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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Big Picture San Diego Blog

June 21, 2016

First, Germany. Now, Switzerland. Q2 was chock-full of global wins for San Diego. The San Diego International Airport recently announced a new nonstop service to Zurich, Switzerland. Edelweiss, a Swiss leisure carrier owned by the German airline Lufthansa, will operate flights between the two cities on Mondays and Fridays starting in 2017.

As part of EDC’s efforts to increase San Diego’s global competitiveness, EDC and World Trade Center San Diego (WTC San Diego) worked in partnership with the San Diego Tourism Authority to support the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority in bringing Edelweiss’ nonstop seasonal service to Switzerland. Making the case for San Diego, WTC San Diego provided data and research on economic ties to the European innovation hub.

 Why Switzerland matters to San Diego:

  • Switzerland ranks third among all nations for the most foreign employment in San Diego.
  • Swiss companies such as Novartis and Genentech call San Diego their home.
  • In 2011, more than 50 percent of all Swiss employment entered San Diego through M&A activity.

Airport Authority CEO Thella Bowens said that with the addition of the flight, San Diego will have direct service to six countries and add to the list of foreign airlines operating out of Lindbergh Field.

June 14, 2016
This week, the Worth Group announced that San Diego has been named as a 2016 “Worth Destination.” Featured in the June/July issue of Worth magazine, San Diego is among 15 cities lauded for civic leadership, quality of life, business climate, sustainability, entrepreneurial community, cultural offerings and urban innovation.
 
After months of deliberation and research by Worth's editorial team, San Diego was chosen for its burgeoning technology and life sciences ecosystems, powerful cross-border manufacturing economy, unparalleled infrastructure and world-class cultural institutions.
 
“San Diego has long been famous for its incredible natural beauty and beautiful weather,” says Richard Bradley, Worth’s editor in chief and chief content officer. “But thanks to its close and mutually beneficial relationship with Mexico, its status as a global hub with a particular emphasis on Asia, and its world-class scientific community, San Diego is also an economic powerhouse.” “Recognition like this from a magazine as prestigious as Worth shows that San Diego’s reputation is shifting,” says Joe Terzi, President and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority. “The city is becoming known for more than beautiful scenery. Showcasing San Diego’s innovation, creativity and strong business sector is vital not only for attracting new companies and talent to the marketplace, but it is also key for attracting top conferences and business travelers, which are a critical part of the local tourism economy.”
 
“From advancing the human genome to developing cutting-edge military technologies, San Diego is a leader in global innovation,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO at San Diego Regional EDC. “Worth provides San diego with a powerful platform to tell our story to important audiences around the world.” Focused on entrepreneurship, wealth management, philanthropy, travel and lifestyle, the Worth media brand includes print, digital, broadcast and radio channels as well as the bimonthly magazine Worth. The full list of Worth Destination cities will be announced on June 21. The June/July issue of the magazine featuring San Diego will be available on newsstands beginning June 28, 2016.
May 25, 2016

In collaboration with San Diego County College and Career Readiness Consortium and Mayor Faulconer’s One San Diego 100 initiative, EDC is working to create and provide work-based learning opportunities across the region to help develop and retain San Diego’s talent. With opportunities including job shadows, company tours, industry panels and access to internships, students gain exposure to our region’s diverse career opportunities.  

This quarter, EDC coordinated day-long job shadows at various organizations throughout San Diego including The Control Group, San Diego Union Tribune, Cox Communications, SAIC, Ethertronics Inc. and the FBI.

Check out the students’ experience at video production company Scratch Media and broadcast news station CW6:

Thank You CW6! from Westview DMP on Vimeo.

Together, in collaboration with East County EDC, Junior Achievement and Cleantech San Diego, more than 1,600 young people have been provided industry exposure experience through job shadowing. 

May 24, 2016

Adding to the region’s influx of startups relocating and expanding from the Bay Area, EDC and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer welcomed mobile app publishing platform Bizness Apps to San Diego. The newest addition to the region’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, Bizness Apps opened its downtown La Jolla headquarters, and will be adding more than 100 jobs in San Diego over the next year.

Growing pressures in the Bay Area, as referenced by the Bay Area Council, have led businesses to consider expansion elsewhere. Companies like Bizness Apps found that San Diego to be a reasonable alternative to the Bay Area, with the necessary talent to fuel growth, lowest average commute time among peer metros, lowest employee turnover rate in tech and scientific R&D and an 18.1 percent employer-projected growth in software jobs.

Consistently ranked as an Inc. 500 fastest-growing company, Bizness Apps has quickly grown out of a college-dorm room, and is now becoming one of the leading mobile app publishing platform in the world. Serving more than 40 countries, its “do-it-yourself” app maker platform reaches 26 million users each month. 

May 17, 2016

By Jesse Gipe, manager, economic development

In partnership with more than a dozen organizations across San Diego County including the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC), EDC has established Operation San Diego, a strategy to support our military and defense assets in the region. As part of these efforts, I had the opportunity to attend the largest gathering of senior military officials ever hosted by the Governor’s Military Council (GMC) earlier this week. The two-day Defense Summit provided military leaders, support organizations, state agencies and elected officials an opportunity to discuss how to address some of the critical needs of bases and the personnel they house.

While in San Diego it can be hard to forget the impact of our military in our day to lives – with a $45 billion impact to our GRP – other areas in California do not share our military concentration. Recognizing the need for a strong voice from California in support of the military, and through efforts led by both SDMAC and EDC, Governor Brown established the GMC. The all-volunteer board members of the GMC form an impressive roster of retired flag officers from every branch of the DoD and Coast Guard. This group of well-respected former military leaders have answered the Governor’s call to serve on the council and lend their collective expertise to ensure that California is proactively supporting the military in DC and at the state level.

Kicking off two days of activities, the GMC hosted their quarterly board meeting attended by Governor Brown on Tuesday. The council, led by Chair Ellen Tauscher, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, discussed the GMC’s strategy to support bases and personnel in California. 

After the GMC’s board meeting, nearly 40 active duty commanders and military personnel including some of the state's most senior commanders such as Brigadier General Edward Banta, Commander of Marine Corp Installations West and a strong contingent from Navy Region Southwest flew in to participate in a full day of workshops on Wednesday. In addition to the military leadership approximately 50 individuals from base support organizations such as SDMAC’s Executive Director Randy Bogle and other key agencies like SANDAG were also in attendance.

The workshops were designed to help bases and the communities supporting them identify solutions to address several common issues. These issues primarily revolve around the military’s needs for reliable and secure energy, the impact of the drought on water reliability, the demand for new creative funding partnerships to address budget shortfalls caused in part by sequestration, and of course how to help service members transition back into civilian life.

This message has certainly resonated with Governor Brown, who reiterated the significant role of the military in his remarks to the GMC: “There is a very important connection, because without the defense contracts, the aerospace contracts in California wouldn't be where it is today.”  Military bases across California not only continue to provide vital national security missions for the United States; they have been pivotal in the establishment of some of our state's most vibrant industries.  Most notably, of course, would be aerospace, but bases like SPAWAR in San Diego have created groundbreaking technologies such as radar, that have helped spur commercial innovation in a wide variety of industries.

Events like this provide unique value for San Diego as we strive to maintain and enhance what has always been one of our region’s critical economic and cultural pillars: the military.  EDC will continue to work closely with the GMC, regional partners including SDMAC, the State of California and in Washington DC to make sure that as our region continues to support the military.  

May 17, 2016

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, San Diego universities conferred more than 40,000 bachelor’s degrees in 2014. While recent data suggests there has been an increase in young graduates staying in San Diego, there is still a perception that entry-level job opportunities and startup culture are less common here than in other tech hubs, despite predictions of software and related tech jobs growing by more than 18 percent in the coming year – with many companies looking to hire recent grads.

Working to develop and retain talent in San Diego, EDC partnered with community organizations including Downtown San Diego Partnership (DSDP) and Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE), as well as local universities including UC San Diego, San Diego State University and CSU San Marcos to host four Link2 events this quarter – connecting hundreds of students and veterans to industries and businesses growing in the region.

Kicking things off in Q2 with Link2Cyber, EDC introduced nearly 100 students to the region's growing cybersecurity sector. Hosted at CSU San Marcos, students from across the 78 Corridor heard from a panel of industry leaders, including ViaSat, CCOE, San Diego Airport Authority and others to learn about career opportunities in San Diego’s growing cybersecurity industry.

In addition to bringing industry onto campus, EDC and DSDP hosted Link2Downtown which brought more than 100 university students to tour downtown startups and incubators, showcasing the robust tech and startup scene in San Diego’s core. Computer Science students from San Diego State University and UC San Diego toured EvoNexus, The Control Group, Mindtouch and Red Door Interactive.

With emphasis on transitioning service members and veterans, EDC and CCOE hosted Link2Cyber at Navy Region Southwest during Hiring Our Heroes on April 20. The event featured two panel discussions, each with emphasis on technology innovation and integration, entrepreneurship and employment needs, to help acclimate transitioning services members into private sector employment – utilizing their unique skillsets in cybersecurity and more.

Taking it back to campus in May, Link2Design introduced students to design thinking in San Diego – demonstrating the power and value of design as a driver for San Diego’s innovation economy, civic infrastructure and quality of life. Hosted at The Basement on campus at UC San Diego, the event gave more than 35 students access to industry leaders – from ThermoFisher Scientific, Makers Quarter, Grizzly and Feetz – who discussed career opportunities, market trends and more about design in San Diego.

Launched in 2014, the Link2 series is part of EDC’s efforts to retain and grow our region’s talent. By exposing students and veterans to opportunities that exist in growing industries across the region, we are ensuring the growth of San Diego’s diverse talent pool.

May 5, 2016

With over 3.2 million people and nearly 1.5 million jobs in the San Diego region today, San Diego’s extensive network of highways, roads, rail lines and public transit serves as the backbone of our economy. Essential for the movement of people and goods in and around the region, transportation infrastructure strengthens the regional economy and promotes future economic growth. Expansions and enhancements to roads, highways and public transit reduce congestion, decrease travel times and increase business productivity and overall economic competitiveness.

First approved by voters in 1988, TransNet – the region’s half-cent sales tax – has funded a variety of local transportation projects including roads, highway, public transit and active transportation. Since its inception, nearly $3.3 billion in funds collected by TransNet have been leveraged with nearly $10 billion more from federal, state and local funding sources to deliver more than 650 projects throughout the region. EDC released an economic impact analysis of TransNet, which reveals how investments in transportation over the last 25 years have impacted San Diego’s economy.

Key findings:

  • TransNet has a $20 billion economic impact.
  • 650 projects have been completed to date, including 6,500 acres preserved as open space.
  • Every $1 collected in TransNet taxes results in a $1.70 increase in the region’s GDP.
  • TransNet supports 5,300 jobs annually and has contributed $9 billion in total local wages.
  • Regional benefits from infrastructure investment include 12.4 million hours of commute time savings and $500 million in travel time savings annually.  

Read the analysis here.

May 3, 2016

This week we sat down with Eric Northbrook, managing director at Voit Commerical Real Estate Services to discuss what it means to do business in San Diego. Voit is a privately held, broker-owned Southern California-based commercial real estate firm that has been providing strategic property solutions for clients since 1971. Over the course of 40 years, the firm has completed more than $44.8 billion in brokerage revenues encompassing more than 43,000 deals.

1.Please tell us what your company/organization does.

Voit is all about helping our clients get what they want when it comes to commercial real estate. We are a broker-owned firm dedicated to delivering superior service through our great people and top-of-the line tools and resources. The commercial property market is changing every day, and our goal is to always be out in front of what’s going on so that we can deliver on what gives our clients the results they’re looking for. We represent real estate investors and occupiers of all types of commercial real estate, and each one of them has their own needs, objectives and vision of a quality outcome. Our focus is on helping them get all three. We also strive to create the kind of work environment that will allow us to attract and retain the people who share our passion for being the standard bearer for our industry.

2.What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

San Diego has an excellent blend of economic and lifestyle components that make it a great place to live, work and play. The economy is supported by a broad base of major employment sectors that help maintain overall stability, and the area’s highly regarded universities ensure a steady flow of bright, qualified workers to provide for further growth. Defense, Aerospace, Biotechnology, Action Sports and most recently, the craft-brewing industry are all thriving in San Diego. From a lifestyle perspective, the area is tough to beat. Great weather, beautiful beaches, recreational activities, top-notch food and entertainment, along with a wide variety of housing choices are all just what today’s growing millennial workforce is looking for in a place to call home. It’s no surprise that San Diego continues to outperform all but a few of California’s 58 counties and consistently ranks high in national quality-of-life surveys.

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.

We think that Barney & Barney, a San Diego-based insurance agency, is a firm that stands out as a firm at the top its game. Founded in San Diego back in 1909, the company has a rich history of superior service to its clients and philanthropic efforts in the community. The leadership team is also focused on developing talent and promoting from within. Recently, nine employees were promoted to Principal, which demonstrates the company’s commitment to see its own people thrive.

4.What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

I couldn’t be more excited for the future of Voit in San Diego. We just finished our best year ever and our own Randy LaChance was Voit’s top producer companywide for 2015. Our new broker-owned business model makes Voit an even better place for real estate professionals to work. We are also committed to hiring recent college graduates who will help us expand our presence throughout the region. Plans are also underway to open an office in North County so we can provide better service to our customers and attract new brokers to join our team.

San Diego’s future is as bright as I see our own. Activity from the border to Oceanside is up, and our healthy job market will keep the economy in growth mode for the foreseeable future. If there’s a problem in San Diego, it’s the shortage of land to build more commercial properties. Space will get harder to find and be more expensive to lease or buy looking ahead. So, growing businesses will have to find new ways to use space more efficiently. If that can be done anywhere, it will be done in San Diego, as this is a place the best and brightest like to call home.

April 28, 2016

It’s clear that despite a healthy economy, not every part of San Diego is enjoying economic prosperity. This week, GlobeSt.com sat down with Jim Zortman, sector VP, strategic operations of Northrop Grumman and newly appointed chairman of EDC, for a chat about what he hopes to do about this issue and others. 

What are your goals in your new role as chairman of the San Diego Regional EDC?

Zortman: Over the past four years, EDC has introduced a number of important initiatives to expand our regional economy with and through a broad base of partners. For example, in partnership with the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, the “Go Global Initiative” aims to attract foreign direct investment, grow regional exports and strengthen economic ties in strategic international markets, as well as position San Diego’s unique global identity.

As chairman, I am committed to championing these initiatives, but it’s clear that despite a healthy economy, not every part of San Diego is enjoying economic prosperity. I hope to broaden our agenda to focus on economic development issues in communities that have not yet benefited from the region’s development. It is my vision that the broad-based coalition of partners that catalyzed the region’s life-sciences, technology, R&D, defense and aerospace sectors can also come together to develop job opportunities and prosperity for more San Diegans.

What do you feel are the biggest economic development challenges in the San Diego market?

Zortman: We have all heard the comment that businesses should operate “anywhere but California.”  We know it is not cheap to do business here. But it is our job as economic developers to understand and leverage our assets and competitive advantages—just as your readers often have to do as real estate professionals. California is number one in economic categories like foreign investment, venture capital and job growth; we rank first in sectors like agriculture, defense, biotechnology and life sciences; our public universities are nationally ranked and produce top-tier talent—the list goes on and on. San Diego plays an important role in each of these fields.

San Diego is home to the largest concentration of military anywhere in the world. It is the underpinning of defense sectors where we have unmatched dominance: cybersecurity, defense, communications, unmanned systems and maritime. San Diego is the epicenter of the future of biotechnology—specifically genomics. We are home to Craig Venter, who was the first person to sequence the human genome, and to Illumina, the company that can now sequence the genome in just over 24 hours for under $1,000. San Diego has more than 80 research institutions, more than any other region in the country.

Not only are we home to a diversity of thriving industries, but we are also a top-tier talent pool driving our region’s growth. Specifically, San Diego gained 72,000 degree holders in 2014 alone, more than any other major metro area in the country. Also, San Diego has the lowest turnover rate in tech and scientific R&D jobs, which is attracting the attention of technology companies across the country.

Continually, we have what talent wants: the lowest average commute time of any major metro area in the country; an influx of creative-office space as seen with iboss Cybersecurity’s space in UTC; competitive wages—ranking second average annual pay for R&D employees—and more.

And if that’s not enough, let me point out that the economy of Texas could pretty much double overnight and still not match the strength of California’s economy. In the end, dispelling myths about doing business here and telling San Diego’s story is our collective responsibility.

What do you feel are the biggest economic-development opportunities that are perhaps not being taken advantage of in the San Diego market?

Zortman: One of the biggest opportunities we have as a region is to help companies export their products and services. In 2013, San Diego ranked 18th of the 100 largest metro areas in total export value, export-supported jobs, GDP and population size. But the region was only 61st in terms of export intensity—total export value as a share of the region’s GDP. According to the Institute for International Economics, companies that export not only grow faster, but are less likely to go out of business than non-exporting companies.

World Trade Center San Diego – now housed within EDC – has introduced the MetroConnect Program to provide small- and medium-sized enterprises with resources and funding to help open new markets abroad. The Go Global Initiative and programs like MetroConnect help San Diego maximize its global competitiveness.

What else should our readers know about San Diego Regional EDC?

Zortman: The real estate industry is a key partner to EDC. Every day our team works with brokers and developers to help enable and encourage companies to grow here. Using data on the region’s industry clusters, workforce talent and network of partners, EDC is able to assist companies with expansions throughout the mega region. Some of San Diego’s recent wins include the attraction of tech companies such as Bizness Apps and Wrike.

Real estate professionals should also use the research EDC produces to better understand industry sectors poised for growth. For example, EDC recently released a study on San Diego’s software development industry. The study showed the region’s software ecosystem impacts more than 100,000 jobs in the regional economy, with an economic impact totaling $12.2 billion annually; venture-capital investment in software was up by 38 percent in 2015; and the industry has an anticipated employment growth of 18.1 percent in the next year—all signs that the region’s tech ecosystem is gaining national visibility.

 

Click here for the full story.

April 27, 2016

By Nikia Clarke, Director, World Trade Center San Diego

WTC San Diego is on the road again, with a focus on deepening channels of connectivity between global cities around trade, investment, innovation and thought leadership (as well as herring, it turns out).

I spent last week in Stockholm, Sweden, participating in a Brookings/JPMorgan Chase Global Cities Forum. San Diego joined the Global Cities Initiative (GCI) almost four years ago, led by WTC San Diego founding partners—the City of San Diego, San Diego International Airport and the Port of San Diego—and followed by more than 30 other metros. Stockholm is now joining the GCI and drafting its own internationalization strategy. Together with four other GCI representatives, I spoke on panels and participated in working groups convened by Brookings, the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and CONNECT Sweden to share San Diego’s experience of building a data-driven trade and investment strategy backed by a regional coalition of partners.

And, as is always the case with these Brookings Metro Exchanges, it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn from our peer cities. Philadelphia’s Economy League, together with their very active WTC, just launched a regional export plan, leveraging service provider networks to reach exporting firms. In London, the Mayor’s office and London & Partners are linking with private sector multinationals to create opportunities for 800 SMEs in new markets. Minneapolis-St. Paul has built strong regional economic development infrastructure that drives significant foreign investment to their bi-city region. World Business Chicago has been leading an effort among dozens of counties to move from competition to collaboration in a metro region that is one of the country’s largest foreign investment destinations.

At the close of the forum, the Chamber—along with the Mayor, Governor, Airport Authority and other public and private sector senior leadership from the region—launched Team Stockholm to drive the effort forward. As the CEO of AstraZeneca—an English-Swedish firm that is the seventh largest pharmaceutical company in the world—spoke to the group about the importance of global connectivity, on the other side of the world, his company inked a deal with San Diego’s Human Longevity Inc. to sequence more than 500,000 genomes and analyze samples from clinical trials. Indeed, competitiveness is all about connectivity.

So how do we continue to grow this kind of connectivity here in San Diego? Turns out Stockholm is the perfect place to reflect on this question, which is why innovation economy experts, like our own Mary Walshok, have been building linkages between our two regions for decades. Stockholm and San Diego have a lot in common: we are both metro regions of 2-3 million with world-class research ecosystems, strong life sciences, telecomm and technology sectors and we happen to be two of the top three most patent intense regions in the world. It is why as you drive down the road you see big names in our region that are also big names in Sweden: Thermo Fisher, Kyocera, Trinity Biotech, Ericsson, JLabs among others.

And in both our cities, so much of the innovation ecosystem is driven by SMEs—which in both San Diego and Stockholm make up around 95 percent of all companies—and the ways in which they are able to engage with large firms and global networks. I visited a number of the institutions that incubate, accelerate and commercialize technology in the region and there is much we can learn from Stockholm.

The Karolinska Innovation Institute spins life sciences and pharmaceutical discoveries out of the university research hospital. Sting—a city-university-private sector collaboration that runs a network of incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces in the region—is launching a new digital health accelerator program that will launch firms into international markets.

EpiCentre is an innovation house founded as a temporary experiment in a downtown high rise awaiting redevelopment last year. Now it has 600 members—large tech corporates, entrepreneurs and everything in between—who run incubators, accelerators, hackathons and labs. As companies grow and scale they move through the flexible, diverse office spaces throughout the building. It will anchor plans for an expansive downtown redevelopment with hotels, restaurants and office space all linked by aerial walkways. Too cool, right?

I had the opportunity to continue these conversations with a brief stopover in London on the way home to visit co-working spaces, tech hubs and San Diego company Cubic’s new transit innovation centre. Cubic already moves 10 million people around London every day as the operator of the Underground’s oyster card payment system. But here they are working with universities, transport providers and entrepreneurs on what’s next for the ever smarter, safer cities of tomorrow? (hint: it might involve talking holograms and buying your ticket with the veins in your hand

One of WTC San Diego’s primary mandates is to grow opportunities both for local firms in overseas markets, and for foreign ones investing in our region. To this end we’ve spoken with more than 400 investors in Japan, taken a group of water tech companies to England and France and are about to select our 2016 cohort of MetroConnect firms. As we reflect on what’s next for our region in terms of boosting our global competitiveness, it is clear that international innovation networks are critical. Certainly some great lessons were taken from this trip: creating great spaces, collaborating with diverse partners and being a little wild and very flexible.

As always, at each stop we were sure to leave behind one of San Diego’s best exports: Stone Brewing Co. craft beer—this time the Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. No wonder they like us.

Cheers to Stockholm and London, and see you soon, San Diego.