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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

Big Picture San Diego Blog

October 24, 2014

Across the globe, cities are forging a new kind of battle. They are competing for talent.

Metros understand that it’s talent, more than any other factor, that will drive business location decisions. If they want to grow their economy, they need to grow their talent pool first.

A new study from the City Observatory, “The Young and the Restless and the Nation’s Cities,” takes an in-depth look at the migration patterns of the young, educated millennial population (age 25-34) in cities since 2000. Young workers – especially those with bachelor’s degrees – are the most mobile subset of the American workforce. They are not just looking for any job; they are looking for a job in a city where they can envision building a life and a career.

The report reads, “We’ve witnessed an inversion of the classic recipe for economic development: it used to be that people moved to where the businesses were. Now, increasingly, it is businesses that look to expand in locations where there is an abundance of talent, especially young, well-educated workers.”

So the brings us to our next question – exactly where does San Diego stack up when it comes to its ability to attract talent? Here’s what the report tells us:

  • Between 2000 - 2010, there was a 91 percent increase in the number of 25-34 year olds that reside in close-in neighborhoods in San Diego. Close-in neighborhoods are defined as those within three miles of the center of the central business district of each metropolitan area.
  • San Diego saw disproportionately larger increases in well-educated young adults than the overall population. There was a 43 percent increase from 2002-2012 in terms of the number of 25-34 year olds that hold four-year degrees. To put it in comparison, the overall U.S. average grew by slightly more than 25 percent.
  • Cities and entrepreneurship go together. Venture capital investment appears to be increasingly flowing to startup firms located in urban settings. The urban share of venture capital in San Diego is above 80 percent.

The numbers speak for themselves: San Diego is doing well when it comes to attracting educated talent between the ages of 25-34. But we must not take this for granted. If the region wants to continue to be known for innovation, we must ensure we are attracting the right people to the region.

With the help of many partners, EDC currently has a multi-faceted global identity program underway to ensure that we continue to lead the pack in talent attraction and retention. This represents a shift in our previous marketing efforts, which were aimed at c-level decision makers.  We will be sharing more about the program in the coming weeks. For recent analysis from EDC, please see our July and October Quarterly Snapshots, which looked deeper into San Diego's comparative advantages and challenges in the talent race. 

We know that San Diego is a magnet for talent, investment and capital – our job now is making sure that message gets to the rest of the world.

Some media outlets including The New York Times have taken a closer look at the report.

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October 21, 2014

San Diego County Water Authority

Water is an essential part of the region’s economic health. From genomics to advanced manufacturing and beer, many of San Diego’s strongest industries are also those that use the most water.

Amid one of the most severe droughts in the State’s history, local governments and water agencies have put in place restrictions to conserve and increase regional water flow to preserve the health of our economy and people. The San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) launched a When in Drought campaign to educate county residents and businesses about the need to conserve our water supply.

The good news is that when it comes to these diversification efforts, San Diego is leading the pack. Thanks to the efforts of the SDCWA, the region no longer relies on one source for 95 percent of its water supply, instead looking to new sources such as recycled water as well as water storage to bolster these efforts. The recently-completed San Vicente Dam raise doubles the reservoir’s capacity. Another answer may be right in our backyard: when complete in 2015, the Carlsbad Desalination plant will be the largest of its kind in the Western hemisphere, and provide another local source of water.

This week, we got to learn a little more about the region’s water supply – and what it means for our economic competitiveness - from Mark Weston, the newly-elected chair of the board of directors at the San Diego County Water Authority. Mr. Weston serves as the Poway representative.


1) Tell us about the SDCWA.
San Diego County is a wonderful place to live, but there are not local enough water supplies to support the region’s 3.1 million people and $206 billion economy*. That’s where the Water Authority comes in. We import water from distant sources and distribute it in five very large diameter pipelines to 24 retail water districts and cities. We also are helping to develop local water resources such as seawater desalination, and we are assisting our member agencies advance potable reuse, water recycling and groundwater. And, we promote water conservation to make the most of every drop. Established in 1944, the Water Authority service area stretches from Camp Pendleton to the Otay Water District on the U.S-Mexico border. Over the past two decades, the Water Authority – in partnership with the community – has diversified the region’s water supply sources. We no longer rely on a single supplier for 95 percent of our water, a strategy that is helping reduce the impact of the current statewide drought on our community.

2)  What makes San Diego’s water supply unique?
Our region is effectively at the end of two major pipelines that bring water from the Colorado River and Northern California. After the county’s imported water supplies were cut by 31 percent in 1991, the Water Authority SDCWA on the region's water supply and the region – with support from our member agencies and the business community – developed an aggressive plan to diversify our supply sources. The strategy included the nation’s largest agriculture-to-urban water transfer as part of the historic 2003 Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement. In addition, the Water Authority has promoted water conservation as a way of life, helping to reduce the region’s per capita water use by more than 20 percent since 2007. The Water Authority also has been a strong supporter of water recycling. And, in fall 2015, we expect to start buying water from the landmark Carlsbad Desalination Project.

3) Water is an essential component of our future. Pick a San Diego company that is paving the way when it comes to water conservation.
San Diego Zoo Global recycles more than 16 million gallons of water annually and uses that water to support its horticultural collections. In addition, the Zoo uses water-saving technologies such as low-flow toilets, water reclamation ponds and evaporation-reducing mulch around plants. San Diego Zoo Global is also doing a great job spreading the word about the need for water conservation through: new signs at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park that emphasize WaterSmart practices; water conservation reminders during bus and tram tours; and social media posts that highlight California’s water supply challenges while encouraging its legions of supporters to conserve water.

4) What do you anticipate for the Water Authority in the next 5 years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?
By 2020, the Water Authority anticipates achieving its long-term goals for creating a fully diversified water supply, and we also expect the region will meet the state Legislature’s mandate to reduce water use by 20 percent by 2020. But that doesn’t mean our job is done. The serious statewide drought and a changing climate will continue to challenge local and state water suppliers. For instance, if this winter is dry, it may mean reductions in the amount of imported water delivered to San Diego County by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California. While MWD is still our region’s largest water supplier, our diversification efforts will reduce the impacts on our community of any water allocations by MWD. About this time next year, the Carlsbad Desalination Project will generate 50 million gallons of water a day, enough to meet about 7 percent of regional demand in 2020. In addition, we will continue supporting our member agencies’ efforts to enhance groundwater supplies and water recycling. Several member agencies are developing or studying potable water reuse projects, and we have identified potable reuse as the region’s most likely next source of local supply. Finally, we will continue partnering with residents and businesses to conserve water, particularly outdoors.

*2014 estimated GDP, according to National University Systems Institute for Policy Research 

October 17, 2014

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This post is part of an ongoing monthly series dedicated to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) monthly employment release and is brought to you by Manpower. Click images to enlarge in a new tab/window.


  • Monthly data for September is highly susceptible to seasonal changes, so month-to-month employment changes should be viewed in that context.
  • At 5.9 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate fell in September by 0.3 percentage points from August. In addition, unemployment was down 1.4 points from September 2013.
  • San Diego’s unemployment rate was lower than the California average, and slightly above the U.S. average.
  • The region lost 2,800 seasonal jobs from August to September, but added 33,300 jobs since last year.
  • Seasonal effects limited monthly employment growth in most private industries, but manufacturing, education services and professional and business services added jobs in September.
  • Staffing services grew by 4.7 percent since last year and nearly two percent this month, indicating demand for hiring services.
  • San Diego’s traded economies (Innovation, Defense and Tourism) continued to drive annual employment growth.

[Unemployment Chart]

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the September 2014 period. At 5.9 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate dropped 0.3 points from August to September, and fell by 1.4 points from this time last year. The unemployment rate in the region remained a full point below California’s 6.9 percent rate and tracked just above the U.S. average of 5.7 percent. While the region experienced a decline of more than 11,000 in its labor force, much of this can be pinned on seasonal effects, as temporary summer workers fall out of the labor force. Since September of last year, the labor force gained 11,100 people, 33,900 more people have identified as employed, and 22,200 less people have identified as unemployed, indicating positive momentum in the labor market.

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment changes, September seasonal effects played a role here as well. From August to September, the region’s total employment fell by 2,800 jobs, with the private sector falling by 7,400 jobs. Private sector losses were partially offset by 4,500 public sector education workers returning to their jobs. While these numbers appear threatening, it can be almost entirely pinned on seasonal losses in common summer growth industries like construction and tourism. When looking at year-over-year growth, we see that San Diego added 33,300 jobs, 32,400 of which are from the private sector. San Diego continued to out-pace national growth as well. Employment from September 2013 to 2014 grew by approximately 2.5 percent overall and three percent in the private sector, while the U.S. grew by about a half point slower.

[PST Chart]

San Diego’s traded economies continued to drive much of the region’s employment growth. Professional, scientific and technical services (PST), heavily associated with innovation, was one of the few industries to add jobs in the down season. The industry added 600 jobs since August 2014. More importantly, PST added 8,900 jobs since September 2013, a growth rate of 7.2 percent, which is nearly three times the economy-wide 2.5 percent growth rate. PST includes subsectors like scientific research and development services, which is a key driver of our life sciences. This subsector grew by 4.6 percent over the year.

San Diego’s tourism industry continued its normal seasonal decline, losing 5,700 jobs from August to September. However, the industry added 3,700 jobs since September 2013, indicating that the industry is still performing well.

San Diego’s goods producers continued their steady employment growth, despite experiencing a seasonal drop like most industries in the region. Goods producers accounted for more than 27 percent of the annual job growth. The construction industry, despite losing 1,400 jobs last month, added 6,300 jobs from September 2013 to 2014, a 10.2 percent increase. Manufacturing was one of the few industries to grow this month, adding 600 jobs from August to September. This industry has added 2,500 jobs since September 2013,

Other substantial annual growth industries include ship and boat building, which grew by more than 11 percent and is a critical component of our maritime cluster. San Diego’s movers of goods have also been growing rapidly, as transportation and warehousing employment grew 7.5 percent over the year.

[Growth Chart]

While the apparent seasonal effects in this month’s report may grab the headlines, San Diego is performing well so far in 2014. San Diego’s key driving industries have had an outstanding year, at least in terms of job growth, and the region has continued to add middle-to-high paying jobs in industries like manufacturing, construction and PST services. San Diego continued to out-pace the U.S. in job growth, while seeing a healthy decline in the unemployment rate. With one quarter remaining, San Diego’s labor market has exceeded many expectations.

Note: Our Economic Indicators Dashboard will show how our unemployment rate compares to other US metros and the US total rate when that information is released in the coming weeks.

October 15, 2014

More than 60 businesses attended a seminar Monday to learn how to apply for the Cal Competes Tax Credit. The workshop was co-hosted by EDC and the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). The new income tax credit allows businesses to receive a reimbursement from the state for hiring and capital investment improvements. “The California Competes tax credit encourages businesses, large and small, to expand in California and create good paying jobs in a variety of industries,” said GO-Biz Senior Business Development Specialist Sid Voorakkara.

Congressman Scott Peters (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) welcomed businesses to the workshop. 

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins addresses crowds at a Cal Competes Workshop

“We are the greatest state and the eighth largest economy in the world. We compete globally against economies such as Brazil, Russia and India. We are the innovation site for many of the world’s industries,” said Speaker Atkins.

The Cal Competes Tax Credit is now accepting applications through Monday, October 27. GO-BIZ has allocated a total of $45 million for companies this round. Apply now at You can watch a step-by-step video on the application process by clicking here

In the last round of Cal Competes, San Diego and Imperial County companies received more than 65 percent - $4.83 million of the $7.37 million allocated for small businesses – under the program meaning that the region raked in more small business credits than any other area in the state combined.

In total, one Imperial County and four San Diego companies were approved for the economic incentives, which are collectively valued at $7.43 million. According to documents filed by the respective companies, the incentives are expected to create 1,144 jobs. San Diego’s diverse industries, including military, maritime, biotech and advanced manufacturing, were well-represented in the credit recipients.

Companies looking to apply or find out more about the tax credits are encouraged to contact Sid Voorakkara and Drew Garrison

October 14, 2014

D&K Engineering

On October 3rd, more than 28 San Diego companies opened their doors to the public as part of National Manufacturing (MFG) Day. As one of the founding members of the local event, the team at D&K Engineering was behind the day’s success. More than 100 people lined up to tour its Rancho Bernardo headquarters where many of the world’s most innovative products are made.

With a wide-range of expertise - including kiosks, medical devices, 3D printers and more – D&K Engineering is redefining the way we think of product manufacturing. Its products and expertise illustrate the way manufacturing has evolved to become a high-tech process that creates applications that change the world. This product intuition has helped them yield results: the innovator saw its manufacturing business grow by 90 percent from November 2012 to November 2013.  This is the type of growth that lands a company on the Inc. 5000 list five times.

For this week’s Investor Spotlight, we sat down with D&K Engineering’s CEO Scott Dennis to learn about why the innovator chooses to grow in San Diego.

1) Tell us about D&K Engineering

D&K Engineering provides end-to-end R&D, product development and manufacturing services for high-innovation content, hardware-based products.  We help enterprises become leaders in their industries by creating and manufacturing breakthrough hardware-based products that lead to profitable, enduring lines of business for our clients.  We achieve this by employing world-class R&D and manufacturing talent, deploying state-of-the-art product realization processes and leveraging our global infrastructure and supply chain to design and manufacture innovative products on a service basis. San Diego based ecoATM is a great example of one of D&K Engineering’s many end-to-end client relationships (R&D through manufacturing).  As the engineering and manufacturing engine behind ecoATM, we helped them quickly achieve market leadership by designing and delivering a fully-automated kiosk that was deployed to the market and generating revenue within a 12-month period.  Today, ecoATM is the leader in the electronics eCycling kiosk industry.

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

Why D&K Engineering Chose San Diego

Although D&K Engineering provides services to companies around the world, San Diego is an ideal location to call home.  Some key advantages of doing business in San Diego are the broad base of industries located in the region, the deep pool of R&D and manufacturing talent available, geographic proximity to Mexico and easy access to Asian markets and supply chain. San Diego’s industry base includes many market-leading and emerging companies in a wide variety of industries such as medical, life science, wireless, 2D and 3D printing, kiosks, and defense.  Most organizations in these industries partner heavily with service-based companies to assist them with developing new, innovative products and manufacturing them on an ongoing basis.    

The education level and specialized skills of the talent pool in San Diego is a competitive advantage for our business. Not only does the region provide a talented pool of experienced workers, but its world-class university system, including UC San Diego, San Diego State University, the University of San Diego and others, continually provides a great pool of new engineering and business talent.

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.

There are many San Diego based companies that are innovators and global leaders in their perspective industries. A few of these companies include:  iboss, a web security company developing innovative security solutions and a prominent member of San Diego’s growing cybersecurity industry; Hologic GenProbe, a medical device company developing diagnostic products to help improve patients’ lives; Illumina, a medical device manufacturer developing advanced DNA sequencing solutions and products used in the advancement of personalized medicine. 

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years?

D&K expects continued regional and global growth in both our engineering and manufacturing services business over the next five years. With the goal of achieving a global leadership position in the product realization services industry, D&K offers San Diego the advantage of having a global industry leader in their own back yard that can help expand the burgeoning pool of technology based companies who call San Diego home. 

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October 9, 2014

Every quarter, San Diego Regional EDC analyzes key economic metrics that are important to understanding the regional economy and San Diego’s standing relative to other major metropolitan areas in the U.S.

This issue covers data from April 2014 - July 2014.

  • San Diego County’s July 2014 unemployment rate was down 1.4 percentage points from July 2013.
  • Private employment in San Diego grew by more than 3.2 percent from July 2013 to July 2014.
  • The region added 36,400 jobs since last July - 35,400 of which came from the private sector.
  • San Diego has the highest percentage of bachelor’s degree holders with a STEM degree among major regional peers.
  • 2014 year-to-date net absorption of industrial real estate is the best mid-year performance since 2008.
  • July’s 2.02 percent foreclosure rate marks the lowest rate in San Diegosince July 2006, making it an eight-year low for the region.
  • Biotechnology companies continued to receive larger sums in 2014, with two-thirds of all activity going toward Biotech in Q2.

Check out the complete Economic Snapshot here...

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October 8, 2014

On the first Friday of every October, manufacturers across the country open their doors to the public to celebrate National Manufacturing Day (MFG Day). Last Friday, San Diego had 28 companies – more than any other region in California – participate in the day’s activities. Companies representing San Diego and Northern Baja’s diverse industries from biotech to aerospace, UAV and beer, united to show San Diegans all that’s made right here in our backyard.

In case you missed the morning’s panel and tours, we’ve compiled a list of things we’ve learned about these San Diego makers.

  1. Science and beer can share a roof
    Beer is science. If there is any company that demonstrates this, it’s San Diego-based White Labs, which was one of the innovators that opened its doors to the public this MFGDay. Part laboratory, part brewery, they are participating in another innovation activity San Diego knows well: decoding the genome; except instead of looking at the human genome, they’re looking to unravel beer’s DNA.
  2. Northern Baja is the gold standard of manufacturing
    CareFusion is one company that’s using the mega-region to its advantage. As a medical device manufacturer, they have acquired companies all over the U.S. However, all of its U.S. manufacturing facilities pale in comparison to its facilities right across the border, in Tijuana and Mexicali, said Carlos Nunez, chief medical officer of CareFusion, at a kickoff panel hosted by EDC on the morning of MFG Day. Many other innovators throughout San Diego have pointed to access to Mexico as a reason to set up shop in the region.

    On Sunday, CareFusion announced they were being acquired by Becton, Dickinson & Co (BD), a New Jersey-based medical technology company. The acquisition is further evidence of San Diego’s ability to develop sought-after, innovative companies. BD is committed to maintaining an active presence in San Diego, which we can speculate may be due to the mega-region’s strong R&D and manufacturing capabilities.
  3. East County is where music is made
    Two of the world’s most renowned musical instrument companies call East County home. Taylor Guitars, which has won the affection of musical talents including San Diego’s homegrown Jason Mraz, is located in El Cajon. This year marks the company’s 40th Anniversary. On MFG Day, tour goers were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the company that employs more than 400 people in the region.

    The largest banjo manufacturer in the U.S. is headquartered in Spring Valley. Deering – The Great American Banjo Company, was another company San Diegans were invited to tour on MFG Day.
  4. San Diego flies above the rest in UAVs
    In May, San Diego was one of the first 12 communities in the U.S. selected to participate in the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, which allows the region to compete for a pool of $1.3 billion to support the local manufacturing industry. The region was selected specifically for its expertise in aerospace manufacturing.

    On Friday, two very different aerospace manufacturers – Northrop Grumman and 3D Robotics - invited people to their respective locations to check out their innovations first had. Both of these companies have made a name for themselves for their work in the unmanned aerial vehicles field.
    In Rancho Bernardo, Northrop Grumman treated tour goers to a peak at its Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence, where spectators got to meet a very impressive 21-year-old engineer.

    In Otay Mesa, 3D Robotics showed off its indoor testing facility. The UAVs are assembled right across the border in Tijuana. At Friday’s panel, Guillermo Romero, a director with the company, spoke about the collaboration between his facilities on both sides of the border. His team can design a world-class UAV in San Diego, and manufacturer in Mexicali the same day.
  5. Manufacturers are hiring…and they pay well
    Manufacturing provides strong middle-class jobs to many San Diegans. With more than 2,900 companies in the manufacturing ranks, the industry represents about 8.7 percent of all jobs in San Diego, yet it accounts for 12.2 percent of all wages.

    One company that is looking to ramp up hiring is General Dynamics NASSCO. The shipyard is looking to bring on 1,000 new employees for jobs including welding and shipfitting. As Kevin Graney, vice president and general manager of the shipbuilder said at Friday’s panel, “If you can weld, come see me after.” The Barrio Logan company is committed to helping fill those jobs through apprenticeships and skills training.

    Community colleges, apprenticeships and other job training programs are vital assets as San Diego companies look to fill these vacant positions. As panelist Dave Klimkiewicz of the iconic Sector 9 skateboards said, “Not everyone needs to go to college, but everyone needs to live.” He talked about the need to bring back hands-on classes at the middle and high school level. Panelist Bob Cassidy of ViaSat also discussed the need to fill the workforce pipeline with more highly-skilled manufacturing technicians. 

October 7, 2014

Meet Gafcon, one of the companies shaping Southern California’s skyline. Consistently ranked among Engineering News Record’s 100 Top Project Management Firms, Gafcon is the company behind some of the region’s most iconic locations, including the Del Mar Fairgrounds.Gafcon Logo

Founded in 1987 by Pam and Yehudi Gaffen, the company now has more than 100 employees at its offices in San Diego and Los Angeles. They seek to use their construction expertise to build vibrant communities.

We recently sat down with CEO Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen to hear firsthand why the company thrives in San Diego.

Tell us about Gafcon

Never losing sight of an owner’s objectives and perspective, Gafcon anticipates a challenge, delivering with certainty while making the complex simple. We take command of multilayered projects by applying decades of specialized experience. Gafcon is confident in our project management teams and our deliberate approach, and are committed to the communities in which we live and work.

Our mission—27 years in the making—is to safeguard success. Gafcon project management teams consistently focus on an owner’s best interests. Our technology and management tools maximize the value in every investment. And every goal is achieved by adhering to The Gafcon Way: A process that ensures transparency, facilitates confident decision-making, and constantly strives for perfection. Our people, our technology and our processes are unique within the industry. Combined, they are a driving force that delivers certainty.

Our most important measure of success: Longstanding client relationships built on trust, personal attention and mutual respect.

What are some advantages to doing business in San Diego?

I migrated to San Diego from South Africa in search of a better place to raise a family.Why Gafcon Chose San Diego   I had received a call from a business associate asking if I was interested in working in San Diego.  I didn’t even know where San Diego was.  Once here, I quickly realized that one of the great things about San Diego is that it’s small enough to build relationships, yet large enough for opportunity.  27 years later, it is those relationships and opportunities that have helped our business grow and thrive.  I also found that San Diego businesses are also very supportive of the community at large. Being a valued “Corporate Citizen” is foundational for sustainable success and for Gafcon this has resulted in long term repeat relationships that have been mutually rewarding. 

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.

Gafcon is a partner with AECOM on projects in San Diego and Los Angeles. AECOM is a true global leader. Over the years, they have been entrusted with the management and control of hundreds of major capital programs across all continents and market sectors, including transportation/infrastructure, environmental, facilities, mining and minerals, and energy. Engineering News Record ranked AECOM as #1 in the Top 500 Design Firms in education.  We have enjoyed our partnerships with them.

What do you anticipate for your company in five years?
In the next five years, Gafcon is looking towards geographic expansions into northern California and Texas. We are also looking to diversify into new markets, including infrastructure (water and transportation) and private mixed-use projects.

We reinforce our brand which is focused on delivering complex projects that power vibrant communities.  The underpinnings of this mission are: creating value for our clients, seeking new knowledge, delivering with the highest  quality, looking beyond the obvious for solutions, becoming our clients partners  and last but not least working hard and playing hard.

In San Diego, we will continue our focus on the education sector, and look forward to expanding on projects that improve the city’s infrastructure as well as deepening our involvement and contributions to the social, business and philanthropic fabric of our community.


September 30, 2014

Ask any company why they chose San Diego, and chances are, they will mention these two things: the strong talent pool and the community collaboration. Whereas many innovative technology companies take care of the first item, it's places like the YMCA of San Diego County that help foster a collaborative community. By incubating strong communities, they help ensure that San Diego is a place where people - and companies - thrive.

We sat down with the Y's President & CEO Baron Herdelin-Doherty to learn about how the YMCA of San Diego County - the second largest Y in the U.S. - helps support the region's dynamic economy.

Tell us about the YMCA
Our Y is driven to help families thrive as we serve more kids and families than ever before. We provide child care resources, financial assistance and active, healthy fitness programming for all ages that reflect our core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility. The YMCA of San Diego County is here for families at each and every stage of their journey. We focus our work in three key areas, because nurturing the potential of kids, helping people live healthier and supporting our neighbors are fundamental to strengthening communities. This year, we have secured new sites and are expanding existing sites to be able support even more families in the years to come. Since 2010, we have secured an incredible $43M in capital campaign contributions alone and we are especially thrilled to be very close to completion on the Copley-Price Family YMCA by the end of 2014. The Y is so much more than a gym. We touch the lives of nearly one out of every eight people in our community. For 132 years, we’ve been proud to help our neighbors learn, grow and thrive. 
YMCA on San Diego's talent pool

What are some advantages to doing business in San Diego?
The communities of San Diego County are so incredibly diverse and we are thrilled to be able to serve all. Throughout San Diego County, countless people know the YMCA. But there’s so much more to our Y than one might think. From exercise to education, from volleyball to volunteerism, from preschool to preventive health, the Y doesn’t just strengthen our bodies. It strengthens our community. We are the second largest Y in the US in part because of our location. San Diego attracts the best and brightest minds. We are able to keep great leaders because of all the attributes of the region.

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.
I immediately think of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). Not only are they committed to energy efficiency but environmental stewardship is an essential part of its culture and day-to-day business. They are vested in the quality-of-life of our region, and they give back and volunteer to improve our communities. For nearly fifteen years, San Diego Gas & Electric has been the exclusive sponsor of the YMCA’s Character Development program, a year-round focus on teaching and demonstrating the core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility in all Y programs.

What do you anticipate for your company in five years?
Research shows that families who spend more time together are stronger and happier. Over the next five years, the Y will focus on strengthening families in even bigger and better ways. The Y is committed to providing the memberships, programs, activities, facilities, and resources to help more families in San Diego County thrive.

 With 20 membership facilities, three overnight camps and multiple locations focused on childcare and youth and family services, we see opportunity to improve our services. We aim to expand to  over 400,000 existing members and program participants, progressively engaging new families among the 3.2 million residents of San Diego County in youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.  By 2020, we want to have more Y family branch locations within 5 miles of every resident in the region. Additionally, we want every Sunday night to be YMCA Family Night. We will provide tools to help families track how much time they spend together and help them make plans to spend more time together. We hope you’ll engage more deeply with the Y as we officially launch our “Family Strengthening” vision in 2015.


The Y- more than you know:

September 23, 2014
Ace Parking Logo

Keith B. Jones is more than your average business owner. As managing principal and partner of Ace Parking, he knows San Diego very well. Jones’ family and Ace Parking have called San Diego home for three generations. 

He has witnessed San Diego evolve into a world-class city. The way he sees it, if we want to continue to be a “gateway to the Pacific” we must rethink the way we see space in downtown San Diego and beyond.

EDC sat down with him to talk about why Ace is proud to call San Diego home and how he sees the future of the region.

Tell us about Ace Parking

Ace Parking is the last of the family owned and run parking companies that operates across the United States. Our clients hire Ace Parking because we are the industry leaders in delivering memorable customer service experiences, increasing parking revenue returns and embracing new technologies to ensure objectives are being met. We are able to differentiate ourselves from our competition because there really is a heart and soul behind our family firm. We approach all of our clients as if we are going to do business together for the next 30 years, therefore we strive to always operate with integrity and honesty.

What are some advantages of doing business in San Diego?

Why San Diego - Ace Parking

When I travel across the country to do business, it’s great to say that I'm from San Diego and that's where my company’s corporate headquarters are. I love promoting San Diego and talking about more than just our weather. People are interested and intrigued when I say we are not a cul-de-sac at the end of the road; San Diego is actually a Mega Gateway Region to the Pacific and the rest of the world, thriving with innovation. I love the fact that my office has been located in downtown San Diego for over 65 years.

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.

I'm a big fan of other family companies, and I think the Spanos family is truly on top of their game. A.G. Spanos is now the CEO of the Chargers and it's amazing to see how dedicated this family and organization is to the San Diego community. They truly do want to live, work and play here. We must recognize the power of being an NFL city and do more to help them achieve their business goals within our region, so they can stay committed to having their team located in San Diego.

Another local company doing amazing and visionary things is OliverMcMillan. Dene Oliver, CEO, and Paul Buss, President of OM, are both at the top of their game. Their firm is widely admired for building exciting, breathtaking mixed-use projects all across the country. OliverMcMillan is a great ambassador of San Diego and is now considered the gold standard in transformational design and urban mega-block redevelopment in the United States.

 What do you anticipate for your company in five years?

In five years I want to remain a thriving, civically engaged family owned and operated company.  My belief is that if you uphold your team members and clients as paramount to your organization, then good things will happen both to the organization and to our customers.

What do you anticipate for San Diego?

San Diego needs to embrace that we have pressures on our infrastructure and must work as a community. We need to start making progress toward building up and growing up. If we accept regulation and prohibitive growth policies, then great opportunities that are currently in our region and those that may otherwise be attracted to our region will be forced to go elsewhere. The civic leaders we have in our community are very intelligent and capable individuals.  I'm excited to be part of the strategic dialogue as we transform our region.