Good News of the Week – April 9, 2021

Every week, ‘Good News of the Week’ features a curation of positive headlines from San Diego, delivered straight to your inbox. A blend of aggregated stories from San Diego’s most trusted news sources and original EDC-created content, GNOTW provides a comprehensive recap of the region’s best stories from the past week.

For the week of April 9, 2021, here’s what we’re reading:

…and here are the events we’re (virtually) attending:

We’re hiring: Research Coordinator

Know someone who is familiar with public economic data sources and has strong statistical and analytical skills? EDC is hiring an entry-level Research Coordinator!

This role will provide specialized, logistical, and administrative support for team initiatives and organization-wide efforts, including collecting and analyzing data on San Diego’s economy.

Apply Now, or Help Us Spread the Word!


Additional resources:

Be in the know – sign up below to receive future editions of GNOTW.

Want to submit your event or news update to our weekly newsletter? Contact us for more information.

Heather Dewis
Heather Dewis

Coordinator, Marketing

Good News of the Week – April 2, 2021

Every week, ‘Good News of the Week’ features a curation of positive headlines from San Diego, delivered straight to your inbox. A blend of aggregated stories from San Diego’s most trusted news sources and original EDC-created content, GNOTW provides a comprehensive recap of the region’s best stories from the past week.

For the week of April 2, 2021, here’s what we’re reading:

…and here are the events we’re (virtually) attending:

Meet our Board

As we wrapped up Women’s History Month, we continued to introduce you to the women behind EDC—our fearless leaders, our board members, our executive committee, our guiding lights.

Meet Toni Atkins: Public servant and California Senate President Pro Tempore representing the 39th district, San Diego.

Meet Tonya Cross: Lawyer turned SVP, People and Corporate Operations at Lytx.

Meet Lisette Islas: EVP and Chief Impact Officer for MAAC and one of Mayor Todd Gloria’s Women of Distinction.


Additional resources:

Be in the know – sign up below to receive future editions of GNOTW.

Want to submit your event or news update to our weekly newsletter? Contact us for more information.

Heather Dewis
Heather Dewis

Coordinator, Marketing

Release: San Diego Global Trade and Investment Strategy serves to drive recovery, resilience

World Trade Center San Diego updates 2015 regional plan amid pandemic

Today, alongside Congressman Scott Peters, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and key regional business leaders and in partnership with the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy at UC San Diego, World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) released its “Go Global 2025: San Diego’s Global Trade and Investment Initiative.” This regional strategic plan serves as the update to the inaugural strategy launched in 2015 and focuses on global engagement as an engine for recovery and resilience.

Available on web at goglobal2025.wtcsd.org, the strategic plan also includes an overview of San Diego’s economic and policy landscape, an interactive foreign investment map, perspectives from executives of global firms and more.

THE CASE FOR GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT

As the world collectively battles a pandemic and navigates resulting economic shutdowns, the global economy faces some of the most significant disruptions in a generation. Nations and cities have begun to look inward to focus on domestic needs including healthcare, education, infrastructure, equity and job creation. And yet, if this year has taught us anything, it is that we are a global society that is inextricably connected.

On the road to recovery, it is increasingly important for leaders at the metro level to articulate a compelling, data-driven vision of our place within the global economy and collaboratively execute a strategy that keeps us ahead of the curve.

“San Diego is filled with world-class innovation and smart people solving global problems. Now is the time for our big, binational City to show up on the world stage to help us reach our goals faster,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “As Mayor, I want to tell that story in a way that opens doors and enables more investment, jobs and opportunities for San Diegans and moves our city forward.”

While San Diego exports $22 billion in goods annually, the region is also a top 10 services exporter among U.S. metros. The region’s competitive advantage is in professional, scientific, and technical services, like research and development, cybersecurity, and engineering and software. These industries also capture the highest concentration of foreign direct investment (FDI) via mergers and acquisitions and venture capital investment. In fact, San Diego life sciences firms captured nearly three-quarters of the estimated $3 billion in foreign investment injected into the regional economy last year.

“As the “next normal” takes shape, San Diego needs to continue to prepare for where the economy is going by focusing on our most globally competitive industries. However, we need to be intentional about creating quality jobs at every skill level within those industries, and enabling San Diegans with the tools they need to fill those jobs,” said Nikia Clarke, Executive Director, WTCSD. “This will ensure that our businesses and innovators continue to export life-changing technology, and it will also make all our communities more resilient to future shocks.”

A STRATEGIC PLAN

In order to drive quality job growth through expanding foreign investment and exports, deepen economic ties to strategic markets, and enhance the region’s reputation to drive competitiveness, WTCSD proposes five key strategies for the San Diego region:

  1. Lead with the region’s most competitive industries. Most growth and job creation will come from innovation–based industries.
  1. Leverage binational assets to attract foreign investment. Capture investment along the entire value chain in priority industries.
  1. Prioritize market access for small businesses. Small businesses create the most jobs but face higher barriers to internationalization.
  1. Invest in critical infrastructure that enables global commerce. Modernize, maintain and expand service through international ports of entry.
  1. Enhance San Diego’s global identity and reputation for innovation. Deepen public-private partnerships on focused international activity.

“The digital paradigm shift we’ve seen is just one of the many ways the global marketplace—and in turn, our business—has been revolutionized by the pandemic. This is why a regional strategic plan like the one WTCSD has outlined matters: there are real businesses, real people, real jobs who require the resilience that global connection provides,” said Ken Behan, VP of Sales and Marketing, SYSTRAN.

“The Port of San Diego is a vital economic engine for the region with San Diego Bay and the surrounding waterfront at the heart of it all. While it has been a difficult and uncertain year for us and many of our bayfront businesses, there are so many legacy-making decisions ahead. This strategy presents an opportunity for us to align not only in word, but in action. The impacts could be transformational,” said Commissioner Jennifer LeSar, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners.

The report was produced by WTCSD, with support by the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy at UC San Diego and sponsored by Illumina. It was unveiled today at a community event alongside Congressman Scott Peters; San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria; Dr. Renee Bowen, Director, Center for Commerce and Diplomacy, UC San Diego; Garry Ridge, Chairman of the Board & CEO, WD-40; Kathleen Lynch, Vice President, Global Government Affairs & Public Policy, Illumina; Maritza Diaz, CEO, iTjuana; and Dr. Vivek Lall, Chief Executive, General Atomics Global.

ABOUT WTCSD
Founded in 1994 by the City of San Diego, Port of San Diego, and San Diego International Airport, World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) operates as an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC. WTCSD works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad. sandiegobusiness.org/wtcsd

Read the full strategy and report here

Good News of the Week – March 26, 2021

Every week, ‘Good News of the Week’ features a curation of positive headlines from San Diego, delivered straight to your inbox. A blend of aggregated stories from San Diego’s most trusted news sources and original EDC-created content, GNOTW provides a comprehensive recap of the region’s best stories from the past week.

For the week of March 26, 2021, here’s what we’re reading:

…and here are the events we’re (virtually) attending:

San Diego’s Changing Business Landscape: The next normal is here

EDC is excited to kick-off our Changing Business Landscape Series, which will be published bi-monthly in the San Diego Business Journal and on our blog. In this edition, learn how:

  • Everything is different, yet the future is bright.
  • Remote working is no longer a perk or competitive advantage—it’s the standard.
  • Long commutes have been replaced by a blurring of work-life boundaries.

Plus: Share your insight in EDC’s ongoing Business Landscape survey.

Read More

San Diego’s Data Bites: March 2021

EDC is excited to unveil a fresh take on our long-standing Economic Pulse. The same intel, with a new ‘taste’: Welcome to San Diego’s Data Bites!

This month’s bites covers February 2021, including the month’s unemployment rate of 7.2 percent.

Eat Up!

Meet our Board: Sunny Cooke, Ph.D. and Laura Garrett

To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re introducing you to the women behind EDC.

Meet Laura Garrett: SVP of Human Resources at TaylorMade Golf, and a Midwesterner turned San Diegan who reminds us to never stop dreaming of what we might be when we grow up.

Meet Sunny Cooke, Ph.D: President and superintendent of Mira Costa College, EDC Board member, and an inspiration for women and immigrants in STEM.


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Be in the know – sign up below to receive future editions of GNOTW.

Want to submit your event or news update to our weekly newsletter? Contact us for more information.

Heather Dewis
Heather Dewis

Coordinator, Marketing

Advancing San Diego Company Spotlight: Paragrine Systems

The Advancing San Diego (ASD) Internship Program launched in Summer 2020 in a remote-capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully subsidized interns. This program targets companies with 100 employees or less, which comprise 98 percent of all businesses in San Diego, employ nearly two thirds of San Diegans, and account for 70 percent of job growth. A key issue for these companies has been a lack of time and resources to recruit the skilled talent necessary to continue their growth.

As students are closing out their Fall engineering internship experiences, EDC has rolled out this blog series to highlight the innovative local companies that comprise the second cohort of the program, and the interns they hosted.

In this feature, we sat down with Austin Blue, CEO at Paragrine Systems. As part of the second cohort of host companies, Paragrine Systems builds air and ground mobility into single rugged and efficient vehicles.

Read on for more from Paragrine Systems CEO Austin Blue.

Tell us about your company?  

Paragrine Systems is a developer and manufacturer of powered-parafoil utility vehicle platforms for commercial, humanitarian aid/disaster relief, and military applications.

Why was your company founded, and what are your current points of focus?  

Paragrine was founded to explore and progress the great potential of powered parafoils to provide a new paradigm for low-cost aerial mobility across a broad range of applications on a global basis. Our current focus is on developing unique mobility solutions for Department of Defense applications, expanding on core technology foundations, and preparing for production at scale.

How was your experience building a small business/startup in San Diego?

San Diego has been a great place for entrepreneurship and building a business. We greatly appreciate and have benefited from the community and infrastructure provided by Advancing San Diego, our phenomenal local universities, a vibrant business community, Connect, and a great culture of innovation and technical advancement.

What does growth look like over the next few years?

We look forward to continuing to expand the envelope for what powered parafoils can accomplish doing work and meeting transportation and logistics needs in some of the world’s hardest to reach locations. Over the next several years we will progress from our R&D foundations into production at scale.

How has your company pivoted as a result of COVID-19?

We have been working remotely and continuing to do our best to conduct business development by video conference to execute on our current contracts. In some ways it has been nice not to travel so much this past year and that has enabled us to stay focused. We have high hopes for the future and a great 2021 ahead.

Tell us a little bit about your interns and the value they bring.

Our interns have proven to be curious, capable, and engaged. We are grateful for their attention and contribution to our business and we hope that we have been able to help them learn more about what is involved in aerospace technology development from the ground on up. For all of us, it has been a much-appreciated opportunity during this challenging year to expand the team and learn new skills and work with new people. Our interns have been great and we have been grateful for the real value they have delivered.

In your opinion, what is special about San Diego’s science and technology community, and the talent that drives it?

San Diego has a wealth of diverse talents, interests, and leadership across so many industries and technologies. It is a leader in aerospace, bio-sciences, logistical innovation, energy sciences and much more. These are enhanced, nurtured and fed by great universities, a generous business community, a complimentary and beneficial connection to Mexico, and a strong connection to the Navy and Marines. There are so many favorable elements, in addition to the awesome climate, that all encourage and mutually reinforce each other to make this a great place to do business. We consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to live and work in this community.

 

Learn more about Advancing San Diego and our internship program.

Company contact info and additional information:

You might also like to read:

Good News of the Week – March 19, 2021

Every week, ‘Good News of the Week’ features a curation of positive headlines from San Diego, delivered straight to your inbox. A blend of aggregated stories from San Diego’s most trusted news sources and original EDC-created content, GNOTW provides a comprehensive recap of the region’s best stories from the past week.

For the week of March 19, 2021, here’s what we’re reading:

…and here are the events we’re (virtually) attending:

Meet our Board: Jennie Brooks

“We stand on the shoulders of giants—women who established their seat in the Board room, in the cockpit, in the laboratory, and in the halls of Congress.”

To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re introducing you to the women behind EDC. Learn about a trailblazer in the defense and artificial intelligence spheres and the vice chair of EDC’s Board.

Meet Jennie Brooks


Additional resources:

Be in the know – sign up below to receive future editions of GNOTW.

Want to submit your event or news update to our weekly newsletter? Contact us for more information.

Heather Dewis
Heather Dewis

Coordinator, Marketing

Advancing San Diego Intern Spotlight: Kimberly Fajardo & Justin Skaggs, Aeromutable Corporation

The Advancing San Diego (ASD) Internship Program launched in Summer 2020 in a remote-capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully subsidized interns. This program targets companies with 100 employees or less, which comprise 98 percent of all businesses in San Diego, employ nearly two thirds of San Diegans, and account for 70 percent of job growth. A key issue for these companies has been a lack of time and resources to recruit the skilled talent necessary to continue their growth.

As students are closing out their Fall engineering internship experiences, EDC has rolled out this blog series to highlight the innovative local companies that comprise the second cohort of the program, and the interns they hosted.

In this feature, we sat down with Kimberly Fajardo and Justin Skaggs, interns at Aeromutable Corporation. As part of the second cohort of host companies, Aeromutable Corporation develops low-profile and unintrusive technology capable of dynamically modifying the aerodynamic behavior of ground vehicles. Both Fajardo and Skaggs are graduating students at UC San Diego studying aerospace engineering and chemical engineering respectively.

Read on for more from Kimberly and Justin.

KF: Kimberly Fajardo

JS: Justin Skaggs


Tell us about yourself.
 

KF: My name is Kimberly Fajardo and my hometown is McFarland, California. Right after graduating from McFarland High School, I started attending UC San Diego, where I have been able to learn about cool topics like fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, and propulsion. I am now in my final year of college and am looking forward to graduating in June 2021 with a major in aerospace engineering and a minor in mathematics. I chose engineering as my career path because I have always had an interest in STEM-related topics. In October 2020, I was offered an intern position at Aeromutable Corporation, and am currently working with them in improving the aerodynamics on semi-trucks and reducing their fuel consumption, which is awesome!

JS: I am currently attending UC San Diego and am a transfer student from Southwestern College. I was able to apply for the internship through an email I received through my school. I have been participating in research laboratories throughout my time at the university, and it was a great change of pace to get involved with an internship. It is a nice opportunity to be able to work for the internship along with schoolwork, since it keeps me busy and teaches me a lot about how to work in the professional world.

How has your experience in the Advancing San Diego Internship Program been, and what projects/assignments have been the most meaningful?

KF: Having the opportunity to be a part of the Advancing San Diego Internship Program with Aeromutable Corporation and directly with the CEOs, Sandy and David, has been such a unique experience. I have gained valuable skills that help make me a better professional. One of the projects that has been the most meaningful to me has been designing three different manifolds for the pneumatic system Aeromutable is working on. My designs began on paper and I eventually was able to create the 3D designs on SolidWorks, get them approved, and submitted for manufacturing. It was a challenging process, but mostly a rewarding experience to be able to make a design happen.

JS: It has been an amazing experience to work with Aeromutable. I have learned a variety of skills involving engineering around constraints, researching for possible solutions, and troubleshooting when a process is not working as expected. Reporting progress and results is also an essential skill and organizing your work so another person can pick up where you left off is important. The most important work I have done is working with a RaspberryPi, and it has taught me a lot about sensors and interfacing sensors with the digital world. I have gotten a lot of experience with coding and can certainly add this to my toolbox of skills.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your day-to-day, and what challenges have you faced as a student?

JS: Working from home comes with a specialized group of obstacles. The access to tools and a workspace is limited, creating a time lag between some of the tasks I want to accomplish. The ability to catch up with coworkers in an instant is a benefit however, since meetings and updates can be done from home on the computer.

What advice would you give to high school students looking for a successful career in the local software industry? 

KF: Advice I would give to high school students looking for a career in any field would be to not be afraid of putting themselves out there and to start gaining experience early on in their career.

JS: Try every opportunity you have and keep doing what puts a smile on your face. It’s an amazing feeling to be excited to work, and there are a lot of jobs out there that can provide that happiness!

Learn more about Advancing San Diego and our internship program.

Company contact info and additional information:

You might also like to read:

Good News of the Week – March 12, 2021

Every week, ‘Good News of the Week’ features a curation of positive headlines from San Diego, delivered straight to your inbox. A blend of aggregated stories from San Diego’s most trusted news sources and original EDC-created content, GNOTW provides a comprehensive recap of the region’s best stories from the past week.

For the week of March 12, 2021, here’s what we’re reading:

…and here are the events we’re (virtually) attending:

Meet our Board: Janice Brown

“[EDC is] community; it’s family; it’s given me oh so much more than I have given it. I recognize that being the EDC Chair enhanced my profile in this region, but more than anything, it taught me to be myself and to connect authentically.”

To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re introducing you to the women behind EDC. Learn about entrepreneur, visionary, and only the second woman to lead EDC’s board.

Meet Janice Brown

San Diego’s Data Bites: March 2021

EDC is excited to unveil a fresh take on our long-standing Economic Pulse. The same intel, with a new ‘taste’: Welcome to San Diego’s Data Bites!

This month’s bites covers January 2021 data, including an 8.1 percent unemployment rate and additional job losses after an atypical December, likely reflecting the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

Chow Down


Additional resources:

Be in the know – sign up below to receive future editions of GNOTW.

Want to submit your event or news update to our weekly newsletter? Contact us for more information.

Heather Dewis
Heather Dewis

Coordinator, Marketing

Advancing San Diego Company Spotlight: Aeromutable Corporation

The Advancing San Diego (ASD) Internship Program launched in Summer 2020 in a remote-capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully subsidized interns. This program targets companies with 100 employees or less, which comprise 98 percent of all businesses in San Diego, employ nearly two thirds of San Diegans, and account for 70 percent of job growth. A key issue for these companies has been a lack of time and resources to recruit the skilled talent necessary to continue their growth.

As students are closing out their Fall engineering internship experiences, EDC has rolled out this blog series to highlight the innovative local companies that comprise the second cohort of the program, and the interns they hosted.

In this feature, we sat down with Sandra Manosalvas-Kjono, co-founder and COO at Aeromutable Corporation. As part of the second cohort of host companies, Aeromutable Corporation develops low-profile and unintrusive technology capable of dynamically modifying the aerodynamic behavior of ground vehicles.

Read on for more from Aeromutable Corporation co-founder Sandra Manosalvas-Kjono.

Tell us about your company?  

Aeromutable is bringing aerospace technology into the trucking industry. Our first product being developed in San Diego is an active fuel savings device that dynamically optimizes heavy vehicle performance based on its surroundings and provides three times the fuel savings of its nearest competitors, increasing the trucking industry’s profitability while significantly reducing its carbon footprint.

Why was your company founded, and what are your current points of focus?  

Through their doctoral work at Stanford University, the co-founders of Aeromutable studied the effect of aerodynamic drag on heavy vehicle fuel consumption and identified the impact real time sensing devices have in the optimization of its performance. Aeromutable was founded to fulfill the mission of developing and commercializing technology that has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while improving the bottom line of the trucking industry. With the support of various institutions, which include the Stanford TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy through the Chain Reaction Innovations program, Aeromutable is working towards fulfilling its mission.

What does growth look like over the next few years?

Aeromutable is currently working to bring its first full-size prototype on-road for testing. In the subsequent 12 months, we will continue developing our MVP and will produce a fleet-ready device that we will employ on routes with a pilot partner trucking company. Our pilot program and close collaboration will provide the operational testing with our fleet partners and invaluable insights that will allow us to bring our technology to market.

How has your company pivoted as a result of COVID-19?

COVID-19 hit the manufacturing communities particularly hard given that they require in-person work that sometimes requires close contact situations. When COVID-19 hit, Aeromutable was transitioning from benchtop prototype testing to manufacturing our first full-sized prototype, which required specialized manufacturing and shop access. We were essentially perfectly aligned to go into manufacturing mode when manufacturing practically came to a halt. So, while our product has not pivoted, our manufacturing and partnership opportunity certainly has. This has been just one of the many challenges of being a startup during COVID.

Tell us a little bit about your interns and the value they bring.

The interns provided to us through Advancing San Diego have been a great addition to the Aeromutable team. They have contributed to the development of multiple subsystems that will be a part of our prototype. They are applying the knowledge they have obtained from their engineering education at UC San Diego in real world problems. Through their internship, they are being exposed to a fast-paced environment of development where multiple engineering, logistical, economical, and practical constraints need to be considered. Their contributions have allowed Aeromutable to increase our pace on the development of our on-road and on-track prototype.

In your opinion, what is special about San Diego’s science and technology community, and the talent that drives it?

San Diego is uniquely situated near many top universities and multiple private and government research institutions, which helps create an environment of diverse and innovative engineers while maintaining a feeling of community that is hard to find. Furthermore, San Diego is perfectly located to provide access to some of the most important trucking routes, as well as being within close reach of larger, neighboring technology hubs like Los Angeles and a short plane ride to the Bay Area to further increase our opportunities for collaboration and growth.

 

Learn more about Advancing San Diego and our internship program.

Company contact info and additional information:

You might also like to read:

A note from Mark…

One year ago, almost to the day, we decided to move our EDC board meeting online and announced to our team members that we would be closing the office for a few weeks. We decided to cancel all in-person meetings and events as well. Little did any of us know then how the next 12 months would unfold.

REFLECTING BACK
The past year has been difficult on everyone in immeasurable ways. To try to recap any of it would almost cheapen the challenges, loss, successes, struggles, triumphs, and trials that so many have gone through.

Yet through it all, we continue to draw inspiration from those who have been on the frontlines, supply lines, and everywhere else where citizens and workers have stepped in to do their jobs to ensure the safety and stability of those around them. We feel great pride in our healthcare systems and our scientific and technology-based companies for the roles they have played in advancing care, testing, treatment, vaccinations, and more. The “life-changing” mantra that has been such a central part of our work and messaging over the last five or six years has never seemed more fitting than now.

FINDING A PATH FORWARD
This economic recovery we find ourselves in will be long, challenging, and at times, heartbreaking. But it will also make us stronger, more resilient, and more mindful of our connectedness to each other. Our work may look different, and our priorities and goals will need to be constantly re-evaluated, but EDC’s mission, vision, and values remain concrete. Everything we do as a team and as an organization we do with and through all of you. We cannot thank you enough for your leadership, support, collaboration, and guidance throughout the past year.

THE WOMEN WHO LEAD US
On a different note, I want to take a moment to recognize the work our communications team has been doing this month to recognize March as “Women’s History Month.” If you have not seen the profiles they have posted, please check them out here.

As I look around at our hospitals, businesses, colleges/universities, cities, and anchor institutions, I see no shortage of amazing women who are leading and bringing about real change within our region. EDC is no exception. Our World Trade Center and economic development programs were recreated under the leadership of Nikia Clarke. Our marketing and communications work is led by Bree Burris. Our day-to-day economic development work with the business community is overseen by Ashley Swartout. Our EDC Foundation is run by Jen Storm. Our finance, IT and human resources work is spearheaded by Kathy Lu. Our organizational culture has been built in no small part by Catherine DeYoung. The list goes on and on.

But there are four women who I feel should long be remembered for building and changing the organization that I have the privilege to run every day:

  • Julie Meier-Wright, who established the foundation that so many of us stand and build upon;
  • Debbie Reed, who set EDC on a new and focused course;
  • Janice Brown, who got us all to think differently about what economic development really means;
  • And Lauree Sahba, who has been the thread running through all of them and connecting them with each other, with me, and with so many of you.

Every one of them, amazing. Each playing their own role in helping to shape our organization and our work. All of them inspiring the leader and person I will forever strive to be.

Sending all of you my very best wishes for the rest of the month and truly hoping to see more and more of you in the weeks and months ahead.

With appreciation and respect,
Mark