that will have big implications for our region. These reductions could have far reaching impacts to workforce, infrastructure, and research.  In the days ahead we will continue to provide you with the best and most up-to-date analysis we can on what all this will mean for our economy. In the meantime, we wanted to remind you all of the layoff support and aversion services that EDC, Manpower, San Diego Workforce Partnership and all of the sub-regional EDCs (North, South and East) can provide to companies that are faced with staffing reductions.  All of these services are free to the business community and are available year-round.

For any companies you may know of that are currently filing WARN notices, informing staff of possible layoffs and/or in the midst of downsizing, please forward them to our website to learn more about the Rapid Response services available to them.

In all ways we look forward to a strong and productive 2013 for our region. Together, by being informed and prepared, we can stand strong in minimizing the impact of sequestration to our economy and in developing new plans for job creation, industry growth and economic prosperity.

December 12, 2012

We are excited to share San Diego Regional EDC’s new website and approach to positioning the region within the global economy as a magnet for investment, talent and innovation.
 
Based on your feedback, we focused on the “big picture,” highlighting the unparalleled beauty and assets of our bi-national mega-region and its key economic drivers – Innovation, Military and Tourism.
 
If you’re reading this post, you’ve already found the website (and the Big Picture San Diego”  blog)! I invite you to look around for  more information about the region, key industries and San Diego Regional EDC services and programs. Please feel free to use these new resources as a tool to promote your company and San Diego’s unique business ecosystem.
 
As always, we appreciate your continued support and look forward to working with you in the coming year as we work to maximize the region’s economic prosperity and global competitiveness.
 
Mark Cafferty
President & CEO
 
 
December 1, 2012

The goal of Big Picture San Diego is to expand the understanding of economic development and highlight the innovative ways in which the San Diego community is coming together to build a stronger region for the benefit of all of its residents.

There’s a lot being written and discussed about the future of the San Diego region. Big Picture San Diego is an attempt to synthesize information about what’s going on in the region with commentary on how current events and policies affect San Diego’s ability to grow and prosper. Here’s a broad definition of economic development from Business Exchange, a Bloomberg blog:

“Economic development is the development of wealth in countries or regions for the wellbeing of their citizens. From a policy perspective, economic development is any effort that seeks to improve the economic wellbeing and quality of life for a community by creating and/or retaining jobs and supporting (or growing) incomes.”

At EDC, we feel that the true definition of economic development is reflected in our mission: To maximize our region’s economic prosperity and global competitiveness. We believe that this is best accomplished through thoughtful collaboration and open communication. As we build the blog, the hope is to offer good working examples of economic development and start a new conversation about how San Diego can best use its unique assets to grow jobs and the economy.

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