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Mega-Region

May 30, 2013

San Diego Regional EDC 48th Annual Dinner

America leads the world in innovation says Jim Clifton, author of The Coming Jobs War and Chairman and CEO of Gallup, but innovation alone is not enough to fuel job growth. Clifton was in town to give the keynote speech at San Diego Regional EDC’s annual dinner. More than 800 people listened in almost total silence (no mean feat for a group that size) as Clifton talked about the difference between innovation and entrepreneurship. According to Clifton, we know how to test for intellectual talent and scout intellectual talent but we have no mechanism to determine who can best take those ideas to the marketplace. And without a customer, the best ideas do nothing for job creation.

Clifton picked up on the dinner’s recurring theme of collaboration as reflected in the comments of EDC Chairman Stath Karras and EDC President and CEO Mark Cafferty. He referred to his concept of “tribal leaders” in a community, those who constantly question and suggest new approaches to issues. “When leaders get their strength together, there is no limit to what you can do,” Clifton said, recognizing that most of the region’s leaders were in the room.

Clifton acknowledged one of San Diego’s best examples of a tribal leader – Malin Burnham – who was instrumental in bringing Clifton’s ideas to the business community and in bringing Clifton himself to San Diego.

Clifton made it clear that no one should be looking to Washington for solutions to America’s problems. “We have to win the world back one great city at a time,” he said.

EDC’s annual dinner also honored former EDC Chairman Bill Geppert with the Herb Klein Civic Leadership Award. Geppert was humble and gracious in his remarks, mentioning many beloved San Diegans who came before him as great civic leaders.

Many people took to twitter to discuss the event:

 

 

May 13, 2013

“It’s clear to us we are a global city,” said City of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner as he kicked off a press conference and town hall on May 13. Its focus was the need for the San Diego region to increase export activity in order to grow jobs and economic prosperity. It may be clear to San Diego, but it might not be clear to the rest of the world. He's out to change that perception and at the same time create more of the middle class jobs that were once the backbone of the San Diego economy. "We have not fulfilled our potential," he said, adding that we have the political will to change.

Each speaker commented on the findings of a market assessment that was the catalyst for the gathering. The market assessment is the first key step in the Brookings Metropolitan Export Initiative, a program focused on helping eight regions create collaborations from the ground up to design and implement customized metropolitan export plans.

City of San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey pointed out that San Diego has lots of advantages other areas don’t have, such as our technology sectors.

Michael Masserman, from the U.S. International Trade Administration came to offer his agency’s support which includes opening markets for exports and entering into trade agreements to facilitate exports. “Jobs in export-oriented companies pay 15 – 20 percent higher wages that their non-exporting counterparts,” said Masserman.

Elliott Hirshman, president of San Diego State University, discussed the importance of international engagement in educating the workforce of the future citing a substantial increase in international programs at San Diego State.

Peter Cowhey, dean of the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at UC San Diego, presented highlights from the market assessment. Cowhey, along with two of his graduate students, was responsible for conducting the survey and collecting the data for the market assessment. “San Diego is punching well below our weight,” said Cowhey, pointing out that although San Diego is the country’s 17th largest metropolitan economy, we rank only 55th when examining exports as a share of our regional economic output.

The market assessment revealed that San Diego’s exporters see a need for infrastructure development in three major areas: port, airport and cyber infrastructure.

Bob Nelson, vice chair of the board of port commissioners, agreed that if the region is going to see growth in exports then we need to see growth in infrastructure. The Port has in the works infrastructure improvements worth close to $100 million.

Robert Gleason, board chair of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, said that San Diego International Airport has a critical role to play in increasing export activity. That includes additional international non-stop service and increasing cargo capacity. An added benefit of more international visitors (which are also considered exports) is that they typically spend almost double what a domestic visitor spends on a trip.

Steven Weathers, president and CEO of World Trade Center San Diego, an organization that provides direct services to exporting companies, said that many people ask him, “What’s the big goal?” His answer? “Job creation – sustainable, diverse, job creation.”

photo left to right: Mayor Bob Filner, City Councilman Mark Kersey, Michael Masserman, Peter Cowhey, Bob Nelson, Robert Gleason, Elliot Hirshman, Steven Weathers

Access the full report: San Diego Metropolitan Export Initiative Market Assessment

Media coverage 

Region needs to boost exporting, report saysU-T San Diego
Local leaders push boosting trade, The Daily Transcript  
San Diego could be exporting more, Brookings Institution reports, KPBS

 

 
 

                                  

April 19, 2013

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

Economic impact:

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

Protecting sensitive species:

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

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

April 10, 2013

What Makes San Diego an Ideal Home for Your Business?

Moderator Randy Frisch addresses a packed room at the Forum

Six private sector executives told 300 forum participants about their experiences doing business in San Diego. The panel was part of the 2013 Regional Economic Development Forum sponsored by San Diego Gas & Electric, Wells Fargo and the Morgan Family Foundation. San Diego’s regional forum is the first of 15 forums gathering input that will culminate in the California Economic Summit in Los Angeles in November 2013.  Broad questions touching on successes, challenges and the ubiquitous Why San Diego? brought mostly positives from the panelists. Bottom line: we need more of what we’ve got – more talent, more capital, more support for entrepreneurship. The only thing we need less of is regulation – actually the panelists’ companies are willing to comply with regulations – but they uniformly called for better coordination among regulators.

 

Craig Bartels, vice president of technology for Hydranautics, described how his company has to keep changing and reinventing, citing that 30 – 40 percent of their sales are from products introduced within the last three years. San Diego has the talent and the know-how to innovate so Hydranautics can stay on the leading edge of their industry, which is providing technology for reverse osmosis water treatment.

Joseph Mahler is CFO of Synthetic Genomics, a company using genomics to create sustainability for food and fuel. The company is currently focused on algae biofuels. Mahler calls it “intellectual capital,” and says San Diego has what it takes to anchor a core in genomics and that we should focus on leveraging the talent here to build capacity in the industry.

Panelist from a diverse range of businesses discuss why they chose San Diego

Brick Nelson is the corporate lead executive for Northrop Grumman Corporation in San Diego.  As someone who was transferred to San Diego, with peers around the country in similar positions, he said that San Diego has no equal in the country in terms of partnerships and the spirit of collaboration. Nelson reiterated the need for “smart, young folks,” and mentioned STEM education as very important in an industry where many employees will soon be aging out of the workforce.

Matt Raine, executive vice president of business development at Evolution Hospitality, brought the perspective of the tourism industry to the panel. His company provides hotel management services to a range of hotel properties, including 10 in San Diego. Raine described the three pillars of San Diego’s tourism industry as groups, leisure and government business. However, one area where San Diego trails other major cities is the number of individual business travelers. He stressed the importance of marketing the destination.

Don Rockwell is the CEO of Aqua Lung International, a company that develops, manufactures and distributes sports and defense equipment. Rockwell described San Diego as a hub for dive companies – even the industry association is located in San Diego. When asked what San Diego can do for his business, he mentioned water quality as a concern.

Tom Tullie, president and CEO of ecoATM, talked candidly about the challenges of raising capital from local sources. While he thinks San Diego has a good angel community, entrepreneurs must still look outside San Diego to raise significant venture money. His company, which provides automated, self-serve kiosks for recycling electronics, has benefited from the support network provided by CommNexus and their incubator EvoNexus, and CONNECT.

Check out the complete briefing book from the forum that gives an overview of regional priorities and continue to join the conversation on twitter #Caeconomy

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. 

TAGS
March 4, 2013

CaliBaja MegaRegion

How many positive articles about Mexico does it take to confirm a trend? Three seems about right, but add in a major think tank calling 2013/2014 the “Year of Mexico,” and you’ve got a full-fledged movement going on.

First came Chris Anderson’s New York Times opinion piece titled “Mexico: The New China,” where he describes his cross-border company 3D Robotics. With facilities in both San Diego and Tijuana he is able to do what he calls “quicksourcing,” where the short supply chain between the two locations enables the company to innovate faster and control inventory more efficiently. Anderson, who was the editor of Wired before he left to join 3D Robotics full time, compares the Hong Kong and Shenzhen special economic zone of the late 1990s and early 2000s to today’s experience working between San Diego and Tijuana. “The sense of possibility I felt when I first crossed from Hong Kong to Shenzhen in 1997 is what I now feel when I cross from San Diego to Tijuana,” said Anderson.

Flat-worlder Thomas Friedman weighed in from Monterrey, Mexico on “How Mexico Got Back in the Game,” with stats on Mexico’s trade with the U.S. – a staggering $1.5 billion a day. Friedman cites The Financial Times reporting that Mexico has signed 44 trade agreements, which is more than any country in the world, and exports more manufactured products than the combined exports of all other Latin American countries. “Better integration of Mexico’s manufacturing and innovation prowess into America’s is a win-win. It makes U.S. companies more profitable and competitive, so they can expand at home and abroad, and it gives Mexicans a reason to stay home and reduces violence,” wrote Friedman.

Violence is where USA Today’s article “Mexico’s commerce crawls back from drug war’s chaos,” started – but the story focused on the fact that border violence has been dropping steadily in the last year –  quoting a study from the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute citing that organized crime-related murder in Mexico dropped 21 percent in 2012. In Mexico’s six border states the drop was a dramatic 32 percent.  San Diego Regional EDC’s Christina Luhn, who leads the Cali Baja Bi-National Mega-Region initiative, worked closely with the reporters and introduced them to people on both sides of the border.

EDC Vice President Sean Barr was in Washington DC last week for meetings at the Brookings Institution regarding their Metropolitan Export Exchange program where teams of metropolitan leaders are working on developing Metropolitan Export Plans to improve their global trade strategies so the nation can remain a center of growth and innovation for years to come. At the meeting Brookings announced that 2013/14 will be the “Year of Mexico.” According to Barr, the ongoing reshoring and nearshoring trends have attracted their attention. Their effort will start with an in-depth study of US-Mexico supply chains.  “The Mega-Region Initiative is of considerable interest to them,” he told the EDC team.

Let’s make sure it’s really the year of cross-border progress.

 

March 1, 2013

A message from Mark Cafferty

 
As you are aware, the law of sequestration will likely take effect today. The result – essentially a 10 percent across-the-board cut of all federal programs, projects and activities – will bring a dense rolling wave of financial implications for our region.
 
The impact to our military economy is significant. The impact to our innovation economy is troubling. The impact to our tourism economy compounds the problem we already have with the region’s TMD standoff. Effects throughout the local economy will be felt in the coming months and thousands of jobs are at risk, quickly making this a harsh reality for families and businesses across the region.
 
These cuts have the potential to set back medical research and our innovative economy by a generation or more, according to former NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni. Imagine all that will be lost – life-altering innovations, technological breakthroughs, not to mention jobs and businesses. There will be immediate impacts, for sure. We’re already seeing some. But the long-term effect – the slow and steady burn – is what really has the potential to hurt San Diego most. 
 
Our partner Larry Blumberg, Executive Director of the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC), put it this way: “Defense contractors are going to be the first ones let go — and we know some of them are already starting to receive pink slips. In mid-April, the Department of Defense is going to furlough civil servants one day a week. This would impact 25,000 San Diegans, and a day’s pay for each of them is a lot of money to take out of the local economy.”
 
Just this past Tuesday, EDC received notice from GD NASSCO that the company has informed 1,040 employees in San Diego, Norfolk and Mayport that layoff notices would likely be issued in early April. Notices from BAE, Continental Maritime and other shipbuilders also have been received by our office over the past month totaling an additional 1,321 job losses. The job numbers are real and estimated to total more than 5,500 in the shipbuilding industry alone.  
 
It’s also worth noting that sequestration is only one of the challenges coming out of Washington.  We face additional threats in the weeks ahead.
 
On March 27th, the current continuing resolution (CR), the mechanism through which the federal government draws funds it needs to operate, will expire. A federal government shutdown is on the horizon without a new CR in place before the end of March.
 
At some point toward the end of March, President Obama is expected to deliver a budget for fiscal year 2014. Based on everything we are hearing in Washington, I believe a request for another round of base realignment and closures (BRAC) will likely be included within that 2014 budget.
 
On May 19th, the current debt ceiling will be reached, which represents an unprecedented fourth fiscal event in three months with serious implications for the country and San Diego’s economy.
 
There is plenty our region must do. EDC, SDMAC, the Chamber of Commerce, CONNECT, BIOCOM and other partners are ramping up efforts in Washington, Sacramento and throughout the region to ensure that our military and innovation economies are protected. We thank you all for your interest and support to date. As always, we will work to keep you informed of both the implications and challenges we face, along with our plans for addressing them in the weeks ahead. 
 
TAGS
December 21, 2012

“Good News of the Week” was born out of a casual conversation in the conference room. Someone mentioned the positive headlines the region was getting and before we knew it we’d been around the room and everyone had something to contribute. We live in one of the greatest places in the world and it seems like we don’t spend enough time recognizing our regional accomplishments. So we started pulling together the good news of the week and sending it out to our stakeholders. Now, people from around the region send us their news and week by week we have seen the readership grow.

This week, we thought we’d mix things up a bit: we present to you “Good News of the Year,” a collection of the top 10 stories that came out of the region in 2012.

Here’s to many more positive headlines in 2013.

Wishing you the best,
San Diego Regional EDC Team

P.s. If you don't subscribe to our newsletter now, you can do it here.



1. Clinton lauds San Diego's model of collaboration
In September, the region gained national attention when Former President Bill Clinton made an appearance on Jon Stewart’s "The Daily Show." When asked about how public and private entities could work together, he immediately jumped to San Diego as a model of collaboration, citing Qualcomm, UC San Diego , and Craig Venter as innovative partners in the region. That wasn't the first time Clinton praised the region. In June, he made similar remarks on CNBC's "Closing Bell." You can watch the complete clip of Clinton's "The Daily Show" appearance here:http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-september-20-2012/exclusive---bill-clinton-extended-interview-pt--2/ (3:30 is where he begins talking about the region.) 
 

 

2. Operation San Diego in full force
San Diego is home to the largest concentration of military in the world. With a quarter of the jobs in the region linked to the military, sequestration (automatic spending cuts that will be triggered if a budget resolution is not passed), threatens to ripple through every sector of San Diego's economy. Recognizing the threat to the local economy, business and community leaders have worked together on a collaboration known as "Operation San Diego," an initiative to protect the region's military assets. lt has been widely successful: regional leaders have helped establish a full-time presence in Washington and were invited to speak at a White House Business Council meeting. Numerous community and business related educational panels have also been held. On a state level, San Diego has been looked to provide leadership in this area, proving that San Diego has the resources to mobilize not only the region, but the state.
 

 

3. Filner becomes SD's 35th Mayor
On Dec. 3, crowds from around the Mega-Region gathered  to watch Bob Filner become the 35th mayor of City of San Diego. Filner proposes to bring new voices to City Hall to reflect our more ethnically diverse city, improve relationships with municipal employee unions, make the port an engine for job growth, and to focus additional attention on individual neighborhoods.
 

 

4. Forbes names Debra Reed a 'power woman'
There are now 20 female CEOs running America's largest companies; one of them is right here in San Diego. In August, Former EDC Chair and CEO of Sempra Energy Debra Reed was recognized by Forbes as one of the nation’s most influential female CEOs. Also recognized as one of Fortune's "50 most powerful women in business" for the second straight year, Reed became chairman of Sempra in December.
 

 

5. Brookings mentors San Diego to create International Export Plan
The world renowned Brookings institution  selected San Diego to participate in its Metro Export Initiative, a project that helps regions implement customized Metropolitan Export Plans. As the eighth largest city in the U.S., San Diego ranks 17th among the top 100 largest U.S. metro areas in international exports. The plan, which will be formulated in 2013, will help expand San Diego's exports and increase job creation throughout the Mega-Region. 

 

 

6. SD establishes a direct link to Asia
On Dec. 2, a 787 Dreamliner aircraft  left Lindbergh Field for Narita International Airport in Tokyo, establishing San Diego's first direct flight to Asia. The new service provided by Japan Airlines is expected to have a huge economic payoff for San Diego due to a forecasted 67 percent spike in visitors to the U.S. from Asia over the next five years. With nonstop service to both Asia and the United Kingdom, San Diego is joining its big-city rivals as a player in the growing market for international travel.
 

 

7. Soitec opens plant in SD
It's no surprise that San Diego is leading the way in renewable and solar energy. If the region were a nation unto itself, it would rank among the top 25 nations in the world in terms of solar capacity. Solar Giant Soitec helped the region uphold this ranking when it chose San Diego as its new North American home, creating 450 jobs in the region. The Rancho Bernardo facility, which opened on Dec. 19, is located in a newly expanded enterprise zone.
 

 

8. SD quenches thirst with new desalination plant
The region recently made national headlines when the San Diego County Water Authority voted to utlize the largest water desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere with the recent approval of Poseidon Resources' Carlsbad Desalination Project. The project provides 50 million gallons of water to the city per day, enough to quench the thirst of 450,000 residents, as well as reduce its reliance on outside sources. The construction of the plant will provide more than 2,300 jobs and will sustain 575 jobs when it is completed in 2016.
 

 

9. California's economy on rebound
When the global economy started to collapse in 2007, out-of-state politicians, the media and others painted California as the poster child of the economic downturn. It was a long slog but in 2012, there have been more positive indicators that things are continuing to improve: tourism and manufacturing have seen steady upticks, companies are not only staying in the region, they're moving here. We've seen that San Diego, with its superb quality of life and tremendous talent pool, has proven that it has the unique ability to be where California begins again.

10. Community funds public market
Seattle has Pike Place. London has Borough Market. San Diego will soon have its own permanent fixture to add to this list: The San Diego Public Market in Barrio Logan. What is most remarkable about this projects is the fact that it was initially funded entirely through the community with kickstarter, a platform for funding creative projects. In six short days, the community came through, raising more than $100,000 via 1,379 backers. The market will permanently open in spring 2013.

 

TAGS
November 29, 2012

A series of recent articles and reports emphasize what San Diego mega-region watchers already know: Mexico’s auto industry is quickly becoming one of the country’s major manufacturing success stories. A publication released by Jones Lang LaSalle outlined why they believe Mexico “is an increasingly attractive supply chain (manufacturing and distribution) location when looking to access the United States and elsewhere.” They mention low labor costs (while China’s are increasing), a skilled workforce (more than 90,000 students graduate from engineering and technology programs every year) and ever-improving supply chain infrastructure – with shipping lead times a fraction of what they are from China (15-20 days or more to US ports from China versus 48-72 hours direct to market by truck from Mexico).

The Wall Street Journal weighed in on the topic with an article detailing the plans major car makers have for expanding production facilities in Mexico, including Volkswagen, Honda, General Motors, Mazda, Fiat and Nissan. Volkswagen’s Audi division is planning a new plant with a $1.3 billion price tag.

According to the Wall Street Journal, one in 10 cars sold in the US last year was made in Mexico. The country ranks fourth in auto exports behind Germany, Japan and South Korea but the Mexican government believes they will pass South Korea in the coming years based on the level of planned expansions.

Finally, a special section dedicated to Mexico appeared in The Economist magazine with one article aptly titled “Seńores, start your engines.” In addition to the same positive comments regarding labor costs, skilled workers and transportation, their commentary points to the ambition of new president Enrique Peńa Nieto to increase annual growth in the Mexican economy to 6% during his six-year term. The auto industry will play a significant role in making that growth a reality.