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Mega-Region

September 4, 2018

Authored by Kirby Brady and Janice Brown, "Water Investments Fuel Our Growing Economy" was originally published on San Diego Business Journal.
 
While it may seem both obvious and subtle, San Diego County’s thriving $220 billion economy and quality of life is made possible by a safe and reliable water supply. Every day, water is delivered to 1.1 million households and 98,000 businesses throughout the region.
 
Water also drives the iconic industries that make San Diego County truly San Diego — craft brewing, tourism, manufacturing, life sciences and agriculture, among others.
 
But how is San Diego County fueled by water in a region that only receives 10 inches of rain each year? 
 
It’s possible because of the significant regional water reliability and infrastructure investments made by the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. Over the past two decades, the Water Authority has invested more than $2.4 billion into projects that drive our region’s economy and protect our access to clean water for generations to come. These direct investments have resulted in a total economic impact of $4.8 billion and support nearly 1,500 jobs annually.
 
Desalination Plant
These investments resulted in the construction of new water infrastructure projects, which ripple benefits throughout our economy. These include the Claude “Bud” Lewis Desalination Plant in Carlsbad, the nation’s largest desalination plant, and the San Vicente Dam Raise, the tallest dam raise of its type in the world.
 
The benefits of these investments are underscored in San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.’s new study, “The Importance of Water Reliability to San Diego’s Economy,” which highlights striking positive economic impacts for our region.
 
Infrastructure Investments
Water supplies support $482 million in regional sales of goods and services every day. That’s the economic equivalent of nearly three Comic-Cons each day. Without access to a reliable water supply, local businesses would not be able to provide services or goods that help advance our regional economy.
 
Every $1 invested in water infrastructure results in a $1.80 increase in the region’s gross regional product. Investing in infrastructure is investing in the regional economy. That’s why some of our favorite products are able to call San Diego County home. This region is home to more than 130 brew houses and 3,150 manufacturing companies thanks to the safe and reliable water supply.
 
Water infrastructure investments impact local jobs. Capital improvement projects that result from investments support jobs in many industries including construction, architecture, and engineering — even restaurant and retail.
 
Growing the Innovation Economy
Water drives our renowned innovation economy. Groundbreaking discoveries are taking place right here in San Diego County, and we’re proud of the accomplishments San Diegans make every day. Aerospace, technology and life sciences are just some of the industries that depend on the infrastructure necessary to store, move, treat and deliver water. Not only are these industries changing the way the world works, but they produce products and support sales crucial to San Diego County’s economy.
 
Our region’s economic future depends on continued access to safe and reliable water. With more than 500,000 residents expected to move to the San Diego region by 2035, maintaining access to clean water is as important for the future as it is today. Though our region has limited water resources due to low rainfall, we can rest assured that the water infrastructure investments made by the San Diego County Water Authority and its member agencies will continue to support San Diego County’s thriving economy.
 
Read the full study here.
 
Janice Brown of the Brown Law Group is chair of San Diego Regional EDC. Kirby Brady is research director of San Diego Regional EDC.
August 20, 2018

Last week, Inc. magazine released its annual Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies. More than 120 companies in the San Diego metro made the list, including EDC investor Innovative Commercial Environments. Other EDC partners on the list include Fuse Integration, Cloudbeds (which recently inked a partnership with Airbnb), Passion Planner, and more.

Notably, San Diego-based Scientist.com made the top 10, with 15,267.8 percent revenue growth. Scientist is a B2B marketplace that connects major pharmaceutical companies and the National Institutes of Health with research scientists.

The Inc. 5000 list ranks companies by revenue growth from 2015 through 2017 for companies that are U.S.-based, privately-held, for profit, and independent with 2017 revenues greater than $2 million. The 126 San Diego companies on the list totaled more than $2.4 billion in annual revenue in 2017.

This list shows San Diego's businesses are gaining steam. While we're home to one percent of the nation's privately-held businesses, San Diego companies make up 2.5 percent of this year's Inc. 5000 list.

Click here to see the full Inc. 5000 list. 

August 6, 2018

Originally published on sdfoundation.org.

The second most populous county in California, San Diego County is a center of entrepreneurship and innovation with one of the most highly educated workforces in the world.
 
However, changing skill requirements, a nationwide battle for talent, and a soaring cost of living are threatening our regional competitiveness.
 
According to the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC), San Diego’s Hispanic population is our fastest growing group and will become our region’s largest by 2030. However, Hispanics and other underserved populations are dramatically underrepresented in our region’s innovation occupations and possess lower rates of educational attainment.
 
For the region to remain competitive, proactive measures to promote economic inclusion must be taken.
 
THE CASE FOR ECONOMIC INCLUSION
The San Diego Foundation Science & Technology Program nonprofit partners are working to close demographic gaps in educational attainment and strengthen our regional resilience by building an inclusive economy.
 
Since 1999, the Science & Technology Program has granted more than $8 million to support scientists and engineers in San Diego, and most recently granted $632,934 to 10 programs aiming to  increase opportunities for those who work and learn in our region.
 
Grantees such as California State University San Marcos and Access Inc. support San Diego’s innovation economy by creating and expanding a pipeline of young adults underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields to college and career opportunities for inclusive growth.
 
Inclusive growth is crucial to sustain a successful, regional economy, especially for our innovation sector, which accounts for more than 25 percent of San Diego’s economic activity.
 
PREPARING OUR REGION’S WORKFORCE OF THE FUTURE
The San Diego Foundation Director of Community Impact Katie Rast recently discussed how we can grow an inclusive, regional economy with key stakeholders: President & CEO of San Diego Regional EDC Mark Cafferty, Vice President of Youth Programs at Access Inc. Roshawn Brady, and Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Cal State San Marcos Dr. Julie Jameson.
 
Watch the recording below of the Facebook Live conversation to learn why preparing our region’s workforce of the future means ensuring our underserved communities are competitive and how visionary organizations are making an impact in the lives of young, underrepresented adults.

June 28, 2018

In an effort to maximize the region’s global competitiveness via talent attraction, EDC launched the San Diego: Life. Changing. brand campaign last year. The campaign serves to raise San Diego’s profile by telling real stories of the people and companies that call San Diego home. By bringing light to San Diego’s robust innovation ecosystem and vibrant entrepreneurial community, EDC aims to eliminate the stigma that there aren’t jobs in San Diego.

Most people around the world know San Diego as a vacation destination, rather than a place where they actually live and grow their careers. Part of this could be attributed to a ‘too good to be true’ mentality, with San Diego’s impeccable weather, endless outdoor activities, and friendly easy-going residents. It doesn’t seem possible to get both one’s dream job and the top-tier quality of life that San Diego offers. But those who have made the move to San Diego know that is, in fact, not the case. San Diego may not be a headquarters town, but the mission-driven companies located here are making huge, ‘life-changing’ impacts in both the tech and life sciences industries. And better yet, they’re hiring.

As part of the campaign’s latest web developments, there is now an interactive company map that showcases top tech, life sciences, and lifestyle companies in San Diego. This allows people to easily compare and contrast the different companies located here at a high-level, so they can get a holistic view of San Diego’s career offerings.

If you are part of a San Diego company that meets this criteria and would like to be added to the map, simply sign up for the online recruitment toolkit and select ‘I’d like to also add a profile for my company.’

From Illumina’s human genome sequencing technology to Aira’s software for the visually impaired, San Diego companies are quite literally changing the world. Visit the San Diego: Life. Changing. company map to see other top companies that are fueling global innovation from right in our backyard.

 

June 25, 2018

After Thermo Fisher Scientific opened its software development center of excellence in September 2016, the technical capabilities of Tijuana’s workforce have caught the attention of numerous San Diego companies. One of those companies is Red Door Interactive (RDI), a San Diego-based digital marketing firm poised for rapid growth. Rather than growing its team in Indonesia, RDI approached EDC with a preference to expand closer to its headquarters in downtown San Diego. EDC worked with RDI over the proceeding months to assess the company’s needs and get leadership acquainted with the Tijuana market.  

RDI’s leadership was encouraged by the success of Thermo Fisher’s software center, which grew from 40 to more than 250 employees over two years. However, Thermo Fisher’s line of work ranges greatly from RDI’s, which is focused on SEO optimization, web development, and data analytics. The digital marketing industry is highly competitive, and subject to cost pressures and workload fluctuations. To keep with demand, RDI needed a solution that allowed it to increase agility and scale its staffing capability without greatly increasing overhead.  

After meeting with RDI’s leadership, EDC organized a site visit to showcase numerous software development operations in Tijuana. Alongside EDC, the company toured examples of different operational models including BIT Center, MindHub Tech Incubator, and Thermo Fisher. These companies shared insight on talent availability and resources. RDI’s leadership left the site visit impressed and ready to move ahead. To move quickly on an expansion, EDC and Tijuana EDC facilitated an introduction between RDI and IVEMSA, a Tijuana shelter company that works with U.S. companies to simplify the process of establishing an operation in Mexico.

Soon thereafter, RDI and IVEMSA toured through several available office locations, ultimately selecting one to begin operations. RDI is currently opening their Tijuana operation, investing more than $40,000 and achieving an immediate three percent growth in employment, with projections for growth up to 15 percent.

"Thanks to the EDC, Red Door Interactive is now expanding our footprint in the broader San Diego-Tijuana region. EDC made the daunting process incredibly approachable by walking us through the process every step of the way,” said Reid Carr, CEO, Red Door Interactive. “They facilitated site exploration and establishment via critical and vetted introductions and they provided valuable information to support our decisions. We can now capitalize this diverse regional asset to complement our established presence in San Diego.”

 

June 4, 2018

Well, that was fun.

Thank you to those who joined us at EDC's 52nd Annual Dinner, underwritten by Point Loma Nazarene University. This event continues to remind us how lucky we are to call San Diego home - we are a region that lifts each other up and celebrates all the life-changing people and innovation around us.

We were honored to celebrate Dr. Mary Walshok with the Herb Klein Civic Leadership Award presented by Alexandria Real Estate, and Sempra Energy with the Duane Roth Renaissance Award presented by Carrier Johnson + CULTURE. And, we welcomed EDC's new board chair, Janice Brown, founder of Brown Law Group.

Janice laid out a big vision for EDC and San Diego. And many of you have asked us how you can help make this a reality. Here are two quick things you can do that will make a big difference to us:

  • Sign up for the San Diego: Life. Changing. recruitment toolkit. In it, you will find free resources to help us all project one, cohesive image of San Diego to the world and the talent that should be here. 
  • Nominate a small business for the Inner City Capital Connections program. The program is coming to San Diego this fall and is completely free thanks to Kaiser Permanente. Learn more about this truly life-changing program and please send us a note if you have any suggestions

Like Janice eloquently said, we must continue to embrace change to fuel progress in our region and beyond. Thanks for pushing and helping us to do this work.
 

Download pictures from the event here. We'll be adding more as we receive them so check back soon.

EDC's Annual Dinner from San Diego on Vimeo.

May 10, 2018

With a continued commitment to growing San Diego’s reputation as a hub for innovation, the City of San Diego, City of Chula Vista and San Diego Regional EDC announced that San Diego has been selected to participate in a new program by the U.S. Department of Transportation to advance the testing of unmanned aircraft technology, grow the innovation economy and create jobs.

“From wireless technology to human genomes, San Diego is renowned for its innovative spirit and talent that can’t be matched anywhere else,” Mayor Faulconer said. “This designation brings together some of our brightest minds in local government and private industry to develop cutting-edge technologies that are going to take robotic and aerial innovations to the next level.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program” is an opportunity for state, local and tribal governments to partner with private sector innovators, operators and manufacturers to accelerate the development of drone technology. 

“The City of Chula Vista is proud to be a regional partner with the City of San Diego and the industry leaders that support the innovation around Unmanned Aircraft Systems deployment,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. “This unique opportunity will help the City design, develop and test drones to support police officers and fire fighters during emergencies.”  

The program will inform the Department of Transportation about the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in our skies. Key objectives of the program include:

  • Working closely with private sector partners to advance commercial unmanned aircraft system operations and applications for technology
  • Obtaining expedited Federal Aviation Administration approval for airspace authorizations
  • Demonstrating operational solutions that reduce the need for waivers
  • Incorporating community participation for meaningful dialogue for unmanned aircraft systems operations

San Diego’s local program will include projects like flying medical specimens from UC San Diego for expedited results and cost savings, testing food delivery from restaurants to consumers using Uber, enhancing public safety by deploying drones to incident scenes in advance of first responders and testing the integration and communication between driverless cars and unmanned aircraft systems.

“This announcement proves San Diego companies, organizations, academics, government and non-profits are exceptionally well-positioned to advance the adoption into the national airspace,” said Lauree Sahba, Chief Operating Officer for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. “Not only does this program elevate San Diego as a research and development hub, but it also brings enormous potential to our economically diverse region.”

The City of San Diego’s Homeland Security Department was the lead program applicant, with more than 20 regional organizations signing on to support the submission, including EDC. The full list of partners:

  • San Diego Regional EDC
  • Qualcomm
  • City of Chula Vista
  • AT&T
  • Palomar College
  • California Governor’s Military Council
  • California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)
  • Uber
  • Intel
  • Coleman University
  • GE Ventures
  • UC San Diego Health
  • Port of San Diego
  • Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
  • San Diego Law Enforcement Coordination Center
  • Verdego Aero – Provides urban transportation market with safe, clean and quiet hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that can fly piloted or autonomously.
  • Airmap – Connects airspace authorities with drones to provide safe and efficient drone operations
  • Cape – Offers a cloud-based system for drone telepresence and data management
  • Matternet - Provides drone technology and ground infrastructure to help healthcare systems transport blood and pathology samples between hospital facilities
  • Avitas Systems – A GE Ventures-affiliated company that offers robotic-based autonomous inspections and data analytics focused increasing safety and efficiency
  • Infragard San Diego – FBI-affiliated nonprofit focused on mitigating criminal and terrorist threats to protect regional infrastructure

This collaboration led to San Diego being among only 10 agencies nationwide chosen to participate, including the states of Kansas, Virginia, Alaska and North Dakota and the cities of Reno and Memphis.

“We are eager to work with our partners and the U.S. Department of Transportation to promote nationwide Unmanned Aircraft Systems innovation and integration,” said John Valencia, the City’s Homeland Security Director. “This pioneering program will foster capabilities that will greatly enhance the safety and security of San Diego residents, particularly in the areas of effective Unmanned Aircraft System operations by public safety organizations, and resilient communications during emergencies and in times of crisis.”

This announcement follows a similar designation by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which selected the San Diego region as one of 10 autonomous vehicle testing sites in the nation in 2017. The designated testing sites form a national community that share information and collaborate with the private sector to advance the safe development of unmanned vehicles.

“We are looking forward to helping today’s winners unlock the enormous potential of drone operations, which will create new services and jobs in their local communities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

 

April 24, 2018

 

San Diego is among 15 cities being considered for the Army Futures Command, a new major command for the United States Army that will incubate emerging technology and innovations. San Diego Regional EDC will be submitting a joint response with the City of San Diego to the Army’s request for additional information on the City. 

 “San Diego easily checks all the boxes for the Army Futures Command. We have a community that embraces its innovation economy, an unparalleled workforce, and top-tier universities,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO of San Diego Regional EDC. “But beyond that, San Diego has a long history of collaborating with the military to spur innovation and protect national security.” 

The new Army Futures Command will employ both a military and civilian workforce, creating nearly 500 jobs. 

The City of San Diego was informed of its candidacy in a letter sent to Mayor Kevin Faulconer on April 17, 2018.

Your city appears to have a combination of talent, commercial, and academic innovation, and quality of life that we are looking for in locating the command,” said Under Secretary of the United States Army Ryan D. McCarthy in a letter. The document also states that the Army favors locations with a growing technical workforce and is looking for a concentration of occupations including engineers (biomedical, chemical, computer, electrical), as well as software developers.

SAN DIEGO'S COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

In early 2018, Robert Half staffing company named San Diego the number one city for tech job growth in the first half of 2018. Additionally, STEM jobs are 34 percent more concentrated in San Diego than the U.S. average, based on a San Diego Regional EDC analysis of EMSI data.

According to the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC), the San Diego region is currently home to the largest concentration of military in the world. The military generates one out of every five jobs in the San Diego region. While the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have a significant presence in the region, the Army Futures Command would establish a new military branch in San Diego.

San Diego is also the headquarters of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR)*, which is responsible for supplying the U.S. Navy with innovative technologies. According to a separate SDMAC study, SPAWAR pumped $1.77 billion into the regional economy in 2014 alone.

 “Like San Diego, many cities in the running offer a strong quality of life and skilled workforce. However, San Diego’s legacy of military innovation sets us apart,” said Jesse Gipe, senior manager of economic development at San Diego Regional EDC who handles the organization’s military portfolio. “If the Army views a long history of collaboration with military personnel, a focus on commercializing military technologies and a highly-skilled workforce with security clearances as an asset, then San Diego has a competitive chance of becoming the new Army Futures Command headquarters.”

The other cities being considered include Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh, San Francisco and Seattle.

EDC and the City of San Diego will send in the requested information by the May 10, 2018 deadline. 

*In June 2019, SPAWAR changed its name to Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR).

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 20, 2018

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers March 2018 data, including unemployment, new business establishments, and job postings.

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in March, down 0.3 percentage points from February’s revised rate of 3.5, and 1.0 percentage point lower than a year ago.
  • Every jurisdiction saw a decrease in the unemployment rate from the month prior.
  • The labor force contracted slightly, shedding 8,700 workers during the month. The labor force is now up 1,800 compared to a year ago.
  • The largest job increases in March came from education and health services, up 1,200 jobs. Retail saw the largest decline during the month, losing 1,000 jobs.

Get the details in the full Economic Pulse here.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 18, 2018

EDC's San Diego: Life. Changing. campaign is all about telling San Diego’s authentic story. Besides our impressive new technologies and literally life-changing scientific breakthroughs, there’s nothing more innately San Diego than our delicious craft beer.
 
EDC has partnered with Ballast Point to create a special Made in San Diego craft brew, exclusively available in San Diego County. Just like our campaign, this beer is made for San Diego, by San Diego.
 
Ballast Point has been an integral part of the San Diego community for more than 20 years. It was founded here in 1996 as a home brew shop, and with the support of its community, Ballast Point has grown into the global craft beer giant that it is today. As a way to give back to its hometown that has given it so much, Ballast Point will donate a portion of every case sold to a new fund created by EDC’s foundation, to support local entrepreneurs that share the same dream of growing their business right here in San Diego.
 
The Made in San Diego beer features the same level of innovation, quality, and flavor that embody San Diego and Ballast Point. With packaging that pays homage to the vibrant cities and neighborhoods across the San Diego region, it's an easy-drinking Kolsch that features toasted bread aroma and flavor from Munich malt and a soft bitterness from Cascade and Mosaic hops. The beer cans also feature the San Diego: Life. Changing. brand mark, as a proud partner of our campaign.
 
Made in San Diego beer will be available on draft throughout San Diego County later this month, with six-pack 12 oz. cans rolling out region-wide at the end of May.

Raise a glass with us, and visit MadeinSD.com to learn more about this #SDlifechanging partnership.