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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

February 2015

February 25, 2015

Qualcomm quote & image

There’s no better indicator for, or example of, San Diego’s global competitiveness than one of our very own Fortune 500 companies, Qualcomm.  

Qualcomm’s regional impact and global recognition offers the world insight into the broad scope and depth of San Diego’s economy. The company’s international presence adds credibility to other San Diego businesses to ensure they are globally competitive. 

Qualcomm has been a key factor in the healthy state of our region’s economy, and continues to prove itself as a globally competitive and highly innovative company.  Qualcomm contributes $4.53 billion in economic activity annually, which is the equivalent of one and a half 2012 London Olympic Games. The company’s economic footprint in the San Diego region includes almost 14,000 Qualcomm employees.  Additionally, each job created at Qualcomm supports three additional jobs locally. San Diego’s community is stronger thanks to the more than $85 million donated to local charities between 2000 and 2011.

The impact of Qualcomm is a vital component of our region’s economic growth highlighting the significance of exporting as an important component for San Diego businesses to thrive and reinforce the region as a global competitor.

Why should companies in San Diego go global?

Not only do global companies pay more and boost productivity through spillovers, global companies are able to quickly adapt with the changing national and global economy. According to a report by Brookings, “during the past five years, increased exports have been responsible for one-third of U.S. economic growth.”

Qualcomm has proved that our region is well positioned for global success. The business environment here in San Diego is bustling with companies that are highly marketable on the global scale. Qualcomm is just one of several local companies in the scientific and technical service industries, a sector that grew by 9% in our region throughout the course of 2014. In order to sustain and increase this growth, we must look beyond our borders, recognizing our ability to compete IN A global market.

On March 11 at San Diego’s Global Summit, Qualcomm and key leaders will launch the Global Trade and Investment Initiative.

The event is SOLD OUT. There will be a webinar available to those who cannot attend. Details to follow soon. 

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February 24, 2015

Junior Achievement SDIf you’ve read our blog before, then this won’t be news to you: Across the globe, the classic recipe for economic development success has evolved. A high growth and innovative region, such as San Diego, no longer spends its days nipping at the heels of large corporations, hoping incentive packages will entice them to relocate its corporate headquarters to town. They know that the majority of growth will come from cultivating innovation and helping grow existing companies. These companies have many reasons for choosing San Diego, but one item usually trumps them all: the need for smart, highly-skilled workers.

Talent doesn’t just come to San Diego for then nice weather. It is also cultivated here: the region is home to some of the best universities and program in the world. However, if we want to ensure we have the workforce to compete in the global marketplace, we must engage students earlier.

Joanne Pastula is one person that gets this. As the president & CEO of Junior Achievement of San Diego County, she is working to make sure more than 53,000 K-12 students throughout San Diego have the entrepreneurial and business skills to get ahead in the real world.

This week, we sat down with her to learn more about how JA’s investment in students is paying dividends for our global growth plans.

1) Tell us about Junior Achievement.

Look at the young people around you. Do you think they’re ready to lead America’s Finest City? San Diego’s greatest resource is the next generation of young people.  It is our job to make sure they’re ready.

National surveys show nearly 60 percent of today’s teens don’t think they are ready to financially support themselves by the time they turn 24.  This lack of confidence is partially due to their apprehension about obtaining well-paying jobs.

To ensure the region’s continued growth and competitiveness, we need to cultivate tomorrow’s professional’s right here on our home turf. That is why Junior Achievement of San Diego works locally to impact 53,000 students in K-12 classrooms each year.  Our volunteer-based programs prepare kids for the real world by showing them how to get a job, start a business and how money works.

Why Junior Achievement thrives in San Diego

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

Here in San Diego we have a lot to celebrate when it comes to our business environment and quality of life. Forbes recently named San Diego the No. 1 city in the United States to launch a small business in 2014. We also hold the distinction of being one of the top cities for STEM-related careers.  These distinctions give JA’s students access to some of the greatest minds and companies in the nation.  

A great example is our collaboration with AT&T. Through our JA Job Shadow program and the AT&T Aspire grant, we impacted hundreds of students from low-income families by giving them meaningful workplace experiences. Recently, students from The Monarch School and Hoover High spent a half-a-day touring the company’s technology, sales, data and retail centers to learn about career opportunities. This partnership teaches students how to look someone in the eye, shake their hand, as well as, gain the confidence to compete for a job in our global 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.

We recently partnered with The Control Group (#TCG), the developers of and one of the fastest growing local startup tech companies, to teach students how to code.  The need for these high-tech skills is critical to the San Diego workforce. We are thankful to TCG for providing the opportunity to teach technological literacy.  

It highlights the wonderful work TCG does and how they are inspiring the next generation of STEM-focused career professionals.

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

It is estimated 44 percent of millennials look at their phones more than six times an hour. We are embracing this by redeveloping curriculum onto a digital platform. Incorporating technology into student’s learning will help them make better connections, between what they learn in school, and how to apply it to the real world.

There is strong projected job growth in high-tech industries in San Diego. Despite high-demand in these fields, preparation is marginalized in our K-12 education system. We must change this. Moving forward, we must do more to help our students achieve their dream outside of the classroom by giving them meaningful workplace experiences. We invite you to help us prepare and inspire San Diego’s future leaders now and for years to come.

February 20, 2015

Retail study coverEDC, The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and City Councilmember Myrtle Cole's Office released a study on Thursday that revealed City Council District 4 residents face more than $1 billion in unmet retail demand,D1 study presenting an opportunity for retailers and developers in the region. The study analyzed data from the Nielsen Group to find that District 4 residents spent more than $1.9 billion on retail purchases in 2014. All sales made within the district, however, totaled only $889.6 million in the same year. This represents an unmet demand of more than a billion dollars—an apparent opportunity for investors.

"Imagine the possibilities. This could be Gaslamp East,” Councilwoman Myrtle Cole told the U-T and approximately 80 people who participated in a bus tour of the district.

To read the full report, click here.

For more information about development opportunities in District 4 and the recent bus tour, please contact Councilmember Cole's office here.



February 18, 2015

Recently, EDC released its December Manpower Monthly Employment Report. Since then, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released December employment data on all U.S. metros, which allows us to analyze some key indicators across geographies. Click on images to enlarge in a new window/tab.


  • At 5.2 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate ranked 12th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From December 2013 to December 2014, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -1.3 percentage points, which ranked 9th.
  • San Diego's total employment grew by more than 3.3 percent from December 2013 to December 2014, which ranked 3rd.
  • San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 9.0 percent, the highest growth rate among major U.S. metros.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew by 4.1 percent from the previous year, the 3rd highest growth rate.

[Employment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the December 2014 period for all U.S. metro areas. When looking at employment growth, San Diego was among the best in the nation. From December 2013 to December 2014, the region's employment grew by more than 3.3 percent, which ranked 3rd among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate was at only 2.3 percent. San Diego has consistently outpaced U.S. employment growth this year and has been one of the most competitive metros in the nation.

[Unemployment Chart]

At 5.2 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell by 1.3 points from this time last year. The unemployment rate fell 0.6 percentage points in one month, the 2nd largest drop during that period. That fall brought San Diego's rank to 9th among major U.S. metros and placed it below the U.S. overall rate of 5.4 percent.

[PST Chart]

San Diego's innovation economy is largely driving the region's growth. The region is outpacing all other major metros in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) growth. PST is a sector of the economy very heavily associated with the region's innovation clusters. Much of the companies and employment in clusters like biotechnology, biomedical products, cleantech and information technology fall within the PST sector. Employment in the region's PST sector grew by 9.0 percent since last December, the most out of any metro studied here. This figure was more than double the U.S. average and more than a full point more than 2nd placed Houston, which is a positive sign for the region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

We continued to see more  impressive growth in San Diego's manufacturing sector. Manufacturing is another key industry for growth in the region, not only because manufacturing jobs are accessible and pay well, but also because certain manufacturing subsectors are critical to the region's innovation clusters. From December 2013 to December 2014, manufacturing employment grew by 4.1 percent. San Diego's manufacturing employment grew at more than twice the rate of the U.S. (1.8 percent), and recorded the 3rd highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. 

We now have data for the full 2014 calendar year, which allows us to analyze non-seasonal annual average growth from calendar year to year. We covered how positive the local numbers were in detail in our most recent Manpower Monthly Employment Report, but it is important to understand San Diego's growth relative to its peers. San Diego's annual average employment growth from 2013 to 2014 ranked 9th, and rather substantially outpaced the U.S. average. Perhaps more importantly, key innovation sectors far outpaced peers and picked up even more in the latter months of the calendar year. PST services had the 2nd highest annual average growth from 2013 to 2014 at 5.7 percent, while manufacturing had the 8th highest annual average growth rate. Both key sectors far outpaced the national average. San Diego appears to be on solid economic footing heading into 2015.

EDC will be releasing the Manpower Employment Report with January 2015 data for San Diego on Friday, March 6thThank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research. Edit: Date was previously listed incorrectly as February 20th, 2015.

February 17, 2015


If you want to know the future of San Diego or any region for that matter, talk to someone in commercial real estate. Whether a company is looking to expand into the market or increase their local footprint, a commercial real estate firm is the first to know. 

As one of San Diego’s largest commercial real estate firms, CBRE is helping San Diego companies realize their innovative potential.

This week, we spoke to John Frager, executive managing director at CBRE San Diego, to learn more about how the firm helps local companies and the advantages of doing business in the San Diego market.

1) Tell us about CBRE.

It’s an exciting time at CBRE as we invest in the platform and our people. For many other companies, their operating platform is seen as just a business expense; a requirement to keep the doors open and the lights on.  At CBRE, our leadership has a different vision. Our platform is an offensive weapon, a resource that can give our professionals an advantage in the marketplace and help us consistently create great client outcomes. We’re investing to become world class in our research, technology, marketing, learning and development, and workplace strategies departments. We often downplay the importance of being the biggest firm in our industry. But our size, scale and profitability give us the capacity and the willingness to invest in our platform. CBRE’s capabilities extend broader and deeper than any other real estate services provider, offering unparalleled tools and resources, leverage, credibility, market coverage and local expertise.  

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

Why CBRE Chose San Diego

In a nutshell, San Diego has an innovative culture populated by a highly educated workforce with an unsurpassed quality of life. It is an ideal place to live and work! We are already a leader in life sciences, wireless communications, sports innovation, unmanned systems, cybersecurity, medical devices, and now even beer! I believe we will learn a lot from the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project from the Brookings Institution and JP Morgan Chase, to increase productivity, exports and foreign investment into our region. We are a gateway city to Asia with more direct flights. San Diego is also the gateway to our expanded Cali Baja Bi-National Mega-Region. Our region is a great place to do business.

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.

Illumina is a great anchor company, but we are equally excited about early stage companies like Edico Genome and BioSpyder Technologies. BioSpyder is an early stage molecular profiling company developing and marketing TempO-Seq for targeted expression profiling, a technology that will enable researchers to economically measure the presence and quantity of 1000’s of molecular target across millions of samples. Innovation like this will ultimately help companies like Craig Venter’s Human Longevity, Inc. pursue their specific missions more economically.

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

Today, we are unquestionably the industry leader however we do not take this for granted and we continue to strive to truly be a world-class enterprise. We have an enviable client base, unparalleled service lines and a geographic footprint with the willingness and ability to invest in long term growth strategies. We transform real estate into a real advantage by putting our perspectives, scale and connections to work to deliver exceptional outcomes through real estate solutions that drive value and growth.  We deliver advantage though perspective, scale and our connections.

It is important to distinguish between client service and client outcomes. Providing excellent service to clients is a given – something they expect from any firm. We’re working to be a truly extraordinary firm, so we must deliver more than good service. We need to produce exceptional outcomes that create real advantages for our clients and help them to advance their own strategic agendas.

San Diego’s economy will continue to strengthen. The CRE market is doing well, achieving levels not seen since before the recession and CBRE will continue to strive to be the market leader providing our clients world-class service. 

February 11, 2015

Leading up to San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11, we’ll be giving a rundown of some panelists, guest speakers and programs involved in the Summit every Wednesday.

JPMorgan quote & image

1,300 employees, 900,000+ consumer customers, and more than 66,000 small business clients in the San Diego region:  JPMorgan Chase’s incredible community involvement and collaboration ensures San Diego companies and organizations have the tools necessary to promote job growth and secure investment for the region.

JPMorgan Chase has been one of the key drivers behind the Global Cities Initiative. From the funding of the BEAM Kentucky Export Promotion Grant to arming local businesses and community leaders with the information they need, JPMorgan Chase successfully assists companies throughout the nation to go global.

For example, in the case of San Diego’s global trade and investment initiative, no other business has supported its successful implementation more than JPMorgan Chase. Through JPMorgan Chase’s major contributions, the global trade and investment initiative will enable San Diego companies to reach markets around the world by exporting or receiving foreign investment. In addition to providing companies access to global markets, this initiative will also provide companies with a roadmap to better understand the exporting process by  identifying organizations to work with and other important information empowering San Diego companies.

“The strategies outlined in San Diego’s global trade and investment initiative will help our region’s employers realize their export potential and strengthen our position as a hub for international investment,” said Brennon Crist, head of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Commercial Banking group in San Diego. “As we invest in the future of San Diego, we hope our commitment will serve as an example of the impact that the private sector can have on local and regional economic development.”

JP Morgan Chase, EDC and other key partners will announce San Diego’s global trade and investment initiative during  San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11 (sold out).  Without the generous support from JPMorgan Chase, the execution of the initiative’s programs would not be possible.

In the coming week, EDC will announce details for a live webcast of San Diego’s Global Summit. Stay tuned to learn more about San Diego’s global trade and investment initiative.    

Join us as we formally launch San Diego's Global Summit, a global competitiveness initiative, on March 11. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.

February 4, 2015

Leading up to San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11, we’ll be giving a rundown of some panelists, guest speakers and programs involved in the Summit every Wednesday.

UCSD Picture

From launching the region’s first biotech company in 1978 to creating companies which continue to drive the region’s innovation economy, UC San Diego elevates San Diego’s global profile. They have been ranked in the top 20 universities in the world.

“With more than $3.8 billion in total revenues, and over 650 companies launched by UC San Diego alumni, faculty and staff, UC San Diego is an economic engine that helps to drive the future of our region,” said Dr. Pradeep Khosla, chancellor at UC San Diego.

UC San Diego’s impact on the region cannot be overstated. It accounts for more than 60 percent of all bio-related degrees conferred from regional institutions. Its researchers attract more than $1 billion in funding to cure diseases and create some of the most innovative healthcare solutions. Each of these contributes a tremendous amount to San Diego’s rank nationally as one of the top biotech regions.

It doesn’t stop at the biotech industry. UC San Diego’s engineering program ranks 14th in the nation and 18th in the world. According to UC San Diego, startup companies created out of the university reported more than $31.6 billion in annual sales in 2012-2013.

How do these thousands of students from UC San Diego and the region’s institutions contribute to San Diego’s global profile?

When you look at the top 20 most populous metropolitan regions in the nation, San Diego ranks 2nd in percent of college grads with STEM degrees, 5th in percent of population with a doctorate degree or higher, and 3rd in the world in patents per million residents, San Diego stands tall as one of the premier destinations for innovative companies to locate and expand their footprint.

Businesses from around the nation and world continue to want to locate in San Diego because of the incredible talent funneled out of the region’s institutions. More than 200,000 students currently study at the region’s world-renowned institutions. These students go on to start their own businesses or work for some of the most creative and disruptive companies the world has seen.

UC San Diego, especially Dean Peter Cowhey and his staff at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, has been an integral partner since the beginning. It assisted in the development of the original Global San Diego Export Plan, released early 2014, and the global trade and investment plan to be released on March 11. Its students and staff assessed the region’s export market and dug deep into the region’s foreign direct investment dollars and jobs supported by foreign firms.

At San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11, Chancellor Khosla will join other community leaders to discuss San Diego’s competitiveness when attracting the smartest and most inventive individuals on the planet.

More information on March 11 is available here.


Join us as we formally launch San Diego's Global Summit, a global competitiveness initiative, on March 11. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.


February 3, 2015

When Cassidy Turley joined forces with DTZ, they brought another global company to San Diego. As one of the top three commercial real estate firms across the globe, DTZ has a presence across Asia, Europe and the Middle East helps connect San Diego to the rest of the world. From Oceanside to Otay Mesa, DTZ works to make sure San Diego companies have the creative space they need to thrive.

This week, we sat down with Dan Broderick, regional managing principal of DTZ’s Southern California office, to learn more about the company’s merger and plan for future growth.

DTZ Logo

1) Tell us about DTZ.
Cassidy Turley and DTZ have officially joined forces under new ownership and a new international DTZ brand. Combined, DTZ is a top-three global commercial real estate services firm, offering clients a complete suite of services in all major markets worldwide. At DTZ, we are market leaders, industry leaders and community leaders. Clients recognize us for the creative sophistication of our real estate advice as well as for the discipline and accuracy of our service delivery. Our thorough understanding of local business practices and market dynamics, combined with our customer focus and service commitment, give our clients a distinct edge in commercial real estate in San Diego. Our focus on exceptional client service and community involvement is because of our unique and exciting culture. We work hard as a team with a like minded purpose and we believe our success is measured by the success of the clients and communities we serve. We don’t just work in our communities, we belong to them. 

2) What are some advantages to being located in San Diego? 
Why DTZ chose San Diego Completed
America’s Finest City – for anyone who has spent any time here – needs no explanation. It is a special place in the world; a very diverse city fraught with opportunities. As one of the most educated cities in the United States, San Diego’s skilled workforce feeds thriving biotech and telecom industries. The region is also home to largest military presence in the world. These unique advantages continue to encourage economic growth which, in turn, further fuels the commercial real estate market.  As the market continues to get healthier, we have seen tremendous business growth with unemployment down to 5.2 percent.  Of course, we have the small advantage of having over 70 miles of coastline, rugged mountains, world class golf, amusement parks, and the best weather in the continental US! 

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.
D&K Engineering is one of San Diego's finest. They are driving leading manufacturing, product design, technologies and processes for highly innovative products and equipment on a worldwide scale. They were instrumental in developing the San Diego success story, EcoATM, and they have designed, developed and manufactured highly complex products from medical devices, to 3-D printers, to military mechanics. Simply put, D&K Engineering bridges the gap between concept and reality.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?
The new DTZ creates a culture that values extraordinary client care and exceptional service under the premise that we are growing to get better, not just bigger. Our customers can look forward to complementary product lines that together create a broader spectrum of commercial real estate solutions. Our plan is to pursue options for using our combined capabilities to optimize existing service lines. We also expect to expand capacity in strategic service lines and industry sectors to meet and exceed client requirements. San Diego continues to put itself on the map and grow each day and DTZ will continue to advance alongside of it.