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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

The top good news stories of 2014

December 31, 2014

Good News” is all around us. For the third year in a row, we've compiled a list of some of the greatest moments of the year. As 2014 draws to an end, EDC would like to share some of the remarkable accomplishments from across our entire mega-region. From genome sequencing to UAVs, we are a region of smart people, working together, to solve some of the world’s hardest problems…and we will continue to be known for innovation and collaboration, for years to come.
Here’s to another year of writing San Diego's story.
Team EDC
  'World's Smartest Company' expands in San Diego
Going into 2014, the "$1,000 genome" - a catchphrase that describes the ability to sequence a human genome for under $1,000 a person -  was an abstract, but a San Diego company proved it could happen. In January, Illumina introduced its HiSeq X Ten Sequencer, which broke the $1,000 barrier. Shortly thereafter, MIT Technology Review released its list of "50 Smartest Companies" with Illumina at the top, beating out Telsa, Google, and Samsung. In July, the City of San Diego - with EDC's assistance - announced an agreement that would help the genomics pioneer expand in San Diego; the City provided a tax rebate in exchange for the retention and creation of 300 well-paying jobs. Read more...

  Forbes recognizes San Diego's startup power
It's not just EDC that's calling 2014 the "year of the startup" in San Diego. In March, Forbes gave us the accolade of the "Best Place to Launch a Startup in 2014." It's safe to say we've lived up to it. From CyberHive to EvoNexus and CONNECT, many San Diego programs and incubators support the startup ecosystem. Plug and Play Tech Center - the Silicon Valley accelerator - selected San Diego as its first U.S. satellite city. Qualcomm and TechStars have teamed up to start a robotics accelerator. In the first three quarters of 2014, San Diego companies received more than $719 million dollars in venture capital funding, up more than $88 million from the year prior. Local universities, such as UC San Diego and SDSU, have helped create a entrepreneurial culture. Read more...

  Atkins tapped to lead State Assembly 
In March, Toni Atkins became Assembly Speaker, making her the first CA Speaker from San Diego. In her first year, she's helped shine the spotlight on San Diego and many issues pertinent to the region. From education to job creation, San Diegans now know their voice is heard on state issues. She even got to be Governor...for a day. As she begins her first full term as Speaker in 2015, she plans to focus on the budget and education. Locally, new leadership and transparency also came to San Diego City Hall this year, with Mayor Kevin Faulconer taking office.

  Border infrastructure gets an upgrade
In 2014, San Diego broke ground on a new cross border terminal. When complete, travelers will be able to park on one side of the border and take the private walkway to fly out of Tijuana International Airport. But those who choose to travel by car also got good news this year. Every year, more than 19 million people pass through San Ysidro Port of Entry - the busiest land port in the world - in personal vehicles. Because of a newly-completed border expansion, Border Patrol now has 25 rebuilt inspection lanes with a total of 46 booths at its disposal; and that’s just the beginning. By January 2018, the Port is expected to grow to 34 lanes with 63 booths. Reduced wait times will have powerful economic implications, helping the region recover some of the estimated 62,000 jobs lost to border congestion annually.

  National Geographic: San Diego is a smart city
Thanks to a strong technology sector, local innovation, green practices, smart public planning, and an unparalleled quality of life, San Diego is the only North American city that will be featured in a National Geographic documentary about "World Smart Cities." The documentary will air in more than 20 countries in 2015. The filming  captured some of San Diego's best and brightest, including: the Port of San Diego and how it has become a leader in environmental issues with its new shore-power system at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal; the innovation in UAVs, courtesy of Northrop Grumman; UCSD’s San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, which engineers algae for the production of hydrocarbon molecules that can be used as biofuels; and more.

  SD dominates biotech
The world's biggest biotech convention was back in San Diego in June, bringing some 15,000 visitors to the region. With speakers including Gov. Brown, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Richard Branson, all eyes were on San Diego. But San Diego's biotech domination spans more than just a four-day period. In 2014, Jones Lang Lasalle named San Diego the third largest biotech hub in the U.S. Anchored by more than 86 research institutions and a dynamic private sector, the region’s leadership in stem cell research and the mapping of the human genome is second to none. This year, San Diego innovators developed ebola therapies and expanded the DNA alphabet.  As a testament to our life sciences dominance, The Scientist recently highlighted the "top 10 research products of 2014," where half of the list was made of up San Diego-based companies' innovations.

  Tactical urbanism makes a comeback
San Diego is not just growing bigger; it's growing smarter. This year, San Diego found out what happens when you convert an eight acre parking lot on the bay into a lush park. Complete with interactive fountains, garden and play structures, the County Waterfront Park fulfills a vision decades in the making slating it as a quintessential destination for residents and visitors. The Downtown San Diego Partnership introduced Park(ing) Day, which temporarily converted metered parking spaces into creative, public spaces. In the East Village, Makers Quarter brings an influx of collaborative community and creative culture to San Diego. A new seven-mile bike loop was also added to assist cyclists in San Diego's urban core. 

  Stone goes global
San Diego craft beer is taking the world by storm. The best local example of this: Stone Brewing Co. Since its founding in 1996, Stone has expanded several times, and today can claim it's the 10th largest craft brewery in the United States. But this is not just a U.S. story anymore. In July, Stone announced they would be the first U.S. brewery to independently own and operate a brewery in Europe. And they chose Berlin, arguably the beer capital of the world, as the place to do this. Stone is just one example of a San Diego company going global. With the release of the Global San Diego Trade and Investment Plan in 2015, we expect more companies to follow Stone's lead.

  Breeders Cup and U.S. Open coming to the region
San Diego may not play host to the 2017 America's Cup, but it secured two major sporting events in 2014. For the first time, the Breeders Cup - the biggest event in horse racing - will come to the Del Mar racetrack in 2017. The two day event is expected to generate upwards of $64.9 million in economic impact for the region. Down the road, Torrey Pines will be home to the 2021 U.S. Open. Last time San Diego hosted the event in 2008, a study found there was an estimated $142 million economic impact. Although a final decision has not been made, odds are looking good that San Diego will play host to the 2016 MLB All-Star game at Petco Park. The San Diego City Council recently approved a proposal to allow up to $1.5 million in funds to help secure the event.

We could not end a year of Good News without acknowledging Brown Law Group, both our sponsor and the inspiration behind Good News. Thank you for your unwavering support.