Honoring our 2023 San Diego Life Changing Awardees

Each year, EDC’s Annual Dinner brings together nearly 900 of the region’s business and community leaders to celebrate our organization and region’s success, and to honor an individual and company whose work has promoted an inclusive and thriving San Diego.

Last night at Petco Park, and together with EDC Board Chair Jennie Brooks and Councilmember Raul Campillo, EDC and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were honored to present the 2023 San Diego Life Changing Awards to these household names, made right here in San Diego:

Taylor Guitars

Founded in El Cajon nearly 50 years ago, Taylor Guitars represents the best of what’s ‘Made in San Diego’—manufacturing some of the world’s best guitars for hobbyists and rock stars alike.

In January 2021, Taylor Guitars became the first reported multi-national company to transfer ownership to all of its employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Rather than selling the company to another guitar company or outside investor, founders Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug felt the best way to position the company for future success was to entrust it to its 1,200-person workforce—domestic and international—who drive Taylor Guitars’ innovative culture, growth, and decades-long success.

For its steadfast commitment to inclusive growth, EDC is proud to recognize Taylor Guitars with one of the 2023 San Diego Life Changing awards presented by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Garry Ridge

Garry Ridge is well known for his 35 years at the helm of WD-40 Company, but even more so for his philosophy and expertise in cultivating corporate culture. Leaning on Aristotle’s quote, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work,” Garry has spent his career as a CEO, professor, author, and coach helping leaders create work environments, or ‘tribes,’ where people feel safe, fulfilled, happy, and guided by values.

For his commitment to uplifting and supporting San Diego talent even beyond the walls of local WD-40, EDC is proud to recognize Garry Ridge with one of the 2023 San Diego Life Changing awards presented by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

To those who could join us to celebrate, thank you. To those who couldn’t, we’ll see you next year!