A note from Mark on EDC’s Annual Dinner

Honoring Life. Changing. San Diegans

Dear EDC investors and partners,

I hope this message finds you all well and enjoying springtime in San Diego. As we speed through April, our entire team is turning its attention to our upcoming Annual Dinner.

As many of you know, for more than 20 years, San Diego Regional EDC has presented an award at our Annual Dinner that focuses on community and economic service and leadership. Originally called “The Spirit of San Diego Award,” this recognition was later changed in 2010 to honor the memory of Herb Klein—a truly wonderful San Diego leader who was noted for bringing people together to work on many of San Diego’s most challenging political and economic issues. More than anything, both iterations of this award were structured to recognize an individual who goes ‘above and beyond’ their day job to help make San Diego a better place, whether through philanthropy, volunteerism, vision, action, etc.

About nine years ago, EDC added a second award in memory of Duane Roth, another beloved San Diego leader and a tireless promoter of San Diego’s innovation economy. By contrast, this award would recognize a business or institution (not an individual) that was ‘changing the world from San Diego’ through technology, science, or innovation (think Qualcomm, the Salk Institute, Illumina, etc.). Duane was passionate about San Diego’s smart and life-changing companies and ideas, and this was EDC’s way of honoring his leadership, service, and memory.

Over the last few years, we have made efforts to ensure that the criteria for these awards are not only reflective of the leaders who inspired them, but of the changes in EDC’s work—with continued alignment to our core values of integrity, accountability, collaboration, and inclusion. The awards have now become known as our “Life. Changing. Awards,” an ode to our region’s brand identity and reflective of the EDC that businesses and individuals are investing in today. And if there were ever two words that could encapsulate the impact of Herb Klein and Duane Roth, those would certainly be them.

Meet our 2024 awardees

This year, our individual award will be given to (retired) Vice Admiral Jim Zortman. Admiral Zortman is one of the most highly decorated Naval officers to call San Diego home. He is the former Commanding Officer for Naval Air Forces, San Diego and Naval Air Forces, Pacific Fleet. He is also the retired Senior and Sector Vice President for Global Logistics and Operations Support for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. While at Northrop Grumman, he led the effort to make San Diego the company’s ‘center for excellence’ for unmanned systems. Admiral Zortman also served on the Chairman’s Competitiveness Council—a group of senior business and university leaders who worked to carve out meaningful and independent directions and focus areas for EDC, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Connect. He served on EDC’s board of directors and executive committee for more than 10 years. From 2016-2018, Jim served as EDC’s board chair and made ‘economic inclusion’ his focus area and platform. Feeling he had been a part of meaningful and intentional efforts made by the U.S. military to strengthen and diversify its officer ranks, and by Northrop Grumman to increase the number of women and people of color within its engineering, technical, and executive workforce, Jim felt that EDC could be a powerful catalyst to establish inclusion as an economic imperative within the San Diego region. Since Jim’s time as chair, every new EDC board chair has continued to build off the foundation he established and has kept inclusion at the forefront of EDC’s goals and work, which now so many of you have committed to and engaged in with us.

We will be presenting this year’s business award to a legendary San Diego company—Solar Turbines.

Noorfadzreena Binti Mahmud, Field Service Supervisor and Eliza Porterfield, District Service Manager
At the Customer Experience Center in San Diego California

Solar Turbines designs and manufactures industrial gas turbines for onshore and offshore electrical power generation, for marine propulsion, and for producing, processing, and transporting natural gas and oil. Headquartered in San Diego for nearly a century, Solar Turbines has more than 8,000 employees in dozens of countries around the world, with the majority of them working in the San Diego region. For decades, the company has represented the best elements of our binational economy with substantial manufacturing operations in Tijuana/Northern Baja. Solar Turbines has been a constant partner and investor in workforce development and training programs throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties, and has one of the most dedicated and diverse workforces in our region. It is also important to note that the corporate leadership of Solar Turbines has chosen to remain in San Diego and California despite aggressive efforts by other states to lure them away.

As champions of our organizational core values, examples of what Duane Roth and Herb Klein stood for, and critical partners in building a stronger, more vibrant, and more inclusive region, we could not be prouder to recognize Admiral Jim Zortman and Solar Turbines with our 2024 Life. Changing. Awards. Hoping that you will all join us at Petco Park on June 18 to give them the celebration and thanks they deserve.

Learn more and buy your tickets at EDCannualdinner.com.

With continued thanks for your leadership and support—Mark

Mark Cafferty
Mark Cafferty

President & CEO

Read EDC’s Monthly Report

Special thanks to our award sponsors Boston Consulting Group, San Diego State University, and UC San Diego.

A note on the new year

Dear EDC partners and investors,

Reflecting on our past year at San Diego Regional EDC, I turn to the conversations and moments I’ve been privileged to share with many of you across the San Diego community.

Each month, on a Wednesday morning overlooking the greens at Torrey Pines (or via Zoom screen), more than 60 board members from across San Diego’s industries—life sciences to defense, breweries to sports—have created space to connect, collaborate, partner, and assess our progress toward the region’s Inclusive Growth goals: 20K post-secondary completions annually, 75K newly thriving households, and 50K new quality jobs in small businesses by 2030. We know this is a marathon, not a sprint, and we’re in it for the long haul.

Our Board represents businesses born and grown here, new market entrants, large businesses with global reach, small, family-owned firms, nonprofits, academia, and anchor institutions in between. All of us have one thing in common: a commitment to the future of San Diego.

If we have learned anything about economic development over the years, it’s that we can neither stay the status quo nor stick to our swim lanes. We must work together, in our different ways, to ensure a resilient and competitive San Diego for employers and residents alike. In 2024, here’s how you can lean into this work with us:

  • While every company grapples with its post-pandemic approach to employee retention and return to office, participate in EDC’s study to understand your workforce’s needs
  • Support talent pipeline development and host summer interns in computing, engineering, or business—paid for through grant funding and sourced from San Diego’s Verified Programs
  • Support small businesses through procurement by joining the Anchor Institution Collaborative
  • Endorse the Inclusive Growth goals and adopt strategies to create more quality jobs, skilled talent, and thriving households in San Diego
  • Stay tuned for World Trade Center San Diego’s trade mission to draw regional investment and elevate San Diego’s global identity
  • Join 150 local companies and institutions in investing in EDC’s programs, research, and goals

The steps we take on this journey will be underpinned by EDC’s Research Bureau, market strategy, talent initiatives—and reliant on your investment—to help grow San Diego’s economy.

Join us in this work in 2024.

In gratitude,

Ms. Jennie Brooks
Ms. Jennie Brooks

EDC Board Chair

Executive Vice President


Read EDC’s Monthly Report

Halftime in San Diego

A June note from Mark

When I began working at EDC, I saw a Super Bowl ad that caught my eye—both a car commercial and a moving pep talk in a post-recession era.

As the narrator spoke about “halftime in America” and the opportunity to make a comeback, images of businesses, communities, and people from across the country flashed across the screen. At the end, the narrator’s face came into view as he walked through a locker room tunnel of a packed stadium. You may remember that narrator was actor and director Clint Eastwood, and that his message carried optimism, hope, and resiliency at a critical turning point.

Later that year, to bring that halftime hope home, EDC made our own version with philanthropist and business icon Malin Burnham as our narrator (our Clint Eastwood). You can watch that clip from 2012 here.

And indeed, when we pause at the midpoint to recognize the progress made and refocus on the work still ahead, we are always better for it. This year should be no exception, as EDC recognizes:

  • Our region’s progress toward an inclusive and thriving San Diego at EDC’s Annual Dinner, where we honored Taylor Guitars and WD-40’s Garry Ridge in partnership with Point Loma Nazarene University and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • The local and global growth of San Diego small businesses through programs like MetroConnect, and World Trade Center San Diego’s nationally-recognized role in fueling this expansion.
  • AI-Machine Learning technology’s proliferation and job creation in San Diego’s key economic clusters, explored in our AI in San Diego report series with Booz Allen Hamilton.
  • Advancing San Diego’s work to strengthen San Diego’s defense talent pipeline, convening SDMAC and other partners to assess and support emerging shipbuilding needs.

Still, we have work to do—to analyze San Diego’s RNA and Cybersecurity clusters, to lead this fall’s trade mission to Korea with Mayor Gloria, to celebrate your innovation at our annual Summer Bash, and to continue driving inclusive growth.

It’s halftime, San Diego. And it’s with and through your continued leadership, collaboration, and contributions during the months ahead that we will continue to strengthen the region we’re proud to call home.

Mark Cafferty
Mark Cafferty

President & CEO

Read EDC’s Monthly Report

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!

EDC welcomes Jennie Brooks as new board chair

As San Diego Regional EDC continues to drive an inclusive growth and recovery strategy for the region, outgoing Board Chair Julian Parra passes the gavel to Jennie Brooks, Senior Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton.

“After five years on the board, I look forward to taking on this new role and working even more closely with EDC’s team. Our mission is to drive greater inclusion, resilience, and innovation across San Diego—aimed at empowering and supporting our region and its people,” said Jennie Brooks, Senior Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton and leader of the firm’s regional office, which employees more than 1,200 San Diegans. 

While San Diego’s innovation economy has more than rebounded, local small businesses, tourism and service jobs, lower income communities, and people of color continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic; and the goalposts outlined in the Inclusive Growth Initiative are now farther from reach. It is imperative the region create more skilled talent, economically-stabilizing jobs, and thriving households, or San Diego’s competitiveness is at risk.

“I am proud to pass the gavel to my colleague and friend Jennie Brooks,“ said outgoing Chair Julian Parra of Bank of America, who led EDC through the pandemic, in directly supporting more businesses than ever before. “The necessity of economic inclusion has never been more clear; I have full faith Jennie will continue this important work for the betterment of our region, its people, and its employers.”

As chair, Brooks is supported by four officers: Vice Chair, Rob Douglas, President & COO, ResMed; Vice Chair of Inclusive Growth, Lisette Islas, EVP & Chief Impact Officer, MAAC; Treasurer, Tom Seidler, SVP Community & Military Affairs, San Diego Padres; and Secretary, Barbara Wight, CFO, Taylor Guitars.

Along with the election of a new chair, EDC’s board also elected eight new board members: Debora Burke, Vice President and General Counsel, General Dynamics NASSCO; Kimberly Brewer, Senior Vice President, Development, URW; Cliff Cho, SVP and Market Executive, Bank of America; Kelly Davis, Chief Strategy Officer, SVP of Operations, Sony Electronics; Ingo Hentschel, Senior Vice President, Cox Communications; Jason Jager, Senior Partner & Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group; Tracy Murphy, President, IQHQ; Deborah Nguyen, Site Head & Vice President, Head of GI / Inflammation Drug Discovery Unit, Takeda San Diego; and Karen Reinhardt, Head of U.S. HR, ASML.

EDC is a membership-based non-profit organization that mobilizes government and civic leaders around an inclusive economic development strategy in order to connect data to decision making, maximize regional prosperity, enhance global competitiveness and position San Diego effectively for investment and talent. The organization’s nearly 200 investors range from growing startups like SkySafe, to the region’s largest employers like Qualcomm and SDG&E, to the leading anchor institutions such as universities, hospitals, and sports franchises, among others.

With nearly 200 members, EDC represents just a small fraction of the region’s employers. It is only with and through a broader group of stakeholders that the following Inclusive Growth goals will be met:

  • 100,000 new quality jobs in small businesses
  • 20,000 skilled workers per year
  • 75,000 newly thriving households

As such, EDC will continue to enlist the endorsement and support of key regional partners and employers committed to using the Inclusive Growth framework to inform their priorities, tactics, and resource allocation.

“As a senior leader of a major consulting and technology employer in San Diego, Jennie is perfectly positioned to lead EDC in this unique moment in time,” said Mark Cafferty, President & CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “With a pandemic still not behind us, Jennie’s leadership, commitment, and deep understanding of San Diego’s strengths and opportunities are exactly what the organization needs as we continue to make the business case for inclusion.”

Learn more at inclusiveSD.org

A note on Annual Dinner from Mark

Honoring the most ‘Life Changing’ among us

For the first time in almost three years, San Diego Regional EDC will welcome investors, board members, and community partners to our Annual Dinner.

This year’s event—hosted under the night sky at Petco Park—will feel a bit like a family reunion for us, having had so much time pass since we have been able to gather with the region’s broader economic development community to celebrate our work and our relationships. Alongside sponsors who represent an amazing cross-section of our economy and our work, there are two special relationships we will be taking time to recognize on June 9 with the 2022 Life Changing Awards:

The first is The San Diego Foundation. For almost 50 years, The San Diego Foundation has served as our primary community and philanthropic foundation, supporting a wide range of causes and organizations throughout our region. But never has its work been more important or its resources more critical to San Diegans than during the many months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the region’s healthcare systems and public health officials grappled with an unprecedented crisis and managed new and changing regulations, threats, and policies emerging around us, The San Diego Foundation sprang into action, starting the COVID-19 Community Response Fund to get resources directly to those hit hardest by the pandemic—individuals who were out of work, families who needed to put food on the table, elderly residents who were shut off from services and support, and more. The Foundation raised and distributed more than $65 million to more than 250 non-profits and community-based service providers in the first 15 months of the pandemic to help ease the suffering, uncertainty, and fear felt across San Diego.

We will also be recognizing the most visible heroes of the pandemic—our region’s healthcare professionals and systems. For more than two full years, the individuals who work within and lead our hospitals, clinics, medical practices, and healthcare access points throughout the county have supported, treated, and healed countless local and neighboring patients and families.

From testing, to vaccinations, to life-saving care, to mental health and emotional support, and much, much more, words cannot possibly express what we know they have been through nor what they have meant and continue to mean to our community. Thanks, awards, and accolades seem insignificant in the face of true heroism, selflessness, and service. But as an economic development community, we will pause to remember, celebrate, and thank our region’s healthcare professionals for being the very best of who we are through the most difficult times we may ever know.

So please join us for this special evening, in a special place, surrounded by special people, who all play their part in making San Diego the ‘Life Changing’ place we continue to know and love.

join us june 9


Mark Cafferty
Mark Cafferty

President & CEO

A note on progress from our Senior Director

“The Obstacle Is the Way”

This is the title of a book I recently started reading about applying stoic philosophy to everyday, modern life. The core teaching is to turn adversity into advantage. Obstacles, both predictable and unforeseen, are not an impediment to growth or progress but rather the path to achieving our goals—it’s a matter of perspective.

EDC and a steering committee of the region’s largest employers determined that for our region to continue to grow and remain competitive, by 2030, San Diego will need:

  • 50,000 quality jobs in small businesses,
  • 20,000 skilled workers per year, and
  • 75,000 newly thriving households.

However, to do so, inclusion needs to be our focus. To achieve these goals, we must invest in and support the segments of our community that have been historically and systemically excluded from growth and prosperity—not simply because it’s the right thing to do,  but because it’s an economic imperative.

Small businesses employ 60 percent of San Diego’s workforce but struggle to compete for new customers and talent. On top of that, supply chain disruptions have impacted nearly every industry in our region. Connecting local small businesses to big, institutional buyers builds resiliency for both sides.

To keep pace with the demand for talent, we must double the production of skilled workers in our region. If San Diego’s Black and Hispanic youth were prepared for post-secondary education at the same rate as White youth, our talent shortage would become a talent surplus.

San Diego is now the most expensive major metro in the country. The rapidly rising cost of living is impacting employers’ ability to attract and retain talent. Investing in the infrastructure needed to support working families ensures that the region remains an attractive place for people to work and businesses to operate in.

That is the scale of our challenge. It is also the size of our opportunity.

Even the pandemic itself, a once-in-a-century global health crisis that has claimed the lives of nearly one million Americans, has paved a new way forward. It taught us that how and where we work can be different and better. It reaffirmed that small businesses are not just places of employment but also part of the fabric of our community. It reminded us that no matter how much technology we have at our fingertips, it is the human spirit that drives the life-changing and life-saving innovation in our region and world.

During last week’s Report to the Community, I shared that four years later progress toward these goals remains elusive. Yet, the more than 200 people in attendance reminded us that our collective commitment toward these goals will drive the region toward success.

San Diego’s future growth and competitiveness could be undermined by the inequities we currently face; or, the next wave of innovation and prosperity could be fueled by greater inclusion. It’s a matter of perspective. The obstacle is the way.

Take care, Eduardo

Eduardo Velasquez
Eduardo Velasquez

Sr. Director, Research & Economic Development




A note from our COO

Together at last. 

EDC’s team, investors, and partners do our best work when we are together; this reflects our values of collaboration and inclusion and is core to our mission. But it’s been a minute…

While we safely begin to gather again, we recognize many things are different. Whether you have trepidation about returning to in-person gatherings or are eager to get from behind the Zoom screen, EDC will meet you where you’re at—offering opportunities for both interactions in the months and year ahead. Hearing from and being with our investors and partners in either setting is essential.

Last week, we hosted a two-day retreat with 40 leaders from industry, academia, nonprofits, and government to share complex data unpacking the pandemic’s impact on the 2030 Inclusive Growth goals. The common thread: inclusion is an economic imperative and thus, requires shifts in our regional priorities.

And this week for the first time in two years, EDC’s Chairman Julian Parra led an in-person board meeting with 60+ leaders across the region. Julian took the gavel in June 2020 and never imagined his term would largely be served virtually; however, he has continued to drive the inclusive economic development strategy with the same fervor as instilled by past EDC Chair Jim Zortman in 2017.

For the region to fully emerge from this global pandemic, it must reconcile an economic recovery that is full of contradictions. The region is simultaneously experiencing strong job growth and record venture capital inflows, along with a fierce battle of seemingly unavailable talent, small business closures, and the most expensive housing market in the U.S., with the brunt of these impacts incurred most by low-income earners and people of color. To get this recovery right, the San Diego region must double down on the goals for quality jobs, skilled talent, and thriving households.

That’s why we hope you will join us on April 8 at EDC’s Report to the Community, where we will unveil data on the region’s progress towards these goals and hear commitments from regional leaders.

Here are other opportunities for engagement with us in the months ahead:

  • This Friday, March 11, at our quarterly Economic Development Committee meeting, hear how San Diego companies are re-evaluating talent attraction techniques to see success in a new world of hiring challenges. Register now with password EcoDev2022.
  • On March 23, join the virtual Global Competitiveness Council meeting to hear an update from Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (CA-53) on the devastating conflict in Ukraine, followed by an update on the state of global aviation from the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
  • In May, EDC will host another investor reception—stay tuned for the date and location. If you missed any of our recent gatherings, we hope you are able join us.
  • On June 9, EDC celebrates the return of its Annual Dinner—this year at Petco Park. Together with 900+ friends and colleagues, join us for a special night honoring the region’s healthcare providers for their unwavering care and The San Diego Foundation for its essential community investments throughout the pandemic. If you would like to sponsor, please contact Jennifer Storm.

For two decades I have had the pleasure of being a part of the team at EDC. Never have I been more certain of our value proposition than right now. To our investors, my sincere gratitude for your support—especially these past two years. There is critical and challenging economic development work ahead, but with and through all of you, we can ensure our regional competitiveness and create better futures for more San Diegans. As our past EDC Chair Janice Brown reminded us, when Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the score for Hamilton, the lyric wasn’t “on the Zoom, it was “in the room where it happens.” Somewhere on the journey ahead, I look forward to being in the room alongside you.

With regards,


Lauree Sahba
Lauree Sahba

Chief Operating Officer


A note on talent from Bree

It’s not you—it’s all of us. 

The long talked about ‘war for talent’ is more competitive than ever, with established firms upending whole hiring systems to meet the demands of today’s applicants—and still, not getting enough. You are not alone; this is not a one-company problem. In our countless conversations with HR leaders and executives, it’s clear firms across industries and size are struggling to fill their open positions (EDC included).

In a survey of 200 local businesses, hiring difficulty reached a new high in December. That same month, local San Diego employers posted more than 158,000 unique jobs—nearly half of which were new positions and predominantly in STEM. And yet, there are just 61,000 people currently unemployed in the region.

Flexibility. Remote work. Mission. Culture. Inclusion. The pandemic flipped the script on workforce demands with companies across the country being stretched to meet the needs of prospective recruits. Established firms can’t compete with the benefits offered by startups from salary to signing bonus to equity. Startups can’t offer the structure or safety net available at large corporations. Yet San Diego is uniquely positioned to compete.

The region stands apart with its thousands of mission-driven companies, its unparalleled quality of life, and its collaborative ecosystem. These are the stories we tell in San Diego: Life. Changing., and the connections we drive through Advancing San Diego.

EDC can help:

  • Lean into the San Diego story in selling your business to recruits using these tools;
  • Engage with us to mold student curriculum to meet your industry needs;
  • Apply for interns paid for by EDC’s foundation;
  • And share your open roles for promotion across our channels.

And above all, turn inward to upskill and promote your existing workforce and consider rethinking existing job requirements which may be inadvertently excluding qualified San Diegans. Pandemic-induced challenges aren’t going away soon, and the battle for talent may endure, but with San Diego as your homebase, we’ve got you covered.

All my best—Bree

Bree Burris
Bree Burris

Director, Communications & Community Engagement


A note from Dr. Clarke

Goals for 2022

Like we do every year, our team spent the last few months of 2021 working with EDC’s executive committee, board, and investors to establish annual goals that are informed by current economic realities, led by employers, and have measurable outcomes that contribute to prosperity and competitiveness across the binational region. As San Diego emerges from a global pandemic to an economy full of contradictions—strong job growth, eye-watering VC numbers, and massive capital investment as well as widespread labor shortages, small business closures, and housing prices almost 30 percent higher than 2019—it is abundantly clear that smart economic development is inclusive economic development.

In 2021, EDC reframed our organizational goals around these fundamental building blocks of a strong economy—quality jobs, skilled talent, and thriving households—and committed to working with and through our investors to accelerate progress towards these Inclusive Growth goals. In 2022, resilience means connecting more people to innovation industries; competitiveness means more San Diegans have the skills the economy needs; and prosperity means that working families can afford to live here. Please find EDC’s 2022 goals outlined below.


Goal: The region needs to create 50K quality small business jobs by 2030.

EDC will contribute to this goal in 2022 through:

  • Industry Insight: Track regional business sentiment and economic resilience via regular research publications, and complete AI industry series.
  • Business Services: Execute 250+ business expansion, attraction, and retention projects and support major mixed-use projects, leading to 5,000 quality jobs. Leverage the Life Sciences Task Force to establish a “one-stop-shop” framework for expansion support for Life Sciences industry and major development projects.
  • World Trade Center San Diego: Execute MetroConnect VI export accelerator program and expand the export Small Business Development Center to support 35+ export-ready companies, leading to $5M+ in new international sales. Enhance binational project support in priority industries.


Goal: The region must create 20K degreed and credentialed workers per year by 2030.

EDC will contribute to this goal in 2022 through:

  • San Diego: Life. Changing.: Communicate opportunities for diverse, skilled talent in San Diego—especially to strategic competitive markets by enhancing Life Sciences recruiting tools.
  • Advancing San Diego: Maintain employer working groups and network of 40+ Preferred Providers for high-demand occupations, update and release regular talent demand reports, and place 80+ Healthcare and Life Sciences interns.


Goal: The region must create 75K newly thriving households by 2030.

EDC will contribute to this goal in 2022 through:

  • Anchor Collaborative: Set shared regional procurement goals for region’s largest purchasers, identify $100 million in new small business spend, and create supplier navigation map.
  • Global Identity: Advance San Diego’s global agenda, support investments in critical infrastructure, and lead Mayoral Thriving Cities trade mission to international market.
  • Inclusive Growth: Create regional alignment on Inclusive Growth goals, launch downtown research and policy collaboration at UCSD’s Park & Market, and execute demonstration project on infrastructure needs.

EDC programs have real, measurable outcomes—supporting thousands of quality jobs, placing hundreds of interns and job seekers, and creating opportunities for millions of dollars of new contracts for small businesses. But ultimately, even the most driven and passionate team won’t substantially move the needle on these ambitious regional goals; we do not ourselves create jobs, train workers, draft policy, or build roads, high-rises, or housing. You do.

EDC can draft the roadmap, but you all—our region’s largest employers—are the only ones who will get us there, through working collaboratively and creatively to accelerate progress towards our regional 2030 goals. That is what “with and through” our investors means, and we at EDC can’t wait to get started.

– Nikia

Nikia Clarke
Nikia Clarke

Senior Vice President; Executive Director, World Trade Center San Diego