Meet Rafael Payare, the new sound of San Diego

There’s a new face at Copley Symphony Hall. Meet Rafael Payare, the new music director at the San Diego Symphony. From Belfast to Vienna to Detroit, Payare has made his mark on the global music scene. Now, he’s bringing his expertise to America’s Finest City.

Learn more about Payare’s connection with the sounds of San Diego below and be sure to catch him in action during his inaugual season at the San Diego Symphony.


Until then: Stay Classical, San Diego

Meet our MetroConnect Sponsor: British Airways

British Airways Logo

The MetroConnect export assistance program, presented by JPMorgan Chase, is made possible through the generous support of private and public sector sponsors. Over the past few years, WTC has partnered with many of the international airlines serving the San Diego region, in order to expand the reach of the program and provide greater value to the companies in each cohort. British Airways is one of four airlines sponsoring this initiative and allowing MetroConnect companies to access key markets, without breaking the bank.

British Airways

British Airways offers the only daily direct service flight between London (LHR) and San Diego International Airport (SAN).

British Airways is the number one carrier in London, the world’s largest international aviation market, and the top European carrier across the North Atlantic. Together, with its joint business agreement, codeshare, and franchise partners, British Airways operates one of the world’s most extensive international airline networks. The airline flies to more than 70 different countries, carries 40 million+ customers per year, and maintains a fleet of nearly 300 aircraft. This summer, it will be operating close to 1,000 flights per day across four London airports. British Airways is a founding member of the Oneworld airline alliance, which together serves some 1,000 destinations across the globe.

To maintain its strong position in the market, British Airways will invest £6.5 billion over the next five years, adding 72 new aircraft to its fleet. The Club Suite is the highly anticipated new business class seat, available in Airbus A350 aircraft. It offers direct-aisle access, a suite door, 1-2-1 configuration and a flat-bed option. When combined with the extra space, calm and wellbeing of the A350, customers can feel truly rested on their flights.

This year, the company celebrates its 100th anniversary. Part of the year-round celebrations include repainting selected aircraft in a series of heritage liveries. The new retro design on the Airbus A319 is the BEA livery, which flew on European routes between 1959 and 1968.

Join WTCSD, British Airways and the finalists from this year’s MetroConnect program on Wednesday, November 13 at The Alexandria for the finale of this year’s program. Bitchin’ Sauce, Eddy Pump, LRAD Corporation, and Scientist.com will compete in a pitch competition for an additional $35,000 to further their export efforts. You can RSVP for the MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest here. We hope to see you there!

San Diego at Work: Gary Lovely, Viasat

Through San Diego: Life.Changing. EDC works to attract and retain talent as a way to tell San Diego’s authentic story. This is the latest – check out SDlifechanging.org for more. 

We might be a little biased, but we think San Diego is a pretty special place. It’s full of passionate forward-thinkers who somehow find the perfect balance of both working hard and playing hard. So what’s San Diego’s secret formula? Simply add life-changing companiesnearby mountains and beaches, and friendly, driven people, and a great work-life balance will come naturally. Here, it’s almost impossible not to have it all – and telecommunications heavyweight Viasat is all about this harmony.

Meet Viasat.

Located in the growing tech hub of CarlsbadViasat is a global communications company that enables high-quality, affordable internet connection for new markets. Viasat innovators design solutions to provide Wi-Fi for commercial aviationmilitary technology, and underserved areas. We met Gary Lovely, a lead front-end engineer (now promoted to development manager) who moved to San Diego from the Bay Area. At Viasat, he helps connect communities to internet access, enabling more opportunities for people around the world.

“San Diego has actually given me a new lease on life, to be able to understand that I can, in a way, have it all,” he said. Even with this critical work, Gary still finds time to take advantage of Viasat’s indoor and outdoor collaborative spaces, and enjoy its basketball and beach volleyball courts. “[Before San Diego,] I didn’t realize that work-life balance was something that existed. Coming from the Bay Area, everyone always preached about it, but no one actually lived it.”

To learn more about how Viasat employees solve important problems while enjoying life, watch Gary’s video below. You’ll discover how San Diego enables a life in balance and, most importantly, why Gary loves coming to work every day. “When we’re able to solve a problem that impacts a large mass of people, it brings us a lot of joy to know that we’re doing the right thing for the community and the world as a whole,” he said. Transforming lives, including your own – it doesn’t get more #SDlifechanging than that.

Ahead of Brexit deadline, World Trade Center San Diego to lead trade mission to Germany

Ahead of the U.K.’s impending departure from the European Union, World Trade Center San Diego, the international affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC, is leading a delegation to Frankfurt and Munich, Germany. The trade mission will lay the groundwork for San Diego companies to develop long-term business relationships with the European market.

With the launch of Lufthansa’s non-stop service from San Diego to Frankfurt and a shift in economic power resulting from Brexit, Germany will become an increasingly important trade and investment partner for San Diego,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director of World Trade Center San Diego and vice president of economic development at San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. “If San Diego wants to be recognized as a global economic player, it is important that we continue to show up and develop partnerships with markets that buy our goods and invest in our economy.”

Germany is currently the fourth-largest economy in the world, and is increasingly becoming one of San Diego’s most vital trading partners. According to data collected by World Trade Center San Diego, German-based companies, including Kontron, Evotec and BioNTech, directly employ more than 2,700 individuals in San Diego.

The trade mission will focus on three key subject areas:

  • Best practices in mobility, transportation and smart cities – Amid discussions about the future of transportation in San Diego, the delegation will explore technologies, best practices and strategic partnerships in mobility, the internet of things and smart cities through visits to Siemens, BMW and IBM’s cutting-edge Watson Lab. Additionally, through a visit to the House of Logistics & Mobility in Frankfurt, the delegation will learn a bit more about Frankfurt’s world-class transportation system.
  • Strengthening global life sciences partnerships – Like San Diego, Munich has become a hub for life sciences and biotech. Following a visit to BioM and the world-renowned Max Planck Institutes, German-based Evotec and the site lead from Takeda’s San Diego office will expand on a partnership that will benefit San Diego’s life sciences ecosystem.
  • Reinforcing global ties in a post-Brexit economy – Through meetings with the European Central Bank and the U.S. Consulates General in Frankfurt and Munich, the delegation will explore the gravitational shift in global trade while developing relationships with the experts responsible for evaluating trade policy.

Delegates will participate in upwards of 13 meetings over the course of the trade mission, sharing best practices and formulating collaborations across many industry verticals. The 20 -San Diego delegates include representatives from Takeda California, Qualcomm, General Atomics, Cubic Transportation Systems and more. Also in attendance are key San Diego agencies, universities and civic organizations such as UC San Diego, San Diego State University, San Diego Regional Airport Authority, the Port of San Diego and more.

At a time of mounting global uncertainty – particularly in the European Union – World Trade Center San Diego conducts trade missions to drive long term relationships for San Diego’s economy. Previously, World Trade Center San Diego led trade missions to Vancouver, London and Tokyo, which enabled startups Forge Therapeutics and Scientist.com to expand their global operations.

This trade mission is organized by World Trade Center San Diego, an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.

Follow along during the trade mission: #SDinGermany.

EDC research team composes Promise Zone Equitable Plan

SD Promise Zone

From December 2018 and January 2019, the San Diego Small Business Lending Collaborative surveyed 129 existing and 101 prospective business owners in three San Diego Promise Zone zip codes (92102, 92113 and 92114). The purpose of the survey was to identify barriers for small business establishment and growth within the San Diego Promise Zone, a geographic area comprising of Barrio Logan, Southeastern San Diego, and Encanto. Historically disadvantaged, the culturally rich communities within the San Diego Promise Zone possess unique barriers that inhibit economic growth.

The study, written by the San Diego Regional EDC, found that the biggest challenge business owners face is related to credit/financing. Only 12 percent of business owners have ever applied for business financing, and out of those who have, they found only expensive options or were declined due to bad credit or income requirements. The final report outlines recommendations and strategies for small business owners in the San Diego Promise Zone to overcome these obstacles and grow their companies. For example, expanding access to entrepreneurship training and accelerator programs for low to moderate income populations.

**Read the full report here.**

Leadership trip to Atlanta inspires new approaches to inclusion

As a way to inspire new approaches to inclusive economic development, EDC organizes an annual leadership trip with its partners and stakeholders in a peer region facing similar challenges. This year, EDC led a delegation of more than 40 San Diegans to Atlanta, Georgia – a city with deep cultural and historical significance. After three full days of dialogue with some of Atlanta’s most progressive and impactful leaders, our group came home with three main takeaways.

1. The decisions we make today will have lasting impacts on future generations.
We started off the leadership trip the way EDC approaches everything we do: with research. We learned how Atlanta’s history of racial inequity directly impacted the way the city was developed. It affected where public transportation would run, where good schools were built, who received loans to buy a house or start new businesses, and much more. Rohit Malhotra of Center of Civic Innovation stated, “96% of people born poor in Atlanta will die poor in Atlanta.” The disparities facing Atlantans today are deeply rooted in the region’s history. And because it’s leaders are willing to take a honest look at that history, that they are able to bring about lasting change. This inspired thoughtful discussion on how San Diego’s own history has shaped the way our communities live today, and will hopefully lead to further investigation into our region’s past, so that we can create sustainable solutions for our future.

2. Transportation can either exacerbate or alleviate existing problems.
Perhaps the biggest historic factor inhibiting Atlantan’s economic prosperity is access to transportation.  Because the city was designed to separate black and white populations, many low-income areas of the region simply do not have access to good jobs and affordable housing. In reference to predicting economic and health outcomes for Atlantans, Carol Naughton of Purpose Built Communities shared that “zip code impacts more than genetic code.” To combat this, organizations like Purpose Built Communities, TransFormation Alliance, and Historic District Development Corporation formed and work together to create an infrastructure that will support healthy, sustainable, and affordable communities. Thanks to their support and a transformational vision for redevelopment by Ryan Gravel, the Atlanta BeltLine was created to connect disparate neighborhoods and is drastically changing the way people live. That kind of positive peer pressure is what is bringing about change unlike anything the city of Atlanta has ever seen before. People who were previously displaced from quality jobs and access to transportation can now walk or bike to the grocery store to buy healthy food for their families. They can walk to a quality job that pays enough to support themselves. The thoughtful collaboration between these entities shows us that this level of systems change is, in fact, possible when organizations work together to take action.

3. It’s critical for younger generations to see themselves in leadership roles.
Inside the historic International Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel at Morehouse College, we heard about the importance of talent development investments from members of the Atlanta University Center Consortium. As Spellman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell eloquently said, “when students are affirmed, they do better.” Organizations like Cristo Rey Atlanta High School, a private school for underserved students who don’t pay tuition, help students and their families with hands-on college preparation, like the college application process. Interim President Camille Naughton said, “It’s barriers like filling out a FAFSA application that keeps students out of college – not intellect or lack of desire.” Clearly, the education systems in Atlanta understand that a bright future in Atlanta largely depends on significant investment in its students today. We also heard from Brookings Institution Fellow Rodney Sampson, who co-founded the Opportunity Hub (OHUBS) to eliminate barriers for minority tech founders. Rodney believes that building an inclusive economic ecosystem starts with early exposure to innovation and socialization. He said, “When you’re exposed to innovative ecosystems, the trajectory of your ability to acquire wealth changes.” Through organizations like these, students and young entrepreneurs see that they’re worth investing in. They see themselves as a leader, who can take action and make an impact.

From hearing about innovative talent development strategies and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems at Morehouse College, to walking along the Atlanta BeltLine that is radically changing the connectivity of Atlantas’s neighborhoods, our group gained invaluable insights that spurred thoughtful conversations about creating a better San Diego that works for all. The transformation in Atlanta was palpable. After immersing ourselves in its rich history and hearing first-hand experiences from Atlanta’s civic, education, and business leaders, one thing is clear: our inclusive growth work in San Diego is far from over, but we’re on the right path.

Atlanta Group

This trip was made possible through generous support from Southwest Airlines and Cox Communications.

To learn more about EDC’s Inclusive Growth effort, visit inclusiveSD.org or follow along on social media at #inclusiveSD.

Global device manufacturing company explores San Diego as its new home

Sysmex Corporation, a global medical device manufacturing company with its HQ in Kobe, Japan, was looking to enlarge their US-based presence.

With San Diego as a target destination for expansion, Sysmex contacted EDC with details on the company’s plans to expand its life science operations by leveraging proprietary technologies to create new testing and diagnostic technologies that help provide optimal healthcare for all. Sysmex distributes and supports automated in vitro diagnostic hematology, coagulation and urinalysis analyzers, reagents and information systems for laboratories and healthcare facilities throughout the Western Hemisphere.

The company was interested in piloting their US presence with a research and development lab staffed with ten initial full-time employees. EDC provided a list of properties using a site selection database that met Sysmex’s requirements for location characteristics. In order to coordinate site logistic tours and provide Sysmex additional market perspectives on the potential locations, EDC leveraged its connections with CBRE’s research team. CBRE was able to conduct a tour with Sysmex on nine different locations across the region.

Sysmex is now in the process of finalizing their internal budget by mid-October, in order to establish their research and development site by December of this year. The Sysmex team is very positive regarding San Diego and establishing a future here.

Innovator’s Dinner: The innovation of craft beer in San Diego’s upside

For the latest installment of the Innovator’s Dinner Series, Greg Koch, executive chairman and co-founder at Stone Brewing, joined a group of 25 entrepreneurs from North County to talk about the craft beer company’s growth story along the 78 Corridor. Now leading a 23-year-old company, Greg shared his thoughts and experience on how the company has grown, where they were able to find success, and how they’ve run into challenges in the last two decades.

The conversation showed entrepreneurs that are in the trenches of growing their business how Stone dealt with similar challenges, and ultimately, became a market leader in the craft beer industry. One underlying theme for the evening: An entrepreneur with a good idea needs grit to get through challenges, and the reward can be life-changing.

The Innovator’s Dinner series is part of the Startup78 initiative, which fosters entrepreneurship and supports the startup ecosystem along the 78 Corridor. Startups and entrepreneurs in the cities of Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, and Vista (together, Innovate78) can find out more about upcoming events at Innovate78.com.

MetroConnect Year 4 cohort increases exports by $69M

Last summer, 20 San Diego-based companies were selected to participate in World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego’s export assistance program—MetroConnect. Participants were equipped with a $10,000 grant and programmatic resources over the course of a year, with the intent of helping them access international markets and boost export sales.

The companies in MetroConnect Year 4 collectively generated a net increase of $69.6 million in exports sales, signed 369 international contracts, and opened 10 new facilities overseas. Together, these participating companies also added 97 jobs right here in San Diego–evidence that exporting can make businesses more dynamic and resilient back home.

After collecting initial results from this year’s cohort, WTC San Diego formed a MetroConnect Judging Committee to determine which four companies would be invited back to compete in the MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest. On November 13, the pitch competition will award one company an additional $35,000 and deemed the grand prize winner of MetroConnect Year 4.

The four finalists:

  • Bitchin’ Sauce
    • A San Diego staple served at street fairs for years, the almond-based, gluten-free, Non-GMO and vegan sauce is great for veggies and a spread. Now available at retailers in San Diego and beyond.
  • Eddy Pump
    • An engineering and manufacturing company producing state-of-the-art material handling equipment for a multitude of industries including military, oil, mining, energy, and more across the globe.
  • LRAD Corporation
    • Manufacturer and developer of long-range acoustic hailing devices, mass notification, and distributed messaging systems, which allow users to clearly communicate warnings and instructions, resolve uncertain situations, and enhance safety in a variety of applications for defense, law enforcement, and more.
  • Scientist.com
    • The world’s leading marketplace for sourcing scientific research services.

Congratulations to these companies on their success, and we look forward to seeing them make their pitch in November!

Details for the MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest

  • Who: 200+ attendees primarily within San Diego’s international business community (exporting companies, service providers, trade organizations, program stakeholders)
  • When: Wednesday, November 13 from 2:30 – 5:30 PM
  • Where: The Alexandria at Torrey Pines and Farmer & the Seahorse
  • Why: This event marks the finale of MetroConnet 2018-2019 program. The audience and a judging panel (50/50 split) will vote for the grand prize winner to receive a $35,000 check, courtesy of JPMorgan Chase

Following the pitch competition, there will be a company showcase and reception at Farmer & the Seahorse. Learn more and get tickets for the event here.

San Diego employers commit to addressing the region’s affordability crisis

In an effort to address San Diego’s soaring cost of living, San Diego Regional EDC and its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee of 40 employers officially endorsed a regional goal to create 75,000 newly thriving households by 2030. Driven by the findings in EDC’s latest study release, this regional goal and accompanying set of recommendations aim to address key factors (housing, transportation, and childcare) impacting San Diego’s affordability crisis – the last of three main goals of a regional Inclusive Growth agenda.

“While San Diego’s affordability crisis impacts everyone in the region, it has a disproportionate and devastating impact on African American and Hispanic communities,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “The lack of affordable housing is a significant part of the problem, but those impacted are also the same residents who are dealing with the longest commute times, childcare deficits, limited connectivity to public transportation, and other barriers that make access to high-wage, high-skilled jobs particularly more difficult and burdensome.”

ADDRESSING SAN DIEGO’S AFFORDABILITY CRISIS
In its new study, EDC found that the majority of household incomes in San Diego do not meet the region’s expected cost of living ($96,000 annually for owner-occupied households and $61,000 annually for renter-occupied households). The cost of housing – twice the average among U.S. metros – is the primary driver of the region’s growing cost of living, pushing residents further away from job centers and resulting in longer commute times and increased cost of transportation.

Additional key findings include:
Affordability: San Diego is 47 percent more expensive than the average U.S. metro.
Housing: Half of all homeowners do not earn enough to cover their cost of living, and nearly 60 percent of all renters fall thousands of dollars short each year.
• Transportation: The average household spends more than $14,000 on transportation and travels nearly 20,000 miles over the course of a year.
• Childcare: There are now nearly twice as many children under the age of six with working parents as there are licensed childcare spaces available.

With the fifth highest median home price, staggering commute times for its poorest residents, and substantial childcare shortages, San Diego’s high cost of living not only impacts the region’s existing workforce, but also the pipeline of future talent.

“It is becoming more challenging to recruit talent from out of the San Diego region because San Diego is not an affordable place to live.  This is especially true in higher education where many competitors for talent are in low-cost college towns,” said Thom Harpole, human resources director, San Diego State University. “Salary and benefits packages alone are not adequate to address the problem.  Affordability in San Diego must be addressed to ensure the health of our communities and the success of our organizations in delivering on their missions.”

If the region’s housing, transportation, and childcare costs continue to rise at this rate, San Diego will no longer be an attractive place to live or work. To address this affordability crisis, the Inclusive Growth Steering Committee has endorsed a regional goal of creating 75,000 newly thriving households by 2030. To meet this new regional goal, San Diego must increase the proportion of households that can afford the region’s true cost of living from 47 percent to 55 percent. This means more housing, more transportation options, and more childcare. It also means growing household incomes through the local development of skilled workers and creation of more quality jobs.

“San Diego’s cost of living significantly impacts our ability to attract and retain talent from other destinations,” said Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe, president and CEO, San Diego Convention Center Corporation. “We need to be creative to compete.  We work to make sure that all of our employees have the opportunity to thrive in San Diego.”

The Inclusive Growth Steering Committee has recommended that employers support the regional goal through the following actions:
1. Transparency – understand the impacts that lack of affordability has on existing workforce and talent pipeline.
2. Engagement – participate in public policy dialogue around infrastructure development to address the region’s affordability challenges.
3. Investment – invest in programs and projects that help ameliorate cost of living pressures on workforce.

Employers that have officially endorsed this goal and recommendations include San Diego State University, San Diego Convention Center, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cox Communications, Northrop Grumman, and more. For a complete list of employers committed to this effort, visit the new interactive web study.

EDC’S INCLUSIVE GROWTH INITIATIVE
In 2018, EDC launched a data-driven, employer-led initiative focused on promoting inclusive growth as an economic imperative. Together with its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee, EDC has set collaborative regional goals, endorsed actionable recommendations for accomplishing them, and will continue to monitor its regional progress towards building a strong local talent pipeline, equipping small businesses to compete, and addressing San Diego’s affordability crisis.

For more information about the Inclusive Growth initiative, visit inclusiveSD.org. Join the conversation at #inclusiveSD.

View the full interactive web study release: Addressing San Diego’s Affordability Crisis.