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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


CareFusion

October 8, 2014

On the first Friday of every October, manufacturers across the country open their doors to the public to celebrate National Manufacturing Day (MFG Day). Last Friday, San Diego had 28 companies – more than any other region in California – participate in the day’s activities. Companies representing San Diego and Northern Baja’s diverse industries from biotech to aerospace, UAV and beer, united to show San Diegans all that’s made right here in our backyard.

In case you missed the morning’s panel and tours, we’ve compiled a list of things we’ve learned about these San Diego makers.

  1. Science and beer can share a roof
    Beer is science. If there is any company that demonstrates this, it’s San Diego-based White Labs, which was one of the innovators that opened its doors to the public this MFGDay. Part laboratory, part brewery, they are participating in another innovation activity San Diego knows well: decoding the genome; except instead of looking at the human genome, they’re looking to unravel beer’s DNA.
  2. Northern Baja is the gold standard of manufacturing
    CareFusion is one company that’s using the mega-region to its advantage. As a medical device manufacturer, they have acquired companies all over the U.S. However, all of its U.S. manufacturing facilities pale in comparison to its facilities right across the border, in Tijuana and Mexicali, said Carlos Nunez, chief medical officer of CareFusion, at a kickoff panel hosted by EDC on the morning of MFG Day. Many other innovators throughout San Diego have pointed to access to Mexico as a reason to set up shop in the region.

    On Sunday, CareFusion announced they were being acquired by Becton, Dickinson & Co (BD), a New Jersey-based medical technology company. The acquisition is further evidence of San Diego’s ability to develop sought-after, innovative companies. BD is committed to maintaining an active presence in San Diego, which we can speculate may be due to the mega-region’s strong R&D and manufacturing capabilities.
     
  3. East County is where music is made
    Two of the world’s most renowned musical instrument companies call East County home. Taylor Guitars, which has won the affection of musical talents including San Diego’s homegrown Jason Mraz, is located in El Cajon. This year marks the company’s 40th Anniversary. On MFG Day, tour goers were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the company that employs more than 400 people in the region.

    The largest banjo manufacturer in the U.S. is headquartered in Spring Valley. Deering – The Great American Banjo Company, was another company San Diegans were invited to tour on MFG Day.
  4. San Diego flies above the rest in UAVs
    In May, San Diego was one of the first 12 communities in the U.S. selected to participate in the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, which allows the region to compete for a pool of $1.3 billion to support the local manufacturing industry. The region was selected specifically for its expertise in aerospace manufacturing.

    On Friday, two very different aerospace manufacturers – Northrop Grumman and 3D Robotics - invited people to their respective locations to check out their innovations first had. Both of these companies have made a name for themselves for their work in the unmanned aerial vehicles field.
    In Rancho Bernardo, Northrop Grumman treated tour goers to a peak at its Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence, where spectators got to meet a very impressive 21-year-old engineer.

    In Otay Mesa, 3D Robotics showed off its indoor testing facility. The UAVs are assembled right across the border in Tijuana. At Friday’s panel, Guillermo Romero, a director with the company, spoke about the collaboration between his facilities on both sides of the border. His team can design a world-class UAV in San Diego, and manufacturer in Mexicali the same day.
     
  5. Manufacturers are hiring…and they pay well
    Manufacturing provides strong middle-class jobs to many San Diegans. With more than 2,900 companies in the manufacturing ranks, the industry represents about 8.7 percent of all jobs in San Diego, yet it accounts for 12.2 percent of all wages.

    One company that is looking to ramp up hiring is General Dynamics NASSCO. The shipyard is looking to bring on 1,000 new employees for jobs including welding and shipfitting. As Kevin Graney, vice president and general manager of the shipbuilder said at Friday’s panel, “If you can weld, come see me after.” The Barrio Logan company is committed to helping fill those jobs through apprenticeships and skills training.

    Community colleges, apprenticeships and other job training programs are vital assets as San Diego companies look to fill these vacant positions. As panelist Dave Klimkiewicz of the iconic Sector 9 skateboards said, “Not everyone needs to go to college, but everyone needs to live.” He talked about the need to bring back hands-on classes at the middle and high school level. Panelist Bob Cassidy of ViaSat also discussed the need to fill the workforce pipeline with more highly-skilled manufacturing technicians.