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Qualcomm

April 22, 2015

Perhaps nothing encapsulates San Diego’s mix of innovation and lifestyle more than the surfboard pictured below. Let us explain…

Although it looks like any other surfboard, it’s actually made from algae, instead of petroleum-based polyurethane which is typically found in surfboards. We have Stephen Mayfield, a scientist from UC San Diego and director of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, to thank for that. Like quite a few San Diegans, he can call himself both a scientist and a surfer.

Mayfield is featured in “National Geographic Channel’s: World’s Smart Cities” documentary about San Diego, which premiered last night at San Diego Symphony Hall.  Following the documentary, Mayfield presented the world’s first algae-based surfboard to Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Surfing legend and San Diego local Rob Machado, who also appeared in the documentary, was on hand to help present the surfboard. In the documentary, Mayfield talks about industry/academic collaborations that are helping to make biofuels from algae a commercially viable transportation fuel in the future. 

The documentary follows San Diego’s innovation narrative as National Geographic host and Digital Nomad Andrew Evans gets his genome sequenced at Illumina, performs stem cell surgery on a penguin at SeaWorld, flies UAVS at Northrop Grumman, learns about the Smart Grid at SDG&E, checks out the Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™,  part engineering lab and part art studio – all while enjoying the sites, culture and lifestyle that San Diego is known for.

Last night, Andrew Evans made the trek back to San Diego to join Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego Tourism Authority’s Joe Terzi, EDC’s Mark Cafferty and a packed house of San Diegans to show people why San Diego is the only city in North America chosen for the documentary.

"San Diego is a neat city. There's no place like it in the world," said Evans at the premiere.  

The documentary will be shown in more than 60 countries, reaching approximately 250 million households world-wide.  Make sure to tune in (or record) the documentary, which begins airing this Saturday, on the National Geographic Channel.

Spread the word. It’s time the world learns what San Diego is really about.



Follow the conversation at #Smartcities.

November 25, 2014

Lighthouse for the Blind

There are approximately 1.3 million people who are blind living in the United States. Like any other individuals, they need and want jobs. This is where Lighthouse for the Blind comes in.

As a privately-funded non-profit, they provide employment, support, and training opportunities for people who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities. Their military roots run deep, which makes San Diego an ideal location for Lighthouse. Not only do they serve many veterans with disabilities, but the military is also one of its largest customers.

This week, we spoke with Kirk Adams, president and CEO, to learn more about why this social enterprise operates in San Diego.

1) Tell us about Lighthouse for the Blind
We provide jobs to people who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities. In San Diego, we operate a Servmart, which is a store where military, civilians, and contractors can purchase the supplies from paperclips to tactical equipment and clothing.  We specialize in offering a high volume of AbilityOne (blind-made) products and expert knowledge of military requirements. We also operate two Contract Management Support (CMS) services in San Diego and are currently closing out contracts for NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Command in downtown San Diego, and DCMA (Defense Contracting Management Agency) in Kearny Mesa. CMS services help mitigate the critical government shortage of contract specialists by providing post-contract award administration support services. The Lighthouse employs 14 employees who are legally blind in San Diego. On the West Coast, we employ more than 240 people who are blind in 11 different locations. 

2) What are some advantages to doing business in San Diego?

Why Lighthouse chose San Diego

San Diego makes sense for us because of the strong military economy; it is where our customers and contracts are located, such as the Navy base. Additionally, there is a large population of capable blind adults looking for employment in the San Diego area. Growing our business means jobs for San Diegans who are frequently overlooked in traditional employment settings. Our mission – “to create and enhance opportunities for independence and self-sufficiency of people who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities” – stems from veterans who are blind returning from WWII with no hope for employment. Today, our mission is more critical than ever with the numbers of service men and women returning blinded from IED’s (improvised explosive devises) used in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game. 
Qualcomm is committed to an environment of inclusion in which all people, including those with disabilities, have equal access and opportunities. Qualcomm connects students with disabilities of all ages to help prepare them for their careers and partners with local universities for Disability Mentoring Day. They also participate in the annual San Diego career fair for people with disabilities.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years?  
In five years we hope to have more than 25 employees who are legally blind employed in the San Diego area and a much larger community presence. 

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November 14, 2014

GlobalCitiesInitiative

As part of San Diego Regional EDC’s work to increase the region’s global competitiveness, a delegation of San Diegans will head to Munich, Germany next week to explore innovation strategies to strengthen advanced manufacturing. Representing a mix of academia, industry, and business organizations, the delegation will tour some of Munich’s most innovative companies, including BMW and Siemens, and meet with German leaders including the Honorable Dieter Reiter, Mayor of Munich.

Germany – where manufacturing represents nearly twice the share of employment as in the United States – offers an illustrative model for industry growth and workforce development. Its manufacturing firms rely on a robust dual model of vocational education and on-the-job training to sustain a highly-trained workforce and powerful public-private collaborations to support continuous innovation.

San Diego – much like Munich – has the talent, innovation and vision to compete and lead in the global marketplace,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC, one of the delegates on the trip. “Both San Diego and Munich have harnessed the power of public/private collaboration to fuel economic growth. Our trip to Munich will help us advance our local innovation economy.

Cafferty will be joined by Monique Rodriguez, director of government affairs, Qualcomm, Inc.; Ian Wendlandt, chief of staff, Stone Brewing Company; and Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor for public programs and dean of extension at UC San Diego.

In addition to stops at BMW and Siemens, the agenda also includes tours at small and medium-sized manufacturers. Delegates will also engage in panel discussions centered around manufacturing and innovation featuring the Hon. John Emerson, U.S. Ambassador to Germany and Bruce Katz, co-director of the Global Cities Initiative among others. Representatives from Chicago, Louisville-Lexington, Nashville, Phoenix and Portland will also be joining the trip.

The City of Munich plays an important role in San Diego’s global competitiveness. Munich is the region’s sixth largest source of foreign investment; companies with Munich-based operations employ 1,222 people in San Diego. From an industry standpoint, Munich and San Diego excel in cleantech, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, information and communication technologies and other innovative fields.

The trip is part of San Diego’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative (GCI), a joint effort between the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase that aims to help cities and metropolitans enhance their global competitiveness. San Diego joined GCI in 2012.

JPMorgan Chase has a longstanding commitment to helping cities thrive,” said Peter Kaldes, head of the Global Cities Initiative at JPMorgan Chase, who will be joining the trip. “We are thrilled to bring together U.S. and German city leaders who we hope will forge new economic bonds and, in the process, help their cities grow.”

In April 2014, as part of the GCI, San Diego was one of six U.S. cities selected to participate in a pilot program to develop a foreign direct investment (FDI) plan. A jobs generator, foreign-owned companies employ nearly 50,000 workers in San Diego, paying above average U.S. wages.                                                                                

In early 2015, the GCI will convene in San Diego to launch a comprehensive global trade and investment plan. 

October 31, 2013

NACIC 2013 panel image

Earlier this week the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and The Mexico Business Center hosted the North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference (NACIC). The conference focused on cross border trade and business opportunities between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. 
 
One of the most popular panels focused on developing workforce talent and was moderated by EDC’s CEO Mark Cafferty. The panelists were Bill Bold, sr. vice president of QUALCOMM, Lauren Friese, CEO and founder of TalentEgg from Ontario, Canada and Rafael Sostmann, professor of practice for education innovation and special advisor to the president of Arizona State University.
 
Mark opened the session by explaining that San Diego Regional EDC’s attraction efforts focus on corporate executives and talent, specifically young people just graduating from universities. He said competitiveness for North America is about talent and asked the panel: “How we develop the workforce of the future?”
 
Rafael, an engineer by training, is also the former president of Mexico’s largest private, nonprofit educational system, Tecnológico de Monterrey. He suggested that industry linkages with universities are critical. At ASU, student startups are supported through on campus incubators and on campus industrial parks leased to businesses.
 
Lauren explained that she started her company, an online tool that connects young talent with job opportunities, after she finished graduate school in London. She discovered that linkages between students and industries were much stronger in the United Kingdom than in Canada. Inspired by the tools she saw working in the UK, she replicated the networking platform through TalentEgg. She suggested that too often employers only want to hire young people with “the right” degree, when there are plenty of people who can be trained for just about any career. 
 
Bill spoke about the investments and partnerships QUALCOMM has with students and universities to grow its future workforce. As a world leader in mobile communications and computing technologies, QUALCOMM licenses its innovations to smart phone manufacturers. QUALCOMM is also the world’s largest producer or semiconductors. Of its 31,000 employees worldwide, 81 percent have a degree in a STEM field. The mobile giant is dependent on international markets; While 92 percent of the company's revenues are earned outside the U.S 67 percent of its workforce is in San Diego because they care about hiring locally. Bill said Qualcomm is intense about recruiting – pursuing only the top one percent of graduates from the top five percent of universities – likening it to college football recruiting. Last year Qualcomm had 1,100 paid interns, of whom 300 got offered full time jobs, and 250 accepted. The company recently invested $20 million in a new engineering center at Berkeley to build a cutting-edge program blending art, architecture and engineering. 
 
Responding to a question from the audience about the best ways to prepare young people for careers, the panel pointed to the German apprentice-style model. Germany’s vocational education system pairs classroom studies with on-the-job learning. Students apply for a specific apprenticeship at a company. For two to three years they spend a few days a week at a work site, getting paid a stipend from their employer, and one to two days a week in a classroom learning theory. They graduate with a certificate that signifies they know all the basics to begin working professionally in their fields. Not only are the certificates standardized throughout Germany,  but they are also well-respected and often a necessary requirement for jobs. Companies like Siemens have brought the work experience aspects of the program to the U.S. offering students here similar opportunities. 
 
If San Diego wants to maintain its share of talent, it would be in our best interest to explore similar programs. 
 
January 11, 2013

A report released today detailed the impact of Qualcomm Incorporated—San Diego County’s largest private employer—on the regional economy.  Sponsored by San Diego Workforce Partnership with guidance and insight from San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation,  “The Economic Impact of Qualcomm: Driving San Diego’s Technology Growth,” provides insights and analysis into the economic contributions of Qualcomm as well as the broader telecommunications and information technology (T&IT) industries in San Diego. The report also includes a workforce needs assessment.
 
The mobile giant’s presence in the regional economy adds $4.53 billion in economic activity annually, equal to about three percent of the county’s Gross Regional Product (GRP) in 2010. Every dollar generated directly by the company equates to nearly $2 of economic activity in the region, making the yearly economic impact of Qualcomm equivalent to one and half 2012 London Olympic Games.  
Take a look at the complete study and executive summary.