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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


February 2016

February 29, 2016

Today, we welcomed Wrike, a Silicon Valley-based SaaS startup to San Diego. While Wrike is certainly a unique company, its situation is one we know well.

Recognizing the talent footprint in the region, Wrike chose to expand to San Diego, bringing with it 150 jobs over the next three years. Located a stone’s throw away from UC San Diego, Wrike is looking to attract talent from the region’s top universities, including SDSU and CSUSM. The company considered Raleigh, Phoenix and Chicago as alternative locations, but in the end, chose San Diego as the place to expand its California footprint.

"We're thrilled to expand to San Diego and open this location as a launch pad for our growth here,” said Seth Shaw, Wrike’s Chief Revenue Officer and San Diego expansion lead. “We've been really impressed with the high caliber of talent in the region and the enthusiasm for growing professionally in a startup environment."

EDC’s recent data can attest to the depth of San Diego’s talent pool. In 2014, San Diego gained 72,000 degree holders – more than any other major metro area. However, it’s not just the talent pool that attracted Wrike here, but the quality of life the region offers to employees. Not only are the region's beaches ranked among the best in the country, but San Diego ranks fourth in number of sunshine hours (yes, that’s a metric), and has the lowest average commute time among our peer metros. Life most certainly works here, and we’re proud that Wrike agrees.

February 23, 2016

By Mark Cafferty, President & CEO

Kia ora!

Just back from a long trip to Auckland, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia. I wanted to share some updates and observations from my time representing EDC and marketing our region to our friends Down Under and in the City of Sails.

Unlike many of my recent international trips, I spent a great deal of time over the past few weeks engaging with our economic development peers at the Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development agency (ATEED) and the leadership of the Committee for Sydney – two very different and interesting models in two very different and interesting cities. EDC’s relationships with these highly regarded organizations have been continually strengthened and enhanced through our work with JPMorgan Chase and Brookings Institute. Our colleague Greg Clark from Brookings was especially instrumental in setting up several of these meetings over the course of my trip.

Most exciting for me to see was the buzz EDC’s work has created over the past few years. Both the ATEED and the Committee for Sydney were familiar with our research and gave high praise to our work with the region’s traded clusters. Quite surprisingly, the organizations knew about our transition away from politics/policy over the last four years and praised EDC for being a leader in redefining regional economic development through a collaborative, employer-led approach – a strategy that has served us well.

In Auckland, they are building a "sports and active lifestyle" sector strategy based on the research EDC conducted a few years ago in partnership with San Diego Sports Innovators. They have also analyzed our export strategy and Go Global efforts, and are working to mirror several of our programs/initiatives – now spearheaded by the WTC San Diego housed within EDC.

In Sydney, the highly influential Committee for Sydney was excited about what they have seen/read regarding our collaboration with Mayor Faulconer's office. Specifically, they are hoping to set up a video conference in May with their business and political leadership in Sydney to hear about the "San Diego Story" from the Mayor and the EDC team. From there they are hoping to open the door to a large-scale trade/investment mission in 2017. Stay tuned...

Along the way I also had a fantastic meeting with Baseball New Zealand set up through the San Diego Padres, meetings with the airline industry set up by our colleagues at the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, and continued engagement with leadership from two of our greatest San Diego/Sydney business connections: Cubic and ResMed. Lastly, I met with an Auckland-based VC firm who will likely be visiting businesses in San Diego within the next few months.

As always, San Diego’s universities, world renowned research institutions, biotech industry, defense technology and proximity to Mexico dominated conversations throughout the course of my trip. And with international commerce opportunities increasing and expanding through the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), everyone I spoke with saw San Diego's geography, entrepreneurship and economic diversity as key assets for expanded international trade and investment.

But what was incredible to see was how much better San Diego's economic story was understood and appreciated in comparison to my first visit to Auckland and Sydney just two years ago.

With and through our partners/investors, EDC is successfully placing San Diego on the radar of international businesses, investors and thought leaders across the world. The National Geographic Smart Cities documentary and our work with Brookings and JPMorgan Chase have a lot to do with this, but so does the hard work of our economic development team, the outstanding research we have been producing and the creative way in which our marketing team is framing our work and telling our story. For that, we have nobody to thank more than our board members and investors whose leadership, guidance, support, direction and vision are helping to change the way the world sees our region and our economy. And the best is yet to come.

A fascinating person I met with during this trip told me that an old Australian Aboriginal Proverb states:

"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love...and then we return home."

Thank you for sharing this time and place with us, and thank you for continuing to support our efforts to observe, learn and grow. 

February 18, 2016
By Matt Sanford, director of economic development
 

Could the 78 Corridor be the next hub for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies? At a roundtable discussion with industry companies, academic institutions and city economic developers this week, EDC posed this question.

With a concentration of more than 650 ICT employers in the five cities along the 78 Corridor - Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, Oceanside, Vista - there is a reason companies are choosing to locate here. Some of those reasons are the quality of talent and engineers, quality of life, and strategic positioning between San Diego and Orange County. If we are able to better capitalize on those reasons and understand the issues and opportunities of doing business along the Corridor (and the broader San Diego region), we can proactively set the framework to accelerate industry growth and clear hurdles.

The discussion identified several key challenges to overcome as well. Key among them: talent accessibility, infrastructure improvements, university/academic relationships and the ability to work together to make the region more attractive for those who might consider working here. 

EDC plans to dive deeper into these challenges with our partners, cities and institutions to find creative solutions to turn those challenges into opportunities. 

Learn more about San Diego's Upside at Innovate78.com
February 8, 2016

By Shea Benton, economic development manager 

Late January, EDC ventured into new territory by hosting ExploreSD, a three-day showcase of San Diego’s economy and talented workforce for site selection consultants from all over the country. Our goals were twofold: 1) pilot a replicable multi-day tour of the best companies our region has to offer to tell the San Diego story; and 2) proactively promote our region’s unique economy in an effort to generate new business attraction opportunities.

Over the past year, our team has engaged with a select group of consultants whose business is to compare and contrast regions for their clients, based on a gamut of criteria from real estate and utility costs to talent and quality of life, in order to help companies decide where to expand or relocate. As you can imagine, many in this industry have an aversion to California due to perceived and real barriers to doing business in the state. EDC’s strategy was to sell the San Diego region based on our thriving innovation economy, talented workforce, collaborative relationship with local and state government and unmatched quality of life.

Day 1: Joined by Mark Field, CTO of Thermo Fisher Scientific, Melissa Floca, director of the Center for US-Mexican Studies at UCSD, and Erik Caldwell, director of economic development for the City of San Diego, we kicked off day 1 with an overview of our mega-region. The conversation turned quickly to cross-border manufacturing and our proximity to Mexico, an asset previously overlooked by this group. After a multi-hour discussion, the stage was set for the next two days of company tours.

Day 2: Starting with a visual overview of downtown from the top of Diamondview Tower, our morning featured tours of Red Door Interactive, ESET and EvoNexus incubator. This portion of the event showcased San Diego’s downtown, with visit to both tech startups and established companies. The afternoon included trips to three companies with some of the most unique stories in San Diego: Illumina, iBoss Cybersecurity and BD/Carefusion. Not only are these three of the most recognizable names in the region, but they also have something else in common: they all explored expanding or relocating to other regions, only to increase their presence in San Diego.

Day 3: We began our final day in North County with tours of General Atomics and D&K Engineering to help these individuals better asses our advanced manufacturing industry. After a quick lunch at Stone Brewing Bistro & Gardens - a necessary stop for anyone visiting the region that doubled as a highlight of our craft beer industry - we explored all 5 cities along the 78 corridor. With stops at CSU San Marcos, a drive through Ocean Ranch Business Park and Carlsbad giants ViaSat and Thermo Fisher Scientific, we finished out our tour strong.

One thing was clear throughout the tour – our region’s innovation economy, talented workforce, and quality of life permeated every discussion in an organic way. With the help of an articulate group of business leaders and San Diego’s leading industry and real estate experts, we effectively articulated the benefits of business location in our region over peer metros including Austin, Denver and San Francisco. Moving forward, we intend to replicate and use this style of tour as an effective method to tell the San Diego story. 

February 4, 2016
By Nikia Clarke, director of World Trade Center San Diego
 
Konichiwa from Osaka!
 
Given the deep linkages between our regions, it is fitting that the World Trade Center San Diego 2016 calendar of trade and investment activities begins with a targeted focus on Japan. Sean Barr sent his reflections from Tokyo last week, where he was supporting a UC San Diego Technology Symposium and representing our region at an international nanotechnology and robotics show.
 
And this week I am traveling across the country with SelectUSA, the federal government’s foreign investment attraction agency. Japan is the second largest source of foreign direct investment to the United States, and more than 800,000 Americans are employed by US subsidiaries of Japanese firms. San Diego is a microcosm of this larger relationship, with companies like Takeda, Kyocera, Ajinomoto, and Murata employing thousands of San Diegans.  
 
On Monday we kicked off the Roadshow in Tokyo with HE Caroline Kennedy, Ambassador to Japan; Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally, Select USA Executive Director; and Mr. Tatsuhiro Shindo, Executive Vice President of JETRO for the signing of an historic MOI. We then moved on to Nagoya and Osaka, meeting with groups of potential investors at each stop.  
 

Representatives from the head offices of Japanese companies that have made long term investments in our region joined me on the road. Their eagerness to support our efforts here and tell their own San Diego story to their peers is a testament to the deep ties between our two economies.
 
In Tokyo, Toshitake Kobayashi from Takeda Pharmaceuticals joined me to speak to the group of 200 potential investors about how collaboration between Takeda California and Takeda Japan drives innovation in drug discovery for the firm as a whole. This is why Takeda closed its Bay Area facility and consolidated operations in San Diego. Takeda is Asia’s largest drug manufacturer, employing more than 30,000 people worldwide.
 
This emphasis on innovation was echoed by Naoki Sekizawa from Denso, a global manufacturer of parts and technology for every major auto maker from Toyota to GM. He explained to a group of 60 investors in Nagoya that Denso’s operations in Vista – located along the 78 corridor – remain the multinational’s North American research headquarters because of the talented workforce available in ‘telecom valley.’ 
 
Naoki Mori, from Nitto Denko, a water technology company that acquired Oceanside firm Hydranautics in 1987, joined me in Osaka to share his perspective on the advantages of our region. He emphasized the premier universities and research institutions as we spoke to another packed room of over 100 investors interested in the US market. 
 
Three companies from diverse industries delivering the same message: San Diego’s innovation ecosystem – with its strong research institutions and top-tier talent - is a world-class asset. And yet, it is clear that in terms of maximizing these assets, we could be doing more. Out of over a dozen states and metros participating in the roadshow, San Diego is the only one without a Japan trade office staffed with dedicated investment personnel. 
 
Our investors and partners have done tremendous work over the last few years to generate a comprehensive trade and investment plan for the region. And our Port, Airport and City are driving the execution of that plan through the revitalization of World Trade Center San Diego. That kind of regional coalition building is both rare and formidable, and for that we are grateful. 
 
So you will be hearing much more about Japan in the coming months, as we prepare to host several incoming delegations of Japanese companies in advanced industries. And you will also be hearing from Auckland, Sydney, London, Toulon, and Stockholm, as we work to grow exports to, investment from, and relationships with the markets that matter most to San Diego’s growth, prosperity and resilience.
 
Big thanks and kanpai to the San Diego leadership of Takeda, Denso, and Hydranautics for coordinating support on the road, and for the language lessons too.
 

February 1, 2016
 
 
As a major win for the region’s innovation economy, today, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and San Diego Regional EDC announced that BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), the world’s largest medication management company, will be maintaining its presence in San Diego, keeping more than 3,000 jobs in the region.
 
Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said, “San Diego is now home to the single largest medication management company in the world.   I’m proud BD has committed to building upon CareFusion’s legacy in San Diego, which means that more than 3,000 locals can continue to rely on this company to help them take care of their families, put food on the table and a roof over their heads.”  
 
Bill Kozy, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of BD said, “San Diego is home to more BD associates than any other city in the world. The region not only offers a great place for associates to live, but it is also home to world-class health care facilities, great universities and many innovative companies that create a highly educated talent pool and opportunities for unique collaborations.”
 
Mark Cafferty, President & CEO, San Diego Regional EDC said, “BD and its 3,000 employees are staying and growing in San Diego. As a company, BD is an example of what happens when leaders collaborate and a global company continues to invest in our regional economy.”

Congressman Scott Peters said, “BD’s decision to invest their future in San Diego demonstrates the strength of our world-class innovation economy and organizations like the San Diego EDC that support it. This move also means thousands of high-quality jobs for {C}San Diego’s increasingly talented workforce. We must continue to drive economic growth and create the jobs of the future in San Diego by permanently eliminating barriers to success for our innovators and entrepreneurs like the harmful medical device tax.”
 
Panorea Avdis, Director of Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) said, “GO-Biz applauds our local partners, Mayor Faulconer’s office and San Diego Regional EDC for their work to keep BD in San Diego and we look forward to continuing to work with the company as they expand in California."
 
In 2015, BD merged with San Diego-based CareFusion, creating a $12 billion company—one of the largest medical technology companies in the world. BD has embraced San Diego and will be growing its footprint locally. As a globally-oriented company, BD has a presence in more than 80 countries, yet it currently has more employees in San Diego than any other city in the world.
 
Tapping into San Diego’s strong medical device and engineering talent, BD will be creating a new global center for health informatics on its Torrey View campus. In addition, the company will also be maintain its manufacturing capabilities in the San Diego region.
 
Since BD announced its acquisition of CareFusion in early 2015, the City of San Diego and San Diego Regional EDC have been working with BD to ensure the newly-integrated company continues to build off the strong legacy San Diego CareFusion has created.