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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Economic Development 101

March 24, 2017

"February’s data shows unemployment rates dropping for the majority of jurisdictions in the region. Meanwhile, job posting intensity has steadily declined suggesting that employers are filling jobs more rapidly. Management, training and communications are among the most in-demand skills in current job postings. And while technical skills are still expected of job-seekers, the ability to work with and develop others is key." - Phil Blair, President & CEO, Manpower

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases unemployment data for the prior month. Due to annual revisions, EDD did not release employment data in the month of February but released two reports in March. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers February data and references the second of two reports from March.
 
Highlights include:
  • Compared to a year ago, total nonfarm employment is up 26,700, or 1.9 percent, with 19,800 of those jobs coming from the private sector.
  • San Diego’s unemployment rate remains lower than both the California rate of 5.2 percent and the national rate of 4.9 percent.
  • Fourteen of the region’s jurisdictions saw year-over-year growth in monthly new establishments, above the regional rate of 26 percent.
 
New Businesses by Jurisdiction, Feb 2017:

 
Read San Diego’s Economic Pulse here.
February 16, 2017

Content pulled from a piece in the San Diego Business JournalVAVi Faced Its Own Obstacle Course
 
EDC investor and recreational sporting events organizer VAVi Sport & Social Club was looking to make a big splash at its first major international competition: a 20,000-person obstacle course and race in Sydney, Australia. Little did VAVi know its shipment of inflatable obstacles would present its own set of obstacles.  
 
The company loaded its $1 million worth of goods into shipping containers, set to arrive a month before the event. Complications arose in South Korea when VAVi’s equipment was unloaded and seemingly forgotten about on storage docks. This is when EDC came in… 
 
Having been a part of the 2015 global export assistance program MetroConnect, VAVi CEO Steve Stoloff called on EDC and the organization’s World Trade Center team to leverage its international network for support. EDC staff contacted the U.S. Commercial Service – the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce – to ensure the forgotten equipment would be loaded onto another boat bound for Australia. Staff also reached out to contacts in Sydney to coordinate on-the-ground transportation from Brisbane to Sydney, since this new boat would no longer be porting in Sydney. 
 
And it didn’t stop there. EDC’s board of directors stepped up to the challenge. Helping recover some of the money lost in the fuss, Linde Hotchkiss, managing partner at the global risk advisory and insurance solutions firm Willis Towers Watson, counseled VAVi on the qualms of international shipping and helped facilitate an insurance claim.
 
With all hands on deck, VAVi received its shipment and salvaged the prominent event – saving one-fifth of the company’s yearly projected sales. This is not simply a company story of overcoming obstacles in going global, but of the collaborative nature of San Diego’s business community. This is who San Diego is.
 
January 24, 2017

A 295,000 square foot addition to your home may not be on most people’s minds, but for a company with Illumina’s ambition, its par for the course. And today was yet another one of those days at one of San Diego’s largest life sciences companies. It also marked the culmination of a dynamic collaborative partnership to get things done.

Cutting the ribbon on the new addition to its corporate headquarters, Illumina President and CEO Francis deSouza, Executive Chairman Jay Flatley and other Illumina executives shared the stage with San Diego Mayor Faulconer to announce the opening of what is now among San Diego’s top five largest manufacturing centers. And yes, manufacturing in San Diego does include this genomics giant.  

The state of the art facility will house 850 new R&D, oncology, reproductive and genetic health and manufacturing jobs. It will continue to fuel Illumina’s majority share of the world’s genetic sequencing market, producing both the sequencing machines and analytics its customers need to support innovative global healthcare applications.

EDC is proud to have been able to contribute toward making the new building a reality. Countless phone calls, meetings and exchanges alongside our partners at Alexandria Real Estate, Biocom, Cushman & Wakefield and the city of San Diego brokered the arrangement. After four years of collaborative work, led by California Assemblymember Todd Gloria and San Diego Mayor Faulconer, the art of the possible (that new home addition) is today a shiny, ambitious new reality for San Diego.

Next up for the company and San Diego – Another 316,000 square foot addition due to open this July. 

 

January 20, 2017

From 2025 to 2050, the 65-and-older population is projected to almost double to 1.6 billion globally, whereas the total population will grow by just 34 percent over the same period. With this, it has become increasingly important to support our aging population, with health and wellness among top priority.

San Diego medical technology company and 2016 MetroConnect participant AVACEN Medical has developed technology to help ease some of the common ailments afflicting seniors. The AVACEN 100 is an FDA cleared, over-the-counter medical device that provides non-invasive, temporary arthritis and muscle pain relief, and muscle relaxation. Using microcirculation enhancement on the palms, the locally-made device helps warm and thin the blood, thereby dissipating heat throughout deep tissues and relieving joint pain associated by arthritis, muscle spasms, sprains and more.

Taking this San Diego-made technology global, the AVACEN 100 has just received the CE (Conformité Européenne) Mark approval to treat widespread pain associated with fibromyalgia. The CE Mark allows AVACEN to market its AVACEN 100 to the European Union's 28 member countries where many prescription drugs, available in the U.S., have been rejected by regulatory officials for treating fibromyalgia pain.

Founded by Tom Muehlbauer in 2009, AVACEN’s revolutionary technology was originally developed to help alleviate his sister-in-law’s chronic pain. The company currently sells in two countries, with plans to expand into 10 more over the next year (thanks in part to the CE Mark). Sales have climbed to more than $1.5 million, with more than 20 percent of the sales coming from international markets.

December 14, 2016

Often hidden behind San Diego’s pristine beaches and thriving regional economy are the  socioeconomic disparities that exist across the county’s 18 cities.

As an organization that aims to support growth of San Diego’s regional economy, EDC understands the importance of including all communities in our work. There is much debate about what the term ‘inclusive economic growth’ means, and it’s something we are working with partners to better define in 2017. In order to understand – and define it – we must know where we currently stand. 

EDC took a closer look at the 18 cities comprising the county. The large discrepancies in poverty rates, income and education across San Diego cities show that while we are part of the largest economies in the world, we have much to improve upon. 

According to the American Community Survey, San Diego’s poverty rate is 13.8 percent – slightly below the national and state rates of 14.7 and 15.3 percent, respectively. However, eight cities in the region have poverty rates above the national average. The region’s educational attainment of 36 percent is above the national and state rates of 30.1 and 31.7, respectively, but 10 regional cities fall below the national rate. Similarly, even when the region’s median household income of $66.2K is over 20 percent higher than the national median household income of $53.7K, six out of the 18 cities fall below the national median.

Highlights from the analysis:

  • National City, with a poverty rate of 24.5 percent, is almost 10 percentage points higher than the national rate of 14.7 percent.
  • El Cajon, with a median household income of $46K, has 49 percent of its total population living below 200 percent of the poverty threshold.
  • Del Mar, with the lowest regional poverty rate of four percent, has the highest median household income at $103K and the highest educational attainment at 72 percent.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, National City has the lowest median household income at $40K (less than 40 percent of Del Mar’s) and the lowest educational attainment at 12 percent (less than 20 percent of Del Mar’s). 
  • The cities of National City, Lemon Grove, Imperial Beach and Escondido have at least 25 percent of their under 18 population living below the federal poverty threshold.
 
The prosperity of San Diego is dependent on the success and growth of all of the region’s cities. EDC is committed to increasing the dialogue around inclusive economic growth and, through data and analysis, shedding light on the region’s disparities. 
 

 

December 13, 2016

Connections: a simple word that takes on different meanings, but for EDC, it describes both what we do and how we do it. In 2016, we were all about connecting... Connecting companies to global markets. Connecting business to opportunities. And connecting with the people who make our economic development work possible.

EDC's impact:

  • 8,260 jobs impacted; 126 year-to-date projects
  • $3.4M in tax credits earned by local companies
  • 14 national media hits secured; 149M people reached
  • 15 SMEs accrued $6M in additional export sales; 42 new regional jobs
  • $1.6M DoD grant awarded to San Diego and local organizations
  • 9K students impacted by career development programming
  • Seven economic research reports released
  • And 160 investors and partners who make it all possible...

See the stories behind the numbers in our interactive review at EDCin2016.com.

"As we head into the new year, we know that we have even more to accomplish in connecting San Diego's economy to the world. As always, EDC is honored to do it with and through all of you." - Mark Cafferty, president & CEO

December 8, 2016

Sometimes we find San Diego stories in unlikely places. 
 
Today, Pristine Environments, a facilities management company, announced that it will be integrating autonomous robotic cleaning technology into its clients’ facilities through a partnership with San Diego-based Brain Corp, a Qualcomm Ventures-backed company. Pristine clients include BAE Systems, Scripps, Takeda, CBRE and many more.

At EDC, we like to see San Diego companies working together. Even better is when we can make it happen. 
 
EDC played matchmaker on this deal. When EDC’s economic development manager Jesse Gipe heard Brain Corp was looking to pilot its robotic cleaning technology, he knew the right partner was in San Diego.  He introduced them to Pristine Environments, an EDC investor in the facilities management space, to see if they would be open to getting this new technology into the hands of their clients. Pristine Environments has clients all over the country, but is headquartered in San Diego. 
 
Brain Corp is a software technology company specializing in the development of autonomous artificial intelligence (A.I.) systems for self-driving vehicles (SDVs). Its newly-launched, self-driving industrial floor-cleaning machine called EMMA will be used in Pristine Environments’ client location throughout the country.  
 
Two local companies collaborating to harness the power of artificial intelligence and robotics to make our lives a bit easier... Now that’s a San Diego’ story.
September 15, 2016

This is part of a weekly series featuring a profile on one of the 2016 MetroConnect Program companies. MetroConnect is dedicated to helping local San Diego businesses go global and is presented by JPMorgan Chase.

With a background in manufacturing engineering and nine patents to his name, Laszlo Garamszegi of Aurora Spine treats the development of medical devices as both art and as science.

I’ve been fascinated with designing and building devices in this space for a long time”, states Garamszegi, originally from Hungary. “Through a blend of engineering, raw materials and a sense of aesthetic, it’s possible to make something that will truly improve a life. In fact, many lives.

It’s with this sense of focus and aspiration that Garamszegi co-founded Aurora Spine in 2012, after working at a number of other medical device companies throughout the San Diego region. With spinal fusion technologies necessitating highly invasive procedures and long, painful recovery times, the company saw an opportunity for improvement. Aurora’s technologies aimed to simplify the process and allow for effective spinal fusion that streamlined surgical procedures and contoured to a patient’s unique anatomy.

The company has experienced impressive growth with a full product suite of interspinous fusion devices, biologics and surgical tools. With product currently in fifteen countries around the world, the Aurora team is working hard to expand its presence in other global regions, including South Korea and Australia, among others. Devices are manufactured right here in the U.S. with supply chain operations in California and Ohio. With the company’s core ZIP® product line receiving U.S. patent approval in April of this year, Aurora is well positioned to continue to bring its sleek, futuristic looking product line to the international market.

 

Speaking of aesthetics, what of the brand’s signature royal purple color? Any special significance there?

Laszlo laughs at the question. “Trent (CEO and one of Aurora’s co-founders), attended Carlsbad High School and that was the school’s team color. We have international reach, but that strong tie-in to San Diego won’t be going away any time soon.”

 

The success of small- and medium-sized businesses is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Program, companies such as Aurora Spine are to be awarded a $10,000 grant provided by JPMorgan Chase to assist with their international efforts, as well as additional support services including: a dedicated trade and investment manager at WTC San Diego to support company participants in deploying overseas strategies during the grant period; access to workshops that address export compliance, financing and fundraising and global marketing; reduced airfare on Japan Airlines direct flights from San Diego to Tokyo; free access to SYSTRAN software for website translation and customer service needs; and consideration to compete for an additional $35,000 during the MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest in November 2016.

September 8, 2016

One of the most unique industries in San Diego is Sports & Active Lifestyle, a key driver of the regional economy - impacting more than 32,000 jobs - and a staple in our local culture. As part of our series leading up to San Diego MFG Day on October 7, we’re bringing you five items #MadeinSD used by professional athletes around the world.

  1. SKLZ: Endorsed by USA Soccer star Alex Morgan, Evan Longoria of the New York Yankees and hometown favorite Jason Verrett of the Chargers, SKLZ is a staple in the sports training industry. Founded in 2002 with the invention and success of the Hit-a-Way baseball training product, SKLZ products are used to train the world’s top competitive athletes with lines of performance training products and programs.
  2. FOX: If you’ve ever ridden a mountain bike, motorcycle or other offroad vehicle, chances are FOX supplied the shock absorbers. FOX moved their off-road and military components division to El Cajon in 2012 and continues to be an industry leader in shock absorbers and racing suspension products for snowmobiles, mountain bikes, motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, off-road cars, trucks and SUVs.
  3. TaylorMade Golf: It’s no surprise the largest golf equipment and apparel company in the world is headquartered right here in Carlsbad, as the region is one of the most active golf hubs in the country. The company sponsors top PGA golfers including Sergio García, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson. For this first time in the TaylorMade history, the company has the #1 and #2 golfers playing TaylorMade equipment.
  4. Rusty Surfboards: In 1969, Rusty Psiendorfer shaped his first surfboard as a high school student in San Diego. Sixteen years later, he found Rusty Surfboards – now a top-tier  surfboard manufacturer based in San Diego. The Rusty “R” logo is internationally recognized in the surf and surf apparel industry.
  5. Sticky Bumps: Going hand-in-hand with Rusty, anyone who owns a surfboard has used Sticky Bumps. As surfing became popular in the early 1940s, surfers began relying on candle wax to keep their feet glued to the board while riding the wave. As the industry-leading surf wax maker, Sticky Bumps makes its products in Vista and is recognized globally as the go-to surf wax. 

 

Celebrate all that's #MadeinSD on October 7. Visit sdmfgday.com to get involved. 

August 22, 2016

Every so often San Diego Regional EDC takes an influential group of civic leaders to a peer city to better understand its economic development best practices and bring ideas back home to replicate. This time, we're headed to Nashville, Tennessee to find out what America’s Finest City learn from the Music City. In preparation for the October trip, EDC recently sent a team down south to scout meetings and spokespeople who can speak to philosophies and best practices that have served Nashville well. Here are just a few topics on the upcoming trip agenda:
 
  • First, it’s clear that Nashville mayoral leadership has consistently focused on education, public safety and economic development over a number of administrations.
  • Second, Nashville has made investments to make the City a premier destination. Nashville has built arenas now home to pro football and pro hockey franchises, constructed a new home for the Country Music Hall of Fame, and opened a new downtown convention center, as well as the Frist Center for Visual Arts - all of which has occurred in the past 20 years. The City is now making a bid for a major league soccer team.   
  • The City is also focused on regionalism – the collaboration between area government bodies for the overall good of the region. The Nashville mayor not only oversees the City but also Davidson County, an area about twice the size with half the population of San Diego County. Streamlining government processes and policies has improved development services and transportation infrastructure planning. 
  • In a timely response to President Obama’s call for honest conversations about race relations in communities across America, Mayor Megan Barry is partnering with Lipscomb University's College of Leadership & Public Service and others to host forums with the community to address race, equity and leadership in the Nashville community.
 
Mayor Barry and an outstanding group of civic leaders have committed to speak to our San Diego delegation next month. Learn more about the trip details and agenda topics here. If interested in participating, contact Raquel Elbachri for more information.