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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Investor Spotlight

January 10, 2017

This week we sat down with Kevin Solorio, campus director of Dev Bootcamp (DBC), a local coding and web development program. DBC is helping to create a talent pipeline for San Diego and has graduated more than 2,700 students. The program has been igniting careers in technology since its launch in 2012.

Please tell us what your company/organization does.

Dev Bootcamp’s mission is to transform lives by teaching people of all backgrounds the technical, cognitive and interpersonal skills used in software development. We created the original short-term, immersive software developer bootcamp with an instructional model that creates technical aptitude along with the interpersonal skills.

Since we started in 2012, we’ve been fine tuning our program and have developed a skills map: our set of competencies as informed by employers to prepare our grads for today’s job market. Graduates of Dev Bootcamp’s program are exposed to Ruby, Rails, JavaScript, HTML, CSS and database systems such PostgreSQL. In addition to teaching these languages and frameworks, we coach students on how to approach challenges like developers do – thinking through a project and iterating feedback to arrive at the most elegant solution.

What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

Dev Bootcamp saw the value of the San Diego tech scene and made the decision to open our fourth campus here in East Village (we currently have 6 locations nationwide). San Diego has often been overlooked in terms of tech talent and job opportunities, however, as we were evaluating different cities across the country, San Diego began to stand out. It consistently ranks high on lists for launching companies and named among the most innovative cities in the U.S.

San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

Our experience working with Intuit has been exceptional. The company has exhibited strong leadership and corporate responsibility to help reinforce diverse communities in tech. Intuit’s dedication to continued learning and openness to non-traditional pathways all stems from its leadership team with Vice President Alex Balazs and Technology Evangelist Aliza Carpio at the helm.

What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

I see San Diego’s tech community growing in innovation, specifically around data analytics and machine learning. With so many local companies focused on biotech, the software needed to support their growth will center on big data toolsets – good news for us.  This will only continue to foster the idea that San Diego is one of America’s smartest cities.

For Dev Bootcamp, these changes mean shifts in our curriculum and additional offerings to help meet the talent needs of the area. Specifically, I can see shifting from teaching Ruby to Python in the somewhat near future and extending the program to include more analysis work.

How can you get involved? Dev Bootcamp SD is launching a "Stories of Innovation" speaker series. The school is kicking off its quarterly series with Gregg Pollack, founder of Code School, Envy and Starter Studio. Join them Feb 22 for an awesome talk hosted at MindTouch. Register here.

September 27, 2016

This week we sat down with Ken Behan, vice president of sales and marketing at SYSTRAN Group. With operations in San Diego and as a program sponsor of WTC San Diego's MetroConnect Program, the language technology company is helping local SMEs connect with international markets - driving economic and innovative growth for the region.

1) Please tell us what your company/organization does. 

With 48 years in the language technology industry, SYSTRAN Software has been in business long enough to witness sweeping changes in the way people communicate globally. Over recent years, large amounts of data have become more accessible to anyone with an Internet connection, enabling businesses of all sizes to better compete on the world stage. Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are now able to branch into global markets that were previously reserved only for large corporations due to more affordable technology tools. However, SMEs are often slowed down by their inability to understand their customers in other countries or benefit from valuable data if it is in a language other than their own.

Through our enterprise software, SYSRAN provides advanced machine-based translation of 130 languages to global companies like Apple, Adobe, Cisco, Toyota and Symantec, among others. Now SMEs can leverage the same enterprise-level language technology with SYSTRAN.io, a new API platform that provides a hosted 50-language translation toolkit with customization capabilities. SYSTRAN.io allows software developers, customer experience (CX) companies, marketing departments, social media and marketing technology companies, and online gaming developers to easily and cost-effectively develop multilingual applications that were once only available to large, international companies. 

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

San Diego is a hub for technology innovation and talented software developers who want a lifestyle that only San Diego can provide. As a global language technology software company with offices in San Diego (as well as Seoul and Paris), we leverage our location to attract the best technicians and software developers on the market.

Software contributes billions of dollars to San Diego’s economy, and the region consistently ranks in the top 10 cities for VC funding nationally and globally. With such a strong investment market, both large and small businesses have more opportunities to invent and thrive. We believe San Diego will continue its growth in software development, life sciences, biotech, cleantech, medical devices, and information and communications technologies.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

Semantic Research is a privately held San Diego software firm that is extending its reach into global markets. Its primary software, Semantica, provides a solution for data organization from multiple channels and is constantly evolving.

Semantica iDEA™ is a unique Intelligent Decision Enterprise Analytics platform from Semantic that provides a single, holistic view of all layers of your data regardless of source or format and without the need for a data warehouse or an integration platform. Advanced analytics add a layer of intelligence on top of data to identify patterns of behavior and links among people, things, places and events. Cool stuff!

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years?

With the growing need for seamless communication across borders and language intelligence technology, we anticipate a steady incline for SYSTRAN’s growth. We are seeing SYSTRAN software being used by Fortune 100 companies and startups alike. SYSTRAN has made a significant investment in its API platform – SYSTRAN.io.  We anticipate that by opening the SYSTRAN language intelligence technology to multi-national companies of all sizes with a cloud-based application, we will see a ground swell of integration between automated language translation and natural language processing in web, mobile and enterprise applications.

SYSTRAN.io is becoming a preferred solution for collaboration bots used on platforms and team messaging apps such as Slack, which offer simplified communication with team members around the world. In today’s need-it-now environments, there's simply no time to click a drop-down box to choose a language or cut and paste. To solve these challenges, SYSTRAN.io is being integrated for real-time translation into collaboration platforms.

SYSTRAN is also seeing wide use among customer support teams to handle real-time translation of complaints, customer feedback or service outages. We see this as a huge market for SYSTRAN’s machine-based translation technology moving forward. E-discovery is another area where automated language technology is greatly needed and we have many law firms and compliance officers using our software daily.

Today, millions of users around the world interface with SYSTRAN multilanguage technology daily. Platform customers include ADP, Adobe and Apple, which integrates a language translation widget on the dashboard of its MacBook. We see opportunities for text and audio language translation software integration growing daily. 

August 30, 2016

EDC investor Innovative Commercial Environments (ICE) is a full service hospitality and office furniture dealership. From design concept to project completion, ICE creates an inspired, ergonomic workplace that allows companies to increase efficiency, creativity and output. In addition to representing more than 300 manufacturers, ICE also fabricates a line of locally made office furniture – supporting local artisans, welders and retired military personnel.

Recently, ICE provided EDC's office with a custom reception desk with walnut “live edge” wood slab accents and laser cut steel signage. We sat down with the company founder & CEO DeLinda Forsythe to discuss ICE's commitment to San Diego.

1)Tell us about Innovative Commercial Environments (ICE).

ICE helps organizations consciously build their corporate culture.  ICE crafts furniture solutions that encourage a company’s staff to connect, solve problems together, grow and ultimately “create magic.”  The open environment encourages team work.  The majority of the workforce today is under 35 and they have a strong affinity towards more simple materials.  They don’t want to work in a space that feels contrived.  They came through a rough recession, they want to work in a space that feels like money was spent wisely.  Our furniture is a fun way to help management build an empowered corporate ecosystem.
 
We've recently expanded from a full service office and hospitality furniture dealership to manufacturing a “brewery inspired” office benching system through ICE WorkShop. 

2) Tell us more about WorkShop and the benefits of innovative office design.

At $1000-$1500 per user, customization can not only be affordable, it can also be designed to complement and enhance the architecture of a space while meeting unique client requirements of height adjustability and flexibility. WorkShop can be designed to reflect your corporate culture, helping attract and retain the best talent at your company.  A talent race is on and we think the authentic design of our WorkiBeam system can provide a competitive advantage.

Join other local manufacturers on Oct. 7 for MFG Day 2016 as we celebrate one of San Diego's most diverse industries.

August 23, 2016

This week EDC sat down with Underground Elephant's CEO Jason Kulpa to discuss the company's recent office opening and expansion in San Diego. Founded in 2008, the 100-person technology company works to advance the online consumer experience in the insurance and financial services sectors. Recently featured in the New York Times piece, "A Beer Garden Lays Down Roots for a Technology Hub," Underground Elephant new innovative office space is driving company success and a collaborative culture.

1) Please tell us what your company does.

Underground Elephant (UE) is a digital marketing and technology company dedicated to advancing the online consumer experience. Starting in the insurance sector, we expanded over the course of 8 years into other financial services including credit cards, bank accounts, mortgages and loans. We have been listed on Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest Growing Private Companies for four consecutive years, seeing 192 percent growth in the past three years. With a team of more than one hundred employees, UE is dedicated to increasing quality interactions between consumers and providers. Recently, we moved our headquarters to the historic Wellman Peck warehouse in East Village. Designed by San Diego’s acclaimed Paul Basile of Basile Studios, the space lends itself to our open and collaborative culture, and is complete with an indoor schoolhouse, five olive trees and an in-house bar.

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

When deciding where to move our company, we considered relocating to Denver or tech-central San Francisco. However, the environment that San Diego provides is hard to find anywhere else. Not only is the weather idyllic, but the top-rated local universities make the area a hotbed for talent. The increase in San Diego tech startups has also created a community here that we wanted to be involved with. Our new headquarters in East Village is the ideal spot for us, since it intertwines the richness of San Diego's history with the future of innovation. Moving into the new space has not only changed our environment, but it’s also increased our entire company’s productivity. For instance, our tech team has reduced their deployment cycles by 62 percent since the move. Being located steps away from Petco Park, countless restaurants and cafes, and entertainment is also a great benefit for our unique, millennial-based culture.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

There are many companies throughout San Diego who are at the top of their industries and contributing to the culture of our city. In the hospitality realm, Please & Thank You Liquor Bar sets itself apart from all other catering companies by offering a distinctively unique cocktails-only service. We have had the pleasure of working with them in our new space; they are truly at the forefront of the craft cocktail industry in San Diego, which is a difficult niche to set yourself apart in since it’s already quite saturated.

Additionally, downtown agencies Red Door and Mirum (formerly Digitaria) are influencers as well, adding to the innovative digital tech hub in East Village with unique company cultures and spaces.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

Our multi-million dollar investment in our office space in East Village signifies our intention to set down permanent roots. The bet is that our investment will trigger others to do the same; we’d like to change downtown into a buzzing work-epicenter. With the lifestyle that San Diego can provide, we believe the city will continue attracting both companies and talent from across the country.

 

Underground Elephant's newly opened office:


May 3, 2016

This week we sat down with Eric Northbrook, managing director at Voit Commerical Real Estate Services to discuss what it means to do business in San Diego. Voit is a privately held, broker-owned Southern California-based commercial real estate firm that has been providing strategic property solutions for clients since 1971. Over the course of 40 years, the firm has completed more than $44.8 billion in brokerage revenues encompassing more than 43,000 deals.

1.Please tell us what your company/organization does.

Voit is all about helping our clients get what they want when it comes to commercial real estate. We are a broker-owned firm dedicated to delivering superior service through our great people and top-of-the line tools and resources. The commercial property market is changing every day, and our goal is to always be out in front of what’s going on so that we can deliver on what gives our clients the results they’re looking for. We represent real estate investors and occupiers of all types of commercial real estate, and each one of them has their own needs, objectives and vision of a quality outcome. Our focus is on helping them get all three. We also strive to create the kind of work environment that will allow us to attract and retain the people who share our passion for being the standard bearer for our industry.

2.What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

San Diego has an excellent blend of economic and lifestyle components that make it a great place to live, work and play. The economy is supported by a broad base of major employment sectors that help maintain overall stability, and the area’s highly regarded universities ensure a steady flow of bright, qualified workers to provide for further growth. Defense, Aerospace, Biotechnology, Action Sports and most recently, the craft-brewing industry are all thriving in San Diego. From a lifestyle perspective, the area is tough to beat. Great weather, beautiful beaches, recreational activities, top-notch food and entertainment, along with a wide variety of housing choices are all just what today’s growing millennial workforce is looking for in a place to call home. It’s no surprise that San Diego continues to outperform all but a few of California’s 58 counties and consistently ranks high in national quality-of-life surveys.

3.San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

We think that Barney & Barney, a San Diego-based insurance agency, is a firm that stands out as a firm at the top its game. Founded in San Diego back in 1909, the company has a rich history of superior service to its clients and philanthropic efforts in the community. The leadership team is also focused on developing talent and promoting from within. Recently, nine employees were promoted to Principal, which demonstrates the company’s commitment to see its own people thrive.

4.What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

I couldn’t be more excited for the future of Voit in San Diego. We just finished our best year ever and our own Randy LaChance was Voit’s top producer companywide for 2015. Our new broker-owned business model makes Voit an even better place for real estate professionals to work. We are also committed to hiring recent college graduates who will help us expand our presence throughout the region. Plans are also underway to open an office in North County so we can provide better service to our customers and attract new brokers to join our team.

San Diego’s future is as bright as I see our own. Activity from the border to Oceanside is up, and our healthy job market will keep the economy in growth mode for the foreseeable future. If there’s a problem in San Diego, it’s the shortage of land to build more commercial properties. Space will get harder to find and be more expensive to lease or buy looking ahead. So, growing businesses will have to find new ways to use space more efficiently. If that can be done anywhere, it will be done in San Diego, as this is a place the best and brightest like to call home.

March 22, 2016

This week, we sat down with Anne Benge, president of Unisource Solutions to discuss how the company is helping revolutionize office space - creating dynamic, collaborative working environments for San Diego's most innovative companies. With offices first in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the company expanded its California footprint with an expansion in San Diego in 2009. Listed among San Diego Metro Magazine's Most Admired Companies, Unisource Solutions has serviced 678 companies in San Diego since its inception.

1) Please tell us what your company/organization does.

Unisource Solutions creates amazing workspaces for clients throughout San Diego, the state of California and across the U.S. Where do you work? Where is your favorite place to think? Where do you go to read financials? Our superior design team works with architecture, real estate, buildings and companies to marry space and culture. Personally, my best thinking is done while I run, I cannot read financials standing (this I have learned since I have a standing desk and when I study our P&L, I move to the kitchen in our office to think). The two biggest issues facing every single CEO that I talk to are how to get the best talent and how to develop or change their company’s culture. Your space, the design of your space and your furniture all make an impact.

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

San Diego is a diverse, fragmented, fantastic market. Educated, entrepreneurial, loyal and international are how we think of this market. I doubt that I could actually be more pro-California. The scale of our city aligns with other powerhouses around the globe and it amazes me during my travels just how exciting that can be – think Helsinki, think Kyoto, think Stockholm, my list goes on and on. The inherent collaborative nature of San Diego makes it the best place in California.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

True to San Diego thinking, I think of people and their companies. Renovate America with Dan Cancelleri building their spaces, Helix with David Becker creating a completely great lab space and John Frager taking CBRE to another level in San Diego.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

Our business is shifting and adapting, along with everyone else. While we are considered a distribution and warehousing company, our growing business is design, project management and facilities management services. We will continue to see healthcare facilities look like five-star hotels, while hotels and offices strive to look like homes and restaurants. Importing global thinking to San Diego will continue to move us forward. Life sciences, defense and technology are thriving and the need for attracting and retaining talent and providing an inspiring place to work will to push us forward.  

Unisource Solutions showroom:

March 15, 2016

This week, we sat down with Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, president of National University and chancellor of the National University System to discuss the university's undeniable impact on our region. For more than four decades, National University has trained our region's workforce – providing convenient, quality education for veterans, adult learners and more. In a new partnership with AMN Healthcare, National University will assist with the development of AMN's online, educational practices and pedagogy aimed at clinical staff. National University – and its partnerships with companies such as AMN – is spearheading the ongoing professional development of our region and workforce. 

1)      Please tell us a little about National University. We’re not looking for the traditional ‘about us.’ Feel free to share anecdotes, projects or interesting facts that others may not know.

National University has deep ties to the San Diego community and our military population. Our founder Dr. David Chigos was, in fact, a Navy retiree and working for General Dynamics when he identified a need to provide quality, accessible education for working professionals. This included for our military community, which faced regular deployments and class scheduling challenges. National University became a pioneer in meeting the needs of adult learners, launching a unique one-class-per-month format that was particularly convenient for our military students to pursue their studies. Since our founding in 1971, we have grown to become the second-largest private, nonprofit university in California. We have more than two dozen locations throughout the state and Nevada, and locally we are in Chula Vista, La Mesa, Spectrum, Kearny Mesa, Carlsbad, Rancho Bernardo as well as at San Diego area military base locations. We also were among the early pioneers of online education, and so our students have a choice or learning online, on campus or through a hybrid format. We offer more than 100 programs in all areas of study, and our Sanford College of Education is among the Top Ten largest in the nation.

2)      Ensuring San Diego has a steady stream of talented university grads is essential to our regional competitiveness strategy. What are some of the advantages to having your university’s footprint in San Diego?

National University is proud to be in and of San Diego since it brings so many opportunities to partner with wonderful organizations dedicated to keeping our region competitive, such as the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.

In fact, you may not realize how many people in our community are National University graduates. They include council members Myrtle Cole and Marti Emerald, former San Diego mayor and police chief Jerry Sanders, who is now CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, School District Superintendents such as Jeff Felix of the Coronado School District and Duane Coleman of the Oceanside Unified School District, and your neighbors and work colleagues.

We are serving a very important need in the San Diego community in collaboration with the other great institutions in our region. About 80 percent of our undergraduate students are transfer students, many who come to us from other local San Diego institutions and community colleges. Many of the students in our graduate programs come from some of San Diego’s well-known institutions, such as San Diego State University, and other CSUs, as well as from the University of California system – so we are clearly providing a pathway to ongoing professional education that will directly serve our community.

We also have established educational partnerships with both the County of San Diego and the City of San Diego, which named us their Preferred Employee Education Partner, to serve our region’s working professionals in the public sector. Community partnerships are important to us, and that includes our involvement as the San Diego Padres’ exclusive education partner. We look forward to holding our commencement at the Padres stadium in 2016.

3)      San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation.  National University is very engaged with many of them. Pick a San Diego-area company that’s at the top of its game.

Education is such a driver for our region’s competitiveness and it’s been exciting to collaborate with a number of companies as they redefine workplace education. One example is with AMN Healthcare, which is one of San Diego’s greatest companies and the nation’s largest provider of healthcare staffing and workforce solutions. AMN’s CEO and President Susan Salka has led a phenomenal team to be at the forefront of redefining the workforce in health care today and is dedicating efforts to ongoing education and training for clinical staff.  We have partnered with AMN Healthcare to complement the company’s extensive and targeted educational efforts by supplying it with the technological framework to enhance its offerings. This has been a great fit since National University was a first mover with online learning, so we are assisting with the development of online practices and pedagogy aimed at clinical staff. What AMN is doing is very impressive and underscores the importance of ongoing professional development in ways that will positively impact our region and workforce. We are pleased to be partnering with AMN on this important initiative.

4)      What do you anticipate for National University in the next 5 years? What do you anticipate for the San Diego region?

I am so pleased to have served over the past three years as both President of National University and as Chancellor of the National University System. Now it’s time to hand over presidential duties April 1 to Dr. David Andrews who comes to us as the highly-regarded Dean of the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. I am confident he will do a superb job and the San Diego community will enjoy getting to know him. I will continue to work closely with Dr. Andrews as I focus more of my attention on the System, a network of accredited nonprofit education institutions serving higher education and K-12 students and anchored by National University.

San Diego is such an innovation-driven community. We are already a clear leader in health, biotech and other major fields, and we can expect even more amazing breakthroughs in the sciences and creative industries in the next five years. Our cross-border region is also one of our greatest strengths, with the potential to make San Diego an even stronger force in the global economy. Partnerships with groups such as the All Star Games 2016 will also put San Diego on the map and allow us to share our great stories with the wider world. Educational institutions such as ours will be critical for identifying market-relevant programs and developing partnerships with the private and public sector. National University has been a pioneer in offering quality education for the working adult, and we will continue to be a leader in providing innovative education models to help address an anticipated need in California of 1.5 million more college graduates by 2025. We will do this through the creation of programs that prepare students for new and in-demand professions, such as our popular cybersecurity program. And we will continue to train a new generation of leaders - great teachers, civic leaders and professionals – as part of our commitment to strengthening our economy one graduate at a time.

We also see ourselves as a major national driver in offering and putting into practice innovative approaches to education. National University prepares more teachers than any other university in California, and we see our role expanding on a national scale by identifying and supporting initiatives that emphasize PreK-12 student development and success. As the home of the Sanford Education Center, launched in 2014, we are currently leading the national adoption of two such programs – Sanford Harmony and Sanford Inspire – to classrooms in San Diego and nationwide in collaboration with universities around the country.  We also have similar plans for our unique “cause sales” fundraising programs developed by the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy to support the work of nonprofits. These three initiatives come from the vision of philanthropist and entrepreneur T. Denny Sanford, and as we are very proud to be leading their national expansion as it aligns closely with our own mission as a private, nonprofit university serving the public good.

March 8, 2016
 

 This week we sat down with Shannon Foster, general manager of Hotel Solamar in downtown San Diego. With an $8 million renovation set to wrap up this month, Hotel Solamar - EDC's newest investor - is adding to the vibrancy of downtown. 

 

1) Please tell us about Hotel Solamar. We’re not looking for the traditional ‘about us.’ Feel free to share anecdotes, projects or interesting facts that others may not know.

Hotel Solamar launched in 2005 and was the first Kimpton in Southern California at the time. Today, Kimpton has 66 hotels and a much bigger California presence—but we’re proud of the fact that we were first in the market. Being an 11-year-old property in the fast-growing downtown neighborhood, we were ready for an update last year and I’m thrilled to say we just completed a full scale renovation. The new design captures the historic essence of San Diego, Balboa Park and the missions, but with a contemporary twist. Another thing we’re really proud of is our service—it’s really like nothing else you will experience in San Diego. It’s anticipatory, genuine and personal.   

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

San Diego is such a fast-growing market, especially in downtown, which has really developed over the last 11 years since we’ve been here. East Village and Gaslamp are perfect examples. Plus, there is no shortage of outdoor activities available to locals and tourists—surfing, hiking, biking, standup paddle boarding, you name it. The restaurant space is also growing and there are so many startup companies situated right here in San Diego.  This is the second largest microbrewery city in the country, blending that into a marriage of healthy fusion of beach life, entrepreneurial spirit and amazing weather year-round. I’m not sure you could ask for much more!   

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

I think Pura Vida is a really wonderful company. The idea behind this business was a simple inspiration found in Costa Rica and started out with 400 bracelets having been sold in 2011, but it has really taken off. They’ve sold over 2 million bracelets and their products are now seen around the world, symbolizing the need to live life to the fullest and to give back to the community. From what I’ve read, they’ve donated nearly $700K to 190 charities, so they are definitely living their social responsibility, which certainly really makes me respect them even more.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

We’ve recently announced a new property in Amsterdam and for the next five years we will have a growing international presence. I think San Diego is going to continue to grow, evolve, and attract the brightest minds from around the world. Because it’s such a great place to do business, newer companies, such as Houzz and Pura Vida are making a mark on the entire country and beyond. I’m excited to be a part of this growth and show our guests daily just how incredible this city is.

 

January 5, 2016

This week we sat down with Seth Stein, president of workforce recruitment at Eastridge Workforce Solutions, to discuss how Eastridge is helping companies refine their talent recruitment processes. With Eastridge's Talent Acquisition Assessment, companies can see how their recruitment and technology practices stack up against their peers, providing insight on how to improve and refine current hiring processes.

For more on talent, attend EDC’s study release event to see how San Diego stacks up against its peer metropolitan cities in talent attraction and retention on Jan. 14. Register here.

1) Please tell us what Eastridge Workforce Solutions does.

Backed by over 40 years of experience, Eastridge Workforce Solutions makes attracting and managing a skilled workforce easier. We develop strategic workforce management programs, innovative technology platforms, and comprehensive staffing solutions customized for your organization. As the success of an organization relies on its talent, businesses partner with Eastridge to solve their workforce needs and stay ahead of the competition.

2) Identify current obstacles companies face in hiring.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics November 2015 report showed the unemployment rate declined to 4.8 percent, the lowest level in seven years. Across the country, niche positions are becoming increasingly difficult to fill as candidates receive numerous compelling offers.

In the recently published Consumer Price Index Report, consumer confidence in the economy is the highest rate in eight years. Candidates are feeling more confident than ever that they can find a position that offers competitive compensation and career growth. With multiple offers, candidates are demanding higher pay—even for entry-level positions.

As San Diego has shifted to a more candidate-driven market, employers have to quickly revise their hiring strategy. In order to secure top candidates, organizations must have a well-defined recruitment process to ensure consistent and repeatable performance through the hiring life cycle. This measures effectiveness and sets a baseline for ongoing expectations.

Organizations that do not have efficient hiring processes, like quick turnaround time from interviews to offers, are subject to losing top candidates to their competitors. To help HR professionals assess hiring challenges in today’s labor market, Eastridge Workforce Solutions developed a Talent Acquisition Assessment to gather data from companies nationwide and learn more about their recruitment performance.

3) How does the Talent Acquisition Assessment enable companies to refine their current hiring processes?

The Talent Acquisition Assessment allows companies to gauge their current recruitment and technology practices against their peers, helping reveal problem areas that exist in current hiring, communication and technology methods.

Organizations that are aware of any gaps that exist in current recruitment processes are better able to secure top candidates and stay ahead of the competition in today’s labor market. Companies that have leading edge recruitment technology and proven talent acquisition practices can source, interview, and hire top candidates quicker. Sticking to outdated methods creates gaps in talent acquisition performance.

December 8, 2015

This week, we sat down with Sean Curtis and Barbara Curtis Smalley of Coffee Ambassador, a family-owned office coffee service company based in San Diego.  Serving over 250,000 cups of coffee a day to businesses across the region, Coffee Ambassador keeps San Diego’s workforce well-charged in the comfort of their own offices.   

1) Please tell us what your company/organization does.

Founded by Bill and Vera Curtis in their Pacific Beach garage, Coffee Ambassador has kept the coffee brewing in San Diego breakrooms for 45 years. Now led by the brother and sister team of Sean Curtis and Barbara Curtis Smalley, the company has used its nearly five decades of experience in the office coffee industry and local business community to create modern coffee solutions for offices of any size.

With the rise in popularity of high-end cafes, today’s workers have raised their expectations of coffee, and those expectations have extended to the workplace. It’s not just about getting a quality brew, although that is a major component. They crave the café experience at work--the opportunity to reflect, connect, recharge, or brainstorm as they would at their favorite coffee shop. Coffee Ambassador creates these great tasting moments at local businesses, where 250,000 Coffee Ambassador cups are filled every day.

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

San Diegans appreciate local quality. Quality weather, food, leisure—these are just some of the things that San Diegans love to enjoy. It’s no surprise then that they understand the value of both having a quality coffee experience at work and supporting a local, family-owned company that is committed to providing superior customer service.

In gratitude for the tremendous local support we have received, we have kept our focus solely on being the “office coffee experts” in San Diego County. Staying local and serving locally allows us to monitor developments in the international coffee industry but implement solutions with a unique understanding of coffee trends within San Diego. 

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

Begun in 1989 as a small screenprinting shop in San Diego, Custom Logos has transformed into a leading national supplier of promotional products and branded apparel.  They still do their own screenprinting and embroidery in house at their Kearny Mesa headquarters, which allows them to closely monitor quality and provide a quick turnaround time. We are big fans of their high-standard products, not to mention their personal and professional customer interaction.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

We anticipate that companies will continue choose San Diego as a draw for high-quality workers and that a number of startups in incubators today will grow into large local presences in the next five years. As a company, we want to grow with them, supporting them from the beginning and then adapting to their changing needs. We also anticipate that as more Millennials join the workforce, the expectation of a better office coffee experience will become tied into quality of life at work. While the products or equipment may change over time, we hope to keep providing the same great tasting moments that our customers have come to expect and appreciate.