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Northrop Grumman

March 27, 2018

"Why Economic Inclusion is Crucial To San Diego," was originally published on GlobeSt.com. Reporter Carrie Rossenfeld interviewed Cynthia Curiel of Northrop Grumman.

It’s vital that San Diego employers act to close the minority-achievement gap, equip small businesses to compete and address the affordability crisis, Northrop Grumman’s Cynthia Curiel tells GlobeSt.com.
 
San Diego Regional EDC recently launched a data-driven initiative to drive economic growth and inclusion in the region. Catalyzed by San Diego’s participation in the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program learning lab in 2017, EDC released research that highlights the region’s economic pain points and necessity for an employer-led approach to tackling inclusivity issues. Simultaneously, the organization held a program called “Future of Growth: the economic case for inclusion,” with keynote remarks by Amy Liu, Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.
 
“Despite record-low unemployment and a renowned innovation ecosystem, San Diego has an inclusion problem that cannot be ignored,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC, in a prepared statement. “Small businesses cannot compete with larger corporations, while one million people cannot afford to live here. This initiative is a call to action for San Diego’s employers – we must come together to bridge the gaps in our economy.”
 
Convened by EDC, a steering committee of local employers will work to create an actionable platform to achieve three goals: close the minority achievement gap; equip small businesses to compete; and address the affordability crisis. The committee consists of nearly 40 local employers including Northrop Grumman, Solar Turbines, Sempra, Thermo Fisher Scientific, San Diego Padres and more.
 
We spoke with Curiel about why economic inclusion is so vital for our region, what some of the best practices for inclusion are and advice she would give to other companies about inclusivity.
 
GlobeSt.com: Why is economic inclusion imperative for growth internally and across the region?
 
Curiel: Our nation is facing record-low unemployment rates. At face value, this is good news—it means people are working and the economy is producing, but it also means that employers and regions are facing intense competition for skilled talent. While it is important to ramp up talent-attraction efforts, we also must look to incubate a local talent pool. However, when looking at our current economic realities, this is a difficult feat for San Diego to accomplish. For starters, San Diego is an expensive place to live, with the fourth-highest cost of living in the nation.
 
Secondly, small businesses are the backbone of San Diego’s economy. More than 98% of our businesses are small businesses (under 100 workers). On average, small businesses pay 20% lower wages than their peers, making it more difficult to compete for talent. Lastly, although there may be an abundance of jobs in the innovation economy, there is a shortage of skilled workers to occupy them. Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing demographic population in San Diego, yet are statistically the least prepared for high-skilled, high-wage careers, with only 15% holding at least a bachelor’s degree.
 
The compounded impact of a high cost of living, small businesses that cannot afford to pay competitive wages and low educational achievement in our fastest-growing population have created a problem that if ignored, will undermine San Diego’s regional competitiveness. While the answer is not easy or straightforward, it’s vital that San Diego employers act to close the minority achievement gap, equip small businesses to compete and address the affordability crisis.
 
GlobeSt.com: What are some best practices for inclusion in this sense?
 
Curiel: Simply put, the face of our workforce needs to reflect the face of our nation. At Northrop Grumman, we believe that fostering diversity and inclusion in our workforce and workplace is pivotal to promoting innovation and increasing productivity and profitability.
 
We offer a wide range of programs and activities turning our leadership focus on diversity and inclusion into tangible reality for our people from programs that cover education, employee-resource groups and work/life balance assistance, to name just a few.
 
We believe that a diverse workforce is a stronger and higher-performing workforce that results in more-engaged employees, which drives greater creativity and innovation into our business, resulting in more-impactful outcomes for our customers.
 
We want our employees to be comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work every day, which ultimately makes our company stronger, more resilient and more unified when faced with challenges in a rapidly changing and competitive world where we need everybody pulling together.
 
We also hire and mentor our nation’s wounded warriors through Operation Impact. By investing in underrepresented groups, we are not only enabling individuals to reach their full potential, we’re also leveraging untapped resources full of unique experiences, ideas, knowledge and skills to make our company, our culture and our products better.
 
We also know that in order to grow and diversify the talent pipeline, we need to inspire STEM- curious minds at an early age and that’s where our work starts. We partner with school districts and non-profit organizations in a deliberate effort to reach K-12 students from underrepresented communities throughout San Diego County. Some of our strategies include bringing kids on campus for hands-on STEM activities and high school internships, sending our engineers into the community to talk about their careers and providing direct financial support to public schools and non-profit organizations with engineering and technology-based programs.
 
Through the Northrop Grumman Foundation, we are able to expand our reach as we work to connect youth to STEM careers and provide professional development resources for their teachers. Each year we send students and educators from local school districts to Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. Through the Foundation’s Fab School Lab program, Harriet Tubman Charter and the Del Dios Academy of Arts & Science both received $100,000 grants to build state-of-the-art science labs at their schools. For the past few summers, we have hosted local middle-school teachers with a focus on science and technology at our sites in San Diego for a two-week externship where they develop lesson plans based on “real world” applications of STEM principles. In addition, to extend our pipeline of talent through college, graduation and into the workforce, we have robust programs in place where we build direct relationships with some of the most talented engineering students in the country. We are focused on a number of target colleges, including those right here in San Diego, such as San Diego State University and University of California San Diego. This ensures that we are harnessing the strength of our local talent; we are hopeful that by engaging with students at a younger age, they will be inspired and excited by the broad range of opportunities that Northrop Grumman and other local companies offer once they enter the workforce.
 
GlobeSt.com: What advice would you give to other companies that are looking to be more inclusive?
 
Curiel: An investment in your community is an investment in your company. It’s no secret that San Diego is home to some of the brightest minds in the world, especially given the life-changing technology and life-sciences developments taking place. But just think of how many more brilliant minds there would be in our local talent pool if employers embraced diversity and provided the same resources and opportunities to San Diegans in disadvantaged parts of our region. Creating training programs and educational opportunities in these communities is just one way to promote inclusion, develop local talent and create lifetime advocates for your company. So, take a look around. Your next top engineer or scientist could be waiting for you to give them the tools to help them get there.
 
GlobeSt.com: What else should our readers know about the EDC’s recent inclusive- growth event?
 
Curiel: We must recognize that the issue of inclusion is, in fact, an economic imperative and must be systematically addressed by employers and policy makers—not simply left to philanthropy. As San Diego employers, it is our job to embrace the different pathways and experiences of this diverse workforce and use it to our advantage. The Inclusive Growth event included a keynote from the Brookings Institute’s Amy Liu, San Diego Regional EDC’s Nikia Clarke and various members of this initiative’s steering Committee, of which I am very proud to be a part. Over the next year, we will be releasing research and recommendations that together create a platform for inclusive economic growth.
 
It’s not just about creating more jobs; it’s about creating a trajectory of higher growth that comes from increasing the productivity of our local workforce. This won’t happen overnight, but I believe that together we will overcome these challenges head-on and create a better San Diego in which all can thrive. And we will be a better San Diego because of it. Follow along at #inclusiveSD and sandiegobusiness.org/inclusivegrowth.
April 28, 2016

It’s clear that despite a healthy economy, not every part of San Diego is enjoying economic prosperity. This week, GlobeSt.com sat down with Jim Zortman, sector VP, strategic operations of Northrop Grumman and newly appointed chairman of EDC, for a chat about what he hopes to do about this issue and others. 

What are your goals in your new role as chairman of the San Diego Regional EDC?

Zortman: Over the past four years, EDC has introduced a number of important initiatives to expand our regional economy with and through a broad base of partners. For example, in partnership with the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, the “Go Global Initiative” aims to attract foreign direct investment, grow regional exports and strengthen economic ties in strategic international markets, as well as position San Diego’s unique global identity.

As chairman, I am committed to championing these initiatives, but it’s clear that despite a healthy economy, not every part of San Diego is enjoying economic prosperity. I hope to broaden our agenda to focus on economic development issues in communities that have not yet benefited from the region’s development. It is my vision that the broad-based coalition of partners that catalyzed the region’s life-sciences, technology, R&D, defense and aerospace sectors can also come together to develop job opportunities and prosperity for more San Diegans.

What do you feel are the biggest economic development challenges in the San Diego market?

Zortman: We have all heard the comment that businesses should operate “anywhere but California.”  We know it is not cheap to do business here. But it is our job as economic developers to understand and leverage our assets and competitive advantages—just as your readers often have to do as real estate professionals. California is number one in economic categories like foreign investment, venture capital and job growth; we rank first in sectors like agriculture, defense, biotechnology and life sciences; our public universities are nationally ranked and produce top-tier talent—the list goes on and on. San Diego plays an important role in each of these fields.

San Diego is home to the largest concentration of military anywhere in the world. It is the underpinning of defense sectors where we have unmatched dominance: cybersecurity, defense, communications, unmanned systems and maritime. San Diego is the epicenter of the future of biotechnology—specifically genomics. We are home to Craig Venter, who was the first person to sequence the human genome, and to Illumina, the company that can now sequence the genome in just over 24 hours for under $1,000. San Diego has more than 80 research institutions, more than any other region in the country.

Not only are we home to a diversity of thriving industries, but we are also a top-tier talent pool driving our region’s growth. Specifically, San Diego gained 72,000 degree holders in 2014 alone, more than any other major metro area in the country. Also, San Diego has the lowest turnover rate in tech and scientific R&D jobs, which is attracting the attention of technology companies across the country.

Continually, we have what talent wants: the lowest average commute time of any major metro area in the country; an influx of creative-office space as seen with iboss Cybersecurity’s space in UTC; competitive wages—ranking second average annual pay for R&D employees—and more.

And if that’s not enough, let me point out that the economy of Texas could pretty much double overnight and still not match the strength of California’s economy. In the end, dispelling myths about doing business here and telling San Diego’s story is our collective responsibility.

What do you feel are the biggest economic-development opportunities that are perhaps not being taken advantage of in the San Diego market?

Zortman: One of the biggest opportunities we have as a region is to help companies export their products and services. In 2013, San Diego ranked 18th of the 100 largest metro areas in total export value, export-supported jobs, GDP and population size. But the region was only 61st in terms of export intensity—total export value as a share of the region’s GDP. According to the Institute for International Economics, companies that export not only grow faster, but are less likely to go out of business than non-exporting companies.

World Trade Center San Diego – now housed within EDC – has introduced the MetroConnect Program to provide small- and medium-sized enterprises with resources and funding to help open new markets abroad. The Go Global Initiative and programs like MetroConnect help San Diego maximize its global competitiveness.

What else should our readers know about San Diego Regional EDC?

Zortman: The real estate industry is a key partner to EDC. Every day our team works with brokers and developers to help enable and encourage companies to grow here. Using data on the region’s industry clusters, workforce talent and network of partners, EDC is able to assist companies with expansions throughout the mega region. Some of San Diego’s recent wins include the attraction of tech companies such as Bizness Apps and Wrike.

Real estate professionals should also use the research EDC produces to better understand industry sectors poised for growth. For example, EDC recently released a study on San Diego’s software development industry. The study showed the region’s software ecosystem impacts more than 100,000 jobs in the regional economy, with an economic impact totaling $12.2 billion annually; venture-capital investment in software was up by 38 percent in 2015; and the industry has an anticipated employment growth of 18.1 percent in the next year—all signs that the region’s tech ecosystem is gaining national visibility.

 

Click here for the full story.

April 22, 2015

Perhaps nothing encapsulates San Diego’s mix of innovation and lifestyle more than the surfboard pictured below. Let us explain…

Although it looks like any other surfboard, it’s actually made from algae, instead of petroleum-based polyurethane which is typically found in surfboards. We have Stephen Mayfield, a scientist from UC San Diego and director of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, to thank for that. Like quite a few San Diegans, he can call himself both a scientist and a surfer.

Mayfield is featured in “National Geographic Channel’s: World’s Smart Cities” documentary about San Diego, which premiered last night at San Diego Symphony Hall.  Following the documentary, Mayfield presented the world’s first algae-based surfboard to Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Surfing legend and San Diego local Rob Machado, who also appeared in the documentary, was on hand to help present the surfboard. In the documentary, Mayfield talks about industry/academic collaborations that are helping to make biofuels from algae a commercially viable transportation fuel in the future. 

The documentary follows San Diego’s innovation narrative as National Geographic host and Digital Nomad Andrew Evans gets his genome sequenced at Illumina, performs stem cell surgery on a penguin at SeaWorld, flies UAVS at Northrop Grumman, learns about the Smart Grid at SDG&E, checks out the Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™,  part engineering lab and part art studio – all while enjoying the sites, culture and lifestyle that San Diego is known for.

Last night, Andrew Evans made the trek back to San Diego to join Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego Tourism Authority’s Joe Terzi, EDC’s Mark Cafferty and a packed house of San Diegans to show people why San Diego is the only city in North America chosen for the documentary.

"San Diego is a neat city. There's no place like it in the world," said Evans at the premiere.  

The documentary will be shown in more than 60 countries, reaching approximately 250 million households world-wide.  Make sure to tune in (or record) the documentary, which begins airing this Saturday, on the National Geographic Channel.

Spread the word. It’s time the world learns what San Diego is really about.



Follow the conversation at #Smartcities.

March 25, 2015

With California Aerospace week underway in Sacramento, we wanted to take a look at how San Diego contributes to this thriving cluster. The industry counts itself among the  “aerospace, navigation and maritime technologies cluster,” which directly employs 35,000 in the region at an average annual wage of nearly $84,000. In an effort to bolster job creation in the industry, LAEDC and San Diego Regional EDC were in Sacramento earlier this week to meet the new chairs of the Assembly and Senate select committees on aerospace.

Aerospace has a long history in San Diego, dating back to the early 1900s when Ryan Airlines built the Spirit of St. Louis and Reuben Fleet brought Consolidated Aircraft Corporation to Lindbergh Field. Since then, San Diego’s aerospace cluster has been an integral part of the region’s innovation and defense economies.

Here are a few things you may not have known about the region’s thriving aerospace industry:

  1. They're not all "manned."
    Illustrating some of the dynamic uses for unmanned system.
    Illustrating some of the dynamic uses of unmanned systems. Clockwise from top left: Drone used for newspaper delivery (The Atlantic), prepping a wildfire- fighting drone for launch (The New York Times), simulation of a lifeguard/lifesaving drone (AUVSI), agricultural drone used for pest control.( Diydrones.com)
    Pilot-less aircraft, or unmanned air systems/drones, are revolutionizing the world. From the drone hobbyist to military contractors, San Diego’s diverse terrain, military expertise, and talented workforce have put us at the epicenter of drone manufacturing.

    Like many great innovations (e.g.  the internet), drone technology originated in the military, but has broad applications. From fighting wildfires to crop dusting and delivering crucial medications to people in disaster-inflicted areas, drones are another example of how San Diego works to solve some of the world’s hardest problems.

    A 2013 study by AUVSI found UAS integration in California would create 18,161 jobs throughout the state within a decade of airspace incorporation.

  2. The largest aerospace manufacturer in the state has a presence here.
    Nat Geo host Andrew Evans explores Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk during filming of the documentary
    Nat Geo documentary host Andrew Evans explores Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk during filming of the documentary.
    Defense Innovator Northrop Grumman – the Golden State’s largest defense company -  has 3,087 employees in San Diego, according to the SDBJ. Recognizing the region’s strengths in UAS technology, the company consolidated its Unmanned Center of Excellence to its Rancho Bernardo location in 2013.

    Northrop Grumman is featured in the upcoming Nat Geo “Smart Cities” documentary about San Diego (stay tuned for air dates).
     
  3. Baja California contributes to the region’s aerospace dominance.
    Calibaja Manufacturing
    A manufacturing facility in Baja California.
    As Mayor Faulconer likes to say regarding the San Diego – Tijuana relationship, “We’re two cities, but we’re one Mega-region.” This is particularly true when you look at the aerospace sector. Despite a recent decline, Baja California’s stronghold in aerospace manufacturing still reigns supreme, boasting more jobs in that sector than any other Mexican state.
     
  4. We’re getting ready to release the largest economic impact study about the aerospace industry the region has ever seen.
    Members from San Diego Regional EDC and LAEDC gather with legislaters in Sacremento to show support for the state's aerospace industry
    San Diego Regional EDC and LAEDC gather with legislators in Sacramento to show support for the state's aerospace industry.
    San Diego Regional EDC is working collaboratively with LAEDC to launch an aerospace economic impact study that will quantify the nine counties that make up Southern California. The study will help articulate how Southern California’s aerospace industry competes on a global level.
     

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. 

May 29, 2014

On May 28, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the first 12 communities that have been selected to participate in the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP). Joining forces with many partners across the region, San Diego is included in the Southern California Designation, which was led by a team out of the University of Southern California Center for Economic Development.

The IMCP program is an initiative designed to revolutionize the way federal agencies leverage economic development funds by encouraging communities to develop comprehensive economic development strategies that will strengthen their competitive edge for attracting global manufacturing and supply chain investments.

“The 12 Manufacturing Communities announced today represent a diverse group of communities with the most comprehensive economic development plans to attract business investment that will increase their competitiveness,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “IMCP is a critical part of our ‘Open for Business Agenda’ to strengthen the American manufacturing sector and attract more investment to the United States. Innovative programs like IMCP encourage American communities to work together to craft  strong, clear, strategic plans to attract manufacturing investment and jobs to transform themselves into globally competitive commercial hubs.”

So what exactly does this mean for San Diego and the Southern California region? As home to the world’s largest concentration of military personnel and with more than 80 percent of the state’s aerospace workers, the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership of Southern California Manufacturing Community (AMP SoCal) will concentrate on further transforming the aerospace and defense industry. Home to companies including Northrop Grumman, the Southern California region is positioned to be in the vanguard of  future avionics and aerospace industries.

Of course, you can’t become a leader in aerospace and defense without the workforce to get you there. Part of the strategy will involve a significant workforce training component that will partner with local colleges and universities to streamline certificate programs. The strategy also focuses on building a supplier network, research and innovation, infrastructure and site development. The strategy will also focus on creating an export acceleration workshop, which dovetails nicely into the Global San Diego Export plan, which was released in conjunction with the Brookings Institution this year.

On the local front, the partnership involves the City of San Diego, CONNECT, UC San Diego, Cleantech San Diego, San Diego East County Economic Development Council, San Diego Workforce Partnership and San Diego Regional EDC.

Following the success of last year’s MFG Day, on Oct. 3, many of the partners listed above will team up with local companies as they open their doors to the public to showcase an industry that supports nearly 90,000 local jobs. Stay tuned for more details.

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December 31, 2013
The story of the San Diego region is one of collaboration. This means when events take an unexpected turn, we can lean on one another to move the region forward. We have companies - that many would perceive as competitors - working together to secure San Diego’s cyber infrastructure. We have public/private collaborations working to increase the region’s global footprint. We have everyone from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies looking to invest in the region. And we have a strong group of universities that are working together to produce one of the most talented workforces in the nation.
 
 “Good News” is all around us. For the second year in a row, we've compiled a list of some of the greatest moments of the year. As 2013 draws to an end, let’s reflect on the remarkable accomplishments across our entire mega-region, and raise a toast (preferably a San Diego craft beer) to another year of positive headlines.
 
With unwavering appreciation,
Team EDC
 

 

Convention Center expansion is green lighted
In October, a coalition of local union members, business leaders and elected officials showed up at the California Coastal Commission hearing to advocate for a the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. When the Coastal Commission voted unanimously to move forward with the expansion, they were not only voting for a larger facility with more waterfront access, but also to bring an additional $698 million in economic impact and 6,685 jobs in the region. The expansion of the Convention Center means we can make way for many of the mega-conventions, such as Comic-con, that had their San Diego presence threatened by lack of capacity

 

Unmanned Center of Excellence adds 300 jobs to economy
San Diego has emerged as an Unmanned Systems hub. Recognizing the talent and opportunities present in the region, Defense innovator Northrop Grumman designated San Diego its Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence. The designation meant 300 more jobs at the company's Rancho Bernardo location.

 

 

San Diego Central Library completed 
A great city needs a great library. With the completion of the San Diego Central Library, San Diego residents now have a library they are proud of. The new East Village location boasts local art installations, an expanded career center, a charter school, and more workspace, in in a visually stunning iconic building.

 

 

 


We live in the most inventive region in the U.S. 
Although we've tried not to focus on rankings, this is one we simply can't ignore. In July, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development released its ranking of the world's most inventive cities. Second on the list - right behind Eindoven, Netherlands - was San Diego. The city claims 8.9 patents for every 10,000 residents, thanks to companies such as Qualcomm. 

 

 

 

Cross Border terminal makes Mega-Region more accessible 
As the U.S. and Mexican governments launch a new initiative to build stronger business ties across the border, they are looking at San Diego's Cali Baja Bi-national Mega-Region as a model for finding ways that industry clusters in both countries can work together. Many examples show the strength of the mega-region, but it's the new cross border terminal that has grabbed headlines recently. Border infrastructure has been improving, and the new cross border terminal will allow travelers from San Diego and Tijuana to hop on flights out of the neighboring cities. 

 

 

San Diego Airport's Green Build takes off
Improvements at the airport have finally landed. The San Diego International Airport's Green Build expansion culminated in August ahead of schedule and under budget. The stunning new new terminal features 10 new gates, pet-friendly amenities, extensive public art displays and is infused with local dining favorites so travelers can get a taste of San Diego while they wait. 

 

 

 

Pivot to the Pacific sends resources to San Diego
The United States defense strategy has deemed that a Pivot to the Pacific, aligning defense resources with the Pacific Rim, is a crucial foreign policy strategy. Because of San Diego's location and existing military footprint, this meant the region was well-positioned, despite sequestration, to gain valuable resources. The USS Reagan and its 2,500 person crew returned to San Diego after a year in maintenance. The USS Vinson, and its 6,000 plus crew, also returned to its port in San Diego. According the SDMAC Military Economic Impact Study, the two aircraft carriers home ported here will each add about $500 million to the economy.

 

 

 

Kickstarter backed films puts San Diego on Hollywood's radar
San Diego may never be Hollywood (we're fine with owning technology and innovation), but a few features have put the region on the map. The year started with 'Inocente', a story about a homeless San Diego teen, becoming the first Kickstarter backed movie to win an Oscar. Fans turned to Kickstarter again to fund a film version of 'Veronica Mars,' a series that chronicles the life of a teenage San Diego detective. The trailer premiered at Comic-con in July. Although San Diego's favorite fictional news team may not have been backed by Kickstarter, with the release of Anchorman 2, the phrase "Stay Classy, San Diego" worked its way back into lexicon this year.

 

 

 

Intellect leads innovation economy
San Diego's top tier universities are essential for priming a talented workforce that helps push the economy forward. When President Obama announced his BRAIN initiative in April, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. was invited to Washington. Given its strong cognitive sciences program, the university - which raked in more than $1 billion in research funding this past year - will be one of the academic institutions leading the charge. Cal State San Marcos welcomed its biggest class and held true to its 'vet' friendly reputation.  San Diego State University found itself among the nation's highest ranked universities in terms of affordability and ROI, which may be one of the reasons it recently announced a record number of applicants for 2014. Point Loma Nazarene has been identified as one of the best value private colleges in the U.S. University of San Diego's part time MBA programs broke the Top 20 on BusinessWeek's list. Online education pioneer Ashford University partnered with Forbes to create cutting-edge materials for its Forbes School of Business. National University, a leader in policy research, has partnered with EDC and other regional organizations on studies to quantify the sports and active lifestyle and cybersecurity clusters. 

Construction on desalination project begins

Construction on the largest desalination plant in the western hemisphere began in early 2013. The construction of the plant will provide more than 2,300 jobs and will sustain 575 jobs when it is completed in 2016. Not only does the Carlsbad facility employ ground-breaking local technologies, but it also promises to transform about 50 million gallons of seawater into drinking water each day, which will meet 7 to 10 percent of San Diego’s water needs.

 

 

 

Brookings lays framework for global competitiveness strategy
Last fall, San Diego was selected as one of eight U.S. cities to participate in the Brookings Metropolitan Exchange Initiative, a project that helps regions implement customized export plans. In May, a collaborative made up of representatives from the Port of San Diego, San Diego Regional Airport Authority, UC San Diego, JP Morgan Chase and others came together to release a market assessment, the first phase in delivering a plan. Since then, working groups have been addressing infrastructure, talent, small and medium-sized enterprises, and market diversity to come up with a plan to boost the region's exports. The collaborative will release the final export plan - which will help with the region's overall global competitiveness strategy - in early 2014.

Craft Beer powers regional economy
Look out Munich, we're nipping at your heels. The San Diego region, which is home to more than 70 craft breweries, is commanding a growing percent of the nation's craft beer production. The region embraced its craft beer culture, with places like the Airport integrating beer into in the region's identity. From Men's Journal to The New York Times, people worldwide are also catching wind of breweries such as Stone, Ballast Point, Karl Strauss. This year, the industry hosted its first "SD Craft Beer Hospitality and Tourism Summit" to talk about how San Diego can propel its image as a premier craft beer destination forward.