Just Say No to Winter makes a cool comeback

This post originally appeared on SDlifechanging.org. San Diego: Life. Changing. is an EDC led initiative focused on attracting and retaining STEM talent in San Diego. Check out the company map and more for information about working and living in San Diego.


It’s that time of year again. The holidays have come and gone, only to be replaced by subzero temperatures, snow-covered driveways, and really angry people commuting to work. Not exactly the kind of “chill” we’re into here in San Diego (where it’s currently 64 degrees Fahrenheit). So we’ve brought back our Just Say No to Winter campaign to remind everyone that life doesn’t have to be like that. You can actually have a meaningful career at an awesome company without freezing all season.

This year, we partnered with the San Diego Tourism Authority to make Just Say No to Winter bigger and better than ever. In addition to the digital ads served in chilly regions and the Boston subway ads we did last year, the campaign now includes subway ads in Chicago and a live activation with Surfer Sam on the stone-cold streets of New York City.

SD’s Surfer Sam paddles through NYC

From January 21-23, Surfer Sam will be walking around with a bright orange surfboard, telling people to “just say NO!” And if that doesn’t entice them, perhaps winning a trip to San Diego would. One lucky New Yorker will win a pair of roundtrip airfare with JetBlue Airlines from NYC to SD, a 3-night stay at downtown San Diego’s luxury Pendry hotel, and even a walking food tour with So Diego Tours.

Click on any of the photos below to check out some of Surfer Sam’s NYC encounters. And if you live in New York, there’s still time to catch Surfer Sam and win a trip to San Diego! Follow along on Instagram Stories for her whereabouts.

Why are we telling people to “just say no to winter?”

“Last year, San Diego saw nearly 105,000 unique job postings for STEM-related occupations,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO at San Diego Regional EDC. “With tech heavyweights such as Qualcomm, Illumina, Viasat and now Apple who all cite talent as a major reason for their presence in our region, we must continuously strive to remain competitive by attracting, retaining and developing skilled workers. Plus, as a Boston native, I can confidently say that it is possible to have a great career without freezing every day.”

While the demand for quality STEM talent is at an all-time high nationwide, the Just Say No to Winter campaign was introduced in January 2019 in an effort to bring and retain talent to San Diego, resulting in ‘go-viral’ status, national media attention and 123 million impressions. EDC, through its SD: Life. Changing. platform, juxtaposed footage of San Diego’s (nearly) year-round sunshine with harsh, freezing winters in metros across the country, while also showcasing mission-driven companies that call this place home.

This year, with support from SDTA, EDC will be expanding its public transit advertising inside subways to Chicago and Boston and executing various digital marketing tactics, including paid and organic social media, to direct talent to justsaynotowinter.com. The Just Say No to Winter landing page will now feature links to a company map, 28 neighborhood profilestalent video profiles, and details on a campaign sweepstakes.

“Our region is a top travel destination, and it’s also home to numerous tech and life sciences companies that are doing great, life-changing work,” said Kerri Kapich, COO at the San Diego Tourism Authority. “We often hear travelers say that they fall in love with San Diego when they visit and wish they could do business here, which is why we’ve partnered with EDC. Together, we’re encouraging more people to visit San Diego and see for themselves that San Diego really is the best place to live, work and play.”

San Diego: Life. Changing.’s Just Say No to Winter promotion will run in conjunction with EDC’s Inclusive Growth Initiative and Advancing San Diego program, allowing for regional employers to also look inward and develop local talent. To learn more about the campaign, visit justsaynotowinter.com.

Related EDC articles & research:

2019 in Review: Top 10 wins for EDC

With and through our nearly 200 investors, EDC works to maximize San Diego’s economic prosperity and global competitiveness. This year, we helped companies grow, looked to new corners of our community for high-quality talent, and developed programs and initiatives to create a stronger region.

Through it all, EDC impacted 5,228 jobs and worked on 179 projects – supported by companies, investors, community partners, and more – on behalf of San Diego’s economy. While our work spans multiple industries and organizations, with various programs and goals, there’s an universal thread that ties it all together: build a more inclusive economy that benefits all San Diegans.

As we close out 2019 and another successful decade, let us recap our top 10 wins for San Diego…

  1. San Diego: Life. Changing.’s Just Say No to Winter campaign received national attention

Going into its fourth year, SD: Life. Changing. is our award-winning campaign that aims to attract and retain talent for our region. We kicked off 2019 with Just Say No to Winter, a transit and social media campaign that targeted STEM talent in Boston, Chicago, and New York during the peak of winter with information about career opportunities in San Diego. Thanks to this go-viral marketing push – and coverage in The New York Times, the nationally-syndicated program “The List,” and more – we saw 34X the ROI, 2.6 million social media impressions, and 36K video views.

  1. EDC received its largest grant in history, catalyzing Advancing San Diego

San Diego was one of five cities to receive a $3 million investment as part of JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities Challenge, an initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity across the U.S. This funding allowed EDC to form Advancing San Diego, which aims to cultivate a more inclusive economy by addressing regional talent shortages and strengthening relationships between businesses and education systems. The newly minted program is now contributing toward our Inclusive Growth regional goal of 20,000 skilled workers (degree or credential holders) in San Diego County by 2030.

  1. World Trade Center SD’s MetroConnect export assistance program had its best year yet

Made possible through a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co., MetroConnect provides small- and medium-sized companies with the resources necessary to expand into global markets. During the 2018-19 program, companies in MetroConnect IV collectively generated a net increase of $69.6 million in export sales, signed 369 international contracts, and opened 10 new facilities overseas. Together, the 20 participating companies also created more than 100 jobs in San Diego – evidence that exporting supports the increase of jobs locally.

And, you’re in luck – Applications are now open for the 2020 cohortMetorConnect V. Learn more and apply today (or pass it on to a business that might benefit).

  1. EDC fostered 3 regional goals for a more #inclusiveSD

While the growth of our innovation economy has created tremendous opportunity, it has also perpetuated systemic inequities. 2019 was all about elevating an inclusive economic development strategy – the lens in which EDC views all of its work – so that economic growth is seen and felt among the entire region. In order to effectively do this, EDC’s employer-led Inclusive Growth Steering Committee supported actionable recommendations and measurable targets for creating a San Diego that benefits all residents. By 2030:

Inclusive Growth goals

  1. With support from EDC, Cubic Corporation secured $8.5M in tax credits & broke ground on its new HQ

Cubic Corporation is a global company with clients on nearly every continent, yet it has called San Diego’s Kearny Mesa community home for 50 years. With assistance from EDC, Cubic secured a CalCompetes Tax Credit worth $8.5 million. This tax incentive allowed Cubic to break ground on its new San Diego HQ campus, and further reaffirm its investment to the region in the decades that follow. Here are a few words from Cubic Corporation on the support EDC provided:

“Since our founding in 1951, we have established strong roots in the San Diego community and it was very important for us to remain headquartered here. The San Diego Regional EDC was an integral resource for our redevelopment. They were able to strategically bring key partners together and secure incentives that best positioned us to redevelop our headquarters in the Kearny Mesa area.” – Anshooman Aga, executive vice president and CFO at Cubic Corporation

  1. EDC managed San Diego’s Integration Pilot Program (IPP), propelling 1,150+ successful missions

From monitoring coastal erosion to fighting wildfires, drones offer enormous social and environmental benefits. San Diego is currently one of 10 state, local, and tribal governments to participate in the Integration Pilot Program, which has allowed our region to be at the forefront of an industry that is expected to reach a $43 billion market value by 2024.

This year, the program – managed by EDC in collaboration with the City of San Diego – achieved new milestones. Giving way for Uber Eats to soon deliver burgers and Chula Vista Police Department to send first responders via drones, IPP completed 1,150+ unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) missions.

  1. EDC produced 24 reports to help residents and businesses better understand San Diego’s economy

EDC provides research and data to local companies, site selectors, and civic leaders to help them make well-informed decisions about our economy. From monthly reports (and videos) that chart key economic indictors to customized economic impact reports for companies, EDC’s research helped the regional stakeholders better understand this place we call home.

 San Diego's Economic Pulse

  1. Innovate78 amplified its reach along the 78 Corridor, convening more than 500+ individuals

With companies like Viasat, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and a plethora of award-winning craft breweries, the 78 Corridor is hub for innovation. Thanks to the region’s Innovate78 program, managed in collaboration with EDC and the cities of Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, Vista, more than 500 stakeholders (think: entrepreneurs, high-quality talent, startups, etc.) attended events held in North San Diego County.

  1. World Trade Center San Diego strengthened ties with BMW, IBM, and Siemens during Germany Trade Mission

The introduction of non-stop San Diego-Frankfurt service aboard Lufthansa and a shift in economic power resulting from Brexit meant that Germany was becoming an increasingly important trade and investment partner for San Diego…and WTCSD wanted to be out in front of it. WTCSD pulled together more than 20 San Diego-based business and civic leaders to participate in a four day trade mission to Munich and Frankfurt, Germany.

International partnerships take time, but based on initial meetings on the trade mission, San Diego has planted the seed for long-term relationships with major companies, including BMW, IBM, Siemens, Daimler, and more.

  1. …and, finally, EDC launched a new website

With support from investors and partners, we launched a new sandiegobusiness.org. Here, you’ll find detailed information on EDC programs & initiatives, how we work with companies, as well as information about the brands we manage, including World Trade Center San Diego, SD: Life. Changing., and Innovate78. The website is designed to be viewable on any device, so San Diego is always showcasing its best self.

Laptop displaying EDC website

Here’s to our nearly 200 investors for their unwavering support in creating a prosperous San Diego for the next decade.

 

Interested in supporting our work? Join us.

Invest in EDC

 

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.

San Diego cleans up at CALED awards

San Diego took home some serious hardware at the California Association for Local Economic Development Aw ards of Excellence. The awards recognize outstanding contributions to the field of economic development throughout the mighty state of California.

Awards of Merit include:

The City of San Marcos was also recognized with the Award of Excellence – Collaborations, for its California Competes Tax Credit Collaboration with EDC. And of course, EDC didn’t leave empty-handed either, taking home the Award of Excellence – Promotions for San Diego: Life. Changing. Make sure to check out SDlifechanging.org, and give them a follow on social to learn more. Share your story using #SDlifechanging.

We’ll see you next year, CALED.

SD targets talent in harsh winter markets

In 2018, San Diego saw nearly 84,000 unique job postings for STEM-related occupations (EMSI, Job Posting Analytics). While tech heavyweights such as Illumina, Viasat, and now Apple all cite talent as a major reason for their San Diego presence, the region must continuously strive to attract, retain, and develop skilled workers to remain competitive.

As part of San Diego: Life. Changing. – EDC’s talent attraction and retention program – we have launched the ‘Just Say No to Winter’ campaign. The campaign targets three markets – Boston, Chicago, and New York – in the throes of winter via video, subway (Boston T), and social media advertising.

In an attempt to bring top-tier STEM talent to San Diego to fill open positions at the region’s many tech and life sciences companies, the campaign juxtaposes San Diego’s (nearly) year-round sunshine with the harsh winters in markets across the country, while also communicating the focus on the mission-driven companies that call this place home. More at justsaynotowinter.com.

Just Say No To Winter. from San Diego on Vimeo.

EDC is running the campaign in coordination with its Inclusive Growth initiative, which seeks to find employer-driven strategies to build a stronger local talent pipeline, help small businesses compete and address affordability issues in San Diego.

Ad on Boston T (red and orange lines)

Software company Wrike expands SD, global presence

Saving the best for last, project management software company Wrike celebrated the opening of three office locations worldwide: Melbourne, Dublin, and San Diego. The celebration took place back-to-back over the course of just 16 hours, in what the company called a #WrikeRelay.

Named among Deloitte’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies in North America, Wrike has grown from 300 employees in 2015 to 700 today (and hiring), serving customers across 130 companies.

This marks Wrike’s third location in San Diego. The first San Diego office opened in February 2016 with the company well on its way to meeting its goal of creating 150 jobs in three years. The new office in UTC will accommodate the increasing number of sales and customer success roles that make up the bulk of its local team. Wrike has grown its customer base in North America by 362 percent and its total annual recurring revenue in the region by 287 percent over the last three years.

“The collaborative work management market has really taken off in the last few years as a variety of trends from digital transformation to the rise of the remote workforce and the consumerization of IT all converged,” said Wrike Senior Director of North American Sales Alex German. “It has been exciting to witness firsthand as high-growth companies have discovered how Wrike could help them increase productivity, improve collaboration, and create new revenue opportunities. Moving into this new space will give us the room we need to expand our team and continue driving exponential growth for the company.”

JLL, a world leader in real estate services, represented Wrike in the search and negations for its new San Diego office.

EDC’s Q3 in review: trade, talent, and #inclusiveSD

With and through our investors, EDC works to maximize San Diego’s economic competitiveness. Learn how in our Q3 report, which is segmented by our key teams/initiatives below:

Regional Support

EDC convenes resources and stakeholder groups to help talent and a diversity of companies thrive in the San Diego mega-region.

In order to grow jobs, EDC dispatched the following company support tactics and events in Q3:

  • Unveiled 15 companies selected to participate in DIV program
  • Hosted 26 PhD students from around the U.S. for Life Sciences Trek
  • Hosted VIP tour of SPAWAR
  • Learned best practices from peers in Indianapolis
  • Helped AI startup Aira sign deals with San Diego Regional Airport Authority and San Diego Convention Center
  • Engaged startup community in North County through Startup78

WTC San Diego

As part of EDC, World Trade Center San Diego works to cultivate a pipeline of export-ready firms, maximize FDI opportunities, and grow the region’s global connectivity.

Amid increasing uncertainty over national trade policy, ensuring that local companies get the tools they need to be successful overseas is more important than ever. WTC deployed the following tactics in Q3:

SD: Life. Changing.

EDC’s marketing efforts serve to elevate the region as a top destination for talent, business, and investment.

As part of the San Diego: Life. Changing. campaign, EDC showcased why San Diego is a hotspot for talent and investment with and through the following in Q3:

Research

Understanding our economy begins with strong data. EDC develops economic reports to help business and civic leaders make informed decisions.

Telling a data-driven and inclusive story of San Diego, EDC released the following economic reports in Q3:

This work would not be possible without the investment and support of EDC’s members/partners. Thank you for allowing us to support the businesses that make this region truly #SDlifechanging.

How one SD startup is changing how people see the world, literally.

San Diego Aira is changing how people see the world, literally. The EvoNexus graduate was formed by several Rady School of Management alumni that had a vision to help blind and visually impaired individuals have a higher quality of life. The company has created a wearable technology that a blind or vision impaired (BVI) person can wear, which better connects them to their surroundings via a live individual who sees exactly what they would. These navigators transcribe the visual world into an auditory one. From shopping, to reading ingredients and instructions, picking out an outfit to traveling or calling an uber, Aira helps BVI individuals live a more independent lives. Based in San Diego, the company now employs 50 people, developers and navigators, that help clients across the country. And Aira is just getting started. Partnering with institutions like UC San Diego and San Diego International Airport, Aira Enabled Zones are being stood up to ensure BVI individuals are able to access this assistance for free while at school, on travel, etc.

San Diego Regional EDC has been proud to support Aira in creating strategic partnerships via introductions to San Diego institutions and regional partners. EDC was able to leverage its existing network to open new doors for Aira at key San Diego business and organizations including the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego Tourism Authority, Petco, Viasat, BD, Cubic, Canadian Department of Commerce, Zero8Hundred, Seaworld, Tijuana EDC, and more.

The company was also recently named to WTC San Diego’s export accelerator program, MetroConnect.

Aira truly is another example of a truly #SDlifechanging company in San Diego.

SD: Life. Changing. Summer Bash was a success

Well, that was fun.

Thank you to those who joined EDC last night for the SD: Life. Changing. Summer Bash. Since the beginning, this has been a community-driven campaign, and last night was no exception.

This event would not have been possible without the vision of Dan Ryan and his team at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., as well as our sponsors DPR Construction, BNBuilders, and many more. A huge thanks to Dawn Barry and Nate Wiger for telling us their San Diego stories, and to Brian Malarkey for dishing up some culinary magic. These are exactly the kind of companies and people that make this place Life. Changing., and these are exactly the types of stories that we need to continue to tell.

But we cannot do this alone. We need your help. As part of SDlifechanging.org, we’ve created a Talent Recruitment Toolkit and a directory + map of the region’s most innovative companies – You can request free access to those here. We’re asking you – as San Diegans that know and love this region – to share these resources on your company and personal channels.

Please be sure to follow along and engage with us at @SDlifechanging and stay tuned for additional updates.

Stay life-changing, San Diego.

– Team EDC

p.s. Event photos will soon be available for download here.

If you are interested in engaging more in the campaign, please drop us a line at communcations@sandiegobusiness.org.

Your Comic-Con how-to guide

It’s Comic-Con week, San Diego. Whether you’re one of the 135,000 attendees or you’re just heading downtown to people-watch, Comic-Con has the power to turn the mundane into the magical – if done right. The international convention has a $147.1 million regional economic impact, and spurs 57,7000 hotel room nights. And in an attempt to attract attendees from outside of the region to live and work here, San Diego: Life. Changing. is hosting a Comic-Contest on social media and is even setting up a skylight downtown. Location hint: it smells like chocolate and looks like a hipster’s closet…. See below for a Comic-Con how-to guide.

How to Comic-Con

  1. Don’t be afraid to walk. All of downtown San Diego will be jam-PACKED with cool activations on buildings, buses, trolleys, street corners, our sunny skies, and bars/restaurants galore. Parking far away might not be such a bad thing.
  2. Download Ace Parking app. If you’re one of the many people who weren’t quick enough to get the sold-out Comic-Con parking spaces, you can download the free Ace Parking app to see where all of the available public parking spots are at. Thursday morning is usually the most challenging time for parking, since many people will be trying to navigate around downtown for the first time. Just be patient and embrace it.
  3. Or take the Trolley. The SDCCU Stadium (Formerly Qualcomm Stadium) is an easy and convenient alternative to braving downtown in a car. For the small price of a trolley ticket, you can park and enjoy a ride to and from downtown, most likely seated next to your favorite superhero and villain.
  4. Wear comfortable close-toed shoes and socks. We get it. It’s San Diego, and people wear flip-flops here. But Comic-Con draws thousands of people into downtown San Diego. That means the streets, sidewalks, and any other surface will be taken up by people walking every which way. You are most likely to get stomped on and/or will be walking a couple miles. Wear your comfy shoes and you’ll be thankful later.
  5. Embrace the lines. Lines are everywhere. For the panels, the crazy cool photo ops, and especially at all of the nearby restaurants and bars. It’s okay, just hop in and know that whatever you’re waiting for will be worth it. The people-watching alone will surely set your spirits back up.
  6. Know your way around. A lot of time can be wasted by trying to navigate around the crowds. Don’t be that lost soul, desperately in need of an iced coffee but can’t figure out where to get it. Do your homework to know where you’d want to get food/drinks from and where they are located in downtown. Also note that Harbor Drive will be closed for the first time this year. The Convention Center put together some helpful maps, so you don’t drive around like a newb.
  7. Have fun! This is a time for you to explore everything nerdy with people all around who share that same passion. From comics to tabletop games to movies to books, it has everything. Talk to people in lines, make friends. Who knows, you could meet your new BFF…or roommate for when you finally take the San Diego plunge.

The fun doesn’t have to end with Comic-Con. Enter the #ComicContest

We’ve teamed up with local illustrator Jon Condry (@joncondry) to develop custom-made pins, in the spirit of San Diego: Life. Changing. So head to IDW Publishing‘s booth #2743 (did you know they were a San Diego-based company?) to collect one. And keep a lookout for San Diego: Life. Changing.’s street team (@bernoraptor & @bree_burris) this weekend for another shot. Follow @SDlifechanging on Twitter, where they’ll keep you up-to-date on their location. Then, once you have your hands on one of these exclusive pins, head over to our one of our social channels – @SDlifechanging in case you were wondering – and post it. Check out sandiegolifechanging.org/comiccontest/ for more details and info. And check out #ComicContest to see some posts.

And if you want to start your job search today, head over to the company map to learn about some of our companies that are hiring.

Good luck, and don’t forget your sunscreen.