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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

Investor Spotlight

October 27, 2015

This week we sat down with Dan Ryan, Executive Vice President and Regional Market Director (San Diego) & Strategic Operations at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE) to learn more about Alexandria’s San Diego operations.


We are thankful to Alexandria for their consistent support of EDC's regional economic development efforts through sponsorship of our study on the Economic Impact of San Diego's Research Institutions, and of the upcoming MetroConnect Grand Prize event on Nov. 17. To join us, click here.

1)      Please tell us what Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. does. 

Founded in 1994, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. established the life sciences real estate niche with its first properties in Torrey Pines, and has evolved into a global office real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on collaborative science and technology urban campuses.  In addition to its large presence in San Diego, Alexandria has a large footprint in Cambridge, San Francisco, New York City and Seattle.

In San Diego, we are known for our significant campuses, such as Campus Pointe, which was California’s first LEED Platinum certified core and shell building.  Our innovative campuses create opportunities to collaborate, and offer unique amenities, including Brian Malarkey restaurants, fitness centers and organic farms. The Alexandria at Torrey Pines, our latest endeavor, serves as a communal place, filling the need to activate the Torrey Pines Mesa with a new restaurant, gym, theater and meeting and event space. Our high-quality tenants include Illumina, Celgene, Eli Lilly, UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute and more. 

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

San Diego is an extremely vibrant, highly educated and entrepreneurial community.  Our dynamic and innovative campuses, complemented by the climate, allow our tenants to recruit and retain top talent.  With a strong concentration of biotech and pharmaceutical companies, the world’s finest sequencing, and renowned institutions, San Diego is one of the most successful innovation clusters.


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 really admire Illumina, a company that not only sets the bar for its industry, but also continually exceeds it.  Illumina is the unequivocal leader in next generation DNA sequencing and Alexandria’s largest tenant on our engaging San Diego campus.  They have a tremendous ability to execute quarter after quarter at the highest level, delivering new technologies and cutting-edge products, and enabling massive adoption of sequencing across healthcare and other industries.


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

Since joining Alexandria five years ago, we have grown and transformed the San Diego region from approximately 1.6 million square feet to nearly four million square feet of highly dynamic real estate today. In the next five years, we will continue to develop relationships with high-quality tenants and will remain committed to growing San Diego’s life science industry.

June 16, 2015


This week we sat down with CEO and founder of Innovative Commercial Environments (ICE), DeLinda Forsythe to learn more about their full service capabilities providing office and hospitality furniture. ICE provides their customers with the ideal furniture solutions. 

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

ICE is a full service hospitality and office furniture dealership.  We help organizations consciously build their corporate culture.  Furniture design has truly evolved and is an unconventional effective way to build your business culture. ICE plans furniture solutions that encourage a company’s staff to connect, play, solve problems together, fail, learn, grow; and ultimately “create magic.”   We use furniture as a tool to build an empowered corporate culture.

Inspired by “The Rainforest” book a rainforest corporate culture is not a mere business theory; it provides a new paradigm for policies and strategies that transcend the way businesses have traditionally worked.  A rainforest environment in an office eliminates hierarchy and encourages teamwork.  The mechanisms of a rainforest touch the heart of a company, making it more efficient and innovative.  It creates an interior environment where vibrant engagement makes it possible to build a culture of inspiration.  Employees working for a common goal will build an inspired company.

Why ICE chose San Diego Final

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

I’ve been in the furniture business for 30 years, starting the first 7 years in Phoenix then San Ramon.  I know how it feels to work in other cities.  There is an amazing camaraderie, warmth and authenticity about San Diego.  We are an intimate 1.3 million!  People genuinely care and want to support each other, our charities and our homegrown companies.  There is no other city I’d rather work, play and live in because of our inclusive community spirit.  I started ICE from a spare bedroom 9 years ago.  From those humble beginnings we’ve made the SDBJ 100 Fastest Growing Companies in San Diego the last 3 years!  It is this inclusiveness that has led to our successful growth.

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.

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries and iboss Cybersecurity is one of San Diego’s fastest growing companies.  According to the Deloitte Fast 500, iboss is the #3 security company with over 60+ patents and patents pending. They also have an industry-leading customer retention rate of over 98.5%. iboss’ rapid growth has fueled both domestic and international expansion.  Its North American headquarters is in San Diego and they’re one to watch!

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

I believe San Diego, along with our neighbor to the south in Tijuana, is poised for explosive growth.  It is vital that we are all politically knowledgeable and engaged. It is our politicians that will lead us legislatively to grow intelligently and protect our environment.  Mixed-use urban and suburban development, which reduces the need to travel, serves every demographic from our seniors to our young families and we must support these projects and adequately plan for this essential, smart growth. 

Everyone now knows what we’ve all known. We are one of the world’s smartest cities and we should be very proud of what we’ve created.


June 2, 2015

This week we sat down with senior director at BNY Mellon, David Noosinow to learn more about what BNY Mellon has in store for the future - as they collaborate with businesses in the region, provide wealth management expertise and lead in global investment.

1) Tell us about BNY Mellon.

Started by Alexander Hamilton in 1784, BNY Mellon is one of the longest-lasting financial institutions in the world. We have endured, innovated and prospered through every economic event and market in the past 230 years. We serve exceptional clients-- many of the world’s leading investors. They rely on us to connect them to opportunities in 100 markets across 35 countries. Our extraordinary people –  experts in their field – make it possible.

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

When I moved to San Diego in December of 2013 to help establish our new office in Del Mar, my primary motivation was to be close to my family, especially my daughter Averi who is in her first year at Mesa College. Before I moved to San Diego, I did not know about the breadth of industries from cyber to healthcare. And innovation is happening in every industry. In San Diego, not only will you  find global leadership in life science, but also a growing technology center, cyber security, sports and active lifestyle, and let’s not forget all the great craft brewing companies on the 78 Corridor.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out one of the biggest advantages the region provides is its active lifestyle. San Diego is where innovation and lifestyle collide.

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 prefer to share my thoughts on the San Diego business community: I have had the fortune to develop many markets in my career, however, I have never experienced a town where the business community and professionals are as collaborative and genuinely supportive of helping our firm establish our regional presence.

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

 In five years, I anticipate BNY Mellon will be the preeminent investment firm in San Diego; supporting innovation and the growth of the business community in the region, and the  business owners and entrepreneurs that our leading the way. After watching the National Geographic’s “World’s Smart Cites” documentary about San Diego, I see the region much in the same way I see many of the startup companies in our accelerators: thriving with life and global potential.   It’s a good time to be in San Diego.



April 21, 2015

iboss Cybersecurity is a leading provider of innovative APT defense, web security and mobile security solutions. It’s Cyber Week in Washington, DC and the RSA Conference — “where the world talks security” — opens today in San Francisco with a lot of San Diego companies, including iboss. With increasing cyber threats to both business and government,cybersecurity is ubiquitous in every industry.  

This week, we had the opportunity to sit down with Paul Martini, CEO at iboss Cybersecurity in San Diego, to learn more about the company’s relationship with the region, and what’s in store for the future.


1) Tell us about iboss Cybersecurity

iboss is on the cutting-edge of cybersecurity, protecting over four thousand organizations from evasive malware and data theft.  Founded in 2003, iboss was created to provide next-gen cybersecurity for today’s complex network environments. Unlike legacy technology, we saw an opportunity to address emerging technology phenomena including mobile connectivity, cloud adoption, increasing bandwidth demands as well as the growing use of non-standard and often hidden Web ports for data stealing attacks.  With the release of FireSphere in 2014 iboss has introduced lean forward patented technology designed to close the critical gap between malware infection and detection, and contain data theft before malware can complete its mission.

We’re very proud of the fact that our technology is consistently cited by customers as being easy to use and supported by world class technical support that has delivered an industry-leading customer retention rate of over 98.5% for the last two years.


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

First, we consistently find prodigious talent in San Diego, including cybersecurity, engineering & software development experts.   Second, we have a many former UC San Diego (my alma mater) students working here, and we’re relocating our headquarters to be across the street from UCSD, which will make it even easier to access students and engage in collaborative research.  Lastly, one can’t forget the sometimes overlooked but significant benefit of being located in such a desirable travel destination, which always adds value for a wide range of visitors, from industry analysts and partners to customers and potential prospects.


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.

San Diego has always been known for defense and is of course a burgeoning hub for technology, cybersecurity and biotechnology.  We recently met with SPAWAR who is doing amazing things to keep our critical infrastructure and data safe.   There are many other great companies developing amazing technology and adding major value to customers and the region alike, including well-known enterprises such as Qualcomm, Solar Turbines, and CareFusion.


4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?
iboss is in a rapid growth phase and we look forward to meeting our goal of nearly doubling employees and overall revenue in 2015.  We’re also eager to move into our new location later this year, a 43,000 square foot facility off the I-5 in La Jolla, to house our worldwide headquarters and state of the art threat research center.   Our new facility is groundbreaking on construction in early April as part of a multi-million dollar renovation.  Once complete, it will house a cutting-edge threat research center, a technology incubator and engineering facilities. The building, which was previously home to SAIC worldwide data center, is primed to support iboss’ cloud infrastructure with multiple fiber drops, fully redundant power and suppression systems. The property will also feature an energy-efficient design, corporate fitness center, putting green, two-story slide and a technology incubator area.  iboss Cybersecurity has ambitious aspirations backed by innovative, patented technology.  Our goal is to be the next billion dollar Cybersecurity Enterprise in our region and we are putting the people and processes in place to achieve it.


April 15, 2015

With more than 100,000 employees worldwide, AECOM is a global company with a strong local presence. They’ve done it all; from rebuilding Ground Zero to helping San Diego County preserve water. Not only do they work on projects that positively impact our economy, but also those that impact our social and environmental well-being.

We sat down with Michael Kincaid, associate principal at AECOM in San Diego, to learn more about the company’s relationship with the region, and what’s in store for the future.

1) Tell us about AECOM
AECOM’s purpose — to positively impact lives, transform communities and make the world a better place — captures the essence of what we stand for and is intended to inspire us each day. Our core values support our purpose and are a reflection of AECOM’s culture. They include:

  • People. The expertise, passion and thought leadership of our talented people around the world make our success possible. We respect and encourage our people’s ideas, diversity and cultures.
  • Clients. We are committed to our clients and to setting industry standards for service and delivery. We take ownership for solving our clients’ problems and anticipating new opportunities.
  • Excellence. We believe in delivering unequivocal excellence in everything we do.
  • Integrity. We must always maintain our commitment to acting ethically and with integrity — in all that we do, every day of the year.
  • Safety. We are a company that puts safety first. We are all accountable for keeping ourselves and our colleague’s safe, and for delivering work safely to our clients.
  • Innovation. We differentiate our company by challenging ourselves to look for new and better ways to deliver our expertise through innovative solutions that enable each client to realize its vision.

These values, which reflect the culture of AECOM, guide the future that we forge together.

2) What are some advantages to doing business in San Diego?
Surf and sun meets innovation.” San Diego is uniquely positioned as a healthy and beautiful place to live, but also the West Coast hub of our military, the epicenter of a significant border region, and a dynamic and innovative center for business and research.  World class universities, clusters of biotechnology companies, defense industry, and communications companies attract talent to San Diego.  Unbeatable weather, world class beaches, parks, and countless opportunities for recreational activities keep people here.   But San Diego’s advantages don’t stop there.  Not only does it boast a bustling urban center promoting sustainable approaches to city living, but also preservation and careful stewardship of San Diego’s unique and precious natural resources continue to develop an environmental appreciation.

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.
Under the helm of Debra Reed, Sempra Energy is a global company pushing the envelope with sustainable fuels and renewable energy. It’s leading the way with investment in clean energy. Having recently broken ground on a new headquarters for its operations in the East Village, Sempra is leading the way in its commitment to its local community, for a safer, healthier, and environmentally more sustainable place to call home.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years?
Recognized by Fortune magazine as a World's Most Admired Company for the first time in our history, AECOM’s debut on the 2015 list is a significant accomplishment that primarily is a testament to the hard work, dedication and talent of our people around the world, who activate our vision and purpose every day. AECOM will continue to make our company even better in the months and years to come.

We will strive for excellence in nine key performance areas:

  1. Ability to attract and retain talented people
  2. Quality of management
  3. Social responsibility to the community and the environment
  4. Innovativeness
  5. Quality of products or services
  6. Wise use of corporate assets
  7. Financial soundness
  8. Long-term investment value
  9. Effectiveness in doing business globally

5) What do you anticipate for San Diego?
San Diego will continue to balance growth with its needs for improved and sustainable infrastructure and infill development along with preserving its local ecosystem, not only to generate and develop economically, but ensure the quality of life for its future generations. AECOM will be a partner with San Diego to realize its vision.

March 31, 2015

It was the early 1950s, and mudflats lined Mission Bay. WWII was over, and the tourism industry was beginning to boom. Where everyone else saw dirt and sand, the Evans family saw an opportunity. In 1953, Evans Hotels was born with the opening of the Bahia Resort Hotel on Mission Bay. Today, the company employs more than 1,000 people at its three award-winning properties: the Catamaran, The Lodge at Torrey Pines and the Bahia Resort Hotel.

We recently sat down with David Cherashore, executive board member at Evans Hotels, to learn more about the company's evolution and its future plans in the region.

1)      Tell us about Evans Hotels.
Recognizing a need for high quality hospitality in the San Diego area, in 1953, Evans Hotels was born with the opening of the Bahia Resort Hotel on Mission Bay. Today, we are three generations in the making as a family in the San Diego area, both as residents and as part of the business community. We pride ourselves in creating a strong, stable working environment for employees. We have 80 employees that have been with our company for more than 20 years. We are an integral part of this city, and the fact that we have employees choosing to make Evans Hotels their career, not just their job, speaks volumes about what we do for employees, customers, and San Diego.  

2)      What are some advantages to being located  in San Diego?
When people think of San Diego, they think about the weather. This is a huge advantage to the hotel industry, but sometimes, what goes unrecognized is the range of activities that are available to visitors. We have multi-generational families staying with us – children, parents and grandparents – and they often remark on how surprised they are on the number of activities available to them. There is the Zoo and SeaWorld for children; adults have nightspots, fine dining, museums and parks. Our region is truly different from other tourist destinations.  San Diego has a soul, a heart. The lifestyle, the weather, the fact is that San Diegans are happy—that’s one thing visitors notice immediately.  Our staff reflects that; we are friendlier, warmer,  and more hospitable. It’s just 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.
 Look at your cell phone- you probably have Qualcomm to thank for it. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor is used in more than one billion devices worldwide. That’s innovation and a global trend by any definition. We also have companies like Mapp Biopharmaceutical which has collaborated in the creation of ZMapp, an experimental new therapy used to treat Ebola patients. Large and small, San Diego companies are addressing global problems.

4)      What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego? 
The future of San Diego and Evans Hotels are interlocked.  In the 80s, people avoided downtown at night, but look at the Gaslamp District today: fine dining, dynamic living options, popular nightclubs, and trendy shops.  This didn’t happen overnight. It shows San Diego is consistently moving in the right direction.  Before 1953, there was nothing on this bay; now, we have two successful hotels there.  This story repeats itself all over San Diego.  At the moment, San Diego has a vibrant economy with an abundance of  innovative companies which are attracting talented individuals with equally innovative dreams and ideas.  This is creating excitement in our city and new opportunities for everyone.  Evans Hotels is part of that.  We want to grow, and we have several projects in development and we are depending on this influx of talent to materialize these plans.  Everything is coming together.

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March 24, 2015

CSUSM 25th Anniversary Logo

This year, Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) celebrates its 25th anniversary. As the only comprehensive public university in North County, they are a major source of talent for San Diego’s dynamic companies. Together with the region’s other universities, they help ensure San Diego’s global competitiveness.

We sat down with Dr. Haynes, president of CSUSM, to hear more about how the university has evolved over the past 25 years and what’s in store for the future.

1) Tell us about CSUSM.
For many years, the University was considered North County’s best-kept secret. Not anymore – the secret is out, Cal State San Marcos is THE university to be at. With 13,000 students and growing, we are nationally considered a large university and we are regionally a high-demand, first-choice institution. CSUSM is the place where dedicated and talented faculty facilitate the success of our students—our region’s future leaders and change-makers. It’s the place where area businesses and organizations partner to foster economic growth and create real-world learning experiences for the sake of stronger communities. And it’s a place with a track record of accomplishments. CSUSM has recently received national recognition for best practices as a model employer, a diverse and military-friendly campus, and a community-engaged institution.

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 located in San Diego?
CSUSM on collaborations with the business community CSUSM is the only public comprehensive university in North San Diego County and we take that role very seriously. Beginning in 2006, we began establishing guaranteed admission agreements with 10 regional school districts, to ensure that students are prepared for college and supported throughout their entire educational journey.We are the only university in our state with a program of this magnitude – creating a college-bound culture for some 200,000 students from across our region.

We have also placed a particular focus on serving educationally at-risk students. We have the highest per-capita numbers, within the CSU system, of student populations often excluded or overlooked by higher education, including Veterans, former foster youth and Native Americans.For the last two years, 52 percent of our graduating classes were the first in their families to obtain a four-year degree.

We are very proud that not only do the vast majority of our students come from our region, but that after graduation some 85 percent of them remain here, equipped with profession-ready skills, creative talents, global awareness and homegrown commitment to help power the regional economy. Our sister public universities in the San Diego region have important roles, each of us filing a unique niche. While CSUSM serves all types of students, we have a strong focus on underrepresented and diverse student populations and those who stay after graduation to give back to their communities and contribute to the regional economy.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation.   CSUSM is very engaged with many of them. Pick a San Diego-area company that’s at the top of its game.
One dynamic company and CSUSM corporate partner that comes to mind is ViaSat, a communication company located in Carlsbad.

Because it is always looking with an eye toward the future, ViaSat has been an invaluable CSUSM champion, providing support and expertise across campus to develop our students and provide real-world learning opportunities. Just to name a few examples:  They support our on-campus Summer Scholars program, which actively engages undergraduates in hands-on STEM research through a 10-week program; they provide multiple internship opportunities to our undergraduate students; and they sponsor events across campus, such as our recent Super STEM Saturday, a celebration of innovation and science education designed to expose and engage kids of all ages, and their families, to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Several of ViaSat’s senior leaders volunteer their time and expertise on multiple college advisory boards, and ViaSat’s President and COO, Rick Baldridge even offered leadership advice and insight into the company and his career path by speaking at “In the Executive’s Chair” – a business course where students hear and learn from regional business leaders. The company’s leadership and input was also invaluable as we developed our new Cybersecurity Professional Master’s Degree.

4) What do you anticipate for the CSUSM in the next 5 years? What do you anticipate for the San Diego region?
For 25 years, there has been great synergy between the University and our region. We have literally grown up together, coming of age as we have helped create, and were fed and nurtured by, regional businesses, organizations, schools, neighborhoods and cities.  Moving forward over the next five years and beyond, we will continue to drive forward as a place of community engagement, a place for academic excellence and research, and a place for welcoming and stimulating environments supporting the success of the rich diversity of students we serve.

We know that the San Diego region will continue to have workforce needs in multiple areas, including the life sciences, healthcare and information and communication technologies.  To meet these demands we continue to survey key stakeholders in multiple business and nonprofit sectors to learn about their expectations and create innovative degree and certificate programs to fill those needs.  Among these are new or planned programs such as our master’s degree program in public health and health information management; stackable certificates, potentially leading to master’s degrees, in international business, business intelligence, tourism and hospitality; and professional master’s degrees in cybersecurity and biotechnology.  Efforts like these are part of our commitment to ensure that our students graduate career-ready to serve the needs of our region.

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January 27, 2015

GIA Logo

In the heart of Carlsbad sits the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Since its founding in 1931, the institution has educated more than 350,000 professionals in virtually every sector of the jewelry industry.  But they are not just an educational institution – they’re also a jobs generator. Since 2013, GIA has brought on 130 diamond graders, and they’re looking to hire 80 entry-level positions in 2015.

From India, to Thailand, and the U.K, GIA has 17 locations worldwide, yet the company remains proudly headquartered in San Diego’s North County.

We sat with Stephen Morisseau, director of corporate communications at GIA, to learn more about the company’s growth plans and why they love calling Carlsbad home. 

1)Tell us about GIA
GIA’s campus in Carlsbad is unique in the gem and jewelry industry. First and foremost, we are an educational institution, helping people prepare for careers in the global gem and jewelry trade. Our students come to Carlsbad from across the country and around the world, taking home an excellent impression of the region and helping more people learn about San Diego. We conduct leading-edge research into gemstones. World-class scientists use our unique resources to delve into the nature and origin of diamonds, rubies, sapphires, pearls and many other gems. GIA’s campus in Carlsbad houses the Richard Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center, the largest and most complete collection of its kind. Lastly, we work to protect consumers by providing gemstone identification and grading reports that help ensure their trust in the gems and jewelry they purchase. 

Why Gia Chose San Diego

2) What are some advantages to being located in San Diego?
Being in San Diego with its well-connected infrastructure puts us close to our campuses and labs across the globe.  North County provides a great talent pool.

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 are very proud to be part of the North County community. That said, the city of Carlsbad has done a great job of attracting new companies while maintaining the quality of life that makes this an attractive place for so many firms and people.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?
Global demand for educated, well-prepared professionals drives demand for our education programs, just as consumer interest in having an independent, third-party evaluation of the qualities of their gemstone jewelry drives demand for our identification and grading services. We anticipate continued growth, both as a global and a local institute. For San Diego, we see the region meeting the challenges of moving America’s Finest City forward.

January 13, 2015

Citizens Business Bank Logo

In early 2014, Citizens Business Bank – a financial services company based in the Inland Empire – made the decision to open up shop in San Diego. Bringing its focus on community-centric banking to the region, they set out to tap into San Diego’s strong manufacturing and real estate firms. In less than a year of operations in the San Diego market, they have already had much success. 
A newcomer to EDC’s investor list, we sat down with Paul Rodeno, Senior Vice President, Regional Manager of Citizens Business Bank in San Diego, to learn about this bank’s regional growth plan.


1) Tell us about Citizens Business Bank
Citizens Business Bank is a financial services company with a bank at its core. Our roots in community banking lend us a unique capability to provide large bank products and solutions with the hands-on touch and personal attention of a local community bank. We provide business banking solutions across government and nonprofit organizations, as well as industrial, title & escrow, dairy & livestock, medical, property management, and real estate industries, among many others.  For over 40 years, Citizens Business Bank has thoughtfully emphasized and represented what is great and essential about community banking: a focused approach on the customer, and the many ways the bank can help them achieve more for their business, their employees, and the customers and communities they serve. 
2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego? 
Why Citizens Business Bank Chose SanDiegoThe San Diego market is made up of many successful small to medium-sized businesses, our target customer base. There are a great number of these successful businesses that are looking for a valued financial partner to help them thrive, which is why we knew San Diego was a good market for our recent expansion.
We aim to work with the best privately-held and/or family-owned businesses throughout California, and will maintain our focus across industrial, manufacturing, medical, property management, title & escrow, nonprofit, and agriculture businesses. All of these industries are well-represented across the region’s dynamic economy.
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. 
It’s impossible to pick one company, so here are a few: Qualcomm, with a great local and international presence, is an iconic brand. Add other innovators, such as ViaSat, Stone Brewing Co., who is leading the craft brewing boom, and action sports firms such as Nixon, SKLZ, and prAna.  San Diego State University, my alma mater, has a tremendous entrepreneurship focus; and the University of San Diego, where I sit on the board of the School of Business, has great rankings, which contribute to the growth of ideas while educating future leaders. As a great local non-profit, California Southern Small Business Development Corporation is a community development lender providing over 600 loans totaling $56,000,000 in the past five years.
4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? 
Citizens Business Bank will be the premier business and community bank in the State of California with a focus on continued growth, enhanced lending initiatives, acquisitions, and our valued relationships with our customers.

January 6, 2015

211 San Diego logo

We kick off our first investor spotlight of 2015 with an interview with John Ohanian, CEO of 2-1-1 San Diego, to learn more about how this valuable organization connects with the business community and makes San Diego a better place to live.
Tell us about 2-1-1 San Diego.
Most San Diegans know when there is a disaster, like a wildfire, they can dial 2-1-1 to speak to a live person 24/7 to get the most up-to-date information on evacuations, road closures and shelter information.
What most people may not know is they can turn to 2-1-1 any time to connect to more than 6,000 community and health services, including affordable health insurance to food or financial assistance, housing resources, substance abuse treatment, care for a child or parent with dementia, resources for our military and veteran community or a grandparent raising their grandchildren. With thousands of services in our community, finding help can sometimes seem impossible. And that’s where 2-1-1 San Diego comes in. 
2-1-1 also provides vital trend information on community needs to foundations and government officials to assist leaders assess and plan for a better future for the San Diego region.
What makes San Diego a good place to operate an organization like 2-1-1?
Why 2-1-1 thrives in San Diego The secret behind 2-1-1’s service is its uniqueness and flexibility in working with thousands of providers to streamline how people access resources in our community. It’s this collaborative spirit of organizations and leaders throughout San Diego that make this region a great place to operate a social utility like 2-1-1. 
While 2-1-1 is not a government agency, but rather a local nonprofit organization with an established business model of fee-for-service contracts, we have strong and longstanding partnerships with corporate, philanthropic and government partners like the County of San Diego, SDG&E, Qualcomm, and Susan G. Komen that have changed the San Diego landscape of how people connect to community resources. 
Whether it’s establishing technology roadmaps together to make sure 2-1-1 is ahead of the curve to better serve the community, or providing a one-stop-shop for people seeking resources for breast cancer, to utilizing 2-1-1’s contact center platform to raise awareness about benefits callers are entitled to, 2-1-1 and our valuable partners work together to meet the needs of our community.
San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company or organization that is at the top of its game. 
For 40 years, Nuffer, Smith, Tucker has been a leading community pillar in San Diego. Offering all the bells and whistles of a high profile corporate entity, Nuffer, Smith, Tucker fashions itself a boutique communications firm, providing trusting and intimate client/executive relationships and high-quality creative services through reliable and trusting staff who take clients on journeys to explore possibilities. They take ideas and create a vision, and then bring that vision to life. 
What do you anticipate for your organization in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego? 
At our 10-year milestone, 2-1-1 has made more than 2.5 million connections to community, health and disaster services.  
When we reflect on those connections, we see our community connecting with us in multiple channels, beyond our easy to remember 3-digit phone number.  We are developing mobile websites, apps and engaging our social media platforms and chat capabilities.   We envision a community-wide ecosystem of organizations that share data, resources, and solutions; and ultimately where customers, 2-1-1 and service providers work toward solutions together. 
We are currently working with our public safety partners to ensure that 2-1-1 can provide assistance directly with First Responders when they face families and individuals with daily non-emergency needs such as food, housing and other health care options.  We are also building on existing partnerships with fire, police and other jurisdictions to share critical information during times crisis. 
In our immediate future, we are kicking off our 10-year anniversary at the Annual 2-1-1 Connections Luncheon on February 20 at the San Diego Convention Center.