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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Big Picture San Diego Blog

July 9, 2019

Since 2013, the U.S. Department of Commerce hosts its annual SelectUSA Investment Summit, making it the country’s largest trade show for foreign direct investment (FDI). This year, in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) International Affairs and Business Development team, WTC San Diego and San Diego Regional EDC staff attended the event to promote California and San Diego.

Garnering more than 2,000 attendees and an impressive slew of speakers, the conference featured keynotes from Secretary Wilbur Ross, Larry Kudlow, and Ivanka Trump, alongside dozens of technical presentations. US Ambassadors from all over the world brought delegations of companies set on expanding into the US from their respective countries to learn about the competitive advantages of each state. At the conference, economic development representatives from nearly all 50 states vie for the attention of these companies by demonstrating why their state is best suited to support international expansion. While some states resort to fun, unique antics like utilizing a Captain America outfit to draw in crowds, the delegates from California drew attention to the immense academic investment and corporate strengths of the fifth largest economy in the world.

In the span of two days, WTC staff met with more than a dozen companies from across the globe – Israel to China and UK to Japan – specifically discussing each country’s interest in San Diego. As states and regions compete to attract foreign investment, increased coordination and collaboration across California is necessary to help combat any negative narratives, and ultimately, highlight the success of the entire state’s economy.

With Bud Colligan as Sr. Advisor for International Affairs and Trade for California, there's been an increased call for California to develop more robust trade and FDI strategy. According to SelectUSA, majority-foreign-owned companies support 769,20 jobs in California, placing the state in a distant first with Texas coming in second by supporting 596,900 jobs.

If you are interested in WTC San Diego’s approach to creating a statewide strategy for foreign direct investment, contact Director of World Trade Center San Diego, Jesse Gipe at jg@sandiegobusiness.org.

July 9, 2019

The Integrated Pilot Program (IPP) reached a large benchmark on the food delivery mission, which included a successful test flight with Uber Eats on San Diego State University campus. Starting this summer, Uber will be using specially crafted drones developed by its flight arm, Uber Elevate, to grow the company's food delivery program. Giving way for Uber Eats to operate in the region's airspace, San Diego Office of Homeland Security has been integral in this initiative with coordination from EDC, in order to obtain the necessary waivers and certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through the IPP. Read more about this program here

The IPP is rapidly moving forward on the first-ever international Unamnned Aircraft Systems (UAS) flight, which is made possible in coordination with EDC's partners at CAPE Aerial Telepresence and the City of Tijuana. The project has also been working diligently with Matternet, the medical delivery operators, to determine the route for the first blood sample test delivery.

Next up: EDC, in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton, is planning the process for a drone conference, which is slated to take place in February 2020. The themes include San Diego as a center of excellence in the emerging technologies industry, inclusivity, and deep dives into the unique challenges of UAS integration. A planning committee is being formed, involving possible participation from local government partners, local industry leaders, nonprofit stakeholders, and higher education institutions. Expect more details on the conference coming soon. 

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July 9, 2019

Now in its fourth year, MetroConnect is World Trade Center San Diego’s flagship export assistance program, underwritten by JPMorgan Chase. Following a competitive application process, 15 to 20 export-ready, small and medium-sized businesses receive a $10,000 challenge grant and programmatic services to aid their international expansion efforts. During the course of one year, participating companies get access to complimentary services and preferred rates from program partners, as well as technical assistance trainings in areas such as data privacy, export compliance, supply chain, IP protection, and more.

For the fourth and final workshop of the program period, WTC partnered with MetroConnect sponsor SYSTRAN and consultant JAS Forwarding to host a two-part workshop focused on language translation and supply chain solutions. The first portion of the workshop titled, “The Language Traps of Going Global,” focused on the importance of selling in the local language and the contemporary software solutions available to small businesses. Ken Behan, vice president of sales and marketing, and Philip Staiger, technical account manager at SYSTRAN demoed SYSTRAN’s pure neural server and took questions from the companies in attendance.

The latter half of the workshop, presented by JAS Forwarding Worldwide, focused on “Freight Forwarding & Supply Chain Solutions.” Matt Halpin, business development manager at JAS Forwarding, and Tyler Sullivan, senior national account director at JAS Government & Defense, provided a synopsis of the logistics behind exporting/importing goods to and from the San Diego region.

The 2019 MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest will take place on November 13, 2019 at The Alexandria. The top four performing companies from this year’s cohort will compete for an additional $35,000 in funding to accelerate their international expansion efforts.

 

July 9, 2019

Serving the defense and transportation industries, Cubic Corporation is a global company with clients on nearly every continent. The company has called Kearny Mesa home for 50 years, currently based in an aging set of buildings that have not kept pace with the company's. Its facilities were divided onto two major campuses in the Kearny Mesa area, creating a lack of cohesion among its business units.

With competition for tech talent at an all-time high, Cubic’s leadership was concerned its outdated facilities would discourage potential hires. Cubic needed to modernize and redevelop its campus to help attract talent, while also providing adequate facilities for the next 50 years. Despite its long history as a San Diego company, Cubic was experiencing pressure to build its headquarters in a lower-cost state such Tennessee, Alabama, orFlorida, where Cubic had other growing operations. As a result, EDC worked hand-in-hand with Cubic’s team to secure the necessary incentives to keep San Diego a competitive option, despite pressure to relocate its facilities out-of-state.

Utilizing both state and local programs, EDC was able to leverage its expertise in incentives consulting in order to help this 50-year-old staple company stay in California. EDC developed a strategy to capture a number of incentive programs, which offset the cost of rebuilding its headquarters in San Diego. Additionally, EDC worked as an intermediary to both the City and State departments on behalf of cubic to ensure processes were staying on track and that the campus redevelopment was seen as a priority by all parties.

Cubic secured a CalCompetes Tax Credit worth $8.5 million. Locally, Cubic was able to secure expedited processes through the City of San Diego, in addition to a Business Incentive Program and Business Cooperation Program award. In total, the incentives and expedited processes provided gave Cubic the necessary offsets and timeline confidence to commit to redeveloping its Kearny Mesa headquarters, and keeping San Diego as its home for decades to follow.

ABOUT CUBIC CORPORATION: Cubic is an American public corporation providing diversified systems and services to the transportation and defense markets worldwide. Cubic Corporation is the parent company of three major divisions: Cubic Transportation Systems, Cubic Mission Solutions and Cubic Global Defense. cubic.com

 

July 9, 2019

Real Dog Box, a small startup that manufactures dog treats, was reaching capacity at its current location, and risked closing if they did not find a new warehouse by June 2019. Real Dog Box reached out to EDC asking for assistance in finding a new site under one roof that could accommodate the manufacturing company's joint operation for light industrial manufacturing and a commercial business.

EDC leveraged its connections and reached out to the City of San Diego’s Economic Development Department for more information and assistance on the specific zoning regulations that the company could use to locate a new site. Using a property selection database, EDC provided a list of potential locations that met Real Dog Box’s requirements for property characteristics and complied with the City’s industrial and commercial zoning regulations.

In May 2019, Real Dog Box was able to re-locate to a new 13,000 sq. ft. site in Barrio Logan within the City of San Diego’s Promise Zone. Thanks to its expansion efforts, Real Dog Box hired three new employees within the first few weeks of moving. In addition to providing a list of potential properties, EDC created a list business resources related to incentive support for the City of San Diego's Storefront Improvement Program, Business Incentive Program and Business Cooperation Program. EDC also provided additional information on San Diego Workforce Partnership’s programs for On-The-Job-Training, Customized Training and made introductions to CDC Small Business Financing.

“We were in a real pinch to find a new location for our manufacturing facility. EDC helped narrow down our search for properties that fit our needs and their contacts at the city's zoning office saved us A LOT of time. In our initial meeting with EDC, the team was able to recommend quite a few incentives offered by the city and state specific to our business model and needs that I had never heard of. I wish I'd known sooner what a great resource they are.” -Ruby Alexis Balaram, Founder and COO, Real Dog Box

ABOUT REAL DOG BOX: Real Dog Box was a small startup launched in 2016 transforming the way people feed their dogs. Real Dog Box offers a monthly box of nutritiously diverse dog treats and chews shipped across the U.S. real.dog

 

 

June 28, 2019

MetroConnect company Telaeris is a privately-owned San Diego company that develops RFIDs (Radio Frequency Identification) and contactless smartcards for businesses. RFIDs and its related products are important contemporary solutions for the efficient management of inventory and assets. RFIDs are also important in tracking the flow of people, as it is one of the basic technologies that make a security badge function.

In September of 2018, Telaeris was selected to be one of 20 participating companies in World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego’s MetroConnect export assistance program. The company received a $10K grant, courtesy of JPMorgan Chase, as well as programmatic support in order to access international markets and boost export sales. Programmatic support included educational workshops, marketing and PR support, and access to preferred rates and discounts with airline and industry partners.

At the beginning of the 2018 program, WTC’s team connected Telaeris to MetroConnect sponsor SYSTRAN, to provide complimentary translation services for the nearly 100,000 lines of code the company needed modified.  Once the company had taken the SYSTRAN software as far as it could go, Telaeris used its $10k in grant funds to pay for expert human translators in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and more, to polish the code to ready it for market.

In April, the company attended a trade mission to the South of France with the Port of San Diego and WTC San Diego. There, the company was able to market its localized product to French electronic tracking company Coppernic. As a result, Telaeris was able to ink a deal and have eight Coppernic employees (six in Europe; two in Africa) trained to sell Telaeris’ enterprise technology, thereby expanding its sales capability to regions where it had never had a presence before. Additionally, this relationship has led to two potential deals (currently in the works) worth $25K each.

“The MetroConnect program, presented by JPMorgan Chase, has been an amazing catalyst to super-charge the way our company approaches international business development. Our company has been around for 14 years, but with the tools and resources provided through MetroConnect, we are now on track to target many large markets that make up the majority of the world that does not speak English. Capitalizing on these opportunities makes us a more resilient and prosperous company back home.”

– David Carta, CEO & President at Telaeris

 

June 28, 2019

Meet Kim Becker, President and CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Read the Q&A below to learn about Kim and her role in exposing more people to the San Diego experience.

What is your "day job"?

I’m President/CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, which operates San Diego International Airport. We employ about 9,400 people, who serve 24 million passengers per year. The airport provides the first and last impressions our passengers have of San Diego, so it’s our job to make it count, make it memorable, and create good feelings, nonstop.  I’m talking about an on-time arrival. A friendly San Diego smile. Intuitive wayfinding and helpful workers at every turn. Providing an authentic San Diego experience that is professional yet laid-back, efficient yet unhurried; and most of all, open and easy-going.

Of all the boards in San Diego, why EDC?

Both EDC and the Airport Authority are focused on connecting San Diego businesses to the world. So there’s a synergy there that benefits the entire region. 

Favorite quote?

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” - Anonymous

What has been your life-changing moment? Something that changed the trajectory of your life for the better:

When I was younger, a former boss pushed a large responsibility on me that I felt I wasn’t ready for, nor did I feel that I “lived in that world.” My response was “Who, me?” and the boss said “Yes, you!”  I kept pushing back, all the while doubting my own ability, until my boss finally told me to “Just do it!” And I learned that when I was finally out of excuses, and I started to actually ponder the problem, I was able to rise to the challenge.

Marissa Mayer once said, “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that's how you grow. When there's that moment of 'Wow, I'm not really sure I can do this,' and you push through those moments, that's when you have a breakthrough.”

That’s how I live my life today.

What part of EDC interests you most?

 I really enjoy the San Diego: Life. Changing. campaign.

 

June 25, 2019

Department of Homeland Security Chief Information Officer Tours San Diego Tech Companies
Tour demonstrated San Diego’s thriving innovation economy and collaborative focus on increasing cybersecurity throughout the region

SAN DIEGO – June 25, 2019 – US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) information technology and cybersecurity leadership – including more than 30 senior federal personnel from government and military – are touring six tech companies located in San Diego on June 24 – 25, 2019.

With support from San Diego’s Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) and San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the tech tours allow participants to witness how San Diego and the surrounding region continues to evolve as a technology and cyber hub within the United States.  

While many San Diego companies were considered for this visit, CCOE and EDC tapped six companies to highlight a cross section of new technologies in the region to include Qualcomm, Redhorse, Shield AI, Teradata, Analytic Ventures and Walmart Labs. The collective group will demonstrate everything from artificial intelligence and machine learning to 5G, data analytics and cybersecurity.

Dr. John Zangardi, the DHS Chief Information Officer (CIO),  whose office is jointly leading this outreach trip with the DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate, “sees industry engagement as vital to ensuring the DHS mission takes full advantage of the best industry has to offer.  There are exciting advancements in 5G, IOT, ML/AI and cyber that we want to learn more about.  And I want to ensure that industry understands the DHS mission challenges.”

“The Science and Technology Directorate seeks opportunities to make connections, share ideas, and discuss best practices and new capabilities with cybersecurity professionals from across government, industry, academia and the international community,” notes William N. Bryan, DHS Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “Through this series of tours, we hope to learn from companies that are advancing their capabilities in cybersecurity to better inform our efforts to build a secure and resilient cyber backbone for the nation and address the complex threats of our future.”  

Rear Adm. (ret) Ken Slaght, CCOE chair and president, emphasized that visits like this provide new perspective on cybersecurity and cyber readiness.

“We’re excited that San Diego is being recognized by national IT leaders,” said Slaght. “For Dr. Zangardi, Mr. Bryan, and other high-ranking federal IT leadership to take an interest in what San Diego continues to do to support innovation and technology development means a great deal. San Diego plays a significant role in cyber preparedness for the nation and will continue strengthening these efforts well into the future.”

The DHS CIO and S&T tour highlights the importance of collaboration between the public, private, academic, government and military sectors to foster greater cybersecurity, and is a component of CCOE and the City of San Diego’s Secure San Diego initiative, which fosters region-wide efforts to create a more secure cyber environment and position San Diego as a global hub of cybersecurity innovation. 

 

About Cyber Center of Excellence

San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) is a non-profit that focuses on regional planning and program implementation in order to address cybersecurity workforce, economic development and infrastructure challenges and opportunities through collaboration with industry, academia and government agencies. CCOE supports the growth of the cyber industry, promotes cybersecurity in San Diego and provides a template to mobilize other regions. Learn more at www.sdccoe.org.

June 21, 2019

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases employment data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego's Economic Pulse covers May 2019. Check out EDC's research bureau for more data and stats about San Diego's economy. 

This report is sponsored by Manpower San Diego.

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 2.8 percent in May, down from a revised 3.0 percent in April 2019, and unchanged from the year-ago estimate of 2.8 percent
  • The region’s unemployment rate remains lower than both the state and national unemployment rates of 3.5 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively
  • Between April 2019 and May 2019, total nonfarm employment increased from 1,501,600 to 1,510,600, adding 9,000 jobs
  • Between May 2018 and May 2019, total nonfarm employment increased from 1,485,000 to 1,510,600, adding 25,600 jobs
  • Between May 2018 and May 2019, education and health services led the year-over gain, adding 8,700 jobs

 

June 20, 2019

For our next Board Member Spotlight, meet Kathryn Lembo, president & CEO at South Bay Community Services (SBCS). Read her Q&A below, get to know Kathryn and find out why EDC’s inclusive growth efforts are something she finds most interesting.

What is your “day job”?
As CEO, my days are dynamic and filled with a broad cross-section of individuals throughout the county. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with residents and youth (many with no home) who share their crucial insight on challenges impacting everyday living and hopes for the future. It’s through their eyes that navigate my day in discussions with school, nonprofit, health, and business leaders as well as policymakers as we work together to build true measurable solutions that respond to our community’s challenges. Above all, it’s an honor to take an idea to inception with my dedicated team at SBCS and our regional partners by implementing evidence-based programs that are changing the trajectory of families and communities.

Of all the boards in San Diego, why EDC?
To grow San Diego’s innovation economy: This is something that will demand a diversity of voices contributing to the conversation. The economic vitality of San Diego County is also crucial to the well-being of families we [SBCS] serve, and thus, important for us to take part in developing a strong local workforce to benefit employers, economy and our population.

Favorite quote?
"Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning, the devil says 'oh sh*t, she's up!'"

We know San Diego is a life-changing place, what was your life-changing moment?
A couple of summers into my undergraduate studies in biochemistry, my father insisted I needed a summer job. He proceeded to find one for me – a job as a lifeguard at a home for girls in New York. I spent the summer getting to know these young women who had lived through and experienced some truly horrible situations. They taught me about resilience. Most all, I learned the importance of community in helping to build strong families. Even though their homes were scattered with issues like violence, poverty, and drug abuse, the girl’s dreamed and hoped of returning home to their families. The following school year, I changed my major and this experience was in part the reason for my professional journey.

What part of EDC interests you most?
I’m most interested in EDC’s inclusive growth efforts.